Image: Shen Scott

Actor, presenter, professional beatboxer and model, Tina Melisa Redman, is young and thriving in her dream career, making Johannesburg her oyster.

Redman, 23, was born in Kokstad, and matriculated from Durban Girls High School in 2012. Thereafter, graduating with a BA in Drama and Film Studies at the University of Pretoria in 2015. Redman went on to qualify as a digital content creator at Live magazine, completing their full internship.

Describing herself as being “the biggest goofball ever”, Redman said she finds almost everything funny. "I am very animated and re-enact what interests me in the form of a mini show for my friends and family... or even the neighbors cat. I love to love and I love to laugh."

As a child, Drama, film - especially animations and voice overs - and the creative freedom of telling stories, piqued her interest. “I used to do ‘Speech and Drama’ from the age of seven and began winning competitions from the age of eight,” she said. 

Mimicking the cartoon characters she watched on TV, Redman would spend hours trying to perfect their voices. “I’d work on it until I matched them to the beats I heard in music. Soon I became fluent in copying the sounds of drums and snares.”

Image: Nkhensani Mkhari

The sense of freedom that came with being able to create using only her voice is what spurred Redman on. “Our voices are our first fully fledged instrument, it’s something I’m able to carry around with me wherever I go,” she said.

Although beatboxing was something that brought Redman and her peers much joy, it was a hobby, one that she never thought would amount to anything - until she took the plunge and entered competitions. “I used to do it purely for my own fun and amusement until I learnt that there were more people out there doing it and taking the time to grow their skill.” 

Motivated to find new ways to explore beatboxing and use it to her benefit, Redman took part in talent shows. “In university I won SABC 1’s Battle Station Award as the first female beatboxer ever to enter the show and ultimately was awarded the title of ‘Master’.” 

Her “hobby” became seen as a fruitful talent and she was given the opportunity to open for bands and collaborate with different artists such as Ricky Rick, Nadia Nakai, Miss Cosmo, Rouge and Kwesta.

“I became known as South Africa’s only known female beatboxer. I worked with Ford Figo on their advertisement for their new model and, more recently, with Cadbury Bubbly chocolate on their latest elevator advertisement. I Beatbox in both,” she said.

The SABC 1 Reno Race presenter was inspired by Sade, a former YO-TV presenter. “I want to thank her for being a fearlessly genuine queer person of colour on television in SA, back in the early 2000s, I too saw myself on TV because of her. Representation is so important. I hope to do more meaningful work in the months to come and to live my truth as authentically as she did hers.” 

Thus far, the highlight of Redman's career has been getting her dream job in television. “I cannot describe what it felt like hearing that I had received my first television job. This is something so many actors work years of their lives for,” she said.

Being a part of making a change was always something she strived to do. “It was a big deal for me to get this job because I always thought that someday I’d be rich enough to make a change where I can in my country, and to be part of a show where it is my job, ‘to be the change I want to see in the world’ is wonderful. I will be forever grateful,” she said.

Looking back on her career, Redman said, “I’m not nearly where I want to be but I’m further than I ever thought I’d be. If I could go back, I would tell myself that it’ll all start to look up, that being an artist is a real job and not to let anyone tell me differently.”

Redman’s wish for future generations of SA’s youth is to use education to empower themselves and those who follow after. “Education is the most important tool to change the world. This day is to honor the students who sacrificed their lives for equality in the education system and to liberate South Africa as a whole." 

As for the future, Redman is preparing to shoot season three of Reno Race, “I also have a few projects lined up that I cannot wait share,” she said.