Nicole Capper is a perfect example of confidence and grace. Her journey towards courage and living out of her comfort zone started three years ago when her baby girl was diagnosed with a rare and life-limiting genetic disease. That’s when this qualified pharmacist decided to come out of her shell, break through her insecurities and live with the philosophy that anything is possible. So, she entered Mrs. South Africa 2017 – and won. Thereafter, Nicole set her goals higher and higher, embarking on all kinds of epic adventures to raise funds and awareness for social causes close to her heart. She even went to the summit of Kilimanjaro and is expanding her circle of influence with modeling, motivational speaking and being the ambassador for Rare Diseases SA. The divorced mother of two also founded Inside Out, an organisation that connects the youth with their heroes in sport and business. [Mnet]
1. Welcome to TV Series Hub, how would you describe yourself to our audience?
The dirty beauty queen. I am slightly edgier and more adventurous than your traditional beauty queen. I have walked the runway and modeled swimwear, yet my passion is being outdoors, climbing mountains and sometimes speaking the dirty truth.
2. “I have survived in life” – part of your submission to Survivor SA 2019. How would you unpack that statement with the experiences you have had so far?
I like to say that I have survived in life because up until 30 years of age it was a fairly simply existence. My daughter’s diagnosis with a rare disease was a catalyst for changing my life, but with change and growth comes a lot of obstacles including being a very recently divorced Mrs. South Africa. I had to face an onslaught of media and public opinion while still holding my head up high. All the while keeping my children my number 1 priority in the process. It’s certainly not been an easy road to navigate but I would it again in a heartbeat for the lessons I have learned. I have had some health challenges myself, including having cancer at 25 and helping my mom through cancer last year and in the process of realizing that life is very precious and you only have 1 shot at it, you might as well live your biggest, bravest, boldest life. Hence entering survivor.
3. Everything changes when it hits home, how has your life changed and shaped its course since finding out about your daughter Tatum’s condition (Cystic Fibrosis)?
When my daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a rare life-limiting condition, I had a choice – I could live life in fear and use her condition as an excuse or I could use it as a reason to do things that had previously scared me in the hope that one day she would be able to be brave and fight in the face of fear because one day I know I’ll need to ask her to fight as well. So in every decision I make, I try and remember what example I am setting for my children.
4. How important it is for one to move away from one’s comfort zone? How do you face the challenge?
It’s very tempting to stay in the comfort zone because we naturally have an aversion to pain. However, I try and remind myself that the pain of being outside your comfort zone is the greatest teacher and is the only way you grow and evolve in life. I remind myself daily that the thing that stops us is fear. Fear of failure and fear of public opinion being two of the major fears and those are never good enough reasons to stop me living my best life. That’s why I deliberately step outside my comfort zone every single day and I am no longer afraid to make mistakes or to fail.
5. Being an ambassador for Rare Diseases SA, what message would you like to give to our audience? What does someone do when they discover their child has a rare disease?
My advice to anyone who is faced with a rare disease themselves or a family member with a rare disease is to find help. Find your tribe quickly. Find those people who are by your side who will lift you up when you’re tired. You can’t do everything yourself. You cannot be that super hero mom trying to do everything alone. It’s about learning to lean on the right people and you’ll very quickly learn who those people are.. Find the appropriate support organizations, including Rare Diseases SA and that goes for anyone facing any challenge in life. Find support groups, go for therapy, go to a councilor even if it’s a public center support group or community center. Find your tribe quickly – not to be a victim or to feel sorry for yourself, but to find an outlet to talk about your problems, find solutions and move forward.
6. You have brought a lot of awareness for several causes, how does doing an activity which is usually a hobby (running, hiking, climbing, etc.) help a cause?
Doing an activity for a cause helps 2 fold. You can actually enter an event under the banner of a charity and raise money for the charity while you do it. I opened a Give and Gain account when I did my Everest Base camp hike and was able to raise funds in the process. You can also raise awareness by talking about your event on social media under the banner of charity. The second way it helps is that you are consciously taking steps that are difficult and hard, steps in training and the event/challenge that you wouldn’t necessarily have taken before. This makes you think about your purpose, focus on your purpose and it becomes ingrained in who you are and you are more likely to make a positive impact and talk about your purpose more.
