Entertainment

‘There’s no celebrity at home; I still wash the dishes’ says Simphiwe Ngema.

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‘There’s no celebrity at home; I still wash the dishes’ says Simphiwe Ngema.

Actress Simphiwe Ngema (The QueenRockville) takes the lead in the Showmax Original film, The Winning Ticket. She plays Zanele, whose family wins the lotto – and then nearly loses themselves.

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Written by Caroline Kganyago (The River, Goodbye Gogo), The Winning Ticket is produced by Kerry Media Productions with Star Mphahlele (Mkhize to MasemolaAboMkhulu) directing. Mphahlele won the African Rising Star award at the 2023 Joburg Film Festival.

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Xabiso Ngqabe sat down with Simz to find out more.

What aspects of Zanele resonated with you?

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Zanele loves her family, she’s hardworking, and she believes in doing things right. Those are things we have in common.

For me, family and love is everything. I’ve always understood that money comes and goes, but what’s important is the love that you have.

You have such great chemistry with Lerato Makhetha as your husband. How was it working with him?

Working with Lerato is really fun because he is a friend of mine outside the industry. We met when we were shootingIsidingo in 2018. So I felt comfortable and there was chemistry between us. He’s a great guy.

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How does your character navigate the unexpected shift in circumstances when her family wins the lotto?

Initially, she feels relief, something anyone who wins the lotto would feel. Then she has to navigate this new world, trying to fit in with wealthy women while preserving certain aspects of herself, like her love for cooking, that remind her of who she was before the money.

I just like how the story unfolds and the thought process; it’s very interesting to see Zanele transition from being a driven girl with dreams who eventually obtains the money to fulfil those dreams, but then loses sight of what’s truly important.

What aspects of the storyline did you find most relatable?

I’ve been truly blessed to have my family around me, keeping me grounded regardless of what’s going on in my life. You know how it is in the industry: suddenly, everyone knows you when you become famous. But my family will always remind me that there’s no celebrity at home; I still wash the dishes. I have constant reminders around me of what’s important, thankfully.

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What is a great piece of advice you’ve been given that you would pass on to women like Zanele?

I would say she needs to be herself regardless of what’s happening or changing in her life. When she was trying to fit in, she appeared uncomfortable and was trying too hard, even in the way she dressed, with the blonde hair and all the big jewellery. It wasn’t really her. You can see at the end that she’s more comfortable and true to herself; it’s an upgrade rather than a complete change.

What do you hope viewers will walk away with after watching the movie?

I hope they remember that love is everything: the family you have and the relationships around you are more important than money.

That’s how I was raised by my parents. They always emphasised the importance of family and the relationships you build.

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Yes, money can solve our problems, but it’s not going to make us happy.

What kinds of roles would you like to play in the future?

I always portray a good girl. When they think of casting a good girl, they think of Simphiwe Ngema. But I can also play an evil person, you know? I would love to explore something different. As actors, that’s what we aim for – showing versatility and taking on challenging characters. We don’t like being typecast. I definitely want to play something completely different from the roles I’ve done before.

How challenging is it to date within the industry? Particularly with the added scrutiny and attention that comes with being a celebrity?

I actually prefer dating someone who’s in the same industry because you are comfortable and they understand how the industry works. It’s not easy to date people who aren’t in the industry because they don’t understand the fame, the working hours and having to be on set for 12 hours and even on weekends do appearances. But when it’s someone who is in the industry it then becomes easier because they are also doing the same thing and understand what goes into being in the space.

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Alaa Hamdy

Professional entertainment content writer in Hanover, South Africa. I know all the secrets of celebrities

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