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South African Interviews

Tamika Interviews Scott Cooper


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Next on my list for interviewing is Scott Cooper.

Now living here and working in the film and theatre industries, Scott hails originally from East London.

He’s lived in South Africa all his life but also lived for two years in London, six months in Wales, one year in Vancouver and six months on a cruise liner (whoa, impressive!)

He studied at AFDA where he did a B/A in Live Performance and has also trained under critically acclaimed actress Aletta Bezuidenhout at the Screen Actors Studio in Cape Town.

He’s done tons of commercials – including for Nivea, Ritters Sports chocolate, Pepsi, Spur and more.

He’s won awards and received praised reviews for his roles in theatre performances – such as for his role in Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death as well as for his portrayal of ‘Mr Darcy’ in the first ever stage production of Pride & Prejudice in South Africa.

In 2007 he was involved in a film called The World Unseen and he has the lead role in a trilogy of films coming up called Second Son, not to mention 3 episodes of Smallville that he’s done

He’s also the lead role in a movie being shot next year called On Her Day as well as having a supporting role in another film, Vinegar Blues.

We meet at Melissa’s in Newlands and the up-beat atmosphere of the coffee bar matches his personality.

We do our greetings, I order my double strong filter coffee and get right to work as an interviewer (cue for spectacles and notepad please………….!)

Tamika: So you’re from East London! What is your fondest memory from there?

Scott: Yes that’s correct. My fondest memory….hmm…that would have to be going to Buffalo Park cricket ground with my dad – that’s where I learnt my love for cricket.

Tamika: And after school, what did you do?

Scott: Six months after I left school I went to London. One GAP year turned into two!

Tamika: You worked on a film called The World Unseen – what was that about and what was your role there?

Scott: It’s a film set in Apartheid South Africa and it centers on forbidden relationships… namely the lesbian relationship that develops between two Indian women.

Tamika: You’re attached to many projects, one of them being the lead role in a trilogy of films called Second Son (based on the novels by Glenn Grant), which will start shooting in 2012? Tell us about it.

Scott: The script grabbed me. It’s a South African production even though it’s set in many places around the world. It’s to do with cloning and also touches on themes of spirituality and abortion. My character is Sven Granger who is anti-cloning and anti-abortion. A few A-list actors have actually been approached for the role of the lead protagonist, for instance Sam Neil and Anthony Hopkins!

Tamika: You lived in Canada for some time, what was it like and how does the industry there differ from ours here?

Scott: It was an awesome experience. Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever been to. It’s actually known as the ‘Hollywood of the North’. The industry there is very similar to ours here in terms of the fact that a lot of U.S. productions get shot over there.

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

Scott: I used to be among those who just wanted to leave and go abroad. But let me say this; the grass here is greener than I thought it was. One day of course I would love to go to New York and even perform on Broadway, but for now I really feel we are approaching a Golden Era in our film industry in South Africa. For me, now, here is the place to be.

Tamika: I understand you’re also very talented in the theatre? What were some of your most memorable and rewarding roles?

Scott: I haven’t done a lot, but portraying Mr Darcy in Pride & Prejudice was a rewarding experience for me.

Tamika: You’ve done numerous TV commercials for the USA, UK, Germany, Russia, and the Netherlands – which was your favourite experience?

Scott: Pepsi Max was awesome! It was for Russia and I got to drive a Russian Lada on dirt roads surrounded by hot blondes! Very nice…….. (this was followed by a big grin as he took a sip of his green tea)

Tamika: Haha! So who is your agent here in Cape Town?

Scott: APM.

Tamika: Do you ever go back to East London to visit?

Scott: I go about once a year to see my family.

Tamika: What’s in the pipeline for you at the moment, what films or theatre pieces are you working on?

Scott: There’s a BBC docu-drama called Mankind which I’m shooting next week. I’m the lead in a Canadian film called On Her Day which shoots next year in Canada and the supporting role in a South African comedy coming up called Vinegar Blues. Then of course there’s the trilogy Second Son which I’m playing the lead in that starts shooting in 2012. I’ve also been cast in a supporting role for the film Black Jesus (working title).

Tamika: Do you also model?

Scott: Not particularly. I’ve never been into modelling but I just recently joined DNA Models here in Cape Town. I thought ‘why not!’

Tamika: What are your favourite South African films?

Scott: Yesterday, Sweet & Short, Paljas, District 9 and The Gods Must Be Crazy.

Tamika: Where do you party, usually?

