LOAD­ING…

JES­SICA NKOSI, 28, lifts the lid on the new and love-filled chap­ter she’s about to start. In an ex­clu­sive tell-all in­ter­view, she shares why she de­cided to cel­e­brate this mile­stone in pri­vate, as well as her lat­est ca­reer move.

True Love - - COVER STORY - By MOTLATSI RADEBE Pho­to­graphs NICK BOULTON

im­pa­tience your prob­lem.” Jes­sica also re­flects on how be­ing in the pub­lic eye can some­times rob one of the op­por­tu­nity to truly cel­e­brate the most re­mark­able events in their life.

SA­CRED CHAP­TER

She com­pletely un­der­stands that, as a pub­lic fig­ure, peo­ple will al­ways feel en­ti­tled to her per­sonal af­fairs. This time around, she wanted to only talk when she was ready, to min­imise the pe­riod of pry­ing about her due date. “There’s noth­ing scan­dalous about my pregnancy, there­fore I don’t want any drama around it and I cer­tainly don’t want any­one to have an opin­ion about it. I wanted to en­joy it pri­vately and make this a joy­ous pe­riod for me and my fam­ily,” she says. Even so, she ca­su­ally men­tions that she’s due in Septem­ber and that she’s ex­pect­ing a girl.

Jes­sica’s still brain­storm­ing the third baby name. Af­ter that, she’ll dis­cuss the op­tions with her part­ner and the fa­ther of her un­born child, busi­ness­man and ac­tor Ntokozo Dlamini. Her al­most two-year-long re­la­tion­ship with the Uzalo ac­tor is an­other area of her life she’s cho­sen to shield from the pub­lic. “It’s not that I’m ashamed of him. I ab­so­lutely adore him, but I re­ally just want to have my re­la­tion­ship to my­self. And this is why you’ll never see a pic­ture of him on any of my so­cial me­dia ac­counts. He’s wel­come to put up my pic­tures but with a star over my face,” she says. She’s re­alised how let­ting the pub­lic into one’s ro­man­tic re­la­tion­ship can eas­ily cre­ate ex­pec­ta­tions. “Peo­ple feel en­ti­tled to up­dates when you start post­ing pic­tures of your part­ner ac­com­pa­nied by in­ti­mate cap­tions,” she ex­plains.

Be­sides, fame has taught her that pri­vate mo­ments are more mean­ing­ful when cel­e­brated in seclu­sion. She’s also learned when some­thing is for show, it loses its sig­nif­i­cance as you’re likely to start fo­cus­ing more on what peo­ple are go­ing to say. “If some­thing ’s gen­uine, it im­me­di­ately places you in a happy place. You start liv­ing by your own rules. And this is what I strive for — pure hap­pi­ness,” she en­thuses.

On a more joy­ous note, the elated mom- to-be shares an anec­dote of how she’s al­ways try­ing to fig­ure out, at ev­ery 4D scan, who the baby looks like. But it was too early to tell at her last ap­point­ment. She’s heard that girls al­ways come out look­ing like their dads, which she’s com­pletely fine with. “My part­ner is good­look­ing. I know I chose well but our daugh­ter must just not in­herit that Dlamini nose,” she says, shortly be­fore break­ing into an an­i­mated gig­gle.

PER­CEP­TION VS REAL­ITY

Noth­ing paints a pic­ture-per­fect and al­most dreamy per­cep­tion of pregnancy quite like TV. It also doesn’t help that women mostly ro­man­ti­cise pregnancy and mother­hood, cre­at­ing the per­cep­tion the jour­ney should al­ways be text­book per­fect. Jes­sica agrees. “Pregnancy is dif­fi­cult! My per­cep­tions about it were com­pletely dif­fer­ent to what I ex­pe­ri­enced in the first five months. At some point, I felt lied to, be­cause I had ex­pected pregnancy to be a walk in the park,” she says. She lit­er­ally camped out at a hos­pi­tal’s emer­gency ward. “I was as sick as a dog — I couldn’t eat, was los­ing weight rapidly and had a uterus in­fec­tion that wors­ened my nausea and caused se­vere headaches and a stiff neck,” she says.

The ac­tress also ex­pe­ri­enced a ma­jor scare when doc­tors dis­cov­ered the baby wasn’t grow­ing well, but the re­sults from the scores of pre­na­tal tests even­tu­ally eased her stress. Hear­ing spe­cial­ists ut­ter the words, “The worst sce­nario would be a med­i­cal ter­mi­na­tion,” made her pray like she’d never prayed be­fore. She de­scribes this as a dire pe­riod in her life, one that was char­ac­terised by her al­most los­ing faith in God. “I won’t sug­ar­coat it, I had a hor­ri­ble start to my pregnancy. Usu­ally when I pray, I write down my prayers, thoughts and what I feel God’s try­ing to con­vey to me. I lis­ten to YouTube ser­mons and gospel mu­sic but stopped do­ing all of this spir­i­tual work be­cause it felt like God was pun­ish­ing me. I felt like He could’ve made my pregnancy jour­ney a plea­sur­able one but in­stead put me through the com­plete op­po­site,” she re­calls.

As her health im­proved, she started drag­ging her­self to church and now her re­la­tion­ship with God is back on track. “The big­gest les­son to come out of that hor­rid chap­ter was that if I could sur­vive that bad patch, I can sur­vive any­thing that is thrown my way,” she re­flects.

With some of the main pregnancy woes gone, she says she can live with the life­style ad­just­ments she’s had to make. “My baby de­cided she’s not a fan of meat and burgers,” she says. This is some­what of a pun­ish­ment for meat-lov­ing Jes­sica. “I learnt quite early on that pregnancy’s not as glam­orous as TV makes it out to be. I haven’t had any crav­ings, just ran­dom episodes of insomnia be­tween 02h00 and 04h30,” she laughs. But in­stead of sulk­ing about this dis­rup­tion in sleep, she’s pegged it down to God mak­ing her more alert so as to pre­pare her for the sleep­less nights ahead, the highly spir­i­tual ac­tress says.

