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Meet Zazu Moloi, Entrepreneur, Celebrity and Fashion Photographer

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Meet Zazu Moloi, Entrepreneur, Celebrity and Fashion Photographer

What inspired you to become a photographer in the fashion and celebrity industry?

The desire for a creative outlet as a child. In all honesty, it begins with my upbringing. I am a first-generation African American. My parents being who they are and figuring out their newfound lifestyle were very strict. Study, study, study. I was to focus on a career as a doctor, lawyer, etc. Some shit I didn’t want to do. Classic African parents. I didn’t have a real creative outlet or a way to genuinely express myself and connect to the world around me. My parents weren’t really in support of a creative outlet, but I think that it was that way because they didn’t really think that I had options as a person in the States. They were figuring it out just as I was, but all I knew is that the direction they were pushing me, as well-meaning as it was, wasn’t the direction I wanted to go. 

Yet, although we had differing outlooks, I still accomplished what they asked of me out of respect for my parents. I graduated high school with a full-ride scholarship to Arizona State University. I attended for four years and graduated with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. Shortly after, I went on to work at a biomedical company, Becton Dickinson, number two in the world. I worked there for a year. Didn’t like it; quit. So, I pursued social media management, which heightened my interest in fashion and photography. In doing so, I realized that this was the outlet I had been looking for my entire life. I just needed to take it a step further.

All that being said, what was the next step?

I connected myself with my friend, Spencer, who I knew was already an established photographer with connections and a habit of traveling. He had invited me to travel with him to Fashion Week in Paris of 2018. During that week in Paris, I was engrossed in the present moment. I was so engrossed, that I took photos here and there, but it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t my focus. At that time, it didn’t dawn on me that I could fully be in the moment all while capturing the moment, and until I traveled again, this time to London, I didn’t get to put that realization into play. While in London, I had access to a Polaroid Camera. Here’s the thing, there is a beautiful simplicity to a Polaroid. You can’t edit the photo. All of the action, emotion, and energy is captured at that moment in four straight lines.

 

In your newfound lifestyle, what challenges have you faced?

I was homeless for 9 months at the launch of my new career path. Although many would see being homeless as an obstacle, for me it was and always will be mind-over-matter in any given situation. I knew that to transition from a blue-collar career to an entrepreneur was going to have its push backs and its tolls, but I anticipated that. If anything, I embraced it. Honestly, at the beginning of everything being homeless suited the lifestyle. It fueled that mindset of non-complacency that, to this day, I need to have to remain authentic in all that I do.

The instability was really good for me. I didn’t have anywhere I was obligated to be, and I needed to be open to every opportunity that presented itself to me. I was very minimalistic, and I didn’t have to upkeep anything. As long as I had a new T-shirt, some new shoes, somewhere to shower, and somewhere to sleep– I was straight. As long as I had polaroid film to shoot, then I was fine. I was doing what I had always wanted to do, I was doing what I loved.

 

Where are you now and where do you hope to go from here?

I didn’t speak much on what I have accomplished, so much as I spoke on the overall process of what it took to get me here in this interview seat, haha. Now, I am well known as a Celebrity and Fashion Photographer. I have developed relationships and captured images of people considered to be high profile such as Machine Gun Kelly, Noah Cyrus, Young Thug, Future, Fetty Wap, and Swae Lee. I am also in the process of developing my photography brand, Installennial, and eventually expanding a team outside of just myself.

 

What is Installennial and what does Installennial mean to you?

Installennial is the official name of my photography platform. My site is live, but I am currently developing it for more. So, stay tuned. To me, Installennial means creating long-lasting relationships with the moments we will never get to live again. Yeah, maybe a picture is worth one thousand words, but to me, a picture is worth the entirety of a story and I’ve realized a lot of people feel that way. People want to be seen. People want their significance to be captured and remembered and I love that.

I write about interesting entrepreneurs and how they make money and help others.

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