Actress Amanda du-Pont, 30, on her new Netflix series, doing her own stunt work, and what ‘making it’ means to her
Actress Amanda du-Pont
Amanda grew up on a farm in Eswatini (Swaziland) before moving to South Africa with her family. She first appeared on SA screens in a McDonald’s commercial and later went on to star in popular local soapies Generations, Muvhango, and Skeem Saam. Now an actress and social media influencer, Amanda plays Ashley in Shadow, a new crime- drama from Netflix. She is engaged to businessman Shawn Rodriques.
My happiest childhood memories involve swimming and spending afternoons quad-biking on our family farm with friends. Afterwards we’d sit down and tuck into the biggest feast because we would be starving. I also remember visiting my grandmother after school. She’s responsible for teaching me siSwati and, for some reason, a simple meal of tea and bread at her house tasted magical.
My parents are very proud of me and what I’ve achieved. But I’m sure they were hesitant about me making a career in the arts – I think most parents would be nervous about that! I never had to tell them outright I wanted to be an actress; I’d been acting in every school production from the age of five, so it probably wasn’t a shock after all. I’m not sure where my creative streak came from, but it’s a big part of me and always has been. As a little girl I could spend hours drawing, designing fashion looks, writing poetry and performing on stage. My first professional job was in a McDonald’s TV commercial where I was singing into a burger. I still remember going to the casting for it – the queue was so long that we had to go back the next day. There were amazing singers, models and performers there to audition and I remember thinking that there must be something special in me, too.
My first real acting role was a small part on Generations, followed by a lead role in Muvhango. Every role has felt significant to me, but my standout roles include Ashley in Shadow, Sharon in Taryn & Sharon, and Lelo in Skeem Saam. But my other career highlights include my first- ever shoe- design collaboration with Footwork South Africa being sold out, being named an Adidas ambassador, and, of course, having a series on Netflix!
I still don’t feel like I’ve ‘made it’, and maybe I never will because I believe the journey never stops. Every day is a building block, every audition a chance, every business move a risk. So far the journey has not been easy but over time I’ve learnt how important it is to focus on your craft and skills. I make choices that serve my passion, and I trust that the rest will just fall into place.
About eight years ago, I went to New York to perform at a convention and stayed when I was awarded a scholarship to study at the New York Film Academy. Living in another country had a huge impact on me, and I believe that it was fundamental to my growth. I learnt so much, and it was only when I was there that I also realised how important acting is to me. I was lectured by amazing acting coaches but the most valuable lessons I learnt were from spending time in the heart of the city – it was inspiring to see so many people there who were following their dreams.
My family influenced my decision to become an entrepreneur. Many of them have a background in business, as does my fiancé, Shawn, who always challenges me to do better and grow. That’s one of the reasons I launched trbe.co.za, my online clothing store for women. Of course, my love of fashion was a big
I might never feel like I have made it; I believe that a journey never stops
driving force, too! I also started my own YouTube channel about a year ago, and I now have over 12 000 subscribers. I genuinely love what I do and often find myself working on more than one thing at a time. Few things bring me greater joy than self-improvement. I don’t believe in failures – I think of them as lessons, teaching me something to prepare me for my next step in my life.
I have millions of followers on social media, and I feel honoured to share my personal journey with others.
It does come with a fair amount of responsibility though; I feel a responsibility as God’s child who has been given this platform to make sure I honour Him for all He has done in my life. It’s also a cool space for me to share all things travel, fashion and work.
How do I fit it all in? With coffee, my hair in a pony and listening to gangster rap! But really I have a great team behind me that makes sure the ship keeps sailing when I’m busy, and especially when I have long days acting on set.
Working on Shadow was a great experience. I received the script and character brief and was immediately drawn to the story. I auditioned and got the role of Ashley. She’s a dynamic, ambitious and smart character but what I like most about her is that she’s not perfect – she does what she needs to do to survive.
The show was filmed in Johannesburg and had a small crew so we all stepped in to make it work. We even did our own stunts, which was amazing… until I broke my toe and couldn’t wear heels for six months! The day it happened, I didn’t want to tell the crew I was hurt because I didn’t want them to think I was being overly dramatic. When someone asked why I was limping I said it was just the way I was walking in my Timberlands as they are pretty heavy!
The support the show has received since it launched in March has been mind-blowing! In typical Netflix fashion, a lot of people binge-watched the whole series in a day. Audiences have been very complimentary about the storyline, the cast and the way it was shot. It’s been well-received but I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the world reacts to it.
I enjoy working out and I make a point of exercising three to five times a week. I do weight training, HIIT, cardio and dancing. It’s just as well because I love food so much! I do most of the cooking at home but during the week I also order from a meal prep delivery service – and I choose meals that are healthy and delicious.
On Saturday nights you’re likely to find me at home chilling in front of Netflix. My ultimate me-time indulgences are shopping, travelling and having spa treatments. I have a great group of close friends and we catch up for dinner or lunches when we can. A lot of my friends live all over the world, and it’s not often we get to see each other, so we try to plan holidays to be together.
I’ve just turned 30 and the best advice I can offer other women is do what serves you. Be honest with yourself. Know your worth and do not settle for anything less. It’s also important to speak through your actions.
The best advice I can offer other women is: ‘do whatever serves you’