Scott: Wherever the wind blows me. I like Kalk Bay side because I live there; so Cape to Cuba is one of the places I enjoy. I also like Zula Bar here in Cape Town.

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

Scott: A box of tricks.

Tamika: Do you have siblings?

Scott: Yip. Two sisters and a brother.

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

Scott: My mother is…. let’s just say, a socialite 🙂 And my dad works for the Twining’s Tea company. They live in Nigeria.

Tamika: What’s your health routine like – Diet, gym etc.? Do you do anything interesting like yoga or boxing on the side?

Scott: I like to gym regularly and I eat very healthily…

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

Scott: Married with kids. Country doesn’t matter. All that matters is that I have a very successful career and am working with the best of the best consistently.

Tamika: What’s your favourite work or pet project right now?

Scott: I’m writing a screenplay… but I can’t say anymore, hehe! I try to find time to work on it in between auditions, shooting for films or commercials and my work as a drama teacher at the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy.

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

Scott: I have a complete fascination with magic… so I love the circus. I also love cricket – but hey, that’s no secret. Ummm…. I love Westerns…. And another interesting passion of mine is looking up where famous movies were shot and making a point of going there when I travel. For instance, when I was in San Fransisco I made my way to where Mrs Doubtfire was shot and knocked on the door of her house! I’ve also been to Bridget Jones’ flat in London and I’ve touched the blue door from Notting Hill. Next month I’m taking a road trip through the U.S, through the Midwest, so I’m hopefully going to get a chance to visit some more places from films that have been shot up there!

Tamika: Name a place you love – Can be in Cape Town, Canada, or even in the good old Eastern Cape, South Africa!

Scott: I love Noordhoek beach and anywhere in the Eastern Cape is special for me.

Tamika: Do you do any charity work?

Scott: I don’t do any charity work per se, but I like to think I practice charity-giving every day in my own small way.

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

Scott: I say; “I want that!” and then I move on.

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

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

❤ My Work, On-Camera

Filming for The Great British Story


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Pretty Dresses

Last week I worked on a documentary-series called “The Great British Story” for BBC. It’s a documentary about the history of Britain, with different episodes making up the series. This was for episode 4. What an incredible experience. It was at The Castle monument here in Cape Town.

The Castle

All dressed up

The Great British Story

The Great British Story

The Great British Story

The Great British Story

The Great British Story

The Great British Story

The Great British Story

My Life in Africa

Auditioning for a Slasher


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Today I auditioned for a slasher film.

Really, seriously? Does this kind of thing still tickle the fancy of film buffs everywhere? That was so 90’s. According to Wikipedia, this is the definition of a slasher movie:

A slasher film is a type of horror film typically involving a psychopathic killer stalking and killing a sequence of victims in a graphically violent manner, often with a cutting tool such as a knife or axe.

Hmmm. Yes, very appealing.

Let me fill you in on a quick history of Slasher films.

#1 The Psycho Age 1960-1978.

Apparently this is attributed to the Hitchcock classic Psycho; The father of all slasher movies.

#2 The Halloween Age 1978-1996.

This age focused primarily on two things: The Unstoppable Killer Movies and the Holiday Slashers.

#3 The Scream Age 1996-present.

Basically people lost interest in the Slasher genre and Scream kick-started it again. As I was paging through some movie posters, I had a good laugh at this one:

Apparently Halloween was the first major box office success in the genre. It’s tagline? “The Night HE came home…” One could laugh out loud at such a genre, but it does have commercial value — slasher villains have been such popular characters since the 1980s that merchandise such as the Jason model kit (Jason from Friday the 13th), are common.

What is it with society’s fascination with slasher movies? Is there something enticing about the sound of the local neighbourhood babe being mercilessly hacked by an angry freak?

I auditioned for the lead. I had to do the whole thing in a British accent which was fun! I think mine’s pretty good. Bold statement, I know. Anyway, hold thumbs for me….. For more info on slasher films check out this link:

http://lordnasebyblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/three-ages-of-slasher-film-or-slasher.html

South African Interviews

More Good News for SA Film Industry


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Another local film is due to set fire to the hearts of South Africans!


Following the exciting news of local film ‘Skoonheid’ winning at both the Cannes Film Festival and the Zurich film festival this year, as well as being selected for the Oscars 2012, comes another local masterpiece.

 ‘Florida Road’ is a film about a wealthy Indian family from Mumbai who moves to Durban for a better life.

