Up Close & Personal with Samela Tyelbooi
SHE'S had only three significant TV drama roles but Samela Tyelbooi's name is already synonymous with "knockout".
She's famous for the line: "I know I'm drunk. I was mos there when it happened..."
This was when she played Society's Lois, a young doctor and mother who hit the bottle under the strain of balancing the two roles.
And if the angels of abundance keep smiling at Samela, there is something else she'll be famous for. And that is singing.
She's even been featured on Tumi and the Volum e but she'd never go as far as entering Idols .
"I respect people who can put themselves through so much humiliation," she says. "It can't be easy for those judges either."
Samela - or Shado, the publicity shy but electrifying muso in Rhythm City - also writes her own material.
She has no name for her genre.
"I really can't box it, so I choose to call it world music as it fuses all the influences I had while growing up."
She also has the body of a model, which she's just started subjecting to a kick-boxing class. So sore is she that she's struggling to move.
So we find a corner in the Ryhthm City actors' lounge where she can recline and relax her tight muscles.
Little did we know that her colleague, Amo Chidi, who plays Reneilwe, would make more noise than the show on one of the TV screens. But despite the racket, Samela's face is a picture of tranquility.
She hails from Grahamstown, came to Joburg in 2006 and landed her first role within four months.
"I must say it's been easy for me," she says. "I was an IT specialist for a small company in Bramley, I saw a newspaper ad for extras and I called. That's how my story started."
She describes her family as something of a group of white sheep and her childhood as pretty close to a fairy tale.
So it's easy for her to be the mother of a teenager. Her 13-year-old daughter, born to her when she was an 18-year-old teen, is in boarding school.
"That child seems to know something. She makes it so easy for me to be a mother to her. She is so independent, I think it's me who does the long distance relationship awfully. I hug her non-stop and she likes her space."
The self-proclaimed tomboy says she has a man and he is a perfect gentleman.
"I'm not a domestic queen, I'll tell you that!"
Her face lights up as she gloats about the man who can "do the dishes and helps with a lot of house chores" while she struggles with her guitar.
"But I suck so much at playing it, I shouldn't even mention it," she giggles.
And that's what's so loveable about Samela. Despite all her accomplishments, she has this air of modesty and honesty about her.
THIS & THAT
Born on May 9 1981
Like a true Taurian, she prefers staying home to going out.
Studied IT at then Port Elizabeth Technicon now known as Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University "bit even though I studied IT, I always knew I'd end up singing or acting."
Loves Simphowe Dana, Thandiswa Mazwai and Amel Leroux.