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Ayanda Bandla recalls her journey leading to top role with ‘Smoke and Mirrors’

‘Decent stepping stones led me to where I am now’

Masego Seemela Online journalist
Ayanda Bandla loves her new role.
Ayanda Bandla loves her new role.
Image: Supplied

After switching careers, Ayanda Bandla has finally arrived as an actor and is right on time.

In the past two months, the 34-year-old starlet has left television viewers on the edge of their seats with the role of Thandiswa in new drama series Smoke and Mirrors. 

In the captivating show filled with suspense and intrigue, her character is on a mission of exposing three mortally corrupt men in the small mining town of Emnyameni. She acts opposite Zolisa Xaluva, Lusanda Mbane, Meshack Mavuso-Magabane, Angela Sithole and Kabomo Vilakazi.  

"I don't see myself as a famous person. What I do, I don't do for fame... to me, it is more of an art form that I'm passionate about," Bandla said.

"It's been quite exciting being in the shoes of Thandiswa. She's quite cutthroat and very unwavering in what she wants, and in that, I've learnt to be vulnerable with my acting and to be more open-minded, which I appreciate because I get to push beyond my boundaries." 

Bandla describes herself as the polar opposite of Thandiswa, who is a hairdresser by day and an escort by night.

"The only thing that Thandiswa and I have in common is that she also opens up to people close to her and steps up only when she has to. Our difference is that I don't have that many skeletons in my closet and I hope I go through life without having that many skeletons," Bandla said.

Bandla has also starred in Identity as Gugulethu, Katlego Nqobile in Lavish and Lakhe Amon in uBettina Wethu. She grew up in Protea North, Soweto, where she first met her love for performance art as a member of school and church choirs.

"I was first discovered by actor Leroy Gopal, who has turned into a very dear friend of mine. He's the one who saw the star quality in me and motivated me to join his acting workshops. After I completed the workshops, I then decided to get an agent and got my first acting gig in 2016," she said. 

"I didn't get to study to be an actor, I am a political sciences graduate and specialise in international relations. I also come from a debating background which I thought I was going to venture into. However, my love for the arts led me to where I am today," Bandla said.

Growing up, Bandla said that working in the entertainment industry was never seen as a career path for one to pursue; often advised to be an accountant or a doctor.

"This is why I chose a career in media which I did for 10 years before I became an actor fully. So, when I had the opportunity to get into the acting industry, I made it my mission to immerse myself fully.  All of my roles have been a stepping stone to the actor I am today and I can't wait to see what unfolds next."

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