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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Up, Close & Personal With South Africa’s “It” Girl, PEARL MODIADIE!

Filed under : Africa, Entertainment, Interview

According to the dictionary, Pearl is a noun and defined as something precious or choice; the finest example of anything.

Dubbed as one of South Africa’s “IT” girls, there is no doubt that Pearl Modiadie fits the definition of her name, having worked tirelessly to climb up the entertainment ladder and ensuring that she leaves a mark, through her craft.

She has been the talk of the country, after resigning from her weekend breakfast show on YFM to focus on other projects, such as hosting a new show on SABC 1 amongst other things. She let me in on all of that and so much more. This is how it unfolded…

FaraiToday: You’ve got such a great personality to back up your remarkable talent. Have you always been this bubbly as a child?

Thank you for that compliment. I have not always been this bubbly. I’ve actually always been shy, I only came out of my shell after High School when I was sort of getting to know the person I am.

FaraiToday: Speaking of that, was the entertainment industry always on the cards, as kid growing up in Tembisa?

It’s always been on the cards. Growing up, all I wanted was to be involved in television in some way or another. I’ve never imagined doing anything else.

FaraiToday: You only got your big break when you were about 18. How hard was it for you to get into the industry?

I took a gap year after Matric to pursue my dream of being on television. Three months into it, I was on television. Was it hard? I went through 3-4 rounds of auditions to get into Craz-e, but I wouldn’t say it was hard. I just fought hard to prove myself , for them to keep me there.

FaraiToday: You proved yourself and landed Sistahood (Thank goodness!). Your life probably took a complete turn soon after…yes?

It did in that I was living my dream, I was happy to finally be doing what I’ve always wanted to do. Seeing my dream come to life made me dream even further.

FaraiToday: And the attention soon after that? How’s it been like for you?

Some people get into the industry for fame, some get into it to fulfil their passion. I had a big passion and a platform like that does indeed come with the fame. I enjoyed it and realised that people take in what they see and hear on television and I was happy to be the voice and face that represented positivity, motivation and encouragement on Sistahood.

FaraiToday: And of course, there’s the downside as well. What’s the worst thing that has been said or rumoured about you?

I am lucky that I haven’t been associated with any malicious rumour.

FaraiToday: Luckily! And onto more positive things. You were also a content producer on Sistahood. How did that come about?

While on Craz-e, I worked as a Production Assistant for Goldfish Films and also enrolled for a qualification in Media and Journalism. As soon as I graduated, the Sistahood Content Producer at that time was leaving so I decided to apply for the job. I sent through my CV, got called in for an interview and got the job! I had been presenting the show for a little while and knew it like the back of my hand so I guess it was easier and made more sense to hire me because I knew the show and was qualified to work on it.

FaraiToday: Then Radio…?

I had entered a competition on Mo Flava’s show to be the entertainment news reporter. I didn’t win, but got a call from the Programme’s Manager at YFM asking if I’d want to be a on-air DJ instead. Of course I said yes. Mo Flava then took me under his wing, I shadowed him for a couple of months. He taught me everything he knew and bam, I started doing radio. I started on the YFM Playground (3—6am)as a trainee DJ, I then got my own weekend graveyard show (The Natural High, weekends 12-3am) and finally moved to do the weekend breakfast show (The Jumpstart 6-9am).

FaraiToday: And Scandal…?

I left Sistahood in 2012 and one of the plans was to get into acting. I had acted in a local film before (Bhut’ Madlisa – 2008) enjoyed it so much and wanted to do more acting. Scandal was looking for a new character to play the role of Kefilwe Malope, a sexy and feisty woman who was also a drug abuser. I thought it was the perfect platform for me to transform into the grown up I had become. It would allow people to not view me as the kid from Craz-e anymore. I auditioned for the role, nailed my audition and became part of one of the most amazing soapies in SA, Scandal. It’s an experience I’d never trade for anything!

FaraiToday: That’s not all. Soul columnist as well?

I had done a denim fashion shoot with SOUL magazine and they remembered me from the shoot ( It’s always important to make a lasting first impression). Lauren from SOUL magazine sent me an emailing asking if I’d ever been interested in writing. I said yes! Writing and public speaking were two things I loved doing in High School so this opportunity was perfect! She then gave me a theme and asked that I write a 500 word column to test my abilities. I did that, she liked it and that’s how I became columnist at SOUL magazine! It’s been an incredible experience so far!

FaraiToday: And more recently, Expresso and SABC 1’s Zaziwa. So exciting! Tell us about that.

