After Class Act 1, a lot of young aspiring actors saw this show as a catapult to stardom, as it did for the first seasons winner, Sdumo Mtshali. We had a little Q&A with another Durbanite who has made it to the top 10 in Season2.
Out of thousands you made it to the Top 1o.Did you plan on trying out for Season 2 this year and did you do any preparations in the months leading up to the audition?
I actually found out about the auditions a week before from a friend of mine who also auditioned with me. Unfortunately she didn’t make it but I did thank her for letting me know about the competition and convincing me to go for it. I didn’t do much preparation besides learning my words for the monologue.
Who is Mandisa beyond the lady that has braced our screens & has Durbanites glued to their seats every Saturday?
<smiles> Wow that’s always a very difficult question to answer, and when I can summarise my answer I will definitely let you know.
Take us through your journey briefly as a young woman aspiring for a career on the screen?
The journey has definitely been full of emotion. I went into this Class Act experience expecting nothing and have thus far been blown away by how far I have come and how much I’ve learned. I arrived as a student and will emerge having had more practical experience in these few weeks than I’ve had in 2 years of studying. I’m in no way taking anything away from what I’ve learned from UKZN because I wouldn’t have gone this far in the competition without that foundation.
Do you sometimes share in the frustration that most talented Durbanites have, “talented but in the wrong city”?
I think Durban provides a good foundation for talent, I don’t necessarily agree with the term ‘wrong city’ because I think it is vital in providing aspiring artists with a certain humility that is rare in other cities, namely JHB. However it is true what they say, the gold is in JHB and for one to truly reach their goal as far as exposure and opportunity go, this place is what’s best to showcase any talent.
What productions have you been involved in prior to the Class Act leap?
Nothing as major as Class Act, mainly musicals in high school and a few poetry events at the BAT Centre (for example)
How did you feel when you heard that you had made it to the top 10?
I nearly cried up there infront of those judges…and I DON’T CRY!! Lol So it was a pretty crazy feeling.
What do your friends & family have to say about the competition?
They’re over the moon hey. Some of them, I think it’s safe to say that some of them were more excited than me! But I wouldn’t get through this experience without them.
What do you feel could jeopardize your chance at winning the competition?
Hmmm…well I don’t drink so it wouldn’t be a drinking scandal haha. I suppose it would have to be my ego. Everyone’s biggest enemy is their ego and if I start getting too confident and stop working as hard as I have from the start, that could definitely hinder my progress in the competition.
Who have you worked in the industry to get you this far?
If you mean before Class Act, then nobody really. Bu if you mean during the show, we’ve worked with the likes of Nambitha Mpumlwana, David Dennis and Vusi Kunene. Those people have coached us and given us alot of techniques and advice about the industry.
Who do you feel is your biggest threat?
What is your bad quality?
I’m very impatient. It hasn’t done me much harm thus far but I need to work on it soon or it could get me in trouble.
How do you handle change?
With grace <smile> haha. Well considering I had never worn heels or make-up or dresses before this experience so I’ve managed to throw myself into all challenges with as much grace as I can.
How do you get along with others?
We all get along very well. People always ask me if there’s any tension in the house, but it’s not like ‘Survivor’ where we build alliances and vote each other off. The people I live with are wonderful and we’re all very close.
What would be your first reaction if you won the competition?
Mention some incidents when you laughed your self out?
My first screen-test with Ephraim. That was soo funny to me because I’m so much taller than him, and it was very noticeable because we were so close together the whole time.
If u could select one of the guys, to win the competition who would it be & why?
Well I’ve learned not to make predictions anymore because I’m always wrong. I also don’t have favourites so I cant really answer that question because all of the guys are very strong contenders.
Who have you enjoyed coaching from the most since the competition?
Definitely David Dennis, the man is an absolute genius.
What have you found to be most thrilling scene for you so far?
My favourite scene is the one we shot on Monday to be broadcast this coming Saturday. My costume is the reason, you’ll know what I mean when you watch them.
How do you tackle stress and define what you identify as stress?
Stress for me is getting to a mental dead-end. When you see more problems than solutions and how I deal with that is talking to my loved-ones for reassurance.
“If u were a character from ‘Generations,’ which one would, you be?”
Ntsiki <smiles>. She was brilliant, although she hasn’t been around for years now.
“What genre of film do you enjoy most or can you mostly relate to?”
So if you don’t win the Class Act Woman 2011 where do you see yourself going?
To New York firstly lol . But otherwise I’d take my career to new heights by starring in beautifully scripted and directed movies both locally and abroad.
So what’s the one thing you really need in your backstage area?
What are you views on the South African Television/Film industry as an aspiring actress in this country?
This industry has a lot of growth to experience and it’s up to the up and coming actors to make sure we lead it into a new direction by refusing to create mediocre products and only producing top quality South African stories with a universal appeal.
Take us through your 5 year plan for the future where can we expect to see Mandisa?
I never plan that far ahead because nothing is garanteed. Although I can tell you that the next year is going to be spent finishing my studies and getting my degree.
What do you feel you can contribute to enhance this industry in the future?
There are a lot of talented and strong actresses in our industry, but I have yet to see roles that portray strong women in their highest potential. I’m after the roles that will influence thought and paint women in a more positive light. I want to play a female president as opposed to a damsel in distress.
What keeps you going in this competition?
The finish line which gets closer and closer each week.
Your favorite actor or actress and movie and why?
Johnny Depp. And why not? He’s brilliant.
Do you see yourself in this industry for the rest of your life?
Literally until the day I die. I see actresses like Maggie Smith and I admire her so much because she’s been doing this for such a long time and is still as brilliant as ever even in her old age.
What do you take away with you from this entire experience?
Growth as both an actress and a human being. It has taught me a lot about my craft as well as myself.
How has the support been like from this side (KZN)?
KZN supporters are the best!! They really unite when it comes to supporting their own and I couldn’t ask for a better people to be representing.
If you had to choose a movie and role you would want to play what would it be and why?
I would love to play Michelle’s character in ‘Girlfight’. It’s such a strong character and her style of acting is very similar to mine.
What kind of music are you into, you favourite colour, clothing brand, car and gadget?
I’m into a lot of types of music; hiphop, jazz, soul, rock. My favourite colour is blue. I don’t have a favorite clothing brand(not really into big brand names) or car. And I’m inlove with my Blackberry.
What would you say to other aspiring actresses, word of advise?
Keep your egos in check and your eyes on the prize.
Do you feel this is a stir in the right direction for you? Like from here on the sky is the limit whether you win or not?
Most definitely. Even of I don’t win the show has given me experience and exposure and the only obstacle I foresee is myself if i’m complacent.
What other career appeals to you besides acting?
First I wanted to persue my passion for music then I put that on hold when I discovered my love for acting. I would still love to do music though at some point, maybe I’ll start a band someday.
What’s your get up & go routine for those long set days?
Gym almost every morning.
Who is your role model & inspiration?
I’m inspired by extreme emotion and that’s what I use to draw from when challenged with a new character.
What has your childhood dream been?
To be a performer.
If you had three wishes to make what would they be & why?
“I wish I was a little bit taller, I wish I was a baller” lol ok just kidding. Anyway I don’t believe in wishing because I’ll always wish for the impossible. If it was possible it wouldn’t be a wish because I’d be making it happen. Hope that makes sense.
Thank you allowing us to interview you. Durban is proud and we wish you all the best in the future.