The big Bonang theory

Bonang Matheba wears many faces — TV presenter, entrepreneur and mentor — and now she adds Face of Revlon to her impressive CV.

Bonang Matheba wears many faces — TV presenter, entrepreneur and mentor — and now she adds Face of Revlon to her impressive CV.

Seems like everyone wants a little of the Bonang Matheba magic. She is a television presenter for shows such as Top Billing and Clash of the Choirs South Africa, presents the Hot 99 R&B Countdown on YFM, has an online reality show, B*Dazzled, and she is an entrepreneur to boot.

A day after the 26-year-old was announced as the only returning judge on MTV Base VJ Search, she was officially unveiled as international cosmetics company Revlon’s latest brand ambassador.

Matheba is the first South African to represent the brand and follows in the footsteps of women such as Halle Berry, Cindy Crawford and Emma Stone.

In 2008 Matheba launched her first clothing range with Legit, called Just B, and followed that up in 2009 with her own range of handbags, Baby Star. Now Matheba is collaborating on another fashion line that will be released before the end of the year.

In 2012, she was named woman of the year by international women’s magazine Glamour, after winning an online poll.

But it is not all glamour and flashing lights.
Matheba gives monthly mentoring sessions and motivational talks to young women across the country.

And she also coaches young, up-and-coming television and radio presenters — experience that serves her well in her next television reality show project: from next month Matheba, along with comedian Joey Rasdien and video jockey Sizwe Dhlomo, will be visiting Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg in search of a new star for MTV Base.

What is the best part of being Bonang right now?
Definitely being the face of Revlon. They could have chosen a woman from any other country but I am so proud of the fact that they chose a South African. Then, on Top Billing, I get to see the most beautiful countries around the world and meet interesting people. Travelling as much as I do right now is definitely a highlight.

Being chosen as the face of Revlon is, obviously, the ­opportunity of a lifetime.
A lot of people don’t realise that Revlon is the number one cosmetics brand in the country and I am so proud to be part of it. A large amount of their time goes into empowering women. It is something they are extremely passionate about — which is something I share with them.

What other projects are you ­working on?
I am working on a clothing collaboration, which will be released before the end of the year but I can’t tell you more than that.

Next up is searching for an MTV Base VJ. What will you be ­looking for in a potential VJ for the channel?
For me, delivery will be very important; how you carry yourself during interviews, whether they are live or recorded. This is a difficult job. It isn’t as easy as it looks. I would say that there are only four seasoned presenters who can handle recorded and live television without a hitch on South African TV right now.

What, in your opinion, is wrong with the South African ­entertainment industry?
That there is not enough money to pay those who work in the industry. We don’t get paid enough for what we do. In the United States all it takes is one huge hit song or movie and you’re a millionaire but here you have to do a lot of things to be able to see financial results and support whatever lifestyle you have. We also need to remember that this is also a very young industry in terms of every­one having equal opportunities. But it needs support from the public, where they invest their money in local music, movies and other products.

What is the best part of our ­entertainment industry?
It is so diverse, from the languages to the beautiful cultures in our country. I love that there is enough work for everyone.

What are you currently reading and what was the last book you read?
I am reading Andrew Tobias’s book The Story of Charles Revson — the Man Who Built the Revlon Empire, which I started reading after Nelson Mandela’s A Long Walk To Freedom. I have read it before but just felt the need to give it another go.

What music are you playing in your car?
I am a fan of R&B music so you’re most likely to hear me play Toni Braxton and Tamar Braxton. I can go from Justin Timberlake to Jay-Z to Zola, and from Zola to Danny K.

When you want to escape Jo’burg, which city do you like to visit?
London is a definite favourite; I am a shopaholic, after all. Thailand as well because it is a beautiful country and I am a fan of their lifestyle, from Thai massages to Thai cuisine.

Which part of Jo’burg do you like?
Sandton for the hustle and bustle; Melville for its hidden boutiques, charity stores and small intimate restaurants; Parkhurst for the ambience, which often reminds me of Cape Town; and Rosebank for its youthful atmosphere.

What is your favourite food?
I am a fan of traditional Tswana food. Especially mogudu and mabele, which is a very sweet porridge. I love African cuisine and I only really get the opportunity to eat it when I go to family gatherings.

What is the last film that you watched that blew you away?
A documentary called The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, which is about product placement, marketing and advertising in movies and TV shows.

I take it that you’re a wine drinker?
One of my favourites is Simonsig Gewürztraminer, which is deliciously sweet but I also love a good merlot and Moët & Chandon champagne.

Do you watch TV and what is your favourite show?
Border Security and Come Dine with Me. I am a sucker for reality shows so any trash that is about people’s lives is something that I will watch.

For details on auditions for the MTV Base VJ Search visit

Rhodé Marshall

Rhodé Marshall

Rhodé Marshall is the Mail & Guardian's arts, culture and entertainment content producer. She started as a radio reporter and producer in Cape Town, before jumping into online news. When there is chaos, she is the responsible, cool and calm one. With one hand glued to her phone and the other to a can of Coca-Cola, she is a pop culture junkie. And don't you dare write her name without the accent on the e, she will make sure that you know how to do it on every device. Visit her blog: Read more from Rhodé Marshall

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