South African Interviews

Tamika Interviews Stephen Friedman


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He’s an entrepreneur in the television industry, a model, a presenter and an award-winning surfer. My next interviewee has his own travel show, his own radio show and a string of achievements in the modelling, television and surfing worlds. You may remember him as being voted one of COSMO’s “Hottest Men Alive” or perhaps from when he was voted as CLEO Magazine’s “Second-Most Eligible Bachelor in South Africa”. The Blueprint Travel Show was his brainchild whilst modelling in Cape Town when he saw a niche in the market for a series that shows the culture of places. Since then, the 25-year-old has been a jetsetter around the globe as well as through life as he follows his motto of “Find Your Adventure”. I met up with him at The Grand Beach Cafe to find out more.

Tamika: So where are you from originally?

Stephen: Proud to say I’m from Durban.

Tamika: Where did you go to school?

Stephen: Crawford College. I hated school. I learnt more from travelling than from what I learnt in school. It’s a sensitive topic, don’t get me started.

Tamika: What did you do after school?

Stephen: I was competing in the World Surf Tour for several years, travelling around the world since the age of sixteen. Mr Price was one of my main sponsors and due to my contract with them, they made me the face of the Red Surf brand. Cleo Magazine soon got hold of my team manager and one thing lead to another and I was a centrefold in their October issue back in 2007. A month after I did the Cleo magazine shoot, Cosmopolitan Magazine got hold of me. Before I knew it, I was on a flight to Johannesburg to shoot for their 2008 calendar. I started to get a lot of media attention and exposure outside of the surf industry, in all forms: Radio, TV and Print. Boss Models kept on phoning and emailing me, saying I should utilize all this exposure and move to Cape Town so that they could manage me and my career. At the time I was planning on going to Hawaii for the winter surf season but my gut told me that I should take a chance, so I moved to Cape Town. You can read my whole bio on my website if you want to read up more about me –  www.stephenfriedman.weebly.com.

Tamika: What kind of training did you do for acting, if any?

Stephen: I did drama at school. It was fun, but I didn’t take it too seriously.

Tamika: What would you say it is that you do primarily?

Stephen: I have been busy with my TV show; it’s called The Blueprint Travel Show. It has taken me over two years to grow it and build it up from just an idea I wrote in my little black book. To be honest, it has been such an up and down hill experience where I have had to make a lot of sacrifices and decisions based on what my gut tells me and what’s best for the show. Because of this, we have sold the show internationally and locally – you’ll be hearing about it a lot in the media during the course of this year. I have an amazing team behind me now.

My executive producers are Damien Brown, Mohube Ropodile, Jonathan Zager and Rick Leed. Jonathan and Rick are based in Los Angeles, California, and their CVs alone make me know I’m in safe hands. They’ve produced television shows like Home Improvement, Dr 90210 and well-known movies, such as the film What a Woman Want. I’m actually off to LA soon to go and get ready to start shooting the show again. We have already shot a few episodes but are just taking a break and getting things ready at the moment. It’s all very exciting. I also have a radio show that’s on once a week which is linked to my travel show’s build up. It’s on Saturdays between 4 and 5pm on Trans Africa Radio which is the biggest online radio station in Africa. You can listen to it on www.transafricaradio.net or on DSTV audio channel 172. I also find myself writing a lot and post some of my pieces on my website. I guess you can call it blogging. I also do modelling …or rather what I call “prop work”, because modelling is not rocket science and I’m not a fan of the industry.

Tamika: Have you done any television commercials? If so, what?

Stephen: I’ve done a lot and to be honest it’s really a blur. I’m not a big fan of TV commercials; they take forever and are extremely boring. Film wise, I’ve been offered a few roles but had to turn them down due to me not really enjoying the actual script. I don’t want to do something for the sake of doing it. If the right script comes along then I will jump into it. I have shot for Visa, Woolworths, Edgars, Mr Price, Jockey, BMW, Nivea, Toyota, C&A (Europe), Otto (Europe), George (Europe), Orange Mobile (Europe), Tichibo (Europe), Aagaurd Jewellery (Europe)  and loads of magazines locally and internationally. Those are a few clients off the top of my head. As I said, it’s all a blur and I take it with a pinch of salt. I have been very lucky with work but I don’t take it too seriously. I have just been doing it for the money and have been lucky enough to travel abroad for modelling and it has given me a lot of free time. My main focus is, and always will be, my TV show and my other projects because I like using my brain and I love being creative.

Tamika: What is the most recent you have done?

Stephen: Just shot for the BMW TV commercial this weekend and I was just confirmed for the Jockey Campaign shooting in a week so that will be fun I think.

Tamika: What’s in the pipeline for you at the moment?

Stephen: As I said, I’m off to LA soon. I then start shooting again up in Africa. I’m also just busy with my radio show and an animated short film I am producing. I would like to release it in a year’s time. We’re busy sourcing animators… if you know of any please give me a shout! I really do believe it’ll do well in festivals since this story has never been done before.

Tamika: Who is your agent?

Stephen: I don’t have an acting agent, but I get work for TV and film through my modelling agents. South Africa – Ice Genetics in Cape Town and Star Models in Johannesburg. United Kingdom – Zone Models in London. Germany – Clear Models in Munich and Vida Models in Nurnburg.

Tamika: What are your favourite South African films?

Stephen:The God’s Must Be Crazy. Stupid funny!

Tamika: Where do you party, usually?

Stephen: I love Karaoke! Enough said…. That’s where the parties are fun!

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

Stephen: A wet wetsuit! Oh, and a tent.

Tamika: Do you have siblings?

Stephen: Yes I do; three older sisters. They trained me well…

Tamika: What is your health routine like?

Stephen: Surf! Surf! Surf! And eat right… Oh yes and get enough sleep!

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

Stephen: Ten years time, well that’s hard to say. But I think I’ll still just be doing what I love – so in the ocean somewhere. Maybe a kid or two… who knows. Right now, I’m just enjoying learning everyday about the world we live in and about myself. That’s what life is about. I just want to be happy.

Tamika: What’s one interesting thing about you that your followers don’t know?

Stephen: I’m shy… Believe it or not!

Tamika: Name a place you love.

Stephen: The ocean. No matter where I am in the world, if I step into the ocean I feel at home.

Tamika: Do you do any charity work?

Stephen: I’m launching a charity foundation called The Blue Sheep Foundation. The name has symbolism for me. You’ll hear about it soon enough.

Tamika: What do you tell yourself when you walk out of an audition?

Stephen: “There is no dignity or pride in what I just did.”

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

You can also check him out on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/stephenjakefriedman or  http://stephenfriedman.weebly.com

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