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Small House Saga actress takes aim at Hollywood

Evangelista Mwatse, the petite blonde actress who played the role of a go-getting gold-digger Jeanne in the local television series Small House Saga, says the sky is the limit as she pursues her acting dream in South Africa.

By Moses Mugugunyeki

Mwatse, who is fondly known as Evey, last year made a cameo appearance in South Africa’s most popular soap Generations The Legacy. She said that appearance ignited her dream of becoming a Hollywood princess.

The Standard Style’s Moses Mugugunyeki (MM) caught up with Mwatse (EM), who spoke about her love for acting, dreams and aspirations. Below are excerpts from the interview.

MM: Last year you left Zimbabwe for South Africa, what are you doing that side as far as acting is concerned?

EM: I have not been doing much in my acting career since I relocated to South Africa due to my demanding job. Mobility is my biggest challenge as I am failing to attend castings. Lately, I put acting on a hold. I only managed to be supporting cast on Generations the Legacy, which am quite grateful for.

MM: After that cameo appearance on Generations the Legacy, do you see yourself making it in the South African film industry?

EM: Definitely. It might not be today or tomorrow, but it will happen eventually. It’s a challenging journey which I am travelling. I am not about to give up or give in before I get the big break. If it takes forever to make it, then forever I will hustle till I make it.

MM: You mentioned that you have a demanding job which is a barrier to your acting career. What is that you are doing?

EM: I do philanthropy work with a charity organisation for children.

MM: When you left Zimbabwe, you were a radio presenter. Do you ever miss those moments when you were behind the microphone?

EM: I miss being on radio every day because radio is my second love. Every chance I get, I listen to music and I imagine myself in the studio. It hurts most when I meet old friends whom I worked with at the radio station. It feels like I am nursing a heartbreak.

MM: If an opportunity to feature in Hollywood, Nollywood or Bollywood arises, would you grab it?

EM: Hollywood, definitely I will. As of Nollywood, it would depend on who is featuring and directing the movie. Great actors make you feel like you too are great. No offence though! If you watch Nollywood movies, you know what I mean.

MM: Zimbabwe’s film industry is said to be struggling compared to countries like South Africa and Nigeria. What do you think needs to be done to develop the industry in Zimbabwe?

EM: What a tough question. Honestly, I am not so sure. But let me try it this way. Maybe, if the new government intervenes with clear policies that reinvigorate the film industry for it to have a meaningful impact on the development of the country. We need to learn from other sectors and perhaps have capacity building programmes involving all stakeholders.

MM: How did you start your acting career?

EM: I auditioned for one of the leading roles in the Small House Saga in 2005 and surprisingly, the directors were impressed, although I had no acting experience to talk about. I was given an opportunity to reach for the stars. Since then I never looked back.

MM: Who inspired you?

EM: Evangelista Mwatse did. I have been and will always be my own inspiration. I believe everything begins with me and I find my fire within myself. For people to even believe in me, I have to believe in myself first.

MM: Apart from Small House Saga, which movies/dramas have you featured in, within and outside Zimbabwe?

EM: There are many, including films Big House Small House, Playing Warriors and Five Years Later, among others. As of stage plays, I have taken part in 365, Washington Junction, Two Wives of John Mambo and Dependance.

Small House Saga was my debut in a television series and I have appeared in New Dawn as well as Suburb D. In South Africa, I have featured in Ashes to Ashes, Mutual Friends, Ithuba and recently Generations the Legacy.

MM: Do you ever dream of coming back to Zimbabwe and feature in a movie or drama?

EM: Home is where my heart is. Given a great opportunity, I will definitely catch the first flight out of here.

MM: Does the film industry pay?

EM: It depends on who is producing and your role too. It’s hard to make a living out of it though. However, it’s generous if you have a significant role. South Africa is quite good if you have a recurring role.

MM: Who actually is Evangelista Mwatse?

EM: I am a multi award-winning actress and nominee in both film and theatre. I am also a former radio presenter, wife and mother to a very beautiful boy. I am a very private person, yet an open book to those close to me. However, I am misunderstood too, but I am okay with that.

MM: What does your family say about your acting career?

EM: My family is a blessing and they are very supportive.

MM: Tell us what we don’t know about Evey.

EM: Evey is actually a very shy woman and she has a first darn black belt in Taekwondo. She used to compete in athletics

competitions in primary and high school.

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