Follow protagonist Shaan Sahay (Ashmit Patel) as he is desperate for his father’s love and acceptance while struggling to pursue his passion for writing. After a tragedy hits the family, he discovers his true place in the world as well as the importance of family.

Filmed entirely on location in Durban, the film showcases the beauty of the city while telling the story of one family.

 It’s an independent feature film, directed by Brad Glass and written and produced by Fred Fontana.

 Fred Fontana is from the United States originally, and has been involved in Hollywood motion pictures such as ‘The Specialist’ with Sylvestor Stallone and ‘Solider’ with Kurt Russell, amongst others.

 After 20 years in Hollywood, he realized South Africa’s potential for filmmaking and moved to South Africa, where he’s begun ‘Sunworld Productions’. Seems he’s picked up much success after just a year of being established, as ‘Florida Road’ has already won many awards at festivals around the world (you can see all of them on its website http://floridaroadthemovie.com/).

 The title was inspired by a well-known road in Durban, Florida Road.

I for one am very excited to see the film, which releases in our cinemas in the next few weeks!

South African Interviews

South African Film off to the Oscars 2012


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There are smiles all around as the huge news breaks about popular South African film “Skoonheid” winning at the Zurich Film Festival last weekend! And that’s not all… it’s also been selected as the South African entrant for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Oscars next year!

Looking on their website, one is proud to be South African as you scroll through all the news, reviews and press releases for this daring film which has clearly taken the international film world by storm. The film is about a white, Afrikaans man in post-Apartheid South Africa who has “become devoid of any care or concern for his own measure of happiness” in his hopeless existence. Convinced of a predictable outcome to a life he hates, he is taken by surprise when a chance encounter absolutely unravels it and causes waves in his “clean, controlled” world. A journey begins where he loses control of his boundaries and starts to break his own rules; as he develops a conflicted infatuation with the 23-year-old son of an old friend.

Director Oliver Hermanus

With strong influences of South Africa’s controversial history, the film’s angle is taken from what it’s like being a white, Afrikaans-speaking conservative man part of the minority in a post-Apartheid South Africa. His deepest secrets and desires are privy only to the audience who become aware of his many emotions including his fears, his angers and his jealousies. It was directed by Oliver Hermanus and produced by Didier Costet. “Skoonheid” means “Beauty” in English.

At the Cannes Film Festival this year

The Zurich Film Festival announced its winners on the last day of an 11-day festival, and South African actor and star of the film, Deon Lotz, walked away with the award for best actor for his performance.

“Skoonheid” was the first Afrikaans film to ever have been shown at the Cannes Film Festival, where it walked away with the Queer Palm award in May this year. The award was for its contributions to lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues. As far as the Oscars 2012 go, we are all holding thumbs. Read more about the synopsis of the film, the news, the reviews, as well as about the director and his notes for the movie on the film’s official website: http://www.skoonheid.com/beauty_ang.html. You can also see the trailer here!

My Life in Africa

Sexy Dance Show at The Grand West


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Lights…camera…action! The Grand West Casino here in Cape Town is currently showing a mesmerizing cabaret at their sexy Roxy Revue Bar called “Gorgalicious” — The venue reminds one of the Moulin Rouge.

It’s a show that celebrates amazing talent with singers and dancers performing to hit songs of our time – including tunes from Adele, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and more. It oozes sensuality as the dancers set a steamy mood with tantalising moves – in keeping with the show’s theme of being gorgeous and celebrating our sexuality.

Directed, choreographed and produced by Ashleigh Moore with the potent vocals of Raquel Munn, Lindiwe Rose and the daring skills of Samantha Austen on a pole! “Gorgalicious” certainly does leave you breathless. It runs until the end of October and I recommend it to anyone in the area who’s up for a night of entertainment and has R67 to spare.

❤ My Work, Modelling

Modelling a Philip Treacy hat!


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phillip treacy hat

I am modelling a hat by Philip Treacy this weekend! He has designed hats for Alexander McQueen’s white Haute Couture collection at Givenchy in Paris, for Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and for Valentino, Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan. Famous people who have worn his creations include Victoria Beckham, Kate Middleton, Sarah Jessica-Parker, Emma Watson and quite recently Princess Beatrice of York, who wore one to the Royal Wedding this year. In fact, 36 people wore one of his hats to the wedding. And this weekend, I join the list 🙂 The event is a Royal Tea in aid of ChildLine and Yokhuselo Haven for abused women. ChildLine is a free 24 hour counselling service for children and young people up to the age of 18. It deals with any issues which cause distress for children and young people, including child abuse, bullying, divorce, pregnancy and substance abuse. Children phone in and receive counselling. Counsellors listen and try and help the best way they can. Yokhuselo Haven is a haven for abused women. It aims to provide a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence. The Royal Tea is a really fantastic initiative to raise money for these charities. The hat has to be auctioned off. I’m going to be very careful with it – the hat Beatrice wore to Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding was sold for 81 000 pounds!

