Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Making of Special Kay Part 2!

Arriving on set at 5am on a raining Wednesday morning isn't the best of feelings but the thought of being filmed for a real commercial warmed my heart. Avon dropped me off because the location wasn't the best of locations for a girl to be driving alone. We were shooting in a down town loft in Johannesburg. I kissed Avon goodbye, ran across the parking lot and jumped into the elevator. A young scruffy guy jumped into the elevator with me. He was probably one of the set up crew guys but he gave me this excited smile like you must be one of the models. I took a glance at my huge afro and my half awake face, wow I don't look like a typical model/actress and sure didn't feel like one. 

When I got into the apartment people were all in their own world setting up the scene. There were lights, cords and camera stuff everywhere. David our casting director was relieved to see me come in on time and rushed me over for make-up "lovie you are on first so we need you looking good quick!" David said with a morning voice. I plopped down into the makeup chair and had a wonderful lady decorate my face. She was so intrigued by the texture of my hair and asked if she could touch it. All I could think about was how I had to wake up at 3am to make sure my afro was as neat of a afro as possible, curling each curl with my finger and loads of jell.

Once I was done make up the french wardrobe guy glided towards me with my outfit. I had to dressed in a Tent which was being used as a changing room.Very practical i thought too myself!  Once I was dressed and ready the choreographer asked if I had practices dancing in my 6inch heals. I had briefly practiced and even wore the shoes while cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. The shoes were sexy hot and I wished I could have had a pair of them myself. I slipped on my shoes then awkwardly tried to rub lotion into my legs with out getting make-up on my white shirt and then I headed to the scene.

The choreographer went over a couple of moves with me and once i was ready I just stood in the middle of my scene. I took a moment to take it all in while people walked by me as if I was part of the furniture. I looked around and thought may I never forget this moment right here! I absorbed everything the lights the decor the people!  There were two extras in the shot one guy who sat in the desk behind me and then another girl. They were both dressed really smart and business like.... I almost didn't recognize them. 

Then it was time to shoot. The director shouted "Okay Kanya we want personality and energy when you move. We will do two rehersal shots and then get into the actual filming." It was all of a sudden silent and everyone that was walking past me before was now standing at some strategic locaiton - be it behind the lights, camera, radio or TV Even the casual set up crew were just waiting wanting to see what this was all about. I had a moment of "Dear God please may I not mess up my moves, all these people are watching me and I am in 6inch will hurt." I thought of what Avon told me the night before "Its alot different when you are actually being filmed and the lights are on you!" He was so right, it was different. But I wasn't going to let myself get worked up coz I know I can. My prayer lead me to some peaceful place inside of me and I pretended like it was just me dancing in my own room. I moved like never before, as if I had just had special K that morning!

After the rehersal shots I was breaking out in a sweat. The lights were really heating me up and my goodness it wasn't as easy as I thought. The make-up artist then appeared and fixed my face. The choreographer corrected me on certain moves.  The French wadrobe guy came and adjusted my collar and tucked in my shirt deep into my shorts. I had a giggle thinking the Extra right beside us must be thinking..."talk about invading someones personal space." I cracked a joke and said "I am going to have to tell my husband that another man was in my pants!" but jokes aside - I comforted myself in thinking that this guy was gay and this was his job. It wasn't like he was touching me inappropriately he genuinely was annoyed that my shirt kept coming out while I danced and that my collar shifted every so often. Detail detail detail!!!

I danced my heart out! Seriously by the time the producers were satisfied I was out of breathe, aching and hungry. The heals really made me have a work out. But I enjoyed every minute of it and would do it over and over again if they wanted me too. I was done by 7am and thought gee my husband hasn't even left for work yet! I could just go home and go back to sleep, but decided to sit and watch the next scene. 

The picture below is me having breakfast after a long morning! All in a hard days work :).
Not sure if you will even get to see me in the commercial but I promise you the experience was worth it!

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Making of Special Kay Part 1

So this is my first real commercial :) and I just can not resist my writing erg to let you all in on the making of Special K!

