Hailing from Alexandra, we were first introduced to actress and presenter Chichi Letswalo when she started presenting The Wedding show on SABC 3 in 2003 with Ed Jordan, the actress was discovered by producers at Rosebank Mall, and since then life has never been the same for Chichi.
In a recent interview on That Lunch Show, VOW FM Chichi elaborated on her passion for acting, depression and her character now on Isithembiso.
Chichi's passion for art was first sparked when she was still in primary school around grade 1 or 2 when the school took them on a trip to go see The Wizard of Oz play.
"Walking into the theatre...when those curtains opened up...there were all these characters that came out with the massive costumes and the make-up and it was a musical...my whole world stopped and in that moment I was like this is the most magical experience and I just want to live in that world, forever and ever." Chichi said.
"Even with my cousins...whenever I went to go visit them...I used to put on plays for my aunts and uncle." she said
"When I was in high school and had I had to decide what I wanted to do, I actually was considering psychology" she added.
However, when she thought back to her experience in primary school watching the Wizard of Oz and not having any knowledge as to how to go about pursuing acting, Chichi says she decided to give it a try.
The actress expressed that it wasn't easy telling her father on her decision to pursue art as he didn't support it at first which led to her having to support herself financially to pursue her dream,
"I actually had to pay for my own fees, my own acting classes, from beginning till end because he just really really did not get it." The actress went on to add
"I'm glad he didn't get it because it propelled me to fight for it and it would have never worked out for me any other way had he not done that."
Chichi's first gig was being an extra on an advert where she just had to walk from one end to the other end however, no one really got to see her but it was after having received a lot of no's at auditions and polishing her craft that Chichi's breakthrough finally happened when she played the role of Kwezi on Backstage.
And having been breakthrough as an actress and co-hosted The Wedding show on SABC 3 Chichi says that she wholeheartedly still misses presenting as it is more authentic and important to her for her career.
"I actually realized that I have to do both at the same time, the two of them are very very different...I'm more comfortable with TV presenting...what I love about tv presenting is you're not playing a character, you're just being yourself and I find it so important in the entertainment industry for people to see who you are...your authentic self."
With her love for acting being so true to her Chichi said that when she wasn't doing it, she fell into a 2-year depression. After having gone to New York for 6 years she didn't know what to do as the industry had not changed when she came back.
"I looked at the industry and I just felt like it was stagnant, nothing had changed in the six years that I was gone." she said
The actress decided to venture into corporate in order to figure out what it is that she wanted to do as she wanted to grow and that ended up being two years into corporate which meant because she was not acting, two years of depression, however Chichi is still grateful as that helped her understand how much love she had for the arts.
"...being in a two-year depression was the best thing for me because it showed me just how much I love what I do," she added.
Don't expect the typical life story of - "...then comes marriage. Then comes baby* in the baby carriage" - from the actress as she wants none of that saying that she's not a big of the conditioning life - going to school, getting a job, getting married and having kids system.
"It's best for me not to get married so I don't have to go have the divorce, it's just a personal choice cause I know myself, I don't see myself lasting in a marriage for a month let alone a day." She said
However, the actress says that she still loves love and would love to be in a relationship where great love is involved without marriage and babies.
READ: Chichi Letswalo is back
The now Isithembiso actress says that she is happy and in love with the character that she is currently playing and she says that it is her absolute favourite character.
"I never ever imagined myself to play this character...but here I am...what I do to prepare is...I'll go to references...I watch a lot of series...I'm very specific about what I watch...and I'll visualize what I think the character should be..."
Every expert finds inspiration and talented Chichi who respects her craft says she referenced her character Claudia from an international series.
"For this character, I actually referenced a character called Victoria from Revenge...I watched her a lot." She said.
Catch Chichi every week on Isthembiso on Mzansi Magic.
Main Image Credit: Instagram