Lone Malefho, a University of Arizona junior, is one of the student leaders from the Coalition of Black Students and Allies and Voices of Indigenous Concerns in Education who questioned President Dr. Robert C. Robbins, Provost Liesl Folks and other university administration and demanded accountability through the COBA list of demands.
In addition to her activist work, Malefho is a self-proclaimed influencer in the making, also known as Botswana's Jewel on Instagram, describing herself as multifaceted in her own right.
Malefho grew up in a household in Gaborone, Botswana, complete with supportive but strict parents that instilled the value of hard work and sacrifice.
“My dad was a doctor and my mom is in human resources. I came from a family that was heavily reliant on academics since I was young, and my parents told me that if I work hard, you know, I'll be able to do anything that I want," Malefho said. "I grew up with that mentality and I did very well in both primary and high school, and because of that, I was able to get a scholarship from my country, from my government that allowed me to go to any university in any country as long as I was accepted."
The UA was the natural progression in Malefho's career in higher education.
Malefho saw the UA as a stepping stone in America as she plans for graduate school and fills her time with involvement in extracurricular activities and maintaining a good academic repertoire.
On campus, Malefho has been involved in fighting for social justice causes, including UA Planned Parenthood Generation Action as an officer and campaign manager within the Women and Gender Resource Center. Malefho is also a member of the Coalition of Black Students and Allies and the Black Student Union and has been a volunteer for #Fight4HER Arizona, a reproductive rights organization, she said.
UA alumna Ashley Little graduated in 2019 and met Malefho in 2018 through UAPPGEN.
According to Little, the work Malefho executes within and outside of social media is a reflection of her personality and thoughtfulness.
“She is very passionate about issues that are really close to her, like with Planned Parenthood and her involvement in organizations related to racial justice," Little said. "Her whole page has really become an outlet for her to express herself, the page exemplifies her personality. Bad bitch energy, real hot girl shit, that is definitely the energy she exudes."
Malefho said her vision is to be as eclectic as they come and to push out as many of her gifts, talents and beliefs into the world as she can.
“It has always been my dream to be part of something bigger than myself. I want to be great, that is the plan for myself," Malefho said. "There are other parts of myself that I would like to share with the world. I am all about helping, I'm all about showing [people] what I love to do without any shame."
For Malefho, staying true to herself is part of both her creative and professional journey, this includes creating fashion and lifestyle content with a personalized twist for YouTube and Instagram.
Malefho said she feels most at ease in front of the camera and her love for fashion is homegrown.
Malefho described her personal style as Hello Kitty, pink and girly but also goth and draws style inspiration from Zachary Domingo, also known as @barbiegutz on Instagram.
“I gravitated and liked putting outfits together [to the point] where I started to mix and match outfits. Even doing DIY like cutting and reviving outfits as well as drawing from the trends," Malefho said. "Fashion has always been in my blood. I love dressing up, anything that glitters, anything that shines, I love it, jewelry especially."
With 117 YouTube subscribers to date, Malefho has made it her goal and commitment to improve her consistency so that her YouTube channel can grow, she said.
Malefho posted her first YouTube video back in September 2019, and after a short hiatus from YouTube, Malefho began posting periodically starting from January 2020 up to now.
“Last year I was home for the summer and that is when I decided to just go for it and I got dressed up and I filmed the first introductory video. … I wanted to explore more of that creative side of myself and I have not looked back since then,” Malefho said.
Inspiration for video content comes from several different avenues, anywhere from the trending video list on YouTube or Instagram, to asking her followers what kind of videos they would like to see, to her own imagination.
Close friend and current UA student Eyren Huffman met Malefho freshman year when they were both involved in the #Fight4HER organization. Later they were both involved in both UA Planned Parenthood Generation Action and the UA Queers United Coalition and became connected through their social justic work, Huffman said.
Huffman maintained that social media is Malefho’s natural medium.
“[Malefho] is a force to be reckoned with," Huffman said. "I feel like she has so much power that maybe she doesn't even fully know that she has yet but is truly an unstoppable force. She is super intentional about the way she interacts and engages with people and that can be seen on the screen."
The path to becoming an unstoppable force includes future plans that are paved with intention for Malefho.
Malefho’s career path choice was the direct result of the prioritization of her mental health in the hopes of one day becoming a chemical engineer.
“I want to work in chemical research to make drugs, I want to make better and more affordable antidepressants. Maybe even down the line, I'll have my own cosmetic business where I can create and make my own products,” Malefho said.
True to fashion, Malefho intends to leave an impact on the world on her own terms.
“I am so many things combined, and I express them all in the time and mediums that are appropriate. Now I have this secure environment to really express who I am," Malefho said. "I was the caterpillar but now I'm the butterfly. I have this burning desire to do everything and be part of everything. My following is still small, obviously, but I'm going to be an influencer. That's for sure."
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