The model social media consultant

Just when the web was starting to get boring: Along came Nadia van der Merwe. Nadia’s video proclaiming herself to be a lingerie model-come-social media rockstar instantly went viral. It was a funny video, but also well put together.

The world is a cynical place, and you’ll find cynicism with an extra bit of nastiness and cliquishness in this small, self-promoting world people occupy when they refer to the social media and digital marketing “scene”. Naturally, then, Nadia’s blog and video was met with some derision on the twittersphere in particular. Have to admit that I initially didn’t know whether this was truth or fiction, incorrectly surmising (in part because the video was so well put together) that this may be another Bolton De Venter.

Nadia has succeeded
So here’s another take on it: Nadia has succeeded. She’s attracted attention, she’s captured imagination, she took initiative, she stood out, she was honest, sincere — and she went viral. People are blogging about her (I can’t be the only one), many want to meet her. Her words have become a self-fulfilling prophecy: She’s already that rockstar she talks about in her video. All publicity is good publicity. I’m surprised that Nadia removed her video and posts (possibly due to the criticism?). I think she should re-instate them and stand by them: They’re great.

Nadia should take the criticism in good humour, in tongue-in-cheek, and learn from the constructive criticism — and continue to be herself. The video may be a bit earnest, but well put together and funny. She’s created her own social media phenomenon. My advice for Nadia is to ride the wave and go with it, maybe adding a touch more subtlety in the future. And then take things to the next level. Harness what you’ve created. Well done.

Comments (31)

  1. JBagley wrote::

    I first stumbled upon Nadia from your tweet and you always seem to be hot on the tail on anything Bolton related, so thought she was another one of your alter-egos. 🙂

    I think its a pretty smart move on her account – sure she could refine it, but for now its getting everyone’s attention.

    So Nadia, ride the wave as Matt said – it can’t do you any harm!

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 3:01 pm #
  2. Jack Harmon wrote::

    Two things I cant stand:

    1) When tech people refer to themselves as rockstars.
    2) When women use their sex appeal to get ahead.

    enough said.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm #
  3. I think she’s a student of @WalterPike.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm #
  4. Nadia van der Merwe wrote::

    Yes I was a student of Walter- really enjoyed his course in Digital Marketing.

    I really have learnt alot from this. Im actually grateful for the criticism. I plan to refine the website and continue to ride the wave.

    Thanks for blogging about it Matthew.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 3:26 pm #
  5. Nick wrote::

    She’s young and passionate, barely out of advertising school. Give her a chance.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 3:28 pm #
  6. Colin Daniels wrote::

    She definitely needs some voice training (talks way too fast) but otherwise I can see her creating a new niche in the South African social media space. Bolton Deventer watch your back!

    P.S did anyone else notice the “WAP 2.0” title in the intro? ermm…

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 3:36 pm #
  7. Paul wrote::

    Cool! 🙂

    Except your link points to her modelling website, not her other one (

    @Colin – WAP 2.0 does exist ( What’s the problem? 😉

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 3:52 pm #
  8. Walter Pike wrote::

    Yes, Nadia was on the very first Digital Marketing Strategy course I put on.

    I think that doing this was cool. Well done. I also congratulate her on the way she has handled the fall out, as Matt said this is about being effective and she has been.

    The one thing we need all to accept that there are no social media gurus – but there are social media rockstars. we are ALL still learning the rules.

    I have no doubt that Nadia will crack it in this space.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 4:04 pm #
  9. Stefano wrote::

    Also hate the word ‘rockstars’ – rockstars live a very different life to those that are efficiently at exploiting social media for various gains.

    I had a serious chuckle at this video too, but as I said – she’s famous. The hardest work is done. Now just make something of it 🙂 People don’t keep on watching forever.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm #
  10. Jade wrote::

    She’s famous for all the wrong reasons! Hopefully with time Nadia can rectify her social rep, however I feel that she has been made famous for a laugh – which I’m pretty sure wasn’t intentional.

    She’s beautiful yes, but can she capitalize on her sudden fame? I would spin it, do an amazing job managing the meme, change ppls perceptions with amazing work and insight and then maybe/hopefully she’ll be a success.

    I’m asking the question, what if she was a ugly ginger guy?

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 5:13 pm #
  11. Stefano wrote::

    Haha, Jade, I was thinking the same thing. What if she were a manky looking gal.

    The thing is, she’s not. So who cares 🙂

    No such thing as bad publicity.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 5:19 pm #
  12. Jade wrote::


    Haha true – but I dare to ask . . . . would you hire her to look after your personal brand, considering what just happened? (imagine her as an ugly ginger guy)

    IMHO, your a brave man if you say yes now. I want her to show all the nay-sayers otherwise, to spin the crap out of it, and show us some really admirable work. Then, after a true baptism of fire, I would consider it. You know she’ll have both the balls and the talent to be a social media *cringe rockstar

    *disclaimer – This is written without thinking Nadia is an ugly ginger guy *opinion might vary

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 5:37 pm #
  13. Nic wrote::

    I think that firstly, the use of the word “Famous” is being thrown about a bit liberally here.

    Agree with Stefano regarding the word rockstar. I think it does more harm than intended good. So for a start, let’s drop “Famous”, “Viral”, “Rockstar”.

    Yes there’s been some hype, if it can be called that, but no virality in my opinion. How many views did that video receive before being pulled? How much traffic has her blog done since the “Fame”?

    I doubt anything to take note of.

    I completely disagree with Jack Harmon’s second point. Woman/people/men/humans should be allowed to play to whatever strengths they value and can make use of. Don’t hate Nadia because she’s good looking, it’s not her fault.

