My Journey To Success With Ubettina Wethu Star Farieda Metsileng
Content creator, comedian and actress Farieda Metsileng shares with us how her career started, her lead role in uBettina Wethu, and her success tips
Take us back to your childhood, what were your career aspirations?
My childhood was pretty average and safe. I have an older sister and an older brother. We were a family of five, with my mother and father. My childhood took a turn when my mother passed away in 2005 when I was 15. She was one of the most important people in my life. My biggest fear had come true when I lost her, and it changed my perspective on a lot of things. It didn’t change who I was but it changed how I saw the world. I held on to the rest of my family who I was close to, to close the gap. In terms of my career, I wanted to do anything with paperwork. My mother used to say I would become a social worker one day because of how much I loved to write. But when I got to high school I was drawn more into the arts. I loved performing because I saw that it was something people enjoyed seeing me doing. I went to AFDA for one year, but I couldn’t finish because of varsity fees. I got a job as a production assistant at a production company and in four years, I was a production manager for the music show Club 808. It was a great experience because I got the experience of working behind the scenes, how things work and how they get to a television. That foundation helped me set my foot in front of the camera and understand the process of this world.
What are the highlights, challenges, and misconceptions people have about your career?
The highlights are doing what I love. I enjoy acting, it’s something that is soothing to me. It’s a form of therapy because sometimes I don’t have the time to cry about a situation, but this character, uBettina, goes through the most and allows me to express myself. The biggest misconception is that it’s easy. There’s nothing easy about anyone’s job; every job has its intricacies, and acting is one of those jobs. Another misconception is that we are rich. A challenge is that we have to work with people we don’t like, but we need to get the job done and as professional as possible.
How do you define success and do you feel you have achieved it?
For me, success is achieving every goal you have set for yourself, no matter how small it is. It takes something as small as sending an email that might take you further, whether you get a response or not. It means you challenged yourself to step outside the box, instead of waiting in fear. Success is giving yourself a pat on the back after trying your best.
How did you hear about the auditions for uBettina and when you got the part, how did you prepare to transform yourself into her character?
When I heard about it I thought this is interesting, we are doing another South African adaptation of an international series. I didn’t think I’d be auditioning for it until my agent told me I should give it a try. When I got a callback I was surprised because I didn’t think I would. I knew it would be a big deal, especially being the first black Ugly Betty. It was an amazing experience because it was my first big role.
What are your goals from this point?
Ma’am, I don’t know. But on a serious note, where I find myself is where I am meant to be. Every day is me trying to stay alive and just enjoy every moment I am in.
What are your success tips for young people?
Don’t be so fixated on plan A. If you have a goal, you have to find different ways of reaching it. You may not go the way you wanted, but giving up also gives into you succeeding. I know this may sound like a cliche, but don’t give up, even if it takes seven years, it will come and on your seventh year, you will boom in a way you won’t believe. I spent most of my early 20s trying to make it, but I realised that it’s more than that, I want to tell people stories, sharpen my skills and get to know people.
What Lesego Thlabi, aka Coconut Kelz, said about Farieda:
Farieda is the first girl in SA I ever saw doing content comedy, and for her to be in this place right now is well deserved. She’s the first person who put comedy before Black Wendy and Coconut Kelz and for her to be shining now is great because she’s never been the star of a show before.
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Don’t miss out on uBettina Wethu Mondays to Wednesdays at 7:30pm on SABC 1 and Viu.