We were first introduced to Nondumiso Tembe as Miss Mya on Generations, almost a year since her character died, Nondumiso tells us about her career.
How did you break into the industry?
I have been performing since I was six years old, and have been plugging away at it for most of my life. It’s been a very long journey and I still have so much to do. I guess it’s true what they say: “Work begets work.” The more you work, the more opportunities come along. But I suppose you could say my recurring role in “True Blood” was my ‘Hollywood break’ and the release of my debut album, Izwi Lami: My Voice was my break-through as a recording artist.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I think getting my Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from Yale is one; representing our country and performing at the United Nations (UNESCO) in Paris in 2012 and 2013 was another big achievement. And of course, singing to uTata Madiba for his 90th birthday at his home in Qunu is an experience I will cherish forever. I am very proud of my debut album as well.
How long did you lived in New York? How different is acting there compared to here in SA?
I grew up in New York City and have been back and forth between the US and SA throughout my life. I am based in Los Angeles now. I don’t think acting itself is different, but there is a lot more competition in Hollywood. The pool is bigger and the stakes are higher over there.
What other on-screen projects are you working on?
I’ve been cast in two really exciting, major upcoming international projects – a film and a TV mini-series that will be filmed in South Africa. I can’t really discuss them yet, but they are dramatically gritty, challenging roles – a nice shift from the free-spirited, fun-loving, scandalous Miss Mya on Generations.
What’s your advice to someone trying to break into the industry?
Take the time to develop and study the craft – go to school. Take it seriously as a profession and honour your talent the same way you would if you wanted to become a doctor or a lawyer. Find great representation – a good agent or manager will open important doors for you. Strive for excellence all the time. Be responsible about the kind of work you do and the kind of a social impact it can make. Be good to people – the industry is surprisingly small and people remember. Stay humble and true to yourself. And most importantly, be fiercely brave!