    Anyways, nadia, goodluck to you i say. Many (if not most of us) burst on to the scene with something grand, silly, wrong, right, linkbait-worthy or otherwise. This route seems to be working in the right circles and I promise you that the next conference or event you attend, people will know your name, face and what you want to do for a living.

    Maybe pitch up to the next 27 dinner. Your first drink’s on me.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 11:43 pm #
  14. rob wrote::

    Why I still think Nadia is not legit:

    * she has 12 Facebook friends
    * she has 185 Twitter followers

    As ‘everyone’ knows ‘normal’ people come pre-installed with many more Facebook friends than Twitter followers. Therefore she must be a bot. Or maybe a Van Der Merwe joke 2.0…

    Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 10:46 am #
  15. Craig wrote::

    How is this video classified as viral? It has 270 views on YouTube – surely that classifies it as just another random video on the web?

    Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 12:19 pm #
  16. Devon wrote::

    @Rob – Firstly that is her business profile on Facebook. On her normal profile she has the limit of 5000 friends, another 10,000 on her fan and group pages.

    Nadia, I think you did a great job and got people talking.
    Any publicity is good publicity. You can work on my personal brand any time. 🙂

    Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 1:56 pm #
  17. David Perel wrote::

    Im also a bit lost on this one. Please excuse my ignorance but when did she become famous &/or viral?

    This is second time I have heard of her. I am not trying to knock Nadia here (by all means maximize and I hope you seriously successful in this space) I am just talking about the ‘hype’ around it?

    Where does the hype come from?

    Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 1:57 pm #
  18. rob wrote::

    @david there is no hype here. just the same old same old talking about some new old.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 3:40 pm #
  19. Great concept. Great video. Great aspirations.

    Where I think Nadia slips up is that she’s aspiring to become a social media “rockstar”. Not even ROCKSTARS have the aspiration to be ROCKSTARS. That status is conferred on you when you do what you do really well.

    Nadia might actually be good at what she does or aspire to do, but my first impression of her is that she “believes the hype”.

    Not sexy.

    Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 6:12 pm #
  20. Stefano wrote::

    @ all the viral nay-sayers. Why does something have to be as big as saturday night live to be considered Viral? Surely this IS viral in context? It’s spread across the social media / online marketing industry within south africa quite quickly… Hence the word ‘viral’ was used.

    I don’t understand why it’s NOT viral.

    Then again I have a very strong opinion and think I am the bees knees.

    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 2:29 pm #
  21. Nic wrote::

    Stefano – So if I do something and my mom tells her 5 mates in the space of ten minutes. Then you’d consider my actions and the subsequent result as a “Viral” success. I think not.

    Viral has to have scope, reach and influence across a wide variety of platforms, genres and contexts. Saying that a few bloggers and tweeters mentioned this makes it viral is like saying i have a rash on my baby toe that has gone viral in my body.

    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 3:04 pm #
  22. Stefano wrote::

    I just think that enough of the right people have seen it for it to have an influence on her career. I think in that regard it might not be as Viral as AIDS but it definitely is spreading to a few of the right people.

    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 3:29 pm #
  23. Stefano wrote::

    Also, Show me an official definition of the word ‘viral’. Especially one that proves this:

    “Viral has to have scope, reach and influence across a wide variety of platforms, genres and contexts”

    I only know viral (in this context) as spreading ‘by word of mouth’. That’s where it ends. That’s what is happening here.

    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 3:33 pm #
  24. uno wrote::

    nic is trying to chat nadia up.

    Friday, September 18, 2009 at 3:38 pm #
  25. Nadia wrote::

    My sincerest thanks to everyone who gave their comments. I learnt from all of them whether it was a criticism or compliment.
    I could have done it better, but like I said, this has been a learning curve for me.
    I am incredibly proud of my modeling career, however it should not have formed part of this video, which focused on my career as a digital marketer.

    @Arthur my passion for social media has nothing to do with hype. Social media has worked for me in many ways, especially within the entertainment industry. It has helped me establish a brand and has brought me many personal achievements. This has made me incredibly passionate about the field.

    I aspire to create value for my peers and clients within this space and I look forward to sharing my opinions with all of you going forward.

    Monday, September 21, 2009 at 11:03 am #
  26. easye wrote::

    Your lame.

    Monday, September 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm #
  27. crayg wrote::

    This is all pretty inconsequential. One thing I’ve learnt about social media, it’s a fickle mistress. Of all the things I’ve seen come and go, this is the most laughable. Nadia’s video was not just lame. It was super-lame.

    Thanks Don Packett for the laugh.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 5:59 pm #
  28. matt wrote::

    The Don Packett version of Nadia:


    Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 6:25 pm #
  29. Leon Jacobs wrote::

    It seems that the one thing all social media “rockstars” have in common is this exremely irritating ability to flog themselves as a product. Like Hugh Mccleod, Chris Brogan – eventually their self-absorbed tweets and constant self promotion reach gag levels. And they are abusing a social channel to that end.

    It seems to work, but at what price?

    It’s a bit like selling Amway. Sure you can make money. But at what cost to the personal relationships in your life?

    Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 9:48 pm #
  30. Gaby wrote::

    @Nadia, if I were you (i.e. had the digital marketing interest/qualification and the boobs) I wouldn’t have gone in at a strategic or corporate level, at least not to start.

    I would have pitched myself as a Social Media Reporter and sold myself to the Social Media Professionals out there, charging to attend, interview, document, write, video and photograph i.e. create content for brand events that you are probably and most likely at anyway.

    Just a thought.

    Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 12:58 pm #
  31. Jade wrote::

    @Gaby thats a dam good idea – you out there?

    Sunday, September 27, 2009 at 7:45 pm #