Last year December I was called in for two rounds of auditions for a Kellogs commercial. But these were not just any auditions we had to learn dance moves. I thought I was a pro at it but when I started rehearsing for the first round of auditions I realised that these moves were a little bit harder. Not because the moves were complicated but the video clip I had got made the moves a bit off beat. Now imagine trying to learn moves when they are off beat, and not only that....I kept getting my left and right hands mixed up coz I was watching a screen and not a person. If it wasn't for Avon, I wouldn't have got the moves right he - filmed and critiqued me every night before the audition..... What a Husband!

On the final round of auditions I managed to mess my moves up big time. They asked for energy and I gave them alot of much that I lost my coordination all together. I was so embarrassed coz during rehearsal the choreographer had made everyone watch me coz I was smiling and giving it my best. "Guys you got to dance like this girl in red and white, I want you all to just watch her for quickly," she had said. Kanya "Brr". Yet in front of the camera I was a wreck, maybe it was my nerves or the fact that I had learnt 2 different dances to the same music and mixed them both up. I just jumped around with my tight nit afro and my kellogs look-alike clothes. I thought if I didn't get called back everyone would be like...I thought she could "Dance." Quwa Quwa Quwa. I left the auditions feeling really down. I thought I "Had it" but I guess I had to much Special K in mom did always say I was Special. She was right coz I did get called back and I was ecstatic!

Now we all were not sure what the add was about. Originally we heard there were suppose to about 30 girls and I was like gee....30 girls in 30 seconds nobody will see anyone. You might as well be an extra. But it turned out that they narrowed it down to 15 girls and we each had a role to play. We all met yesterday in some shady part of town. It was on the same route I used to go to Scandal shoot but a bit older part of Jozi. When I got to the spot, I parked my car and looked out side... hesitated to step out thinking that I was sure I got the wrong spot. Then I saw one of the girls form the audition. When I first saw her at the auditions I thought she reminded me of a bush baby coz she had these big cute bubbly eyes and a small figure. I rolled down my window and said with a I wanna be someone's friend kind of voice "Hey you here for kellogs right." She replied "Ya and I am so F-word tired, was out partying last night." Okay she didn't look that tired I thought but grabbed my bags and walked with her in.

We walked into this old renovated house with wooden floors. The interior was much nicer than what we saw on the street. The location was a costume Organization. We shyly walked in coz we were actually 10 minutes late and a tall large man with grey hair told us to put our bags down and walk this way. As I walked behind him I noticed that he was a femanine kind of a man. The walk flamboyant but not as far as a gay flamboyance. He took us into the wardrobe section where each of us had a range of clothes under our name and picture. Staring at me from head to toe he said French accent "what is your name". "Kanya" I said...."But you do not look like this Kanya," he grunted with a confused look on his face. "Sorry, its the hair I have it straight but I will change it." "Okay my dear you are the office girl, put this on and this and come out and show me." It was so cool to see what they had chosen for each girl. I was given shorts and a jacket, with some cool high heels. My new "walk-in friend" was a pjamma girl which was so ideal for her character that morning lol. We were in wardrobe for hours. Trying on this and trying on that. My shoes were too big for me but they were all brand new stuff so they could change things at the store. They paid attention to absolutely every detail from the Earrings to the sunglasses and bangles. And the french guy was comfortable adjusting every bit of clothing on us. I comforted myself in thinking that he was gay and took his job seriously.It was so interesting looking at the chosen girls for the add. There were 2 other girls there with afros and I thought for sure they would choose only one of us and not all three of us. I was excited that they were there too coz they had such nice bubbly personalities. One was tall and model like with a bit of Chinese in her the other was shorter and rounder with German blood. We stood and talked about our afros for hours.

Once we were all dressed we got to go in and model for the client. Now these were the top dogs the ones that call the shots. One by one we walked in and they commented on everything. From shoes to hair. I had to tell them that my hair would have no problem going back into a afro :) coz that’s what they wanted.

