Thuso Mbedu was nominated for the 45th International Emmy Awards in New York in November, for her role as Winnie in Is’thunzi. She did not win, but the actress, who is also an entrepreneur, still wowed in her blue Gert-Johan Coetzee dress. We spoke to her weeks before the ceremony.
- Did you ever think you would be nominated for an Emmy?
One dreams of such accolades but never thinks they are attainable. In my wildest dreams, I would attain such in my mid-30s or 40s, if I am lucky. This nomination was truly unexpected but it was a pleasant and most humbling surprise.
- Have you planned your speech?
Yes, I have and simply because I want to thank all those who supported and believed in me. I need to make sure I emphasize hard work and the pursuit of excellence is never in vain. This is just the beginning of great things. Even if I don’t bring the award home, I will still use the very same speech to thank everybody. The speech will not change; just the platform and time. I truly am grateful for the opportunity.
- If you don’t win…
I’m going to keep at it. I can only push harder and get better. Again, this is just the beginning. I will work with my colleagues to ensure the global audience stays aware we have talent to be reckoned with. International productions must know when they come to our country to shoot their productions there is a great talent pool they can choose from. They can use us to tell our stories and we are also available in aiding to tell the global stories because we are more than capable. I am very excited about the future of acting in South Africa.
- What we don’t know about you…
I love dogs. I’m a dreamer — with a very vivid imagination. I am a creative artist whose mind is always working overtime. I see possibilities and opportunities in almost everything. I’m very sensitive to what others go through. I once forced my housemates to go star-gazing. It wasn’t anything fancy because we cannot afford the fancy things yet. I drove them to the rooftop of a mall and we put our fleece blankets on the ground and looked at the stars.
- Where to from here?
I will definitely continue creating my own work. I want to produce films and series that will be consumed globally. It’s not just about me. I have to work hard in order to attain my ultimate goal which is to open an orphanage or an arts academy where kids will be taken care of. I want to reach a place of such influence that people with money will want to sponsor the upbringing of a child even if they do not want to adopt a child. The basic foundations are integral. I want to ensure that as many kids as space and finances will allow will have those foundations of love, support, education.
- What roles would you want to play?
I have three ‘ideal’ roles. Viola Davis (Annalise Keating) in How to Get Away with Murder, Taraji P. Henson (Cookie Lyon) in Empire, and Heath Ledger (Joker) in The Dark Knight. The aforementioned characters differ in immense ways and they are characters that would certainly challenge me as an artist. I always welcome challenges as they result in growth. I know for a fact that with each of these characters I will find myself questioning my ability to act at some point because they are so complex.
- On the set of my first role I was feeling…
Excited but very prepared. I had to deliver and did not want to drop the ball. I was the only new face in a set of veterans but they were very welcoming and the director was very open in terms of what was to be expected of me. I spent most of my free time getting knowledge from the veterans and it is knowledge I use and pass on to others.