Jessica Nkosi sails to success

Jessica Nkosi. Picture credit: Emmanuel Tjiya.
Jessica Nkosi. Picture credit: Emmanuel Tjiya.

On the eve of filming her last Our Perfect Wedding (OPW) episode, guest host Jessica Nkosi says her journey this time around has been smooth sailing.

Back in June when she made her debut during her two-episode stint as stand-in presenter, Nkosi encountered a Nigerian bridezilla in a jaw-dropping classic moment for the Mzansi Magic reality show that set the whole country buzzing.

Nkosi admits that when she was once again asked to fill in for regular host Thembisa Mdoda for a lengthy 13-episode run, while Mdoda took some time off, she was petrified.

The Isibaya actress overcame any fear she might have had and has been gracefully holding it down for Mdoda since October 9.

"I'm about to shoot my final wedding. Surprisingly it hasn't been that daunting, especially after having that infamous bride from my last appearance.

"I went in this time thinking 'can brides get that bad'? But I got told that I had the worst bride ever in the history of OPW and it can only get better from then on. So it has been such a breeze, I have been able to connect with the couples," Nkosi explains.

"I'm going to miss it so much. Last weekend I didn't have a wedding and I didn't know what to do with myself. I missed the food. Do you know how delicious wedding food is? That delicious curry stew."

Nkosi has had her fair share of criticism from avid fans, with many slamming her presenting style as "too sweet". To silence the naysayers, she strongly holds the view that she wouldn't change anything about her approach.

"I hear people saying 'Jessica is too sweet. She does not tell them the truth if the dress is ugly.' For me it's about the couple. It's their big day and my job is to keep them happy," she says.

"It's what they love, it might not be my preference, but I have to respect it. I won't let the audience sway me into being someone that I'm not and be mean to a bride on their big day."

Nkosi has tried her hand at presenting in the past. Before she obtained her drama degree, she auditioned for Top Billing Dream's Presenter Search and made it through three rounds. Although she enjoys presenting, acting is her first love.

"I was in second year of varsity, so not getting the Top Billing spot was the best thing. I needed to finish my degree. Imagine, if I got that gig, Isibaya might not have happened and acting is my passion," she points out.

Nkosi continues to dazzle viewers with her much-loved role as Qondi on Isibaya, which has recently positioned her as the telenovela's unflinching matriarch.

In the past year, her character has gone from being stuck in an abusive marriage with the chief (Vusi Kunene), to killing him, being widowed and now settling in as the chief regent of eBhubesini.

But for Nkosi, her favourite story line this year was when Qondi came back from the dead after being poisoned.

"The growth of my character on the show has been a highlight for me this year. When I got this role I had just written my final year exams at varsity. To get the role fresh out of varsity was such a blessing. She has grown so much in a space of a year.

"As an actress, to play around with those different emotions was a dream come true," says Nkosi proudly.

"It was such a beautiful coincidence with the death storyline since at the time I had just scored OPW. So the audience thought I was leaving Isibaya to go to OPW. The makeup was so perfectly executed too and some thought I was genuinely sick."

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