While we were waiting us "actresses" chatted about where we were from and what we do. I had been called for a GIS interview the day before and I had this feeling of do we follow our passion or do we do what we can to get money? I knew that if I got a full time job doing this commercial stuff wouldn't be easy and maybe this would be the last time. Everyone was shocked that I was 28 years old with a Masters Degree. Something that I guess I take for granted. But what would I do if I was forced to make a choice doing what I am passionate about or doing what I was educated in? We shared our passions and talked about our jobs some were models, one a casting director for children, one a daddy’s little girl (don't need to work), one a Dance studio owner, one bartender. It was obvious to them that you would choose what you are passionate about. My fear was - at what risk?

Our Casting Director was also really cool to chat with. His job is just to make sure us girls know where we are suppose to be and when. He used to be a HR manager and now does this. I could tell he enjoyed his job. It takes a real people person to do it. He was also saying that the Production company that we were working for was also very good! I didn't really need him to tell me that, I could just tell. They were all so nice to me when I messed up my move during the audition and also they chat with us even when we are not working. A company I thought would be nice to work for (career wise).

We had Nando’s for lunch and went over to the dance studio to learn our routine. We all are doing the same dance but in different scenes (I would tell you them all but you wouldn't enjoy the add as much). I made sure I learnt my moves proper this time. I had to leave a bit early coz I had to go drop of Sabrina’s (Miata’s friend) bag at the airport. We have one more rehearsal today and then my shoot day is on Wednesday 20th Jan. Will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


So I got a call from my agent asking if I could be feature in an episode of Scandal. Now if you are not from South Africa, Scandal is a local soapie. I do not watch it and hardly know any of the characters. The most I had known was what I saw on the billboards on the streets of Johannesburg. Needless to say I was very excited about it. There is something about being on set that gets me excited. I love how they shoot, direct the actors, the set up of the studios, the make-up and hair styling. Maybe it is to do with experiencing something out of the ordinary.

Anyways my first issue was I needed to have straight hair because the photo used to promote me had straight hair. Big problem as I have been rocking the afro for a while. So the day before the shoot I decided to go to my true friend Mandy and ask here to blow dry my afro. She is a true coloured lady and knows the ins and outs for flattening the kinks of Africanised locks. However my hair is a lot thicker than regular coloured hair so I was a bit worried it would not work out. It took her about 1 and a half hours but I was very impressed by the look. That night I avoided any moisture and even wore a stocking. Something that us Afro people don't normally do.

I tried to get some beauty sleep but was awoken by a really bad dream...... I was at the Scandal set all ready and everything. Then while the cameras were rolling I was told that I would have to kiss some actor. It freaked me out because I had not discussed this with my Husband and thats exactly what I had said in my dream. The next thing you know everyone was angry at me and calling me a loser and a waste of their time because I couldn't even kiss a guy. But I was like it isn't just Acting for me....if I haven't gone over it with my husband. I woke up with a sense of fear in me like as if it was going to happen. And because they hadn't told me what I was actually going to be doing on set...I was actually nervous.

My drive to the Studios was hectic too. I dropped Avon off at work (6am) then on my way out of Montecasino I nearly drove into a car that was on fire. Men were frantically trying to blow it out and I just had a vision of it blowing up (Too many action movies I tell ya). I just prayed really hard and sped past. I had a vision of Angels around me (something I think of everytime I am in a bad situation).
As if I wasn't worked up already, I kept thinking about my dream and what I was getting myself into. If you are anything like me your greatest fear is being cheated on not you being the cheater. My dream had warned me of a situation where I may be tempted to "Cheat" and it shook me. I have always known that the film industry was dirty and I had experienced it first hand in Canada. Thats mainly why I had wanted a Christian based agent here in South Africa. But at what expense was I willing to get my self into such an industry?

I have reflected on my passion for TV/Dance and modeling many times. All through university I got involved with African dance performance, background work in movies, commercials and and modeling here and there. I didn't do it for the money or to be famous, I genuinely enjoyed it. In my reflections about my life journey I believe I have evolved big time - spiritually. Becoming famous and rich is actually a fear of mine. A fear that I would be self absorbed and lost. I am actually humbled in the fact that I have not made a big breakthrough in such an industry. Because something deep inside of me says "Kanya you are not ready," Like God is saying "I am not finished with you." I will never know fully where God wants me but I will put all my trust, talents, passions, desires before Him. And he will use them as He will!

