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Michelle Botes: Elegant and charming

2009-10-19 07:52

She’s been named one of the most stylish women in South Africa, and is equally convincing as a bitch-from-hell soapie vixen or a humble, elegant career woman. Meet Michelle Botes.

Was it difficult to shake off a villainous character like Cherel de Villiers-Haines (from Isidingo)?
The characters you’ve played remain a part of you. We all have a bit of everything in us.

Do people recognise you as Ingrid from Binnelanders?
Yes, people often call me Ingrid in public. They usually try to convince me to leave At!

If Ingrid and Cherel got into a fight, who would win?
That’s an interesting question, because the one operates outside the law, and the other within (true South Africans?!).

Do you sometimes miss Cherel?
My heart beats Ingrid now.

A number of veterans are currently in Binnelanders: Hans Strydom, Tobie Cronjé and Anna- Mart van der Merwe. What’s it like to work with these experienced people again?
The best part is that, after time and life experience has changed us all, you realise that people’s fragilities, their sense of humour and basic “essence” are still intact, despite everything.

At and Ingrid have a complex relationship, but he may have taken it a step too far when he lied about his connection to Conrad (his son). Will she find out the truth?

For me, the drama (especially when it comes to love) starts when moonlight turns into the harsh light of day, and facts can’t be ignored any more. She will find out – the question is how will she handle it.

Is there anything Ingrid wouldn’t forgive At for? What would his unforgivable sin be?
Divided loyalty, either in his heart or with his tongue – lies and half-truths.

Ingrid’s career sometimes requires her to do things that are not totally honourable. Are she and At actually just birds of a feather? Bonnie and Clyde, the one as crooked as the other?
No, Ingrid learnt long ago that your integrity defines your humanity. She can look everyone – including herself - in the eye. I think that’s her blessing.

What’s it like having an adult TV daughter (Rolanda Marais as Stefanie)? Do you have children of your own?
Yes, I have children. Strangely enough, I have an adult daughter, but she’s blonde. My TV daughter looks more like me than my own child!

What’s been your favourite storyline involving Ingrid in Binnelanders?
The storyline we’re currently busy with – now that she sees At for who he is, clearly and without the rose-coloured lenses love gave her.

After Ingrid’s breast cancer diagnosis,  At (rude, fearless, unsentimental At!) told her so tenderly that she’s still “the most beautiful woman he knows”. How important is a woman’s appearance?
A woman mirrors her feelings. For me, it’s important to be happy and at peace with yourself and those around you. That dictates your appearance – anything false stands out.

Your elegant dress sense never goes unnoticed. How would you describe a stylish woman?
A stylish woman is someone who understands her moods and enjoys being a woman – she’s comfortable with her unique self.

Do you see yourself as a fashion icon?
No, the idea makes me laugh. I enjoy textures and playing with different styles and ideas.

How did you get involved with the Miladys campaign?
They approached me. It’s so much fun to look at fashion through new eyes and play around with clothing and style!

What is the most comfortable item in your closet? And the oldest?
The most comfortable is undoubtedly my red boots. And the oldest is a much-loved black jacket.

Do you have a weakness for certain items of clothing?
Yes, boots make me feel stronger and lift my spirits when I’m feeling fragile.

Does your taste in clothing match Ingrid’s?
Our tastes do often coincide. But the costumes are carefully coordinated, and you don’t often have a say, because there are other considerations besides personal taste, such as the colour of the set, the clothing other characters have on, the storyline, and so on.

If someone took you out one night, but was secretive about your destination, what would you wear?
Long, black trousers and a silk blouse of the same colour, or possibly a deep red.

Food:  Seafood
TV series: Locally-produced dramas
Holiday destination: Any place I haven’t been to yet
The last book you read: The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
Car: One that can handle dirt roads
Word: Magic
Favourite possession: My passion

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The veteran actress talks about her role on Binnelanders, her style, and some of her favourite things.

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