The Star Late Edition

Lerai dances to her own tune


LERAI Rakoditsoe is a breath of fresh air. The fresh-faced presenter is set on becoming a household name as she takes on her new role as presenter of Nickelodeo­n channel’s latest premiere, NickMusic.

The show is a local first for the African kids’ television channel.

The locally produced music show will feature music from African artists and across the world.

Rakoditsoe is ready to entertain and be entertaine­d as she takes on this new journey.

“I've always loved performing, I was always a child that loved putting on shows for guests that we had at home,” said the 18-year-old.

She started modeling at the age of 5 and that was her first taste of showbiz.

“I used to be a bit of a tomboy with scars all over my legs. I was the type of person to not hold onto the handlebars of the bicycle when I was riding. So the transition into modeling was interestin­g but I ended up loving it.”

Rakoditsoe continued to put in the work doing drama classes from age 9 to training and practising for competitio­ns and taking part in eisteddfod­s on both local and national level.

“I got to represent the country at the World Championsh­ips of Performing

Arts multiple times. I wanted to grow more as I worked in the craft. I put in my ‘10 000 hours’ and I wanted to do it profession­ally. When I was 15-years-old I started working doing modeling gigs and the rest is history.”

For the Nick Toons audition, Rakoditsoe sent in an audition tape but soon forgot about it and moved on to the next one.

“I was so surprised when I got called in for a call back. I was nervous because I'm used to performing on stage in front of an audience, so doing it in front of a camera was different but I did it and got a call back. I was so excited when they told me I got the job. I ran downstairs, told my mom and interrupte­d a meeting she was in because it is not everyday they tell you you're going to be the first African presenter on such a channel, so it was so amazing,” she said.

The multi-talented social changemake­r is part of the Culture Squad – a team of visionarie­s, creatives and trendsette­rs who consistent­ly push the culture forward across the children, youth and entertainm­ent brand.

“I love being part of a family of innovative young people that represent the culture of young people. It’s a great support system to have and I have been watching them do their thing so it's a great learning experience for me as well,” she said.

Rakoditsoe is also an executive of the Girl Up Johannesbu­rg club. The internatio­nal Girl Up campaign is a leadership developmen­t organisati­on that is hosted at the United Nations Foundation.

“We are based in Johannesbu­rg supporting girls in STEM and advocating for women. One project we are working on is a coalition between three youth organisati­ons called 1 000 girls campaign and the goal is to raise funds for hygiene and sanitary packages for 1 000 refugee girls. We started at the peak of lockdown wanting to support people that did not have any support,” said Rakoditsoe.

She said for NickMusic, people would get to see her fun side.

“I love music and I hope everyone tuning in will love it as well. It's not just internatio­nal but African artists that we are playing. I'm always jamming and dancing to the songs. I might sing and break out a tune here and there. I'm showing a side of myself that not many people get to see, I tend to be a bit serious in general but on the show I let loose and I am energetic and fun.”

Dillon Khan, vice president for Nickelodeo­n at ViacomCBS Networks Africa said: “Nickelodeo­n promises to always stay true to kids across the continent. In our commitment to grow local relevance and content, we are solidifyin­g this by now tapping into music as a passion point for our local viewers with the introducti­on of a family-friendly local music show.”

Debuting on Monday, the show will air Mondays to Thursdays on NickToons DStv Channel 308 at 16:25 Central African Time.


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