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25.3.14

Amanda du Pont is Walking Tall


Amanda Du Pont is finally getting her due. Buhle Mbonambi spoke to the Task Force actress and RGB presenter

Amanda Du Pont is real. She’s so real that what was supposed to be a simple Q&A turned into a conversation on life, the entertainment industry and how being fickle doesn’t work. 
It’s the day before the 13th Metro FM Music Awards and Du Pont and I are backstage. She’s rehearsing for the black carpet, while also waiting to rehearse presenting an award. I knew Amanda wasn’t tall, but that’s an understatement. When I tell her this, she laughs. 
“You know, I always get asked where my parents are at the airport, because I apparently look 15. Like, haven’t they ever seen a short girl before?” 
She’s faced this in her career too, she says. “People always want to cast me as a teenager or a student, just because I look young. It’s irritating.”

Isidingo’s Pearl Thusi appears, swoops down and gives her a hug. “You’ll kill it tomorrow, you sexy thing, you,” she says, her cackling laughter filling the space. 
Amanda smiles, rolls her eyes and says: “Pearl’s amazing. I wish I had her energy.” 
Remembering comments from people about her making enemies with the “It Girls” of the industry now that success has found her, she says, “It was the biggest load of nonsense I have ever heard. I like Pearl, Lerato, Bonang. They work hard. Why would I hate them? 
“I’m not about to create this alter ego just so I can look good in interviews. Or to be controversial. I’m being me.” 

Amanda has been in the industry for more than a decade but is only now getting roles and respect. “It’s been really tough for me. I’ve been working very hard and people don’t realise that I’ve been down and out so many times. I got my big break with Muvhango and after that I thought roles will be coming my way. They weren’t.” 

In 2012 she went to New York for a year and joined the New York Film Academy. “That gave me the experience I need as an actress. Making it in the industry is very difficult. I struggled for years, so it’s  great things are picking up now.” 

Last year Amanda was cast in Intersexions, End Game, Task Force and also shot a movie, Between Friends. “We shot the movie at Ithala Game Reserve and it recently premiered at the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. It will be released in South Africa soon. It’s in the same vein as Why Did I Get Married and the Best Man movies.
“I was a supporting character, but the director and producers were so happy with the way I portrayed her that they bumped me up to co-lead, with Thapelo Mokoena. I keep looking back at the years I struggled and can’t believe all this is happening after so long.”

In Task Force, which is her latest role on TV, she plays Christelle Ndlovu, the wife of the lead, Joseph. “She’s a chemist, but she’s dabbling in drugs. Joseph is a detective and is trying to crack this drug trafficking case and he’s not aware that she’s involved in it.” 
Christelle died in the first episode, but all is not as it seems. “I can’t reveal much, but she may or may not be dead. I guess people will find out in the finale.” 

Amanda says Task Force was a great role, especially since she played a pivotal character. “It’s a great story and I love what the writers did with the character. Christelle has depth and she’s a very crafty person, sneaky and selfish. I loved that about her. I asked for a meatier role and they gave me a meatier role, which I’m forever grateful for.”

Working alongside some of the best actors in the country on Task Force, like Rapulana Seiphemo and Florence Masebe, was a dream come true. “When we wrapped the show, Rapulana came and told me he was impressed with my acting skills and said he initially had his doubts on whether I was the right person for the role. I cried after that. 
“He’s one of the best actors in the country and he just paid me a compliment? Oh, I let the tears out.”

A day later, Amanda is working the Metro FM Music Awards black carpet like a pro. A big smile, a few jokes, some awkward questions, but mostly she’s the epitome of gracefulness as she interviews celebrity guests. 
“I’m an actress before anything and when I’m presenting I need to work very hard. 
“It’s always putting yourself out there, but as I said earlier, I’m not going to create an alter ego just so people can like me. This is me. Here I am. Accept me as I am.”

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