Thembsie Matu, affectionately known as Patronella in Mzansi Magic’s The Queen shares hows she’s built a household name for 30 years in entertainment, and her success tips
What has built longevity in your career as an entertainer?
It is definitely hard work, patience, and discipline.
What have been some of the challenges you faced over the years?
Getting into TV at first was a hassle because back then there was a certain perception about who should be in front of the camera, and plus sized people didn’t fit that category. I persisted to be on television because I have always been passionate about it. I could say I am a trendsetter for plus sized people in entertainment.
And the high lights?
The biggest highlight is the love I get from people. They love and appreciate the work I do and it’s humbling and importantly, it pushes me to continue working hard. I am not one who likes looking down on people because of my fame. It’s sad that some people do look down on their fans, forgetting that what we do is for people at the end of the day.
How do you define success and do you feel you have reached it?
Success is when you look back and feel content with what you have done with your life and how you have fulfilled your purpose. I feel I will reach the success I want when I see I have groomed and helped young talent that is passionate about its craft.
What is your relationship with failure?
I don’t succumb to how people define failure. It’s a necessary way to learn from what you tried to do to reach your goals. In fact, it’s great to fail because it means you have done something with your life. so when people expect me to fail I prove them wrong by always doing my best to reach my goals. I believe you need to use failure as a reference to navigate another direction of your life.
What is your advice to up and coming entertainers?
Respect the craft. Speaking in a posh accent doesn’t necessarily mean you are talented. Importantly, don’t sleep your way into the industry or to the top because that won’t earn you respect at all.
Tell us more about your much-loved character, Patronella, from The Queen. How did that opportunity come about and how do you transition to her on set?
I actually didn’t audition for the role of Patronella, it was written for me. I had to make Patronella who she is. She loves people and is relatable and also loves a fancy lifestyle. Great actors go to different environments and study certain cultures and people so they can bring their characters to life. That’s how I prepare myself for the role and that’s why I think people love and relate to her.
Congratulations for the Mzansi Magic Viewers Choice Awards nomination, what does it mean to you?
I am so humbled. The nominations mean a lot because they mean I am recognised for what I do. I wasn’t on social media, but people insisted I create platforms for them to interact with me. Hard work got me to this point in my career and I am grateful.
What are your success tips to young people?
Don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t achieve your dreams. Your current situation shouldn’t define who you are and your destiny. Don’t just dream, work hard to make your dreams come true.
Catch Thembsie Matu on The Queen, Channel 161, Weekdays at 21:00 PM CAT
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