7. What went through your mind when you decided to join Survivor SA? Was there any inspiration behind it?
Whenever I am deciding whether to take on a new challenge or not, it needs to tick 2 criteria in my mind. Firstly, it must scare the living daylight out of me but secondly, it must be something deep down I’ve always wanted to do. Fear is never a reason to stop you from doing something, especially living your best life. For me, I want to live my best life for 2 reasons: first and foremost for myself because that fulfills the second reason which is to be an example for my kids. I know that is I am brave enough to live for myself, and have some self-love and choose happiness, then maybe when they’re older they can have the confidence to do the same for themselves.
8. Did it help to know a contestant beforehand that will be on the show with you?
I had no idea that I would know any of the contestants until I actually sat on the boat. I knew Leanne, obviously from Mrs. South Africa. It doesn’t help because you are in an unfamiliar environment, in fact, you are in a completely new environment where people are pushed to their limits and you cannot expect people to behave like you know them to behave back at home. You actually need to give everyone a clean slate and not use your previous idea of that person to formulate a friendship on an island. You need to start from scratch.
9. With the show currently airing, what message do you hope to spread across to viewers across the country?
My hope is that South Africans will start living their best most authentic life without fear. So many people have said to me “I wish I could enter something like that” “I wish I could do something like that”. My answer is always why not? Because the things you think you think are stopping you are not things at all. Fear of public opinion, fear of failure, fear of never being chosen are not reason enough not to take a chance. I knew going onto this I could flame out in a spectacular fashion, or I could succeed, who knows but you only have one shot in this life why not take a risk. It’s always worth taking a risk.
10. Survivor shows typically get very political, how did you cope with such challenges?
I was never worried about political arguments or honest conversations. In fact, that is one of the reasons why I decided to do this. I thoroughly enjoy having open and honest conversations where people speak their truths and share their perspectives because that leads to better communication and you solve a lot more problems that way. I think everyone has a right to their opinion and I was most looking forward to some really hard, honest conversations in the duration of the show.
11. What can you hint for the coming episodes without giving away any spoilers?
What I can say about the upcoming survivor episodes is that you haven’t seen anything yet. It is about to get intense on every level. I always imagined survivor was just an enhanced magnifying glass on real life like a melting pot where you magnify what happens on a daily level and it’s not. I was wrong. Survivor pushes people far beyond normal circumstances and what you see on the island is not even close to what you would experience on a normal day. It’s extreme, it’s intense and it’s magnificent.
12. When/if you win the prize, what do you plan to do with it?
If I won I would use some for myself and some for my kids. I have always wanted to have a home in the mountains – a small cottage, that is my dream. I would also put money away and invest it for my kids education because I want them to live their best lives.
13. Wishing you all the best for the show, what would you say is your proudest moment/achievement in your life so far?
I have had many proud moments in my life and many would think its standing on a stage with a crown and glitter falling from the sky, but my proudest moments are when I have tears streaming down cheeks, at my lowest of lows, making decision I never thought I would be brave enough to make, walking away from things, learning lessons and failing. Those are my proudest moments because if you can fail and rise afterwards then you can do anything and it’s the most empowering feeling.
14. Mrs. South Africa (2018), Functional Medicine pharmacist, model, MC, and current Survivor South Africa participant. Would you be looking to add ‘actress’ to your portfolio?
I would definitely add actress to my portfolio and I am currently on the job hunt. I did not realize that I was capable of acting but I have discovered I have hidden talents. Yes, I can cry on demand.
15. With a vast experience in life, what is your motto you live by and what advice would you give to our readers?
My advice to readers is to firstly always be themselves at any cost and learn to fall in love with themselves before anyone else. The second piece of advice is to do things that scare you because you shouldn’t waste your life not taking worthwhile risks that can open up opportunities and foster new passions.
16. Thank you for joining us, it is important to settle this question: Pineapple on Pizza?
Pineapple on pizza? Always! Absolutely anything on pizza from peanut butter to chocolate sauce to chilies to pineapple. Pizza is universal.
Survivor SA airs on M-Net Thursdays at 7pm
Photo Credits: M-Net