Actress immerses herself in roles
FROM gold digger to troubled Gothic youngster, Mmarona Motshegoa, 25, approaches her acting characters in a versatile manner like a real chameleon in both her real life and her career.
Hailing from Protea North in Soweto, apart from juggling her acting career Motshegoa is a wife, pregnant with her first child, a University of SA (Unisa) student and runs a youth mentoring company called Itshepeng Mentoring and Projects.
Motshegoa is famous for her role as Tumi in the SABC1 drama Zone 14, a young township gold digger who is desperate to live in the suburbs and get out of poverty.
Motshegoa also recently appeared in one of SA's leading soapies Generations, as Paulina, MJ Memela (Anga Makubalo)'s girlfriend.
Paulina's short-lived character is about a young woman who is going through a traumatic phase in her life. This results in her turning to Goth practises as a way of hiding her pain from people. She falls in love with MJ, who likes her too, but she is dumped after the Memela family show their disapproval.
Both characters are well-portrayed but do not represent anything about Motshegoa.
"Tumi's role expected me to do things that I wouldn't recommend to anyone. I had to completely forget about Mmarona's ethics and focus on creating a personality and behaviour for Tumi.
"Paulina's role was dramatic and thrilling for me. The challenge came when I had to adjust to the thought of looking and feeling ugly, on top of being pregnant. I had to be prepared to have my hair cut and wear dark make-up to make my character look and feel real. Paulina's role also taught me to be completely happy and comfortable with who I am," she said.
The Gothic role may have raised eyebrows but Motshegoa was prepared, and she said her spirituality remains intact.
"I knew that Paulina's role would raise different opinions from viewers and therefore I had to remain level-headed. I thoroughly enjoyed playing this character. It felt like it was a real performance.
"My relationship with God gave me the confidence to perform without worry or fear of what people may think of me because I know who I am in Christ," she said.
She added: "My family understands that acting is about 'being another person' before the cameras. They know who I really am and they support my work and growth," she said.
"I did research on Goths before auditioning. I would often share ideas with the make-up department on how to add a spark to Paulina's look. Reading the script and knowing my storyline helped me relate to her emotions and allowed me to be comfortable in my delivery on set."
Although she was featured in only a few episodes in Generations before taking a break, she said her experience was worth it.
" Although I was there for a short period of time because of my pregnancy, I enjoyed it. I loved how professional and organised everyone was. Bongi Ndaba, the producer, was highly encouraging and supportive of my pregnancy, which helped to boost my performance in many ways."
Motshegoa's acting career began in 2009 in e.tv's daily soapie Rhythm City.
Her dream is to one day work with US actors Nicholas Cage and Denzel Washington.
"I've kept track of their growth and performance and admire how seriously they take this craft," she said.