UKZN alumnus Holly Wasserfall, also known as Holly Rey, is an award-winning singer who graduated with a cum laude Honours degree in Media and Communication in 2019.
UKZNdabaOnline reporter Sinoyolo Mahlasela sat down with the bubbly artist and interviewed her about her journey at UKZN and her plans for the future:
Who influenced you most during your time at UKZN?
It is not easy to pinpoint any one individual. I believe that my success was due to the collective efforts of the members of the faculty.
Share your best University memory.
The Graduation Ceremony was my absolute highlight. Having seen the UKZN Graduation experience through social media over the years, I truly looked forward to my turn and it did not disappoint. Being part of such a joyful celebration of excellence was a truly unique experience and something every graduate deserves to attend once they have successfully completed their undergraduate or postgraduate studies.
What is the most important thing you learned while at UKZN?
Student culture and being part of a greater student community is just as valuable as obtaining a degree.
What advice do you have for current students who want to make the most of their experience at UKZN?
The goal is to graduate. Do not let anyone or anything distract you from your course. Keep your priorities straight and resolve to stay the course and do the distance. The key is perseverance. Try to remain completely focussed during lectures, you will thank yourself when it comes to assignments and exams. Keep track of your attendance and try to attend every lecture that is humanly possible. I did honours during the year of my massive break in the music industry. The only way I survived was to keep on track with my workload and attend every single lecture that I could, I was determined not to be absent unless I absolutely had to be. Maintain a good rapport with your seniors and your lecturers. All they ask for is some respect. Be social and maintain contacts. University is where you make life-long friends.
How did your education at UKZN prepare you for what you are doing today?
My degree is a massive part of my success. Having an educated approach to the media industry had certainly contributed in my ability to make better choices and to be confident in the choices I make. I have a greater cultural understanding of the landscape and it helps me to do better whether it be as a record label owner, a creative collaborator or as a content producer. My ability to pitch documents and concepts is rooted in having done fine art at school and followed that with a degree and post grad qualification in communications.
What is your greatest or most memorable professional accomplishment?
Winning the SAMA for Record of the Year in 2019 the same year that I graduated.
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your field?
Education is everything and the broader your education the wider your skill set. Everything is a learning opportunity, and everything is part of the journey to become who you are meant to be, the greater the hustle, the sweeter the fruit.
What is something people may not know about you?
I’m extremely shy and having an alter ego – Holly Rey – affords me greater confidence. I was bullied and othered at school because of the music I chose to listen to and because of my very early start in the industry. I suffer from anxiety and depression, and I have overcome an eating disorder called Diabulimia which affects adolescent girls living with diabetes.