After having my deep morning conversations with God in the car and singing Christian songs (In Christ alone), my fears were gone and I was ready to walk into the Scandal studio with the assurance that I was not alone. The Scandal Studio was so elite and clean cut. There were pictures of all the actors in the entrance. The couches were black and red and the floor well carpeted. No one was behind the reception but there was a form to fill in for all actors and extras. A young guy kind of brushed in behind me as if he knew what he was doing and actually lead me to the extras room (he was a regular extra). I joined the other extras and we went for breakfast with all the crew members, actors and production managers. I wasn't hungry but I just observed the people around me. I couldn't exactly tell who was an actor and who wasn't everyone just kinda blended in.

We went back to the Extras room and Eduard, the guy who contacted my agent, asked to see my wardrobe. I was told to bring 4 sexy tops and jeans. I showed him all my sexy clothes. But apparently it wasn't sexy enough and he said he would like to see me in red so he went to grab me more clothes. I was given a red top which looked flirty and not too hectic. I was concerned because I was the only extra being told what to wear. One girl looked over at me and said You must be the "Hooker". I looked at the call sheet and read 7 extras, 3 girls. Then below one hooker and one lawyer. I got a chill thinking what if I am the "Hooker". My agent did tell me that I would not have any lines...but what if it was my body that was going to sell. I looked down at my cloths and thought I don't really look like a Hooker. "Lord prepare me to stand strong," I said in my mind.

Eduard didn't give me any information. He just panicked and said we need 2 more sexy girls. Apparently the other two girls hadn't arrive. He looked at me and said "Don't you have 2 other sexy friends you could call who could be here in an hour." Um brrrrrr, I had never been asked such a question and mind you I had never looked at my friends in that kind of a way. I scrolled through my letter A names on my phone and I realized I needed more friends that begin with the letter with 'A' (avon work, avon office, avon cell, avon Swaziland, Avon mom, Avon dad). In a rushed voice Eduard told me to forget it and walked me over to hair and makeup. Wooooow. It was just like the TVs. Lights and high chairs. I stepped in and just said " Morning everyone,......looks like I have been up graded lol," This was where the actors got their make-up done. At least for one hour I could pretend like I was some real actress. The girl beside me seemed like she was having a bad day. Her Character is really mean on Scandal...and i thought that she might be normal in life...but looks like she was just as mean. Unless she was in character (lol).

As I was getting my make-up done I got to chat to some of the Actors there. It was funny as they talked about their Christmas and some of the problems they were going through. Landlord issues, not happy with this or that, job is boring coz they are always waiting around. One actor said he wanted to be like one of the guys at his gym who is a underwear model. lol. I just thought - here you are, a successful actor (to some degree) some people dream of being where you are right now. Are we ever satisfied?

My highlight of the day was when Justice did my hair. Yup Justice did justice to my hair. He made it extra straight. I was like who needs to go to the hair dressers now...just go on an episode of Scandal and get it done for free.

By the time I came out of hair and Make-up I could hardly recognize myself. I looked much older but not exactly Hooker like. I thought maybe one of the other girls would be the hooker. By the time I got into the extras room one of the other girls had arrived. SHe was also a Christian with the same agent. And also had no idea what was going on. She had been married for 5 years and was thinking of having kids this year. It was nice chatting with the other extras too. Finding out how much they get paid, what else they do ect.

Well the scene wasn't as scary as I imagined. Us three girls were escorted to the Set which was a bar scene. In the show Scandal the bar looks much larger. All we had to do was be 3 sexy girls out having a drink and then waving to the bar tender who looked like someone my brothers age. We had to be very flirty and fun. Yet the whole time were were not aloud to say a word...not even a whisper. I just wanted to laugh coz you had to pretend like the other person was saying something interesting yet they were saying nothing. The camera was probably on us for like 4 seconds but I guess thats better than being a extra extra, who gets commanded to just walk by or sit. We did about 3 takes and it was over. I watched how each actor tried to go over their lines and imagined if I could be able to do that.

