THE BEAUTY AND BRAINS
AYANDA THABETHE’S TOP BILLING DREAM COMES TRUE
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.