'The Queen' actress Thandy Matlaila speaks out against exploitation

Actress Thandy Matlaila is against production houses which exploit newcomers in the industry. / Supplied
Actress Thandy Matlaila is against production houses which exploit newcomers in the industry. / Supplied

Actress Thandy Matlaila says some local production companies have a tendency of exploiting actors, especially those who are desperate.

Matlaila, 30, who plays Cleo on Mzansi Magic's The Queen, said she has turned down a few offers because producers were offering her "peanuts".

She said one of the offers she turned down was from a production house she had worked with previously.

"They called me four years after our first gig and then wanted to offer me the same rate," she said. "I obviously declined the offer. That was insulting to me, you cannot do that as if the cost of living is not rising."

Matlaila said that she would rather do charity work and other things than be exploited.

"I command respect. I stand for myself and demand what I am worth. Things are different now.

"When I did my first three gigs I did not mind because I was just doing it for fun. But now that I am acting for a living, I do not settle for less."

She said she also rejects offers of characters that will not grow her as an actress.

"If the storyline or the character will not add value to the society, I reject it," she said.

Speaking of her character Cleo, Matlaila said she would like to be her in her next life.

"She is the kind of a girlfriend I would like to have. She is upfront and speaks her mind," she said.

Her love for entertaining began at the age of six when she joined a church choir.

After completing matric, she enrolled at one of the leading film schools in the country, AFDA, and studied drama.

Her first gig was gangster movie Jerusalema, which she shot while still studying.

"I passed all my first three auditions, and that made me think being in the industry will be a smooth sailing. I have since realised it is not," she said.

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