We caught up with South African actress and presenter Kajal Bagwandeen on her latest moves and what she’s been up to. Fans will recognise this beautiful lady from her acting appearances on local soaps 7de Laan and Isidingo. She currently hosts a TV show, Mela on SABC 2 which sees her travel out of the country five times a year.
Kajal opens up about her time in the spotlight, how she maintains her privacy, her travels and hopes for the local industry and international goals. Enjoy!
You are regularly on South African television and in the public eye. How do you maintain your privacy?
The fact that I live in Durban helps a lot, there is so much more privacy here – I guess it stems from the fact that most people are of the opinion that if you’re on television, you are living and working in jhb. On the other hand, don’t offer too much to the media. As much as sharing is good – I don’t believe your entire life should be public knowledge. Where’s the mystery in that?
What are the biggest challenges you face as an actress and TV presenter and being famous in South Africa?
As an actress it’s having to deal with stereotyped roles, as a television presenter opportunities are quite limited.
What would you be if you weren’t in the Entertainment Industry?
What do you think of the industry currently?
It’s an exciting industry that is growing but opportunities are still few and need to be opened up to up and coming artists, not just to the existing ones. It should never appear to be a “closed” industry.
We hear you quite a traveler. What was the last country you visited and why did you decide to go there?
We visited an island off Zanzibar called Mnemba island, one our favourite places in the world. There is something very special about it, so much so, that it feels like a home away from home. We can’t wait to return. Read more about my travels on my blogsite http://www.Kajalb.com
What did you enjoy most about your trip?
The barefoot luxury of the island and the underwater adventures
What did you NOT enjoy?
Leaving the island.
Tell us a funny story that happened during one of your travels over the years?
I have a bad habit of making it to the boarding gate “just in time’. We were returning home from a trip to mauritius, I was still browsing the Duty Free when our plane was boarding, I was still making a purchase so my husband decided to walk ahead. I eventually arrive at the gate, but don’t see him, I get onto the plane and he’s still not there – only to see him rush in a few minutes later to tell me that he boarded the wrong plane! He settled in, until a bearded man took “my seat” next to him. First thought – “Uh, this isn’t Kajal!” He asked the gentleman if he was in his correct seat, it was correct. He then asked the hostess to assist, only to find out that the plane he boarded was flying to Bangalore in India and not to SA. Luckily he made it onto the correct flight in time, and not another unplanned adventure!
What was your most expensive purchase while on holiday and how much did it cost?
To be honest, I rarely spend much on myself while on holiday, I love buying presents for the ones I love – I am much better at that.
Tell us about Mela.
Mela is a celebration of South African lifestyle giving viewers a unique South African indian experience.
What are you plans for 2015?
Getting involved in some behind the scenes work for local SA films, auditioning for a few of the international productions being shot in South Africa and I hope to study further.
What is your advice for the youth of South Africa who dream of becoming actors and entertainers?
Go for it! You need to be multifaceted in this industry so when you are not acting, you are able to write, direct, produce etc. Continuously nurture your skills, learn new ones and maintain your very own x factor. Grow a thick skin because failure is imminent, but it is the only way you will learn.