Christel Smith is all grown up

2009-06-15 16:21
Christel Smith
Remember Christel Smith who played Tarien on Egoli, way back when? We caught up with her recently and she told us all about life in LA and her new husband.

Christel played the role of sweet Tarien on the popular soapie before leaving for the US. "I was on Egoli for five years and felt like my work was stagnating and I wanted a little bit of a change." She left our shores 10 years ago to satisfy her curiosity. "I was curious about living abroad and broadening my horizons. I wanted to learn more about other cultures and myself."

"I was also involved in a few charities in SA and was getting frustrated with the little I could do to help with the rand I was earning."

Her first few years in America were "very interesting" she says, "I really broadened my views. I worked as a model and actress and attended acting classes with amazing teachers."

Christel has accomplished quite a bit in Hollywood. She writes for different fitness publications and acted in and produced Reza De Wet's play "African Gothic" in Hollywood. "I have made a living combining my acting, modeling and personal training careers. I get to work with a lot of accomplished people whom I learn from every day."

While she misses her family and friends and tomato Simba chips, she does have some close SA expatriates to hang with in Los Angeles and New York. "I am good friends with Stelio Savante, an actor out here and a few others that live in Los Angeles. I am also good friends with Hugo Uys (who used to design all my ball gowns during my Egoli years), he owns a restaurant in New York. I am also good friends with Cobus Gauche (he used to be a presenter on Tekkies). He also lives in NY and is one of the head guys of an interior design company called David Easton. We went to Cobus and Elton John's joint birthday party a few months ago and had a lot of fun."
Christel took a while to adjust to the American lifestyle, "Americans will walk into your house and open up your fridge without even asking!" She says she prefers SA's good manners and well-behaved children over her American counterparts.

"Right now, I am focused on my new family. We are travelling a lot." Christel married her financial advisor husband, Eddie, earlier this year. "We got married in Hampshire, England. My sister lives in England. I wanted to be close to her and we wanted to have our wedding in the English country." She also had a dream come true by arriving in a horse-drawn carriage. 

Christel plans to take a few months off and travel with her husband before returning to work. But things in LA aren't that rosy at the moment, "… there are much fewer acting opportunities here. Agencies have let a lot of well known actors go because things are so slow."

"I think it would have been much easier had I come here in my early teens and studied acting and then worked with my peers. People in the entertainment industry tend to work with people they know and whose work they are familiar with. My accent was also very strong when I came here and it took me a few years to lose it." But she adds that if she had left South Africa earlier, she would have missed out on all the wonderful experiences she had here. And we would have missed out on the loveable Tarien!

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