A new timeslot and a new presenter: Ayanda Thabethe is moving in and adding a sparkle to the Top Billing team.
Actress and TV presenter Ayanda Thabethe was taken by surprise when she was called by SABC3 lifestyle super show Top Billing (1998- current). “It’s always been my dream job,” says the 31-yearold, who eyed a television presenting job after graduating with honours in marketing in 2011. Ayanda’s first job was in the corporate world though, working nine to five as a brand manager. “But I took a leap of faith by leaving and going in search of a career onscreen,” she explains. Her first job in front of the cameras was co-hosting magazine show Top Entertainment (2012-2013) on Top TV with rapper AKA before moving over to BET (DStv channel 129) and joining singer Nandi Mngoma on celebrity showbiz programme The A List (2016- current).
“It  was a great year for my brand. It was busy and exciting as I got to tap into acting and fashion,” explains Ayanda. She played exotic dancer Aaliyah on season 4 of drama series Rockville (2013- current) on Mzansi Magic (*161) and also designed a summer fashion collection for Legit. Her busy year got a nod of approval as she was awarded the Hottest Chick gong at the 2016 Feather Awards. “I love that South Africans are noticing me and I can’t wait to tell their inspira- tional stories on Top Billing,” laughs the young presenter.
Unlike some of her co-presenters at Top Billing, Ayanda didn’t have to wait in a long line to audition during a presenter search. She got a call from the production crew for a quick interview and audition and “a little while later they made me an offer”. Ayanda adds that “I phoned my mom, who’s my best friend, and we were thrilled – actually, we still are [Laughs]. It’s an exciting platform to branch out my television career and I’m prepared”.
She’s most stoked about the idea of travelling the world and rubbing shoulders with other celebrities from around the globe. And even though she’ll be out and about quite a bit, Ayanda reveals that she loves nothing more than a quiet day catching up on her favourite sitcoms. “I could spend the whole day in pyjamas. When I have time to myself, which hardly ever happens, I catch up on my faves, Friends [1994-2004] and The Big Bang Theory [2007- current].”
MADE FOR THIS
The self-proclaimed “educated model” believes that her schooling helps her strategise and prepare for big career moves, “but there’s an element of God in all this,” she says. “I think there’s higher power guiding me and my career moves.” Her moves aren’t restricted to the smallscreen and fashion only but also extend to the world of beauty – Ayanda has just opened her own upmarket hair salon, Liyanda, in Melrose Arch in Joburg. “The store represents my personality,” she explains. “It’s stylish, edgy and filled with beauty [Laughs]. I’ve always had a passion for hair and thought it would be a great idea to put my name and brand behind a store.” She adds that “I want to leave a legacy. People should think of Ayanda Thabethe when they think of Top Billing [laughs]. I can’t wait to inspire and touch lives on this amazing show.”
Meet the next bright star joining Top Billing – Ayanda Thabethe.