Phillip Treacy
Phillip Treacy
Phillip Treacy
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Creative Inspiration

Easy Steps To Calm Your Nerves


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topmodeluk

So it’s that time of year again! Top Model is hungry for new models for their 2012 competition. It’s set to take place in London next year. This is how it works: they narrow down contestants from all over the world to just a hopeful few that will take part in a runway show in London next year in March. Their aim is to get a cross-section of applicants from around the globe to take part in the show, where eventually only 1 winner will remain. And for those who make the cut? Video interviews via Skype for the final selection process…nerve-wracking! They’ve narrowed it down to 3 girls from South Africa to choose from for the show, and I’m one of them. See my modelling portfolio here. So after just getting off Skype with them, I found some tips for calming nerves from this awesome website:

1:  Melt the frown. Smile and release the worry.  It takes lots and lots of energy to hold a tense, tight frown on your forehead.  Check in with your forehead now – lose the frown then relax the skin across your forehead.  Notice how you release the pressure in your temples as well when you melt the frown.  While you are at it, pay close attention to your teeth and jaw.  Un-clench your jaw, relax your tongue (very important) and part your teeth slightly.  This will help enormously release facial and neck tension.  You might even notice your shoulders relaxing and dropping at the same time. Melt the frown, un-clench your jaw and drop your shoulders.

2: Take a chill pill.  Close your eyes, cup the palms of your hands over your ears, now listen to the sounds of the ocean playing inside your head.  Continue until you feel your nerves a little less frazzled, your thoughts a little calmer and your breathing more relaxed.

3:  Turn off the noise: Silence nourishes your body, mind and soul.  Silence is very restorative. Toxic urban noise is never ending and can be a constant background stress that you may not be aware of.  Tune into your hearing and notice which sounds irritate you.  Take a five minute “no noise” break.  Alternately turn down or turn off any unnecessary stressful noise.

4: Repeat a calming mantra: Use your thoughts to fuel your body with a constant stream of calming and relaxing thoughts. Mantras work because they take your focus away from the stress and drama (just for a moment) and invite more peace into your life.  Here’s a few of my favorites that you might like use.

I remember to breathe and relax moment by moment”

“Every cell in my body is loved and healthy”.

Breath in “I am calm” breathe out “I smile”

5:  Take a mental health break: A less crowded mind means your nervous system is calmer.  Take regular breaks from too much thinking and bring your awareness back into your body. Do your best to have an enjoyable morning and afternoon tea away from your desk in a pleasant environment. Listen to the requests of your body, drink when thirsty, stretch and move when you need to and never skip a meal.  An added bonus; A quiet mind has direct access to wisdom and insight.

6: Adjust your breathing: Find some calm: Make your “out” breath twice as long as your “in” breath. This will immediately calm you down. Your breathing directly reflects your stress levels. If you breathing is fast, tight and shallow then I encourage to read my article 12 great reasons to start alternate nostril breathing:

7: Calm your nerves by turning your back to the world: This is in my top 3 all time favorite relaxation postures in the world. It’s such a simple way to calm an overcrowded mind, call back your scattered energies back, calm your breathing and relax. Click here for full details. I promise you’ll love it.

8: Hug well and hug often: Give a hug or receive a hug, either way hug well and hug often. Heh, even give yourself a hug.  Hugging and cuddling is therapeutic, healing and calming.  According to Virginia Satir a family therapist; we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth.  Whats your daily hug quota?

9: Rest your eyes: When you relax your eyes you are inviting your mind and body to follow.  Do yourself a favor and grab yourself a yoga eye pillow and enjoy 5 minutes of relaxation.

10: Self massage nourishes your nervous system: I love my early morning “warm” oil massage.  Touch is healing and extremely nourishing to your body.  Self massage releases happy feelings into your body, improves circulation and supports the removal of toxins from your body.  There are simply loads of benefits. Whilst “self massage” might seem like hard work at first, I can guarantee you’ll soon notice a difference.

