THE BEAUTY AND BRAINS

AYANDA THABETHE’S TOP BILLING DREAM COMES TRUE

CityPress - - Front Page - NTOMBIZODWA MAKHOBA ntombizodwa@city­press.co.za

Barely a year af­ter trad­ing her cor­po­rate job for tele­vi­sion, Ayanda Thabethe’s child­hood dream of be­com­ing a Top Billing pre­sen­ter has come true. “I’m su­perex­cited about Top Billing. I’ll be bring­ing a fresh per­son­al­ity to the show,” she said. Thabethe’s first in­sert on the show was flighted on SABC3 on Thurs­day evening, in which she in­ter­viewed former Idols con­tes­tant and Am­bi­tiouz En­ter­tain­ment artist Amanda Black. Thabethe joins the likes of Bo­nang Matheba, Lorna Maseko, Jean­nie D and Chris Jaftha on the show. In an in­ter­view at her new sa­lon, Liyanda Beauty and Hair in Mel­rose Arch, Thabethe, dressed in a sheer black blouse paired with black torn jeans, said: “My style of pre­sent­ing is chilled and laid-back. The show it­self presents a lux­u­ri­ous life and ex­cel­lence within our African sto­ries.” Last year was a big year for Thabethe, who was re­vealed as the co-pre­sen­ter of BET’s AL­ist. She also be­came the face of cloth­ing store Le­git’s sum­mer fash­ion range; was named the hottest chick of the year by the Chevro­let Feather Awards; and had a lead role in sea­son four of Mzansi Magic’s se­ries Rockville.

“Rockville was my first act­ing job and it was a big break for me on TV. From there, I was fully com­mit­ted to the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try,” she says.

“I re­ally thought 2016 was my year, but what is hap­pen­ing this year is even big­ger. But I’m not over­whelmed. I am just happy that ev­ery­thing is work­ing out and that I am open­ing new busi­nesses.”

She says while some call it luck, it takes prepa­ra­tion to grab an op­por­tu­nity like this.

Last night she flew to New York to shoot a hair prod­uct cam­paign that will be an­nounced in few months, but she won’t yet say for whom.

Be­sides hold­ing a BCom de­gree in com­mu­ni­ca­tion man­age­ment from the Uni­ver­sity of Pre­to­ria and an hon­ours de­gree in mar­ket­ing from Unisa, Thabethe also owns Buz­zwor­thy Pro­duc­tions.

“I have been in the cor­po­rate world for the long­est time. I was with L’Oréal as brand man­ager.

Top Billing is just a cherry on top. It shows that when you take a leap of faith, life will al­ways re­ward you,” she says. The Dur­ban­born wo­man was raised by a sin­gle mother and has five sib­lings. “What keeps me go­ing is my mother who raised us as a sin­gle par­ent. My fam­ily has been very sup­port­ive, and my wish is to build an em­pire for them,” she adds.

While she doesn’t have a men­tor, Thabethe says she is in­spired by pow­er­ful busi­ness­women such as Khanyi Dhlomo, and Top Billing boss and Tswelopele Pro­duc­tions founder Baset­sana Ku­malo.

Lately, Thabethe has been seen with rap­per Mthokozisi “Dash” Mkhathini. Asked whether she was in love with him, she blushes say­ing, “I’m in love with life. I’m in love with pos­si­bil­i­ties for the future. Def­i­nitely I will say I am in love.”

While crit­i­cism is the down­side of life in the public eye, Thabethe says she doesn’t al­low it to ex­ist for her, es­pe­cially if it doesn’t add value to her ca­reer or build her as a per­son. “Rather tell me what to change than crit­i­cise me with­out giv­ing so­lu­tions,” she says.

Mean­while, it was re­ported last week that most of SABC’s pro­duc­tion houses, in­clud­ing Top Billing pro­duc­ers Tswelopele Pro­duc­tions, were not paid be­cause the SABC had run out of money. How­ever, Baset­sana Ku­malo re­fused to be dragged into it.

She wrote in an email: “Thank you for your email query. May I sug­gest that you con­tact the SABC spokesper­son Kaizer Kganyago. It is best that the SABC re­spond to such re­ports.”

Kganyago did not re­spond to calls and text mes­sages.

PHOTO: MICHELLE BAO

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