They are Friends, Actresses and Businesswomen. Miranda Ntshangase and Thandy Matlaila chat to us about their Careers, the South African Acting Industry, their 13 year old Friendship and their love for AFRICA!
I sat down with Miranda and Thandy a few weeks ago during a celebrity cook-off in Witbank. A 10 minute scheduled chat lasted half an hour. It was a fun one. We couldn’t stop talking.
Kiki: I know you ladies have been friends for a long time. Is it since the SABC 1 drama series Tshisa or it goes way before then?
Thandy: Way before Tshisa. We’ve been friends since Tertiary. That makes it 13years of our friendship.
Kiki: You have kept that friendship going all these years? WOW! 13years is a long time. You are in the Entertainment Industry, was acting on Tshisa your first gig together?
Miranda: Yes it was. Thandy started and I joined in the second season.
Kiki: Looking at Miranda and Thandy back then and now. Tell us about that.
Thandy: Growth, that’s the first thing I can say. I feel like we have really grown. Looking at my friend Miranda I really love how much she has grown, the woman she has become. She’s a mother, she’s a wife, and she’s a businesswoman. She’s my Agent. It’s really exciting and I tell her all the time; ‘Babes, look where we are.’ I mean 13years ago I don’t think I’d have imagined us here. Never!
Kiki: Have you guys faced any challenges as far as your friendship is concerned? You are both famous, you are in the same field, you are women – challenges knock on our doors right?
Miranda: You know what? Our friendship is a very low maintenance friendship. It’s not one of those where we call each other every day; ‘Thandy where are you? What’s happening today? Ziwa kuphi namhlanje?’ It’s not that type of friendship.
Thandy: We never went through the whole thing of disrespecting each other, backstabbing each other. None of that. We were classmates back in the day. We drifted apart after Tertiary but we still kept in touch because we have mutual friends. Our classes were very small.
Kiki: To you Miranda, you are now married. What challenges have you faced during the transition from being a single woman to being somebody’s wife?
Miranda: There is a lot. But I wouldn’t call it challenges, I’d rather call it a journey of learning. I feel like being married, building a family, being a mother are things that teach you about life. There is a lot I have learnt from my children and my husband. I have definitely matured a lot. They’ve taught me that life is way bigger than I thought it was.
Kiki: I hear you. What else do you ladies do besides being on our TV Screens?
Miranda: Thandy and I are multifaceted. I am an Artist on her books. She does all PR for my stuff…….
Kiki: Ok, wooooooooo back it up…let’s rewind before you continue. Miranda you are Thandy’s Agent?
Kiki: And Thandy you are Miranda’s Publicist?
Thandy: Yes, I am
Kiki: Hahahaha, that’s how the rich get rich. They keep it in the family.
Miranda: Exactly. We have to support each other’s businesses as black females. It’s very important to uplift each other. When we left school we had aspirations. I wanted to be a musician, and I wanted to be an actor. I can say I have made all of that come true. I have just released my first single called ‘Lendoda’. I will be releasing my second single towards the end of this year called ‘Ubuhle Bemvelo’. I run a very successful Acting Agency called Star Quality Management, and an acting school called The Actors Workshop. Like I said, we had aspirations when we left school. I remember Thandy wanted to be a dancer as well. I don’t know what happened with that?
Thandy: It’s all thanks to you babes. You have kept me so busy as my Agent and I have no time for other things. (laughs). On the real though, I’m sure people have seen me on screen more this year than the past years. She’s working hard, gives me advice, and sends me to good auditions……
Miranda: It’s all you Thandy. You are the one working hard. I can send you to 150 auditions but if you are not serious about your art, it’s a waste. So you are getting those roles because you are giving your all. It’s your time and your talent. Own it!
Kiki: Thandy you did mention earlier that you are shooting a new series. What else are you busy with? What happened to the dancing, because we saw you dancing on Tshisa? We wanna know.
Thandy: I’m still dancing but in a different way. I have dedicated some time to getting myself and the nation fit and healthy. Currently I’ve embarked on a #60DaySummerBodyChallenge which is virtual, making it easy for anyone and everyone to follow. It encourages people to work out at their pace & anywhere; it’s a lifestyle adjustment and I’m encouraging healthier choices. When the challenge is over on 1st December I plan to host a bootcamp & invite all those that took part in the challenge. People can partake by following my social media networks as I’ll be continuously giving tips (@thandymatlaila on IG). My blog is also a great start as it gives you the whole breakdown for the challenge with video demos: https://ladyteelady.wordpress.com/
Kiki: I need you train me. This fupa must go. I wanna be fit and have a flat tummy like you. I have tried to follow you and Khabonina’s fitness stuff that you do on line but I get distracted and end up not finishing what I started. Maybe I should try this #60DaySummerBodyChallenge
Thandy: You know where to find me Kiki. The door is wide open. Hehehehe
Kiki: You have been in the industry for a long time and you are doing very well both of you. What has kept you focused and level headed? Some tips you can give to the new kids on the block or those that would like to get into the industry?
Thandy: Work on yourself, for yourself and by yourself. That will get you anywhere and everywhere. Yes you might have people that will help you along the way, but you must understand that if they can’t help you, you mustn’t sulk and sit back. Get up and push by yourself for yourself.
Miranda: To add to what Thandy just said; I see a lot of industry famousness right now. I feel like a lot of people don’t know why they are doing what they chose to do. You need to be honest with yourself. Is this really for you? Are you doing it for the right reasons? Is this your passion? There are a lot of questions that you need to ask yourself in order to know how to maintain what you love. If you don’t, you will end up being just another number.
Thandy: Talking about doing it for the right reasons, I always say, when you come into this industry you must know why you are here. That way you will be able to take the necessary steps to get to where you want. I don’t judge anybody for how they get to where they need to go, as long as you know why you came here.
