5 reasons Pearl Thusi is a badass role model

2016-10-07 17:00
Pearl Thusi
Pearl Thusi (Photo: Supplied)

Cape Town - The Juice spoke to Pearl Thusi and found the local actress to be inspiring on various levels. 

Driven, talented, intelligent, focused and humble are just some of the qualities that really make Pearl Thusi one of the best role models a young woman could have. 

Becoming a mother while still a teenager herself, and managing to juggle a modelling career and studies, followed by a string of successful TV roles can't be an easy task.

So forgive us for being a bit overwhelmed and nervous when we had to Whatsapp call 'Mama Pantha' all the way in US for an telephonic interview. 

We were about an hour late with the interview because we were struggling to get a clear connection to the US and as such were experiencing minor heart palpitations, because we felt like we were wasting Pearl's time.

Eventually we got through and she was the sweetest, most patient human being ever. We apologised for running late, but Pearl wouldn't accept an apology and made excuses for the bad connection on her side. (Seriously?) 

In her NYC apartment at 9:00 we caught her just before she was about to go for a jog, and you won't believe it - clean her place. Yes, mega-star Pearl Thusi doesn't have a fancy personal trainer and picks up after herself just like us mere mortals. She jokingly explained that she is now "even more mere mortal" than ever, as she doesn't have her daughter and support system to help her out anymore. 

Throughout the interview we learned a lot about Pearl, and here are five reasons we think she is the role model everyone should have.  

1. Genuineness

When asked about how she felt about having her own hashtag #PearlThusi she said, " I can't say that I expected that big of a response. I was hoping for reaction. But more so, I was hoping for people to be excited not just for me but for the future of entertainment. If I can do it you can do it too."  

She made special mention of other Africans, and not just her own success, referring to Trevor Noah's recent cover on Time Magazine, calling it "pretty epic" and also her admiration for Lupita Nyong'o victories. 

"We can do it! We need to be prepared, ready and have faith." 

Pearl Thusi

2. Humility 

She has a her own hashtag and an entire country standing behind her. But she explained that she made a conscious decision not to make a big fuss before the show premiered. "I wanted to be with my family, my child and my partner. Now people understand the gravitas."

But she says that she hasn't experienced the "hype" so much in the US and social media is her only indication. "I look forward to coming back home and really feel it!"

"I'm focused on the story I have to tell, improve the industry and make my story meaningful."

3. Clear set of values

Blown away by her groundedness, we asked her how she manages to stay so down to earth. "I don't know!" But then she went on to tell us the most amazing story.

"My humbleness comes from my family." Pearl who was crowned Miss South Africa Teen's first princess in 2003, said, "When I returned home I had all the glory." She jokingly added, "I thought to myself, 'out of all the girls, I was deemed one of the most beautiful.' I was a princess!" But as soon as she walked through the front door, her mother had her do chores and wash the dishes just like everyone else!

She also always tells people, "Don't believe all the hype. Things can change very quickly. She also has a deep love for the people around her, "I appreciate the people around me. My friends, my family and my child treat me like a normal person, but still celebrate me at the same time."

Pearl Thusi

4. Love   

When asked what she misses most about home she said, "The three 'f's"

That is: Friends, family and food.

She spoke about how she misses her Knorrox stock cubes and spices from Woolies. "But more than anything I miss face-to-face conversations with my family, hugging my child and simply watching TV with my friends. I miss playing and cuddling my daughter and I miss my pets." 

She explained that being alone in a foreign country has really deepened her appreciation for family.

5. Intelligence 

What she loves most about her character on Quantico, Dayana Mampasi, is her strength and conviction. "She is an intelligent Harvard graduate, her history is intense and she is learning how to do things on her own"

"Every character gives me the opportunity to be able to do things I never would be able to do in real life." 

But this role, isn't just another "fluffy" character. Through this experience, Pearl learned a lot about herself and the history of Africa. And while talking to Pearl we could hear she has such a strong understanding for our country's history and the political landscape. 

"I look forward to people seeing a different type of African story." 

"Americans have everything and they are very informed about our country, history and our politicians. Even though I sometimes fill them in, they are informed about what's happening in other countries and their own."

"But as South African's we know a lot about other countries. But not always the history of our own country." Pearl spoke about apartheid and even mentioning presidents from other African countries by name. Something I doubt a lot of people are able to do. 

For her role on Quantico she had to do a lot of research about Zimbabwe and through it she hopes viewers will learn more about what it means to be a foreigner or immigrant living in a different country and sees the show as "infotainment". 

Pearl Thusi

We're so proud of Pearl, flying our SA flag high! 

-The Juice