If you have a sweet tooth and a subscription to TopTV, then you’re in for a treat: eye-candy, sour moments and dollops of talent in SugaRushed, which premieres on Top One on Monday.
The local reality show that is co-produced by Nico Steyn and Anne Williams of IntelliLAB (stationed at the University of Johannesburg) stars some of South Africa’s rising musical stars.
Shot on location at IntelliLAB, SugaRushed follows the day-to-day runnings of a start-up record company that seeks to sign up-and-coming musicians.
Unlike shows like Idols or X factor, here the public are encouraged to send in clips of themselves performing their original compositions to bag a meeting with music producers, Bradley Africa and the eccentric DuPreez Strauss.
If the meeting is successful, they will also get to meet with Penelope Moila, who takes care of all the admin at the record company as well as the marketing manager, Refilwe Modiselle (pictured).
Modiselle may sound like a familiar name, right? This is because you might have seen the tall lass singing back-up for artists like afro-pop singer KB Motsianyane or rapper Zubz. It could also be because you might have seen her as an ambassador for clothing label, Legit, whose new summer campaign hails her as Africa’s First Working Albino Model.
“This campaign had a message,” she tells me while on a break from shooting SugaRushed, “and I’m a catalyst for that message. People have shown me so much love. It’s been humbling and overwhelming.
“I take pride in being born with albinism. That puts a stamp on the fact that I’ve gone beyond what the expectation of society was.
“I’ve always been proud because my mom never made me feel ashamed. I saw myself as a human being before a pale-skinned girl. I’m a vanilla bone,” she laughs loudly, throwing her blonde tresses back.
“Sometimes corporates believe in going with the stereotype and it’s been a battle to have them go with what’s unique.
“For some of us who are doing this [modelling] and are albinos, it’s hard to bag something like this.
“Sure, there is Diandra Forrest in America but I’m not sure what big companies she’s with and Shawn Ross has H&M now, so things are moving to another level. It’s amazing, it teaches the world something else.”
Discovered when she was just 13 years old by fashion designer Sheldon Kopman, Modiselle has been modelling for 13 years.
Even though she has worked extensively behind the scenes in the entertainment industry, Modiselle also holds an advertising degree that ensures she’s the right person to manage the marketing of a record company.
“I’ve been working in the advertising and music game for years,” she says, “and SugaRushed has been a great opportunity to dive into a space where I could help cultivate someone else.”
While she may enjoy Mo Love, Platinum Hit and America’s Next Top Model, Modiselle isn’t a fan of the more violent/drama-filled Basketball Wives-esque shows.
What if SugaRushed also shows a whole lot of drama, though? “The best thing about this show,” says Modiselle, “is that we all have a common spirit and goal and are mature enough to handle ourselves appropriately.”
“Trash isn’t the only thing that sells. We take a genuine interest in people’s lives and want to build them up. That’s the message.”
As for her personal goals, this voice-artist and aspiring actress says: “I just want to touch people’s lives, I want to leave a legacy and I live to inspire.”
Scheduled to air well into 2013, SugaRushed wants budding musos to send their video clips to their website (www.sugarushed.com) every week for a chance to appear on the show and to realise their dreams.
• Sugarushed premieres on Top One (TopTV Channel 150) on November 26 at 5.30pm.