11: Cancel, clear, delete your energy drains: Notice what zaps your precious energy and reduce your exposure to gossip, shopping centers, busy places, certain friends or family members. Better still cancel, clear and delete their existence in your life.

12: Give yourself a chocolate facial: Warning!  This is very addicted.  Licking is definitely allowed as long as no one is looking.

13: Hum your worries away: Time to Hum. Place your hand on top of your head, smile, now start humming. Feel the healing vibration of the hum reach the top of your head. Your clever hum will brush away the cob webs, soothe your mind, relax your face muscles and nourish your nervous system.

14:  Sip a calming potion: If all else fails then do what I do; grab for my bottle of passion flower.  I know for a fact that the medicinal herb of passion flower calms my energies in an instant. It great for insomnia and nervousness and has a sedative effect on your nervous system. Around one teaspoon sends a warm calming feeling throughout my body.

Creative Inspiration

Steps To Becoming a Professional Singer


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The White Collar Club Acapella Music Group

I’m a creative at heart (you tend to be in this industry) and this evening I’m off to a cocktail lounge with friends to listen to a live vocalist. I’ve sung with a group called The White Collar Club… we sang at a wedding in the beautiful wine region of Stellenbosch recently and also performed at the Freeworld Design Centre here in Cape Town. I’ve always loved singing for the fun of it and even completed a short jazz vocal course at this awesome music school. It got me thinking about how you would take singing seriously if you were ever considering it as a full-time career. Here are some simple guidelines for you if you want to become a professional singer, taken from this lovely source.

1. Learn how to sing. This is the foundation of your career as a singer. While there are some performers making a career out of singing when they don’t really sing all that well, it’s those people who hone their craft as singers and continually improve their form and ability who command the most respect as singers.

2. Singing requires good breath control.The voice is best described as a wind instrument and breathing is 80% of singing. Proper singing begins and ends with proper breathing. This is the breathing that we all did as babies, the breathing that we all do unconsciously all day. When you breathe from the diaphragm, your shoulders don’t move and your chest barely moves at all. Learn good breathing technique by keeping your shoulders still and focusing on moving your stomach in and out.

3. It’s crucial to relax when you sing. Strain and tension causes poor resonance and tone. Straining your voice is also not the proper way to hit a high note. You should always stay relaxed, control your breathing, and your vocal cords should never become tight or tense.

4. Make sure that you warm up before each session by humming before you actually start singing and rest your voice occasionally so you do not overwork your vocal cords.

5. Study singers whom you admire. How do they sing? What kind of crowd do they cater to? How did they become professional singers? What is their special “signature style”? Don’t be afraid to copy other artists. However, don’t try to become a “copy” of your favorite singer. Listening to and emulating singers is part of your research; you can learn from those that have been successful before you. Then you can combine all that information along with your own sound into a new creation – you.

6. Develop your own style. Experiment with different ways of singing and different types of music and find one that fits your personality and makes the most of your voice at the same time. You want people to be able to recognize your voice when they hear it. Whether or not you know how to sing already, make sure you eventually learn to develop your own personal style.

7. Try to measure your progress every few weeks by recording yourself singing and listening to the playback. Pick two or three songs to use as your benchmark: an easy song, and intermediate song and a difficult song. You can judge the difficulty of your song choices by the difficulty you have with singing them, if you don’t feel you can sing at all and want some suggestions, here are three that everybody knows: Happy Birthday (easy), Frosty The Snowman (intermediate), The Star Spangled Banner (difficult). If you are just learning to sing, do not begin practicing with your difficult song first but work towards mastering it.

8. Get a Singing Job. After developing some level of skill, you will want to test your talents by performing live. Get over your stage fright (if you have it) and start gaining some practical experience by singing wherever and whenever you get a chance to do so in front of a group of people (karaoke bars, clubs, parties, school talent shows or “busking” at local markets). Learn to connect with your audience.

9. Always take good care of your vocal cords. Drink plenty of water,it rehydrates your whole body,and try to eat foods that have a high water content, such as fresh fruit and vegetables. You may want to avoid dairy products as they induce phlegm, especially cheese and chocolate! Sorry! Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and even shouting at all costs. The toll on your vocal cords can be enormous.

10. Investing in lessons or a decent singing program, to learn good vocal techniques at home, can really help save your voice. Singing incorrectly can damage your voice.

The White Collar Club Acapella Music Group