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Sunday World - - Opinion - Tsotsi] Isibaya Luck Re­venge.

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!”

…………

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