Kiki: Know why you’re here! With that said, Thandy I heard you’re writing a book? Is that true?
Thandy: Yes, I am busy writing a Self Help Book. Guess what else? I am starting a shoe line. Guys, there are no shoes for the size 2s, 3s and 4s. It’s difficult for some of us to get shoes because there are no sizes let alone options. So I am starting a shoe range for Size 2- 4.
Kiki: Oh wow! That is actually a good idea Thandy. I know a few people who suffer like you. When will you be launching that and what is it called?
Thandy: I am looking at mid next year and the range is called SP, for Shoes Petite.
Kiki: WOW! Shoes Petite? I am already blown away by the name.
Miranda: I am proud of you Thandy. Congratulations!!
Thandy: Thank you. You know I am proud of you too. Your business is growing.
Kiki: Yes, Miranda how are things going on your side? Your Agency is doing well.
Miranda: With the Agency, Star Quality that I run with my business partner Zinzi Zungu, we’ve now expanded to Durban. The plan in the future is to expand into Cape Town as well. We also looking at expanding our Acting school into a full blown Art school. We find that the standard has dropped in terms of the Arts, so we’d like to just lift it up again. Looking at the music side, I wanna be the one South African artist that closes down stadiums.
Kiki: Aaaaaaaaw! What kind of music do you do?
Miranda: Right now the path is Afro Soul Jazz. But that might change in a year or two you never know. I’m a creative at the end of the day so whatever moves me, takes me. I want to do what Mam’ Miriam Makeba used to do overseas. That’s the kind of artist I wanna be.
Kiki: Speak it all into existence ladies. We wish you well. Miranda, you just mentioned that you feel the standard has dropped in terms acting. Looking at what is out there at the moment. Who would you say is really doing it well?
Thandy: For me it’s definitely those four girls from Is’thunzi. They are showing us flames papi. Tjeeer!! One of the reasons for me, is because they came in at a point when I felt productions were casting for the numbers and the faces. Then they came, and changed that for me all over again. I’m not gonna lie about it, in the past 4 years that’s how castings have been. It’s been about the numbers, the social media followers you have, and whether you are yellow in the right places or not. Then I’sthunzi came, woooo shem! There’s hope that we can go back to what being a Thespian is about.
Miranda: I so agree with you. There are a lot of people we can mention, like Themba Ndaba, Sello Maake kaNcube, those are legends who know what acting is about and they are giving us all that. Obviously we come from The Queen, and I can say the cast is really pushing in terms of their acting. We can’t even forget Warren Masemola guys. That guy is what talent is. There are people who still give us that spice. It’s not just ‘Let me read my script’.
Kiki: Looking at the shows/productions that are out there now besides Ferguson Films, which ones do you love or would you have loved to be a part of?
Thandy: Can I mention who I’d love to work with? I hope that one day I work with Portia Gumede. She is an amazing creator.
Miranda: There are quite a few shows I like. If I could find something interesting on Tjovitjo to play, and it was shot better then YES!
Kiki: Shot better??? Is it bad?
Miranda: SABC shoots neh….they haven’t upgraded to HD yet. So when I switch from HD things, it’s a struggle. But in terms of the writing and everything else, MY GOSH!! Then obviously there’s I’sthunzi, Ring of Lies and Lockdown.
Thandy: I am excited about Lockdown. The Season 2 Trailer just gave me everything. I can’t wait.
Kiki: Y’all know on Ossify Media we are all about Africa. Which other African countries would you say really stand out and why?
Miranda: Nigeria is up there. Nigerians are hustlers, I have a couple of Nigerian actors on our books and they push. They don’t wait for you as an Agent to do something for them, they do it themselves. Then you have the Ghanaians, GOSH! Ghana in their prints, in their art, in their music. Their creativity is amazing. And of course Mozambique coming very close. I’d love to see Lesotho do something that will make us all go ‘Lesotho this, Lesotho that’.
Thandy: I’d like to add Angola on that list. Angolan women are beautiful. They should use that to their advantage as well. I mean if the Americans can use their thickness to make it on every print cover in the world, why can’t Angolan women use their beauty and booty to put themselves on the entertainment map?
Kiki: That’s so true! We have the likes of Weza Solange who are doing well, working hard and I think her fellow Angolan sisters should be out there as well. We are not exposed to a lot of Angolans for real.
Thandy: That’s exactly what I’m talking about. They are supposed to be out there making us proud as Africans.
Kiki: Which African countries would you like to visit and which ones have you visited that stood out for you?
Miranda: I have been to Tanzania (Zanzibar) and it’s gorgeous. I loved it there. I’m planning to go to Mozambique by end of this year. I’d also love to go to Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.
Kiki: And for you Thandy?
Thandy: I’d love to visit Tanzania because I wanna go to Zanzibar, Nigeria because I wanna experience the culture and the film industry there, and also Angola because of its beautiful people.
Kiki: We’ve beeeen talking, we need to wrap it up. My last question, the day God decides to call you home, what would you like to leave behind? What would you like to be remembered as?
Miranda: I am very big on making a difference in people’s lives. It makes me so happy when I bump into someone I don’t know and they look at me with a smile. Something that small, shows I have made an impact. So I’d like to know that I have made a difference in people’s lives and within the industry.
Thandy: Mine is very similar to what Miranda said, but more on a spiritual level. I’d like people to be like “I was able to see a glimpse of God or found God through her.” And when I say God, it’s not in literal sense of God but more like; she showed me love, she showed me kindness, she cared – all those are acts from God.
Thank you so much ladies for taking time to chat with us. Wishing both of you all the best with your projects. Don’t forget to update us. 🙂