Actress and producer Salamina Mosese has been in the industry for 21 years. She made a name for herself as an actress, appearing on shows such as Soul Buddyz, Backstage and Top Billing.
In this interview with ZAlebs, the actress opens up about the industry, her marriage, depression and the success of her new film, Baby Mamas.
Salamina stole our hearts on the youth drama series, Soul Buddyz. “Like most kids, I loved kids' TV and my siblings and I consumed it a lot. I thought the kids’ TV presenters were amazing, but I was a very shy and reserved young teen so I never wanted to be on screen, I was always more curious about the behind-the-scenes stuff and wanted to learn more about that. Seeing how much time we were spending watching TV during the school holidays, when my mom saw an advert in the newspaper for a new kids’ agency opening in Midrand, she decided to sign us all up and the rest is history.”
After being on two big soapies, presenting and doing other things on screen, Salamina decided it was time to go behind the scenes. “I’ve acted in two soapies, have made appearances on another, presented music shows, quiz shows, variety shows and have also hosted live award shows. I felt it was time for a new challenge, to stretch myself into other facets of the industry.” The actress says the transition from in front of the camera to behind the camera has been seamless. “I love not having to worry about what I am wearing, make-up and being fabulous all the time, I find that exhausting.”
Salamina has been in the industry for 21 years and has learnt a lot during that time. “I have learnt that one shouldn't be driven by the fame aspect of what we do. If you keep it about the work, the walk is less daunting. It’s a tough industry where freelancers are sometimes totally broke for months on end, the sooner one finds other ways to supplement the income the better it will be.”
As great as the industry can be, it also comes with challenges. “There isn't always work. The older you get, the more problematic that is. As a scholar living at home, the times in-between shows being filmed was much easier. It becomes brutal the minute you leave the security of home. I became a chronic saver. So, I always had a rainy day fund and I became militant about my saving. I still am," admits Salamina.
Salamina teamed up with her friend and business partner, Stephina Zwane for the film, Baby Mamas. “Stephina Zwane, my business partner was inspired to write Baby Mamas after looking around her and seeing what some people she knew were going through, and thought it’s something that should be explored, especially because it was so common." The success of Baby Mamas has been amazing; the film showcased at the Toronto Black Film Festival, New York Africa Festival and Durban International Film Festival. “We worked ourselves to the bone, to get this project to cinema and even in our marketing drive, so the success has been humbling. Stephina always says that filmmaking is like an extreme sport and we have learnt that it is exactly that. There is still a lot of work to be done to get our film industry to where it needs to be.”
Though working with a friend can have its challenges, Salamina credits respect on making it work. “Our friendship is a great foundation, we have known each other for years, so we navigate our business relationship with the same respect and loyalty that we have developed over the years.”
Although she has had her hands full with work, Salamina has also made time for other projects that are close to her heart. This year has been hard for the entertainment industry after losing people like Shoki Mokgapa and HHP to depression.
Salamina has been using her social media platforms to voice out her experience with depression. “There is no shame in having mental health conversations and I think its common enough that we need to have these conversations openly and in public forums.” When it comes to coping with depression the actress says some days are better than others. “This is still very much a work in progress. Some years have been better than others. I don't think I will ever be able to say that I am completely healed and I have conquered it. But I am in the best place I’ve been in a while, in terms of managing it.”
Over the years, Salamina has been quite private about her life, but lately she has stared letting us in through her social media. “There will always be things that I never post on social media about but when I do let people in, it’s when I feel like there’s either a teaching moment or a specific reason to divulge something private. We don't post our daughter, and that’s deliberate. Every now and then I will post about hubby if we are somewhere together or whatever, but I think we both have more to offer to the industry than our relationship. So, we control our exposure for our own sanity, so that it still feels like a normal relationship, with its ups and downs that don't always need to played out in the public space.” Salamina and her husband Howza Mosese recently celebrated their 10th anniversary. “There is no one size fits all type of formula to marriage. It’s just about communication, constant sacrifice, constant compromise, trust and respect.”