There is no such thing as perfection but one of the most well known transsexual figures in Namibia and most flamboyant socialites, Mercedez von Cloete, is a huge perfectionist who will not stop until she achieves exactly what she wants, especially in the entertainment industry.
She spoke to New Era Weekend on her journey which took her through sex re-assignment from a man to a woman, her new appearance and her career goals as well as how she has settled into the new gender.
Mercedez was born as a male by the name of Josper Morris Cloete and took the name Mercedez years later after transitioning into a woman. She says her decision to go through the sexual change was started at an early age when she experienced feminine tendencies throughout her life as a boy, and during her teen years. Hailing from a town commonly perceived as a ghost town, Arandis, the slim, chic, extroverted and ambitious beautiful young woman has bigger dreams for herself than any ordinary being.
“At an early age of like 5 or 6, I already felt like I was a girl and I had very effeminate behaviour and was very genderless,” she explains.
“I could not connect with boys. I didn’t understand the feeling but now I understand. I’m more fierce and sexy. When I transitioned, I didn’t ask for anyone’s permission but when it felt right that’s when it got real. It was just how I always felt on the inside,” she adds.
Mercedez says for the average transsexual woman, the transition from male to female can be a rough process, especially in a judgmental society.
“Once I understood what my problem with sex was, I had to change. Each step of my transition was more about being fed up with how things were, and then having to set goals for how I desired them to be. I felt more like myself – which is a mysterious sort of feeling that not everyone can understand. I was more contented, approachable, and more buoyant,” she says.
She says she was blessed to have supportive friends, mentors and family, who accept her for who she is with no condemnations.
Mercedez said that although many have accepted her, saw and appreciated her potential as an MC, she still faces challenges and discrimination with getting bigger gigs due to her identity.
“Everyone wants something that will make them happy but they deny me my existence, my economy. Thinking of the rejections and disapprovals and everything I had to go [through] is disappointing,” says the teary Mercedez.
“There were so many shady antics that I had to or go through just to be who I wanted to be and become, but people didn’t understand,” Mercedez explains.
Often described as a smart, determined and interesting being by her peers, Mercedez, who comes from a financially disadvantage background, says she belongs on stage and her life will not be as colourful as it is, if it was not for the passion and joy she feels when presenting in front of an audience and making sure she delivers at all times.
“I respect every platform I get and I make sure that when I’m granted the opportunity to host an event, I always set the mood because you can’t love what you do and disappoint,” she says.
Mercedez says she aspires to join the radio and TV industry with her own shows or programs because she is not only an entertainer but believes it is where she belongs.
She has been hosting ‘Song Night’ series at the Warehouse Theatre and many other shows with pleasing remarks from audiences and admirers such as: “She is what our entertainment industry needs; someone lively and engaging”, “Attending a show hosted my Mercedez is never boring because she just knows what to say and when to say what, to liven an audience” and “We would like to see her on TV or radio, her personality stands out from our regular presenter and that’s all that matters”.
If you are swayed that there is no possible way to look chic every day, think again. Whether it is a modern spin or a re-imagining of punk ‘80s, Mercedez dresses like she is from a different decade and appearance matters to her down to the minute detail.