No stranger to thriving outside the box and dancing against the mainstream, South African Joanne has engaged in a multitude of vast experiences that have invaluably shaped her perspective and moulded her life’s path. Most notably, a Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology (Texas A&M University), a professional athlete (golf), columnist (Complete Golfer Magazine), TV Sports Presenter (Super Sport), and a whirlwind romance with American folk singer, John Denver.
In 2004 Joanne adopted a dog from a Cape Town shelter whom she called Oscar. The unusual mutt redirected Joanne’s passion towards the plight of shelter dogs and in 2009, the duo teamed up to navigate the world. They traveling across 43 countries over 5 continents in 9 months to inspire dog adoption and the 'World WOOF Tour' remains a first of its kind. Joanne later took an Indian street dog called ‘Rupee’ up Mount Everest. Another first. In 2016, Joanne founded a dynamic dog adoption agency ‘ Oscars Arc’ in Oscar’s memory and a sanctuary for rescued farmed animals ‘ Farm Sanctuary SA' - with a painting pig hogging the limelight. Oscars Arc has saved the lives of thousands of shelter dogs since its inception in 2017 and Pigcasso’s Abstract Expressionist masterpieces are sold all over the world and have raised over 3 million rand for the sanctuary.
Lefson's unique collaborations with Pigcasso, Oscar and Rupee have all been featured on all global media outlets on a regular basis. These include ABC, NBC, CBS News, SABC, SKY News, ZDF, CNN and National Geographic. Print publications include The London Times, Sunday Times, USA Today and Spiegel. Lefson has also appeared live on the Jeremy Vine Show (2020), Good Morning America (2012 and 2019), Saturday Night Live (2019) and 'Carte Blanche’ (2009, 2010 and 2013) Lefson was also interviewed for Autopsy: The last hours of John Denver - and was an associate producer of the 2015 documentary, Moved By Love, a feature about the Donkey sanctuary in Northern India that Lefson established in 2007 and which was also entered into the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.
The inspiring life journey continues in celebration of Oscar’s legacy, with the passion to find a unique voice for vulnerable animals within a lost, loud world defined by human disconnect.