While actress Lesego Marakalla (22), who plays Rachel Kunutu on Skeem Saam, juggles being a high-maintenance sugar baby and living with her strict mother in the drama series, she has bigger plans in real life. She is well on her way to making her dreams come true through hard work.
“I have always been involved in school plays, but I didn’t see acting as a career until I was almost finished with high school. I thought I would be a doctor or a teacher even though I loved acting,” she said.
A few months into her drama studies, Skeem Saam conducted their auditions. After impressing the casting director, Lesego got her role despite being very shy.
“Many people didn’t believe that I could be an actress because I’m shy. But this is what I want and I would rather fail having tried my best than to just give up on my dream. WHen I’m on set, I’m Rachel and not Lesego. Getting into character means I leave my feelings behind,” she said.
YOU WON’T BE YOUNG FOREVER
Leaving her feelings behind also means playing her role in spite of her personal feelings about sugar daddies, and taking on Rachel’s devil-may-care attitude and her questionable morals.
“There are so many different ways of making money as a young girl. You should always remember that you won’t be young forever and there are always consequences to your actions. You may enjoy yourself now, but you could regret it in five or 10 years’ time. Having a sugar daddy won’t always work for you,” she said.
But the actress added that young girls aren’t the ones to blame.
“Men who date young girls don’t think it can happen to their own daughters. If they imagined that the things they are doing to young girls could also be done to their own children by men their age, then they would see how wrong their actions are,” she added.
WATCH THE SPACE
Although Rachel’s change in attitude has spurred controversy and started important conversations in South African homes, Lesego said there is another reason she is glad Rachel has become such a bad girl.
“When characters stay the same, there is no challenge for an actor. I’m enjoying the challenge of seeing Rachel grow, even if she is becoming bad. Playing someone so different from myself is helping me to grow as an actress,” she said.
Well on her way to becoming one of South Africa’s favourite actresses, Lesego looks forward to getting into scriptwriting but says acting is by far the best career choice she could have made.