MORE THAN READY FOR MOTHER­HOOD

Now that she’s feel­ing on top of the world again, she fan­ta­sises about how she’s go­ing to raise her daugh­ter. What keeps her up at night, though, is de­cid­ing which par­ent­ing phi­los­o­phy to em­ploy in rais­ing her daugh­ter to be an in­tel­li­gent and up­stand­ing mem­ber of so­ci­ety. She wishes par­ent­ing could come with a de­tailed man­ual from heaven. How­ever, that isn’t the case. “Is there one per­fect style of par­ent­ing? Do other moms wing it or do they walk into par­ent­ing with a fool­proof plan? Do I read a lot of books or do I fol­low the same par­ent­ing style my par­ents used? I’d like to be­lieve I turned out pretty well. I guess it boils down to show­er­ing chil­dren with love and the truth. My late dad raised me purely on love. Not once did he lay his hands on me and he was al­ways in­ter­ested in how I felt and what I wanted for my­self,” she says.

Jes­sica also in­tends to get her par­ent­ing guid­ance from the Bi­ble. “I went to a Catholic pri­mary school and be­lieve a Chris­tian up­bring­ing did more good than harm,” she ex­plains. Ul­ti­mately, like any other mother, she wants to af­ford her daugh­ter the best op­por­tu­ni­ties and hopes she will go on to be a game-changer in what­ever sphere of life she goes into. “I pray God guides me to raise her in a way that will lead to her liv­ing out her pur­pose.”

Deter­mined to have the per­fect moth­er­daugh­ter re­la­tion­ship, she’s al­ready started bar­gain­ing with her lit­tle ray of sun­shine on a few mat­ters. “I hope my baby be­haves. I asked her from the get-go to be kind to my face be­cause I work with it. I can’t af­ford to have an in­flated nose, a rash or a dark neck — due to hor­mones — be­cause of the in­dus­try I work in.” She’s even asked God to in­ter­vene in keep­ing her face in­tact, say­ing she ac­knowl­edges her prayers may be a tad self­ish but she jus­ti­fies it with, “God said we must bring all our trou­bles be­fore Him so this is me do­ing ex­actly that.”

Jokes aside, she’s al­ready learn­ing that mother­hood is an on­go­ing act of self­less­ness, say­ing she sur­prises her­self by first run­ning to the kid­dies’ sec­tion ev­ery time she walks into a cloth­ing store. “You need to un­der­stand, when­ever I had a bit of ex­tra money, I would buy what­ever item of cloth­ing I’d been eye­ing for a while,” she says. But all of that has changed, she says.

MAK­ING NEW MOVES

Jes­sica is lucky to have a sta­ble job in the form of Isi­baya, which is a long-run­ning soapie. Her en­dorse­ment deal as Clin­ique South Africa’s am­bas­sador is still on­go­ing, al­though she hasn’t worked on any­thing lately. In some cases, she had to let go of cer­tain projects that were al­ready in the pipe­line. For in­stance, she had a sports deal she’d bagged but had to post­pone in­def­i­nitely. “I was happy for them to put the plans on ice be­cause I refuse to put my­self un­der pres­sure to snap back within a month of giv­ing birth,” she ex­plains.

If there is one con­sis­tent fac­tor about Jes­sica, it’s that she’s al­ways dressed to the nines. How­ever, dur­ing the sickly phase of her pregnancy, she lived in track­suits and sweat­pants for com­fort — and she plans to com­pen­sate for this by be­ing a yummy mummy. “I’m not both­ered by peo­ple who as­sume that dolled-up moms can’t pos­si­bly be good moth­ers. I’ll wake up an hour early to fix my­self and then pre­pare the baby, if I have to,” she says. Jes­sica will en­joy three months of ma­ter­nity leave from the end of June. She in­tends to spend most of that time in Esikhaw­ini in KwaZulu-Na­tal, where she will be ini­ti­ated into mother­hood by her mom. “When I asked my mom if could move back home tem­po­rar­ily, her an­swer was a re­sound­ing, ‘Yes of course; that’s not open for dis­cus­sion!’ I want to be moth­ered while I learn how to mother.” She’ll be miss­ing in ac­tion un­til Jan­uary 2019.

Jes­sica plans to use her time off from Isi­baya to of­fi­cially launch the Jes­sica Nkosi Foun­da­tion, a pas­sion project that sup­ports learn­ers from un­der­priv­i­leged schools in ru­ral KwaZulu-Na­tal with uni­forms. She re­mem­bers a bed­room suite her late dad had bought her, on which he’d stuck a news­pa­per cutout with a high­lighted quote that read, “They can take ev­ery­thing from you but ed­u­ca­tion.” The idea of a foun­da­tion was inspired by her dad’s love for ed­u­ca­tion. “I don’t want a big me­dia spec­ta­cle around the foun­da­tion’s ini­tia­tives. I just care about keep­ing chil­dren in school,” she ex­plains. Her plan is to get chil­dren with no uni­form, who walk long dis­tances bare­foot on gravel roads, to look good and con­fi­dent so they can then be ea­ger to learn. “I doubt a child whose school uni­form is in­com­plete or doesn’t look like that of their peers would make get­ting an ed­u­ca­tion their pri­or­ity,” she adds.

Com­ing back to the sub­ject of mother­hood, we ask if she plans to have more chil­dren. Her re­sponse is a rather the­atri­cal, “Ha wema! I’d have to hurry up be­cause I don’t plan to have kids af­ter 30,” she con­cludes

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.