NE of my colleagues warned me to not get to the interview and ask for an autograph or more.
This, because I was apparently blushing when I put my case forward to interview s Iris Zungu.
Iris has been ramping things up on the Mzansi Magic weekdays soapie. Like a true vixen, she seduced and slept with her stepson, was scheming and plotting in the illicit chase of a huge chunk of the estate of her dead husband and being downright destructive to those who cross her path.
Away from the lights and cameras, Mampho Brescia, who plays the love-to-hate Iris, comes across as an intellectual who chose to follow her heart into the world of arts.
Acting is a muscle, it needs to be exercised. It s like being an athlete, you need to be training every day. I am in love with art, I love telling stories. Gavin Hood [who directed said to me when I was in Los Angeles: You have to have a life, you have to be rich as an individual in order to be able to portray or tell any story with honesty and empathy.’
Having studied political sciences opened my world. It s made me richer I m smarter and wiser and know more about the world. I can talk about any topic with any individual.”
Brescia, who holds a degree in international relations and politics from Wits, was putting into context how and why she managed to perfect her character. She said what viewers were seeing on weekday evenings was the final product of hard work and experience.
After her studies, Brescia won a scholarship and became an exchange fellow at Soka University in Japan, where she spent two years. She returned to South Africa briefly before setting herself up in Hollywood to try to break into the big time
Making it in Hollywood was not easy, but Brescia chooses to remember the light moments.
I remember calling my sister and telling her: You will never believe what I did.’
It was my very first audition I was so nervous that as I walked up to perform, I farted and it was like not a silent one and the room was so silent. I literally looked at the casting director for up to five minutes. I burst out laughing and he did and we continued. It could have been an absolute disaster. But I have the ability to laugh at myself.
Among some of her Hollywood successes, she worked with Dustin Hoffman in and Phillip Noyce in Why did she come back?
I would have loved to stay in
………LA Things were starting to take off for me. But I do have a home here, my husband is here and his businesses are here. A long-distance marriage was not going to be viable. We both wanted to create roots where we could both be happy and thrive,” she said.
And now she is enjoying raising her 14month-old baby. When you become a mother, you transform. There is somebody that you love more than yourself. This is the person you love with every fibre of your being. We are such a solid unit, my husband is an active father. It is nice to have someone who understands the demands of my career.”
About her character, who is increasingly popular among soapie fans because of her notoriety, Brescia said she liked playing Iris because she was insane and different
So many people often hide who they are because they wanna be accepted. Iris is like: This is who I am, take it or leave it.’
Brescia credits her production team for allowing her to have a say in how Iris does things.
I have a good relationship with the producers. We are a great team and I call us Isibayans. We work hard and there are no ego issues. We all want it to be a success.
Often I would say I don t think Iris can do that or would say that because no one knows your character better than you.”
She hasn t had any abuse from fans who disagree with what she does on screen. The other day I was in KZN and a woman came to me and said: You are doing so well, God bless your mother, she said, and her eyes dampened. My mom died in December So it is still a sore, open wound. But at least she saw my baby.
With her mom having played a big role in her career and her having a girl to raise, her parting shot was almost expected. I love being a woman and love other women!”