Friday, April 3, 2015

9 South Africans making MAJOR MOVES in Hollywood!!

Trevor Noah made waves this week by joining the illustrious but small circle of South African celebrities who have taken the ultimate leap of faith and are now part of Hollywood's elite. While everyone is still buzzing about the comedian and his new role on Comedy Central, allow me to introduce (or share) a list of South African actors and actresses that are on their GRIND in Hollywood.

They got next! In no particular order....

1. Gugu Mbatha Raw

The bi-racial actress was born to a black South Africa doctor and a white nurse. The 31-year-old actress earned rave reviews last year from critics starring in two very different roles-  "Beyond the Lights" and "Belle" respectively. Earlier this year she was honored by Essence Magazine at the Black Women in Hollywood luncheon. Gugu is still rapidly ascending in Hollywood, she is currently shooting a film with Will Smith in Pittsburgh.

2. Terry Pheto

 How many South African actors can toast to the fact that their movie picked up an Academy Award? Terry Pheto can! Her movie "Tsotsi" scooped up in Oscar in 2005 for best feature film.  Raised in Johannesburg, the 33 year old is making her mark on both the Hollywood and South African film and TV industry. We all saw her kill it in last's year "Long Walk to Freedom" movie as Nelson Mandela's first wife. The Soweto native has plenty of receipts and is always working, she's currently starring in Mzani Magic's hit show “Rockville”

3. Lesley-Ann Brandt

South African born actress Lesley got some deliciously good news this week. She  landed one of the female leads in Fox’s drama pilot Lucifer, from Jerry Bruckheimer TV and Warner Bros TV. She replaces Lina Esco, who was originally cast in the role. The change was made after the pilot’s table read, with Esco released and Brandt, who also had tested for the role, brought in. Congrats Lesley!!!

4. Nondumiso Tembe

In 2011 Nondumiso Tembe hit it BIG in Hollywood when she nabbed the role of Mavis in “True Blood.”  The Yale graduate was recently cast as Fanta in Clement Virgo's epic adaptation of Lawrence Hill's bestselling novel "THE BOOK OF NEGROES. The six part mini-series aired on BET earlier this year.

5. Fana  Mokoena

Earlier this year actor Fana Mokoena told the BBC that he turned down an acting job to be an MP in a newly formed political party- EFF. "I spoke to my agent and I said: 'Listen there's going to be a problem.' But [the EFF] is kind of important for me - it's history". The role he turned down was for the movie Interstellar is a 2014 science fiction epic film directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Matthew McConaugheyAnne Hathaway,Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. The movie was successful at the box office and received highly positive reviews from critics. Fana has an extensive history in Hollywood having starred in “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”, “Safe House” and” Hotel Rwanda.”

6. Candice Susan Swanepoel

South African supermodel Candice Susan Swanepoel is best known for her work with Victoria's Secret. In 2012, she came in 10th on the Forbes top-earning models list. Candice grew up on a beef-and-dairy farm in South Africa. “I saw my dad wake up at 4 every morning to milk the cows. I’d put on my overalls and gum boots and follow him around,” she says. “Growing up surrounded by so much life and death and realness shaped my personality. Africa is not for wussies. It’s in our culture to be hard workers.”

7. Sal Masekela 

Sal is an American television host. He is the son of the famous South African jazz musician 'Hugh Masekela'. After a stint as a co-host of E!’s “The Daily 10,” he joining NBC Sports and Red Bull Media House in 2012 where he is the host of NBC’s Red Bull Signature Series. Proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree- his band’s new song played during the premiere of Showtime’s “House of Lies.”

Cape Town based actress, Kim Engelbrecht stars in the US Sci-Fi series "Dominion." The show is an American apocalyptic supernatural action television series created by Vaun Wilmott. On landing the role of Sergeant Noma Banks, she says: “I auditioned. There is this amazing casting director, Christa Schamburger, and she does a large amount of the international work that comes to South Africa. She has been amazing. I auditioned for a different character though – you haven’t met her (on screen) as yet. The producer was present when I got the call back and he thought I would be better suited for this role."

9. Sharlto Copely

You’ve seen Sharlto Copely in ‘District 9′, ‘The A-Team’ and ‘Maleficent’ but did you know that he's South African? Sharlto Copley was born in Johannesburg and is currently starring sci-fi release Chappie, since 2012. His girlfreiend Tanit Phoenix (also South African) who is no stranger to cinema, having taken roles in films including Death Race 2, Safe House and Lord Of War, in which she starred alongside Jared Leto and Nicolas Cage.



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