From a rural home in Mpumalanga to lights, cameras and action in the acting industry, Skeem Saam’s Nicholas Nkuna talks about his journey, career and future plans.
Please describe yourself.
I am an honest person that loves and respects life.
How did your career in acting begin?
I studied musical theatre at the Tshwane University of Technology. I was always interested in theatre but it wasn’t available in my hometown so moving to Pretoria exposed me to it completely. I have always wanted to do something with singing and I fell in love with musical theatre; that’s how it all began.
You’re well-known for your role on Skeem Saam, how did that come about?
I had just returned from an overseas trip when I heard of the open auditions, but I couldn’t take part due to the stampede that happened at the event. The auditions were cancelled so I auditioned through an agent. I got the part by putting in the work and I also believe that it was my time.
You also studied internationally in Indiana, how did that come about and how was the experience?
In third year at university, there was an exchange programme where they chose the best students to study overseas, so the Dean informed me about my selection and the experience was awesome.
What are your career highlights?
Playing the phantom in the Phantom of the Opera. I was the second black African actor to play that role. I was 22, I had a lot to learn but they still trusted me with that role. I feel that it was just an indication from God that I am following the right path in my career.
You have a stage name, Nicksoulworld; tell us about that name.
That “world” part of the name is just for Instagram. Nicholas means victory, and soul, to me, means the truth. I live my life in truth and that’s how the name came about.
Of all the roles you have played, which has been your favourite?
Simba, because it’s a beautiful story. Simba’s story was close to my heart and I really feel like I am Simba.
Do you have plans to take your career overseas, especially seeing as you have already done The Lion King?
Yes, I want to go back and do movies. I feel like theatre is a lot of work and I have had my fair share of it, but I am open to doing two more theatre productions. Theatre is a weird career but it’s okay to be crazy and weird because I’m crazy.
Tell us about your experience and role in The Lion King.
It was the best experience because The Lion King grew me as a person. Mentally, emotionally, it completed me and prepared me for the real world. It’s the reason I am here today.
Would you advise aspiring actors to study the craft or is talent on its own enough?
If you’re brilliant, why can’t you go and do things? Even when you have talent, you need to understand how to be a pro and there are technical details that you need to understand; people must study.
Would you say that Top Actor SA opened doors for you?
It will open international doors for me. I have a manager from the show and people are interested in talking to me. Top Actor is by BET and that is big because it comes with American connections.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by greatness, life, people’s stories, love, happiness and the truth. I find my inspiration in everything that is beautiful in life.
When did you realize that you were an actor?
When I realized my truth is when I knew that I could be an actor. I can’t play Nelson Mandela if I don’t know who I am.
What is the one thing that people don’t know about you?
People don’t know that I’m just a clown. They think I’m serious because I’m a big guy but I’m actually the most random and weird guy.
What are you currently working on right now?
I am almost done with my album. I went to the UK and explored my sound so I cannot wait for people to hear my amazing album.