South Africa

Lexi Kaleiia is Living her Best Life 

with FHM South Africa February 2024 cover star Lexi Kaleiia / @lexikaleiia

Photographer Loop Photo – Preyen Moodley / @loopphoto – 

Location Clifton 3rd Beach Cape Town

Tell us about the moment you found out you would be featured in the magazine. What was your initial reaction? It was the night before I wrote one of my big exams in my final year of high school, the social media manager put one of my images on the FHM USA story so I contacted her, we started talking and I found out her name was also Lexi. She encouraged me to message the owner of FHM because she was sure I’d get a feature and that’s exactly what I did, he doesn’t actually know about this, I think. Staying up for much longer than I was supposed to, at 1 am I sent a long message to him and he messaged me back. So after chatting a bit, I asked if there was a chance and he said I was in! So I had a complete freakout, waking up my dad of course with this news and we celebrated this insane achievement together, I recall him laughing at me while I was dancing, I was so happy. I had hoped for this to be the outcome but I still couldn’t believe it, I completely freaked out, trying not to squeal or yell out too loud as our neighbors were sleeping. It was so hard to contain myself but I was jumping up and down in my room and swinging my arms in the air, laughing still trying to stay quiet. I was ecstatic that this opportunity came my way and it took a really long time for this all to sink in and become a reality. I’m writing the answers to the Q&A, FHM just sent me and I think only now I feel like this is really, truly happening. 

Can you share your favorite shot or spread from the magazine and why it holds special significance for you? From the Pink Bikini Set, there is a close-up of my body from the hips and up to my face, where I stare straight at the camera with my body slightly turned away and I’m covering my chest with my hand. This image shows a different part of me that I unlocked during this shoot. A part of me that intrigues me and I can’t wait to explore more. Another image that really speaks to me is the one where I have the pink bikini on and I’m lying on my stomach, covering half my face with my arms and hair. While I’m looking straight into the camera I just see this overwhelming sense of sensuality, mystery, and power that I projected when this image was taken. I’m proud of its outcome because it reminded me of two models I look up to; Candice Swanepoel and Claudia Schiffer. And I have this silly feeling that if they knew me from the moment I started out with modeling till the moment they saw this image they might have been proud of me.

When you’re not working, what helps you decompress and relax? The best thing I could do to relax is going to the beach and be by the ocean, it’s always been the place to calm me down and bring happiness into my life no matter what, to me, it is the place where I can connect with Tranquility. 

What’s the strangest fan encounter you’ve ever had? The strangest fan encounter was more online, someone recognized me on Clifton 4th beach but never came up and spoke to me. They rather sent me a DM on Instagram asking if it really was me on the beach today and they added how they wanted to come up to me and meet me and how they missed their chance. This was the first time I realized I was getting more known in Cape Town and I was going to get recognized more often. I was a little freaked out by this, having total strangers potentially recognize me wherever I might go. But at the same time, I felt that if I just handled actual encounters the right way it could be a cool thing to meet people who consider themselves fans, people I consider supporters. 

What’s the best “wardrobe malfunction” story that you can now laugh about? My funniest wardrobe malfunction was when I curated my own version of a shoot inspired by Gigi Hadid which I did with cross bands and specially designed hot pants. I did it on a shipwreck in Cape Town, but it was very difficult as the cross bands kept popping off my chest, you know… and it was difficult to move comfortably while staying covered by them. We kept laughing at my constant readjusting and struggling but we kept on going. I refused to give up such a cool concept, and the shoot’s images and videos came out awesome at the end so it was totally worth it.

What are some of your biggest dreams you hope to achieve? The Biggest Goals & Dreams I have had since I was super young is to build a super successful modeling career and name for myself and with this, I really want to achieve the position to inspire people to live life like they want to. To chase their dreams and not give up on real opportunities that will take them to places they desire to go. The other big dream of mine is to eventually go study and get a degree in something I’m really passionate about — hopefully, Oceanography — or something along that line and use my influence as a known model/influencer to do my part to help save Our Blue Planet and all the wonderful nature & life thriving on it. They don’t call me Lexi Kaleiia — AKA Nature’s Model for nothing. 

What’s the weirdest beauty tip or trick you’ve picked up? It is a pretty normal thing for people with curly hair to do, I’d think, it’s called wet plopping. I bundle my hair into a little soft cap after I’ve washed and styled it so it can absorb all the products and keep definition in my curls. But I look absolutely ridiculous with it on and my parents and I call it ‘The Mushroom’ because I look like a mushroom with it on my head. I refuse to let another soul except my parents see me in it. 

If you were stranded on a deserted island with only one accessory, what would it be? A Hair Clip would be the first thing to pop into my head because with a head of hair like mine, I get super hot super fast and I need to keep the lion’s mane out of my face when I do stuff I have to focus on. I would take care of the clip as if my life depended on it because if it broke… all Hell breaks loose because my hair is not as tame as I want it to be the majority of the time.

What’s your go-to guilty pleasure snack? Binge eating Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing… That is my all-time favorite guilty pleasure snack. And the only snack I will never share with anyone, ever. I’ll share any other food or snack with the people I love but not these. And I think it’s time the people in my life accept that. 

What is the absolute worst thing a man can do to completely put you off? Assume that I want to date them or assume that I am desperate for a boyfriend. All the conversations end up back at the same point where they tell me how badly they want me or how they want to be with me, which completely puts me off. 

What advice would you give to aspiring models? I never thought I’d be where I am right now it’s always been a dream but it’s becoming a reality now so I just want to tell the model or aspiring model reading this that ANYTHING you dream for yourself is possible. If you are truly passionate about something and you want to work for it and put in the effort then you WILL reach your goal and perhaps take it even further. The key is to always keep building your confidence and love yourself, and don’t build it on the validation of others. Always stay humble and grounded. Also, the mirror is your friend, practice your facial expressions, poses, and angles anytime you walk past a mirror. If there are people near you and you don’t want it to be obvious then just look at yourself in the mirror and adjust your posture. That will create good habits and confidence. When I first started modelling I didn’t have much backing but I had less than a handful of people who really believed in me and supported me and my dreams… and really that’s all you need. Always stay connected with your true self and your purest desires, keep pushing and following that passion. Don’t let anyone derail it, who knows, maybe you actually make it, always stay optimistic. 

Thanks for taking the time to speak to us, do you have any last words for our readers? Thank you so much for having me! All I have left to say is” Good things will come your way, Just Go With The Flow & Don’t Swim Against The Tide”.