South African actress Pearl Thusi is doing the country proud in America, but it took a lot of work (and audition tapes) to make it to Hollywood.
Pearl visited the Hello Beautiful headquarters in New York this week to talk about her new role on Quantico, a hit USA series about FBI recruits.
Pearl plays Dayana Mampasi, a Zimbabwean type-A lawyer.
Aside from revealing that she is engaged, Pearl spilled the beans on how touchy the industry can be for black actors.
When asked what it is like being a black actress in Hollywood, Pearl had this to say.
"Firstly, it is already quite difficult for black actors who are in America, how much more so me coming from another country? So I have got to learn the accent. Lupita has done very well, then you have Charlize Theron…It is great that Hollywood is opening to people of colour, not only within America, but also outside of America, because we all dream. An opportunity like this does not come more than once in a lifetime, so I am grabbing it with both my hands… and I think black people have to hold their own," she said during a Facebook live chat for the online publication.
Pearl also talked about Hollywood bosses who shoot films in South Africa, but are reluctant to place local actors in leading roles.
“In Africa we have a lot of movies being shot there, but we never get a good enough chunk of the pie; we come there to fill in the spaces. What’s worse is that when it’s a South African story, like the Madiba story… to get a person from another country to come and play a person like Mandela. To carry somebody with that much presence you need to under the history.”
She added that it is important for people in Africa to be able to tell their own stories.
"How is Africa and [its] stories going to get out there if we keep using people who are not African to tell the story. But if it has to be, then allow Africans to tell American stories as well which won’t be easy because America is a power house and they won’t let it slide that easy.”
A lot of her fans may look at her and think how easy she has it, but Pearl says she got a lot of rejections before finally getting her big break.
"I have sent so many tapes to this side of the world, a part of me not expecting to hear anything back, but training myself to get to know the accent a bit better…"
Thanks for doing South Africa, and Africa as a whole, proud!
Watch the full interview below.
Image Credit: Facebook/PearlThusi