As we bring the curtains down on our spectacular 2023 Spotlight Series, we are thrilled to present an intimate and exclusive conversation with the extraordinary Thuso Mbedu. In this insightful dialogue we delve into the heart of her journey, exploring the highs, the challenges, and the artistic triumphs that define her exceptional career.
From her compelling performance in The Woman King, to her recent announcement as L’oreal Paris Brand Ambassador, down to the wisdom she imparts, discover the essence of Thuso Mbedu in a conversation that marks the perfect finale to a year-long celebration of remarkable women and inspiring stories.
How has your South African heritage influenced your acting style and choices?
In reflecting on my craft, I find that my heritage hasn’t directly dictated my acting style; rather, it has played a profound role in shaping the person I am today. While the rich tapestry of my cultural background has undoubtedly contributed to my identity, my approach to acting is driven primarily by a deep connection to the characters I portray. Their individual narratives, life stories, and the intricate layers of their personalities serve as the guiding forces influencing my artistic choices. It is within the unique essence of each character, the intricacies of their experiences, and the motivations that propel them forward that I discover the inspiration for my performances. In essence, my acting is a dynamic exploration of the human condition, an endeavor to authentically embody the diverse range of stories that make up the fabric of our shared humanity.
As a celebrated actress, your powerful performances have made a significant impact on both local and global stages. Your portrayal of Winnie in “Is’thunzi” in 2016 marked a pivotal moment that propelled you into the spotlight, earning you two International Emmy Award nominations. Can you share the emotions you experienced during that remarkable time in your career?
Excited!! Growing up, one never saw oneself as beautiful, I could never have imagined that one day I would have the honor of being L’Oréal Paris’ first Sub-Saharan African spokesperson. A brand that stands for women empowerment, with a strong sense of diversity, sisterhood, and feminism. So far, I’ve enjoyed learning about the innovative technology behind L’Oréal’s product range and the ground-breaking strides made in understanding African skin. Their products are amazing, and I’m thrilled to be representing my African community within this incredible global brand.
You’ve received acclaim not only in Africa but internationally as well. How important is it for you to represent African talent globally?
I hope my journey inspires Africans and demonstrates that regardless of the situation you find yourself in, YOU can make it!
My aspiration is that my personal journey serves as a source of inspiration for fellow Africans, conveying a powerful message that transcends circumstances. I want to emphasize the idea that, irrespective of the challenges one may face, it is entirely possible to overcome them and achieve success. The essence of my story is rooted in the belief that individuals possess the inherent ability to forge their paths, navigate adversity, and ultimately realize their dreams.
Through my experiences, I hope to instill a sense of empowerment, encouraging others to embrace their potential, tenacity, and resilience. Regardless of the context or hurdles encountered, my journey is a testament to the transformative power of determination, hard work, and the unwavering belief that, indeed, one can triumph over adversity and make a meaningful impact on their own destiny.
What are your aspirations for the future, both in terms of your career and your advocacy efforts for women in Africa, especially now being L’Oréal Paris’ Sub-Saharan Ambassador and Spokesperson?
To make a difference for the next generation. To encourage people to go after their dreams, and that will take shape in different ways. I do not want to label it to create inflexibility.
My mission is not confined by predefined boundaries or narrow expectations. Instead, I embrace the fluidity of change and growth, understanding that the impact I seek to create may take various forms. The emphasis lies on encouraging people to embark on their unique journeys, fostering a mindset that transcends limitations and encourages flexibility.
By avoiding a strict categorization, I open the door to innovation, adaptability, and the organic evolution of my efforts. I aim to be a catalyst for positive change in a way that resonates authentically with individuals, recognizing that the pursuit of dreams is a dynamic, multifaceted journey that can be uniquely shaped by each person’s aspirations and circumstances.
What is the experience of being a highly influential actress and a figure admired by everyone?
For me it’s more than just being an actress, my passion extends beyond the cinematic universe and into philanthropy. In addition to my successful acting career, I’m actively involved in charitable initiatives that raise awareness of multiple causes, especially issues that tackle education and the well-being of children and youth.
Recently I visited Diepkloof to see the work of Choma Mag and the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP) and their massive, tangible impact on the community. My unwavering commitment is to using my platform for good which resonates deeply with the brand values and vision of L’Oréal Paris. Together, we aim to inspire and uplift individuals of all backgrounds to embrace their beauty, celebrate diversity, and foster self-confidence.