Saturday, April 28, 2018

INTERVIEW. Actress Zola Nombona on her Dancing with the Stars SA journey: 'I went in fearlessly and I had the time of my life'.

On Sunday night actress Zola Nombona didn't win Dancing with the Stars South Africa during the live finale but ended up as one of the two runner-up couples together with actor Eden Classens.

Just after the live finale broadcast on M-Net (DStv 101) TVwithThinus caught up with Zola Nombona who spoke about how the show that she expected would be "rosy" became a personal challenge to grow, that she didn't realise how really difficult the dancing competition show would be, what she thought about the judges - and revealed the one thing she was scared of, but lied so she could get to do it.

Is there anything that you would have done differently during the course of the show?
Sjoe. Maybe ... Nothing comes to mind. I did my best.
I dived very deep into spaces that I never even thought existed. Maybe if I were to go back, I'd go in with more vigor, I guess. At this point I believe I gave it my all, but there's always space for more growth, for more work. So I would go with that extra 2% of more vigor.

What has the experience of being part of the show been like for you?
Absolutely crazy.
I was not expecting it to be this intense. I just thought it was going to be a fun journey, like dancing and being with fun people. Then it was this very serious competition, that was not only demanding physically but pushing me mentally as well.
But Dancing with the Stars SA is just great if you want to push yourself - if anyone wants to find out exactly what capabilities they have, outside of their comfort zone, then you should really do something like this.

How was the experience of getting a body harness strapped around your body and straps through your legs and around your thighs - in addition to wearing ballroom dancing clothes in the finale, and then being hoisted up with wires and dropped down for the one dance number?
That was a highlight for me, for my whole journey!

It's something I had never done before. I was asked beforehand "are you afraid of heights?" and deep down I knew it was a "yes", but when I looked them in the eyes I said "no" because I knew this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I would never have a chance again to do something like this in such a big show and such a big production again. So I went in fearlessly and I had the time of my life.

Can you talk to me a bit about the trust relationship between you and your dance partner and how that grew over the course of the show for someone that you met and didn't know at all when you started?
I think in a journey like this, you just have to throw yourself in at the deep end and I think I built that trust early on in this competition.
We always trusted each other on what we can do and can do together. Our trust definitely grew., I must say. I think we were meant to dance together, you know. I made a great friend and a great brother with Tebogo Mashilo and I think the next person he's going to be dancing with will be a very lucky girl!

What did you think of the judges?
I loved our judges, oh my goodness! They were the most amazing people.
They are so diverse in the different aspects of dance which I think really helped us as dancers. Every time we left the floor, one had something practical, something that you learnt metaphorically as well - that you had to go and figure out yourself as well.
Sometimes I left with "I don't know what she's saying right now!" but sooner or later it would click, hey.
Ja, so I loved them, they're amazing people, and they were great.

What was the hardest for you during the course of the show?
The most difficult thing was the discipline of the dancing, you know.
Coming from a career space that is demanding, but going into one that is physically demanding, one had to grow some form of mental tenacity and physical tenacity to compete in a competition like this.

What did you not expect from this journey?
I didn't expect it to be so tough, I must say.
Like I said, I thought it was all going to be rosy, you're going to be treated like a star, and you're just going to dance like a star, but it ended up being your journey.
You had the safety net but if you wanted to get to the finals, you had to take the initiative yourself to build this and to get stronger. So it ended up being something that became really personal. So I wasn't expecting it to be so difficult - really difficult.

What have you learnt about yourself?
That the performance gift that I have, I do not have it by chance - it's something that I think is there for a greater purpose. That I'm a really strong person and that I've got great mental tenacity.