Q&A: Thandy Matlaila, actress

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Thandy Matlaila (Image: Supplied)

Thandy Matlaila is a South African actress, dancer, choreographer, entertainer and television presenter best known for her starring role as Lindiwe Ngema on the SABC1 drama series Tshisa.
What projects are you currently working on?
There is a new telenovela I am currently shooting but I can’t say much about it for now until July as we go on air in August. All I can say is that it will be an eye-opener for most South Africans. Besides me being on screen, I am in the process of finishing off my self-help book titled “It’s Okay in 40 Days”. I am also trying to stabilize myself as a fitness “fanatic”. Ha ha ha.

Who is your favorite actor?
I have so many that I look up to. Locally we have so much talent and I love different actors for different reasons; there is Tina Jaxa, Bubu Mazibuko and Vatiswa Ndara amongst the ladies. Internationally, Morgan Freeman still does it for me.

Which living person do you most admire, and why?
My mother; she’s the most loving and caring, care-free human being I know. Her heart is so big that I don’t have friends anymore, I have brothers and sisters that my mother has now called her own. She’s my best friend and she listens to me without judgement. When she doesn’t have the answer/s to something, she won’t pretend that she does like most parents, all she will say is “let’s pray about it and God will give us direction”. Oh, and she’s funny and fun to be around. When we’re together you could swear we’re both in our 20s.

Who would play you in the film of your life?
My mother, or one of my best friends Nkuli Thaletsane because we’re so similar…and she’s pretty. Tlt tlt tlt. If I had to choose an actor, I would definitely like Zenande Mfenyane to play ME, she’s so talented…and I like her as a person.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A YO-TV presenter (true story) or a singer like Lebo Mathosa, I have always been passionate about the arts.

What is the hardest role you ever played and why?
Mpumi on Ithuba Lokugcina, the sitcom that’s currently on air on SABC1. I had to find a way to make a character that’s not funny, funny. Mpumi is a serious academic and she is stuck with born-frees who don’t have her mindset. She’s not funny, she’s sarcastic….& that’s where I played her comedy.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Rihanna and Ne-yo, Eugene Khoza and Kevin Hart, watch them all get along. Ha ha ha . RiRi cause she seems so carefree so she won’t care who says what, Ne-Yo so that he can lie to me all night and whisper sweet nothings like he does in his lyrics, he’s such a brilliant songwriter and he’s good looking. If it were up to me, I would also have the whole cast of Single Ladies; have you seen the eye-candy on that series???

If you were not an actress, what profession would you choose to occupy?
I most certainly would’ve pursued dancing or being an accountant. Besides those 2, I am also doing something else that I love. Public Relations (PR) as I own a PR company and have been in the fiend for the past 6 years. I still dance when the opportunity presents itself but it has grown not to be a priority. Who knows, maybe next year I will dedicate my year to dancing. I do that yearly, put a focus on something: last year it was my PR company and studies, this year it’s my running and yoga.

What is the most fun role you have ever played, and why?
To one level or another, I have enjoyed all the roles I have played but if I must single our one, it has to be Lindiwe on Tshisa. She exposed me (Thandy) to so much life. Some of the best moments about a character are not captured on screen but in the process of creating those characters, the character research etc. I have never been exposed to that kind of life before and it was refreshing and educational that not everyone has had the same upbringing s you.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to do what you do?
You must have passion and patience. Passion so that you don’t let the industry frustrations overwhelm you and patience because the industry can be seasonal. There are times you will get turned down & you ask yourself “Am I cut out for this”, but when that happens, you always need to remind yourself why you got into the industry in the first place.

Besides being seasonal, the industry can also be fake & fickle so you need to ask yourself what you want to achieve: Do you want fame or do you want to tell stories…good stories?

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