Cast in a daughter role again, she is partnered with her real-life dad, Norman. Debashine Thangevelo found out more…
LAST year was a mixed bag of highs and lows for Jay Anstey. The 23-year-old featured on SABC3’s Strictly Come Dancing and SABC1’s Tropika Island of Treasure (Jamaica).
But despite her rising stardom, SABC3’s Isidingo replaced her on the soap – something that was reportedly news to the actress herself.
Of her character Charlie Holmes, she says, “I miss her crazy antics and her wild ways. She was a massive part of my life for three years. But with change comes opportunity and I’m loving my time on Scandal.”
And she wasn’t the only one missing Charlie – fans were rather vociferous of their disapproval of Michaella Russell as her replacement.
As for the experience of being on two vastly different reality shows, Anstey says, “I had an absolute blast on Tropika Island of Treasure. I’m such a sporty chick, so it was like one massive playground for me. And Strictly Come Dancing allowed me to face my fears of the stage. I think (appearing on) reality shows like those are one of the perks of being in the industry, but first and foremost I am an actress and that’s where I plan to stay.”
On Scandal, she plays Katie, the daughter of another new character, Joe (played by real-life dad Norman).
On bagging the part, she says, “I auditioned like everyone else. In fact, they didn’t want someone who had been in another soapie before and, as a last resort, asked me to come in to audition. Next thing I knew, I’m on set and very excited.”
Expanding on her character, Anstey says, “Katie’s got a great spirit. She’s a do-gooder. She is always trying to help out wherever she can and even in a sticky situation she puts the needs of others above her own. Viewers can expect great human connections between her and the Ngema family.”
Having already seen her in a daughterly role, Anstey explains why Katie will generate her own fan base.
“Charlie and Katie are two different people. I have played many characters before and each is so unique. I could never favour one over the other,” she reveals.
What’s really special about this role is the fact that she gets to reveal her prowess opposite her actor dad.
She smiles, “I have never worked with my dad in such a capacity before. It’s been a real honour. My dad is one of my best friends so spending so much time with him has been a pleasure.”
However, as this is a soap on which family discord contributes to the dramatic tension, their on-screen relationship is fractured.
Anstey expands, “They have a very rough relationship – they haven’t seen each other for many years so they don’t really know each other as well as they should.”
Looking ahead, the actress says film will factor greatly in her plans.
“I am very passionate about our local film industry as well as the work relationships we can build with internationals who come to shoot in SA. Film is where my heart lies,” she says.
In the meantime, fans are celebrating this Scandal about their favourite actress being back with a bang.
• Jay Anstey makes her Scandal debut on screen on Thursday September 11. The soap airs weekly at 7.30pm on e.tv.