Khanyi Mbau puts bling queen days behind her
"People tend to get attached and stuck to whatever image they have and forget that in life everything always has a new model," says Khanyi Mbau.
"The house you live in, two years later there will be a new design, the same with the car you drive and cellphone you use. That is the same theory you should apply to your brand."
The queen of reinvention takes some time to chat to me after a full day of errands and just before she starts reading her scripts for the week.
It's a juggling act she's playing lately, far from the "famous for being famous" tag of old.
Mbau established herself in the industry as the Queen of Bling and the Lamborghini-driving party girl. Today she is a far cry from that and is gaining critical acclaim for her stellar performance in Mzansi Magic's new Sunday drama series Abomama.
"I am overwhelmed and speechless. I mean, it is still sinking in, I am trying to come to terms with what's happening," Mbau shares.
The production saw Mbau take on the role of Tshidi, a religious, approval-seeking former ghetto queen turned suburban wife to a successful doctor.
"My mom is a staunch Christian so I just had to tap into the things I used to see her do. I watched her my entire life and I was always surrounded by the church, churchgoers and the sisters from church," Mbau says.
In addition to Abomama, Mbau has been gracing our screens on SABC1's Uzalo as the sexy, gun-wielding dreamer Lady D, as well as raking in ratings for her entertainment show The Scoop.
With a full #KhanyiMbauTVGuide, the star has also been trending for her new Gqom single, Zningi.
"I might cry to you about this," she laughs.
"It's such an emotional thing for me. Unfortunately, my personal life overtook everything about me and it took away the element of people taking me seriously as an artist, and it's only coming across now."
Last week, social media was abuzz with throwbacks and appreciation of Mbau's music videos when she first came out as an artist.
"I came out outspoken, so people mistook me as a blonde girl with no brain or talent because I was enabled at a young age by the father of my child," she says.
"I am constantly in studio with the hope that one day I can be given a chance. Radio stations don't even give me an opportunity because people are thinking that it's just a stunt to keep relevant when in fact music is in my blood.
"This stuff has been sitting here and waiting but you guys just chose to sleep on me."
Mbau's honesty has not changed. She speaks openly about her mental and body transformations. Although she is often trolled on social media for her skin bleaching, her level of self-love prohibits her from being bothered.
"I am not trying to be my oppressor, I am exploring what I possibly can be because I have been given the tools to enjoy it," she says.
"I can be anything I want as long as I am within my space - and that is what I am doing."
Mbau's constant reinvention, discipline and tenacious spirit have kept her relevant for over a decade. And, with the founder of Afrocentric Gentleman Menzi Mcunu and entertainer Lasizwe Dambuza as her brothers, it is clear entertainment runs through their veins.
"We have a very charismatic father, we get our creativity from him," she says.
Mbau, who made news last month for publicly reprimanding Lasizwe about lying, is strict when it comes to forcing her siblings to take their careers seriously.
"I say sacrifice the shorter route and take the long route so that you can have staying power and longevity," she says.