Meet Iain Thomas, the 36-year-old South African poet who is famous all over the world except in SA

Trevor Noah has pulled out at the last minute from hosting the MAMAs 2016, due to 'a severe upper respiratory infection'

A new Dawn

2009-10-29 11:25

Dawn Matthews has come a long way since her days in Soutmansland, Song vir Katryn and Egoli. She gained attention as co-presenter of kykNET’s Kunskafee, and later as Constable Gillian Peterse in SABC1’s Interrogation Room.

Today, she’s best known as the wild and wanton Shakira on soap Scandal! - but when tvplus met her, we found a very different person behind the OTT character.

Tell us about your background.
I was born Dawn Leeann Mildred Matthews on 10 June 1976 in Oudtshoorn. I was raised by my maternal grandparents and my mother. She had me as a teenager, so I grew up with her siblings. I was the baby of the family. It was a very loving environment. I have a brother named Garth, who’s four years younger than me and is a policeman.

Do you ever get homesick?
Yes. When I miss samp and bean soup, when I smell pumpkin, when I don’t feel like the drama which is my very “city” life . . . I miss home all the time, because I hardly ever have time to visit my family.

What keeps you in Jozi?
Johannesburg is a very interesting city; it’s a pretty city, and I like the combination of people. It feels a bit like New York, in that it’s a very progressive, artistic and socially involved community. I like being part of that identity.

You got married not too long ago...
Yes. My husband’s name is Charlie Sapadin, and he’s a screenwriter and producer. We met in Cape Town five years ago through a mutual friend, and we got married on 31 December 2008 in New York City. It was an informal, non-denominational do with about 14 guests, just family and very close friends. We were so busy we only went on honeymoon at the start of October.

Any plans for kids?
That’s the idea, but when, I don’t know. And as for how many, I think that’s something I’ll only know when I get there.

Do you have pets?
I love animals, but Charlie’s allergic to pet hair, so we’re getting absolutely no training in terms of discipline and keeping to a schedule (laughs).

What makes you happy?
My friends make me happy. Their babies make me happy. Kids make me very, very happy. I’m a very simple person. I don’t need a lot. I’m inspired by being around my precious girlfriends and my husband. He challenges me a lot. He pushes me to do the things I’m too scared to do.

Do you cook?
I do cook. I’m a very good cook, actually. I usedto be a food channeladdict. All my friends know they can buy me a cookbook if they want to get me a nice gift. Even though I’m not a very adventurous eater, I do like experimenting, and I love having people over. People would say my signature dish is curry, but I’d like to think it’s a variety of food, though I do love Indian food. I adore meat, and I like finding different ways to prepare it. I also have a few signature chicken dishes that I make when people come over.

How long have you known that you wanted to act?
I always knew I wanted to do something artistic, but I had to choose a “decent” career, so I registered as a law student. But when I got to university I thought, “I can’t do this.” I walked past the drama school building one day, and three months later I called my grandparents and told them, “I’ve changed subjects.”

That wasn’t your first encounter with drama though...
No! I had been in school plays. I actually played Frenchie in Grease when I was about 14 or 15, but my first professional acting gig was community theatre. We toured the Cape with four prescribed short works for that year’s matric syllabus.

Is there anything you dream of doing besides acting?
I have aspirations outside of the industry, and the one thing I would really love is my own cooking show. But I believe if you want to do something, do it before you talk about it, because otherwise it just becomes something you want to do rather than something you’re actually making happen. That’s me: when I decide to do something, I need to go and do it.

How do you stay in shape?
I do yoga twice a week.

What’s your personal style?
I like black, and I like to keep it simple. I tend to wear “uniforms” – funky little suits, pants and heeled boots.

What fashion tip do you wish you could give your Scandal! character, Shakira?
Lower that hemline, girl. Sometimes less is more (laughs).

What would you like to see in the future for Shakira?
She’s always very strong and powerful, so I’d love to see her be more loving and vulnerable.

Are you anything like Shakira?
We’re different in every single way. The only thing we have in common is that Dawn likes taking risks, and Shakira is also risky and gutsy.

Dawn’s favourites

What inspires you?
It depends on the day, but I’m always inspired by songs and lyrics. I’m very musical, and I love live gigs.

Who’s on your iPod at the moment?
Kings of Leon and Santigold.

Who are your favourite local artists?
340ml. They’re actually from Mozambique originally, but they’re based in SA now. They’re personal friends, and my number one band.

What’s your favourite way to spend a rainy day?
Lying in bed and watching videos.

What’s your favourite smell?
I love the smell of lavender floor polish - for sentimental reasons.

Who’s the sexiest celeb in SA?
Trevor Manuel.

What do you drive?
A silver Toyota Yaris.

What’s your weakness?
I always crave curry with rotis.

Your favourite restaurant?
There’s a little place I love called Yo Sushi. I can sit there for hours and while away the time.

Your favourite show?

What’s the last local film you saw?
Hlomla Dandala’s film, Swap, which I was in.

What’s your motto?
Keep your feet on the ground and reach for the stars.

Which stars would you like to read about in tvplus? SMS TVPLUS SOAPIE with the name of the character or actor, the name of the soapie and your question for the star to 32113. SMSes cost R1.

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Dawn Matthews tells us more about her life, happiness and cooking.

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