Puleng, Queen of Dainfern
Johannesburg - New Come Dine With Me darling Puleng Mash-Spies says she hammed it up for the cameras.
Some called her a "dumb blonde", others branded her "stupid" and others had enormous fun mocking her when she showed up on TV on Monday night.
Meet Puleng Mash-Spies, the self-styled "Queen of Dainfern".
She pronounces "sorbet" as "strawbet", thinks guacamole is a salad, named her dog Hermes after her favourite bag-design house, and can only walk in heels – preferably R15 000 Christian Louboutins.
The 30-year-old, who won't eat any fish other than hake and doesn’t know what line fish is, made her debut on BBC reality show Come Dine With Me South Africa.
Mash-Spies, who on the show pointed to one of her heels, proclaiming it cost enough to feed an entire "African village", granted City Press an interview at her "R4.5m" home in a posh northern Joburg security estate.
Peppered with her favourite phrases - "Shut the front door!" and "What the fudge?!" - Mash-Spies, who auditioned for the show, insisted she only turned on the bimbo act for the cameras.
"Okay I don’t know what a barracuda is. No, my husband does love my African hair - although he prefers seeing me in a weave because he met me wearing one and doesn’t mind paying for it. It was all for the show," she said.
"I am black ... I eat prawns, caviar and like kotas. I am just an ordinary kasi girl, just playing dumb."
But it might be too late for her to resurrect her image after many took to Twitter to poke fun at her.
Former Miss SA Jo-Ann Strauss tweeted: “I think we need to print #ShutTheFrontDoor T-shirts and use the proceeds to fund Puleng’s new R15K shoes.”
Talk show host Eusebius McKaiser was even bitchier: "I don’t know what’s a line fish’ Puleng. Haha. Conclusion: access to money correlates little with social status."
On Wednesday morning, Mash-Spies met us at her front door, clad in a purple mini, yellow jacket and pink six-inch heels – perfectly made up with blue contact lenses and a glass of red wine in hand.
The housewife and mother of two spends time "chilling with friends" or "watching cooking shows because I love cooking".
Raised in Sebokeng in the Vaal, Mash-Spies – who cooked samp, stew, pumpkin, spinach and feta for her dinner guests – is one of 11 children.
She married at the age of 17.
"This is my second marriage, I was first married to an average guy but was divorced by 25. A year later I met my current husband and we have been married for four years," she said.
"I married young because my father was so strict and used to say, 'Puleng don't be like a cigarette, because boys will puff and pass you, then ash you out like a stompie'."
Her husband – whom she will only describe as an "Afrikaner in his 40s" – owns two fast food outlets. On TV she described herself as a "restaurantra".
She "retired" at the age of 24 after two years working in "cosmetology" – or make-up.
Her typical day includes being woken up just before 10:00 with a glass of wine, going out in her Range Rover to meet friends for lunch, cooking, and helping her sons with their homework.
A tour of her walk-in closet reveals designer shoes, bags and expensive clothes.
She's strong on religion too. She and her husband belong to the Zion Christian Church.
"I wear long skirts, a doek and my heels to church and we go to Moria every year. Although I don't go as much as my husband because the prophets like to tell me to stop drinking," she said.
The couple also have their own charitable foundation, the Rethabile Children's Fund, for which they "collect toys from all these rich people here and we give it to less fortunate children all around the country".
Asked if she’s ever been compared to Khanyi Mbau, Mash-Spies says: "I know Khanyi and I like her, but I am nothing like her."
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