Boitumelo ‘Boity’ Thulo describes herself as an aspiring actress and model. She is good naturedly deprecating about her career choice saying she knows it’s “very typical”. In our conversations she comes across as a very ambitious young woman who knows that she wants to be successful in her industry and acknowledges that she has a while to go before she can say she has ‘made it’. “I don’t know if I can say I am in a position to say I made it, but I know the value of faith and hard work”
Having burst into our collective consciousness as the gorgeous, tongue tied waitress in the Wimpy Cheesanator ad, she has since featured in international catalogues, voice overs and has landed a presenting gig on Yo-TV’s Crib notes. When asked to give advice to women who may want to pursue a career in entertainment, she is earnest and recommends that “you have to absolutely believe that anything you put your mind and heart to is possible. Everything takes hard work. You have to put in the hours to work on whatever talent you have if you want to achieve anything. Don’t limit yourself. Very cliché words, but they are cliché because they are true.”
Her sunny disposition and can- do-if- you- believe attitude seems genuine. Her sentences and answers are littered with smiley faces and at the shoot she was always giggling and laughing. She does not come across as saccharine or insincere though. She is a bubbly, warm, young woman who is on an exciting career path and seems genuinely happy about most things.
Boitumelo has become something of a recognisable face and with that recognition the perks of being a celeb have started. This is an exciting place to be and I asked her to give me her thoughts on the celeb scene in Souh Africa, “As exciting as the “celeb” status may seem, it is also very harsh. I feel terrible when reading about celebs lately, because people seem to believe that any and every “celeb” deserves to be bashed in any way possible. Be it via blogs or word of mouth, newspapers, etc. It seems as though the moment these celes have “made it” in the public eye, some seem to think that is the perfect platform to be demeaning about them. They are placed under a silly stereotype based on what you do which is ridiculous and unfair. They are judged purely on what they do as opposed to who they are as human beings.”
Her insight into how people work is refreshing, she is very young, 20, yet has a sense of maturity that comes out when discussing work, her plans and the downside of being in the public eye. “I realise that even those who do not know you will always have something negative and dishonest to say about you. And grasping the concept that not everyone is going to like you or what you do. No matter the hard work. (But hey, the best part is that they are there to make you stronger.)”
This maturity also comes to the fore when asked to name four Africans everyone should know. Her list incudes four strong, career oriented women on the continent. And not one singer/model/actress. She names Basetsana Khumalo “She oozes inspiration and strength. I’ve sat down and had a conversation with her. I was left in awe.”
“Barbara Masekela – She serves as South Africa’s first Black woman ambassador representing the New South Africa in France. She is one of only 5 black female ambassadors in the world and is recognised as one of the most successful. What more can I say?”
“Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (The Iron Lady) – She was sworn in as Liberia’s new president in Jan 2006 which made her Africa’s first elected female head of state. There is nothing more beautiful than the power of a confident, self-assured, hard-working woman. Love it!” She could be talking about herself.
Her answers could be motivated by her mother, who is the last of the four Africans she listed. ” She may have not changed the world for the better, but she does that to my world on a daily basis and through that, hopefully I will change the world for the better. She is my inspiration. She is my strength and I feel this interview would be incomplete without me mentioning her somewhere.” Another giggle after that answer.
Moving away from the serious stuff, I ask her who she thinks is jucy? “Boris Kodjoe. Morris Chestnut. Taye Diggs. Amen.”
And if she had only R50 left, what would she spend it on? “Smoked Salmon and Avocado.” A moment of reflection, a smile then “wait…either that or nail polish.” Those who follow her on twitter can pay testament to the fact that she is consistent when it comes to the things she loves; nail polish, salmon, avocado and using the words “deathby”.
Still on food, Boity’s favourite meal is “anything that contains Malamogodu (For those who do not know what that is, those are the insides of a cow.) Yuuuuuuuum!!! ” If a restaurant were to name any dish after her it would be one that contains mogudu.
With a steady buzz surrounding her and her career, surely people have some misconceptions about her? I ask if she knows of any? “People tend to think that I am stuck-up and that and believe that my looks govern who I am. Death.”
She is pragmatic about these views about her and seems to have a plan to navigate the entertainment industry: “You need to be level-headed. You to know exactly who you are dealing with. You need to understand that no-one owes you anything. And most importantly, you need to surround yourself and keep around you positive people who understand and believe in your dream, who are willing to stick by you THROUGHT IT ALL and by that I mean at your highest and your very lowest. Friends and family are extremely important”
Boitumelo is a rising star on South African entertainment scene: smart, articulate, extremely beautiful, she is carving out a niche for herself as a bankable presenter, actress and model.
Jucy Africa was hosted by ZAR nightclub at the Radisson Blu for our shoot with Boitumelo.
The interview was conducted by Nzinga Qunta who is the creative director of JUCY Africa.
Photographer: Motheo Moeng
Stylist: Taryn Treisman of Rose water
Make up: Mary Sue Morris