Ac­tress Amanda du-Pont, 30, on her new Net­flix se­ries, do­ing her own stunt work, and what ‘mak­ing it’ means to her

Essentials (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

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, 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’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.