South African Interviews

Tamika Interviews Bjorn Steinbach


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And so begins a series of interviews I’m conducting with actors in South Africa.

Because I’m in Cape Town, these are the guys and girls that are on the scene here.

(Ok I’m starting with the guys, so shoot me 🙂 )

And guess what? They all happen to be hotties ……….wow my life is hard.

I begin with Bjorn Steinbach.

Originally hailing from Port Elizabeth and once an engineering student at UCT, he’s now very active in the film industry.

He doesn’t do modelling, although he’s featured in the Cosmopolitan’s 2011 Sexiest SA Men calendar (wink wink)

He’s done some pretty impressive stuff, including Fear Factor: South Africa in 2005 and a film in 2009 that aired on NBC (in the USA) called The Philanthropist.

In 2009 he did another film which aired in the USA, called Natalie Holloway, and in 2010 he was a stuntman in Death Race 2 which was shot here in Cape Town.

Quite recently he’s been involved in a BBC docu-drama production called Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend. Also Invictus and another BBC documentary series called The Great British Story.

The big nugget, called Generation Kill, is what he’s most well-known for to date.

It’s an HBO original 7 part mini-series about the 1st Recon Marine Battalion that was sent in during the first phase of the war in Iraq.

We meet at the Putt Putt course in Seapoint and wow – what a passionate, fiery, confident guy!

I’m not surprised, seeing as he does get invited to all the hottest events in Cape Town.

This includes launches for GQ Magazine, Glamour Magazine, various Art Gallery openings, Oscar evenings at The Table Bay Hotel and more.

Apart from four hole-in-ones he scored (which he didn’t let me forget), he knows exactly what he wants and he’s not afraid to go for it.


As I swing my Putt Putt club like I’m a big deal, I coolly score a hole-in-one myself and we begin our interview.

Tamika: So we are both from PE! And you were at school with my brother! What is your fondest memory of being a student at Grey – who was your favourite teacher?

Bjorn: My fondest memory of being at Grey is sliding over the wet rugby fields in our prefect’s uniforms! My favourite teacher was Mrs Bell. Grey tested me, supported me and helped me become the person I wanted to be. One thing I’ll always remember is the day I received my white blazer (Honours blazer). Since Sub B I’d seen Matrics wearing them and I’d always told myself “no matter what, I want one one day!” (I thought they looked so cool, haha!)

Tamika: And after Grey, from what I understand, you went to UCT and studied psychology? How was that and why did you change to go to City Varsity?

Bjorn: Correct. I studied maths and psychology. I was going to go into engineering but at one point I started having sleepless nights, wrestling in my mind with whether it was really what I wanted to do. I also had one of my sisters encouraging me to go for acting. She knew it was my passion and kept saying to me “stop speaking about acting…just act already! Just do it!” That was the cherry on top for me and I decided to just change the course of my life then and there; it was either ‘now or never’. I changed to City Varsity and completed a 3rd year advanced acting course. I’ve never looked back.


Tamika: What did you do on Fear Factor: South Africa in 2005? How was that experience?

Bjorn: I was still studying at the time. I was one of about 16 contestants on the show. I made it to the 3rd day. I ate flies with sour cream and strawberries, and on one episode I was dragged behind a 4×4…. It was great! All of us on the show shared a good camaraderie.

Tamika: You sound like you’ve been very busy… You even went to New York to do their summer program at Esper Studio! What are your impressions of New York?

Bjorn: It was unequivocally heart-stopping and ferociously inspiring. Stole my heart.

Tamika: Could you see yourself living there?

Bjorn: Definitely.

Tamika: How long are you planning on staying in South Africa – do you have plans to move to another country?

Bjorn: I have plans to go back to New York next year.

Tamika: Where are you based now?

Bjorn: Cape Town.

Tamika: Who is your agent?

Bjorn: Cape Town – Artists One and New York – Paradigm.


Tamika: Where do you stay when you go to New York?

Bjorn: I stay with people who I shot Generation Kill with. They have a place in Gramercy Park.

Tamika: Do you ever go back to Port Elizabeth to visit?

Bjorn: Yes, as often as I can! About four times a year.

Tamika: What’s in the pipeline for you at the moment; what films are you working on?

Bjorn: Well I just finished shooting for BBC’s The Great British Story. I played a guy called William H. Russell; I had to put on an Irish accent! Coming up is another BBC documentary-series called Mankind. Then there’s also Monkey’s Wedding – a Cape Town Indie rock movie – and Protocol 9, a German/South African co-production.

Tamika: Do you also model?

Bjorn: No.

Tamika: What are your favourite South African films?

Bjorn: Jerusalema, Yesterday and District 9.

Tamika: Where do you party, usually?

Bjorn: All over. I’m liking DecoDance at the moment.

Tamika: What’s in the boot of your car right now?

Bjorn: Plan B’s. -Various items of clothing I may need. Oh, and a red helmet and a cowboy hat.

Tamika: Do you have siblings?

Bjorn: Yes, two sisters and one brother.

Tamika: What does your family do – your mom, your dad?

Bjorn: My mother is a restaurateur. She owns De Kelder in Port Elizabeth. My father owns an engineering company, Oilco.

Tamika: What is your health routine like – diet, gym etc.?  Is there anything interesting that you do on the side?

Bjorn: I’ve been sporty all my life but I don’t really gym. I box and I practice Parkour – free running. Oh, and I love sweets.

Tamika: Where do you see yourself in ten years from now?

Bjorn: Living in New York and driving a Mustang.

Tamika: What is one interesting thing about you that your followers don’t know – something personal?

Bjorn: I love board games, especially Balderdash and 30 Seconds.

Tamika: Name a place you love – it can be in Cape Town, New York or even in the good old Eastern Cape, South Africa! (For me personally, I love Nanaga Farm Stall on the way to Kenton!)

Bjorn: My happy place is Tofino Beach in Mozambique. I was last there about a year and a half ago.

Tamika: Do you do any charity work?

Bjorn: I’m involved in StreetSmart SA – a fundraising initiative that contributes directly towards enabling street children to live a viable life in society.

Tamika: Finally, what do you tell yourself when you walk out of an audition?

Bjorn: ‘Leave it alone’. Because everything you do has to happen before you get into that room. Once you leave it there’s nothing more you can do.

If you want to follow him on Twitter, he goes by @Bjornsteinbach

You can also check him out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BjornSteinbach

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