You know how on Bold and the Beautiful just keeps going on and on and on and you just can get so caught up in the mix up it can be so confusing??? Well its funny coz on set there was a part where the actors realised that they were not on good talking terms lol. But it was missing from the script. I just had a moment thinking...I thought it was just me that gets lost watching soapies...thats why I don't watch them.

After we were done one of the actors came up to us and asked if we were models with an excited look on his face. In my mind i just laughed and was like "I wish". The fact that he had asked that made me realise how everyone has a different perception of everyone else. We were all far from models (one GIS remote sensing specialist, one graphic designer and a stay-at-home mom) but with all that makeup on and sexy shirts maybe we could have been. Turns out we were the first kinda featured extras they had had so we looked kind of important.
I don't know how much we even got paid for that job. But I had fun just being there. I had a confirmation that we are all just people at the end of the us famous, pretty, sexy, actors or actresses, underneath all the make-up and clothes is what really matters. Also I just found it interesting that even at that level of their career some people are still not satisfied.

Keep reading "My Rhythm of life" to find out what Adventure is Up next. Tomorrow is the rehearsals for the Kelloggs commercial!

My first Middleton Funeral

There is a deep spiritual vibe experienced at a funeral. Avons uncles mother had passed away and we were to attend the funeral early Sunday morning (6am). I had never been to a Swazi funeral before and was curious to experience it.

The air was so fresh and the sky was cloudy as we walked up a narrow path to what appeared to be a grave yard. We had come a couple of minutes late so everyone was there already. The women stood on one side of the grave while the men stood on the other side.

The Swazi women sang so beautifully as if thier voices came from the beauty of the mountains that surrounded us. Their voices trailed through the maize fields and trickled through the streams. It was so hypnotizing that it took me into a day dream far back into time. I looked across the landscape and saw pockets of sunlight light up parts of the fields located on the mountains. I thought of the British colonizing the Zulus the Siswatis. I couldn't even put a face to the lady who had died but I felt a strange spirit pass over with the cool morning breeze. It was like there were spirits all around this land moving through the landscape with the wind.

Who was this lady that had died, was she white was she Black or coloured? These people that were here to wish her farewell were mostly Swazis yet the children she had were coloured some light skinned some dark (approx 8, I was told). If she was Swazi how did she come to love a white man? was it love that she experienced? In Swaziland, back in the days, it was common for the White men to have children with the Swazi women. Why wasn't it the other way around in those days? I was reminded of something Avons mom told me as was drove through the maize fields to the funeral she said..."these lands were now mainly run by the Chinese. You should see what kind of kids are born of a Chinese Swazi, there skin colour is just different!" She looked at me with a strange eye. I guess I had never seen a Chinese Swazi mix. But yet again it was the Chinese men that were having kids with the Swazi Women. You rarely see it the other way around. The funny thing is although there are coloured children and families in tend to get a sense that they are a race of their own. They are not White and they are not Black. Yet as I looked at the faces surrounding the open grave it was clear it began with Black and White. Maybe I was questioning the beginning of it all because I was a first generation coloured. What would my children think they are? But to tell you the truth the body is just a shell for our spirit because once you die there is no colour.

I was brought back to reality when Avons mom tapped me on the shoulder and told me that I was standing on someone's grave. Yikes these piles of stones were someone's grave. I was so ashamed of myself. But had a bit of a giggle thinking gee "kanya.... trust you not to know".

After the funeral we went to visit another grave yard to pay respect to Avon’s Granddad. This Grave yard was a lot better demarcated with graves labeled with large stones and tiles. The air was a lot more misty and cold. Avons Gran was with us too and that was when it really hit me that gosh we are visiting her husband. How would I be if this was my husbands grave I was visiting.....I got chills down my spine as I limb onto Avons back because the grass was too wet for my new Christmas sandals. Avon’s dad told me who each person was. As I read each stone...Middleton,.... Middleton....Middleton, I stood proud and lifted my arms and said "Hi everyone I am Kanya, Avon’s Wife. Pleasure to meet you."