I have been a field presenter for Expresso for quite some time. It is such an awesome experience and I get to meet amazing people wherever it is I’ll be shooting.
I’m so excited about the show! It is a music talk show where we talk to celebrities about the music that shaped their lives. I’m also the content producer, an experience i’m loving since I like to get involved behind the scenes with the projects.

FaraiToday: Admist all the gigs you’ve been bagging, would you say, you’ve reached your “breakthrough” moment in your career?

I don’t know what needs to happen for a person to say that and I guess I’ll know it when it happens. It hasn’t happened yet, I’m doing everything I love and it’s a constant challenge for me to always be better at what I do, to always stay on top of my game and be the best version of me .

FaraiToday: Now that you’ve made a name for yourself, is it ever awkward when you go for auditions and have to stand in a long queue like everybody else?

When you understand the industry, you also understand that that’s what you have to keep doing to get jobs. Sometimes I have a private audition, at other times I have to be in a queue and that’s also ok. At the end of the day, I know why I am doing what I do and what needs to happen to get to the next level.

FaraiToday: And when was the last time you were “rejected” in an audition?

Oh geez, this happens all the time. Sometimes you nail an audition and get rejected because you’re a familiar face. Yes, it does at times work against you that you have done television before. I’ve dealt with rejection so many times, it hurts sometimes especially when it’s a project you’ve badly wanted to work on, but you learn to roll with the punches. It’s the nature of the beast!

FaraiToday: Given that you’re in a fickle industry…is that what motivated you to enroll and study for a Media Journalism degree?

It’s always good to gain in-depth knowledge of any industry you’re in. That’s what it was about for me and it’s worked to my advantage.

FaraiToday: Let’s talk off-screen Pearl. Tell me about the young woman that you are now.

Right now, I have more of an understanding of the person that I am. In every field of my life including friendships, relationships, financial responsibilities etc. I now find a reason for every action, if it doesn’t make sense to me I don’t see why I should be doing it. If a person’s presence in my life does not grow me in any way or make me want to better myself , I see no reason why I should keep that person in my life. If a person takes a part of me away from me, I instantly let go. I always strive to add value in my friend’s lives or in anything I work on and I expect the same in return. Life has now become about quality, not much about quantity. I appreciate quiet evenings at home, trying out new restaurants and I also value time spent with the people I love. For the longest time I thought it was a problem, but I’ve accepted that that’s the person I am and I am ok with me.

FaraiToday: I want to touch on the bit about losing your mom at an early age. How has your journey to womanhood been, thus far, without her?

That was the worst pain I had ever felt in my life. Losing a parent is a life-changing tragedy. You can’t possibly be the same again after going through that, but you decide how you turn out. You decide how that experience impacts your life. I decided to come out of it a much stronger person. I draw a lot of my strength from that experience. When something feels like it’s tearing me apart, I go back to that unfortunate moment in my life and think ‘’ If I can go through losing my mom and come out of it strong, then nothing in the world can ever hurt me’’. That experience as made me a fighter! I fight for the things I want. I am constantly striving to be a better version of myself so I can make my mother proud. I also have a younger sister who I want to be an example for, I want her to have a reference point at home.

FaraiToday: Do you think you’d have been a different woman if she were still around?

Yes, I would have been. I was my mama’s baby and when she passed away, I became daddy’s girl. My relationship with my dad strengthened. I now have to work extra hard to support my family as well. Before, I would’ve been chilled about home finances because there was her to balance it all. I am more ambitious because of that, I am stronger because I’ve had to keep it together for my little’s sisters sake. Things happen for a reason and that had to happen for me to be who I am now and be an example that there is life after the loss of a parent.

FaraiToday: Can we expect wedding bells and little Pearls (excuse the pun) running around, anytime soon?

Don’t hold your breath! That is not happening anytime soon, lol.

FaraiToday: What’s next on the cards for the Black Pearl…wait, are we even still allowed to call you that?

That name will forever be part of me! It reminds me of where I began, it will always be a big part of my journey. What’s next? Doing more of what I’m doing now on a larger scale.

FaraiToday: Complete the sentence: Keep Calm… And Just Spread Love.

Get your weekly dose of the Pearl, on SABC 1’s Zaziwa every Wednesday at 19h00. First episode debuts this evening.

Show her love on Twitter: @PearlMoody

Sefiso Fizicss Hlongwane

Twitter: @Fizicss

Photo Credit: Werner Prinsloo via Divas Inc.

I’m all about academics, entertainment, bit of fashion, tech,art, definitely music, travel and in articles, books and stuff. Just a general liking I have for words.

Fizicss – who has written posts on Farai Today.

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