Hollywood star Anika Noni Rose enjoys SA
Tony Award-winning American actress Anika Noni Rose wishes she was part of the star-studded cast of Marvel superhero film Black Panther that has a 95% black cast.
Rose revealed to a roomful of the media in Johannesburg on Tuesday, before we moved to a more intimate one-on-one talk in a conference room at the MultiChoice offices. So cosy was our chat that The Quad star threw a blanket over her shoulder to warm up from the freezing air conditioner.
"It's quite chilly in here," she confessed with goose bumps on her bare skin peeking through her off-the-shoulder top.
In person, the 45-year-old Hollywood beauty looks nothing like the prim and proper characters she often portrays on screen. Before she even greets me, the pint-sized actress' vibrant rose gold half-shaved hairstyle, borrowing from Rihanna's edgy Russian Roulette do, is the first sign of how cool she is.
"This colour made me really happy. I was ready for spring back home and it was not ready for me," she jokingly explained.
"So I thought I'd bring spring to my life. That's how I settled on the rose gold."
Rose strongly holds that diverse representation in casting as seen in Black Panther is essential in film and television.
"In order for children to become adults that can give to the world they have to be able to have a sense of self-worth.
"If we are not showing them themselves succeeding and all we see is them in cuffs; then if that's all that we are looking at what does that tell a child? That tells a child that's their only road and we know different."
Rose gave her views on why fewer black stars have come forward with stories of sexual assault and harassment in Hollywood in the wake of the #MeToo movement
"I can only tell you why I assume you haven't heard stories from women in black Hollywood. It's because our Hollywood is much smaller.
"It's because we have fewer places to go after that story has been told. Because we still don't know if we would be supported.
"If people start to tell their stories and they are not supported, where will they work? As it's the history of black women in the world it's a fear of not being supported."
Rose has been touring South Africa since last Friday. She attended the prestigious Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo on Saturday in Cape Town, before heading to Johannesburg to promote her TV drama The Quad currently in its second season on BET Africa.
While she has had supporting roles in hit shows such as The Good Wife, Power, Roots and The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency playing Dr Eva Fletcher in the TV drama is her first TV leading role.
"It's a different way to pace yourself and it's more than just being the lead of the show on script. It's really about setting a precedent for behaviour.
"She is really an intense character. Because it's such a dramatic show so what I try to bring to her as often as I can is a sense of playfulness.
"The show is about us, by us and for us. It is our relationships, our life experiences and it's told by our hands."
As far as her experience of food in SA, Rose is a big fan of magwinya and braai.
"I had a braai at the Mandela house and it was so good. We had an amazing array of vegetables, with braai on the side. It was everything it was supposed to be."