Bad boy image just an act, says heartthrob Unathi Mkhize

Women gush over his role of Nkanyiso on The River

- By Masego Seemela

Up-and-coming actor Unathi Mkhize has no issue being a sex symbol as he believes it comes with the territory of being on national television.

Since making his big break on TV in May with the role of Nkanyiso on 1Magic’s popular telenovela The River, Mkhize has had viewers (mainly women) in a chokehold as they gushed over his impressive bad-boy stint on the show.

While his character is considered as the ultimate “ladies’ man”, the 24-year-old explains that he is the total opposite. He described himself as a laidback, chilled-out guy who likes to take life easy. “I am more of a good guy than my naughty character,” he claims.

“I mean, it doesn’t really help that my character is this shirtless guy who hardly buttons up his shirt or even has a shirt on.

“The fun part about playing Nkanyiso is that he’s very different from me. Yes, I love exercising and keeping fit, but I’m not a showoff in reality.”

Mkhize explains that his fame was tricky at first because of the overwhelmi­ng attention he suddenly received. “The ladies are mainly the ones who fan over me when they meet me in public… I had to adjust and understand that I now belong to the public because of my on-screen character,” the thespian said.

“I completely understand the fuss they get when they see me. I mean, these people spend their weekdays at 8pm watching me and my fellow cast members act out our storylines…”

The budding actor not only knows how to act, but he is also a skilled scriptwrit­er and a director. In grade 8 he went to drama school, which he claims made him fall in love with the art of acting. When he completed high school, he then went to Africa Film Drama Art and obtained a BA Honours degree in Motion Pictures Medium.

“In my second year, I wrote a piece, a one-man show which was an hour long. I acted in front of a sold-out crowd and left everyone speechless… I even thought to myself at the time that ‘after this, every production house is going to want me’, but that was not the case.

“I soon realised that that’s not how the industry works. ”

Mkhize explains that acting has been something he had been honing since he was in high school.

He uses the craft as a means to build up his confidence and express himself by embodying someone else.

“With acting, I allow myself to feel things and become vulnerable.

“Acting has been somewhat like a healing process for me because I feel free to say certain hurtful things that I’m going through in my life that not many people know of.”

 ?? /SUPPLIED ?? Unathi Mkhize
/SUPPLIED Unathi Mkhize

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