We then drove over to Aunty Maggie's house for breakfast. It was a huge house and breakfast was Chicken curry or Beef curry. Not your typical breakfast but when you are hungry anything goes down no matter what time of the day it is. We were all pretty hungry. I spent time chatting in the kitchen with the ladies. It was interesting to listen to the family stories and some of the unnecessary drama. All the women in the kitchen were all Middleton’s but we were all so different. We all got married at different times. Some had straight hair some had curly hair. We were all customized to different things some did dishes some didn't some talked more than others some didn't talk at all. I was the only one that hadn't had kids yet and there were chats of the when when when can we expect a baby. The Men were more similar in looks but very different in Character from DJs to race car drivers from Fathers to guys that are not fathers or some that are Fathers but still act like they are not.

This was the first real family gathering that we had had since our wedding and I really felt part of the family. Aunty Maggie even gave me violet shoots...which I am still trying to get them to grow (must be the Joburg air lol).

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Christmas Road trip to Swaziland

Once again Avon and I had planned for a last minute Christmas vacation away. We thought it would be fun to catch the Greyhound bus up to Zimbabwe and just stay there for a week. But alas the bus tickets were fully booked and Avon and I were not prepared to drive ....let alone spend hours waiting at the beitbridge border. So since that was scratched out we thought we might as well save our leave time for next year and go to Swaziland for the Christmas weekend.
The drive to Swaziland was amazing as usual. This time Avon and I caught a ride with Reagan and Maita...who were also spending Christmas in Swaziland. We woke up with a bit of a struggle at 3.30am and met Maita and Reagan at 4:30am. Now we had a bit of a logistics problem coz all of us were carrying gifts that had been carefully wrapped up that week. Now imagine trying to pack all these wrapped gifts into a small car with all our bags in it too. We debated on going in two cars but as we started calculating the time and c
ost required we thought one car would be was too early for such deep thinking. Anyways by 5am we had said our road trip prayer and were on the road to Swaziland. 

As planned we managed to watch the sun rise. But it wasn't as spectacular as we thought it would be. The air was so full of smog it felt like we were on some strange planet and the sun was some other solar object that wasn't functioning well. The more I tried to gaze at the sun rise through the thick smog, the more I began to worry about the air conditions of Johannesburg. The landscape is flat most of the way to Swaziland but there are about 2 main visible coal stations that fill the air with pollution. We saw a silhouette of about 4 smoke towers. The grey/orange sunrise made the towers look like a piece of art. Which just felt wrong....coz it was clearly disgusting. The previous week I had to go to the doctor bec
ause I had had an allergy attack (rash all on one arm and sinus blockage). The doctor told me that the weather had been so bad that people who haven't even had asthma are now getting symptoms. YIKES these model like towers were probably contributing to it all. This Smog sun rise was proof that the air we were breathing in was terrible and confirmed the doctors reasoning that...THERE WAS SOMETHING IN THE AIR. In my day dream I just thought....."Thank God we are going to Swaziland for Christmas. I am going to breath in all the fresh air I can."

We only made one pit stop at the Ultra station in Middleburg. It was still early in the morning but the station was so dirty it looked like a hurricane had passed through. There was litter everywhere, probably from the late night travelers the night before. 

Driving the roads during Christmas is so interesting coz there are always these sketch cars on the road. These are the over loaded buckies that are clearly going somewhere far but obviously risking it in the car. We started counting how many broken down cars we could see. There were actually too many to think off. 

We managed to get to the border in 3 1/2 hours which wasn't so bad. As we were pulling into the border we heard that the border to Zimbabwe was so full that there was a line up of 5km. Imagine that 5km line up to get into Zimbabwe. Crazy! yet again another confirmation that Swaziland was the place to be for Christmas. Because we had woken up so early there was hardly any traffic on the road or at the border.