Meet Carissa Cupido- SA's Next Great Presenter

Carissa Cupido. Picture: Supplied

Carissa Cupido. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 6, 2016


It was obvious that Cape Town radio presenter, Carissa Cupido, would win TLC’s Next Great Presenter competition.

No, I wasn’t privy to the judge’s decisions or the public’s votes. But it was the way that she carried herself just a few minutes before TV presenter and 5FM DJ, Thando Thabethe, who was head judge and host of the TLC reality competition, announced that she had won the competition.

From the choice of outfit (a salmon kimono style pant suit) and the neatly piled up hair, she oozed confidence and, as I have noticed in most presenter search competitions, the most confident contestants win.

But Cupido also had one thing that set her apart from her fellow finalists – Karen Mukwedeya from Zimbabwe and Kenya’s Charlie Karumi – she was relateable and looked like someone many would want to chill with. It turns out, she is.

“I’m cheesy and silly,” she said, laughing, when I asked her what she’s all about. “I’m an ambitious young girl trying to grab everything there is.”

A few hours after the announcement, she’s all calm and waiting backstage before she has to go out to meet the media at Discovery Networks Upfront in Johannesburg.

Still in the same outfit, she’s relaxed, but you can tell that she’s also a tad bit nervous.

Until you start talking to her and she just becomes like an old friend“That confetti was insane hey,” she said after asking her how she feels.

“It just came down and then the tears followed and then I’m trying to hold them back. I didn’t know what to do. I thought I had prepared myself on how I was going to react if I won, clearly I didn’t.”

She then burst out laughing. “But there was also a feeling of joy, excitement and pride. Pride that it finally happened – I finally won.”

Cupido has been trying her luck at several presenter searches and so she went into this one knowing that she mustn’t have lofty hopes of winning.

“I didn’t even think about the end-result. But as it got closer to being tangible, to it actually happening, I guess it started getting real pretty quickly and going from top 13 to top six to the final was the only time that I felt that maybe this was the one I would win.” Cupido is all about offering something different to the TV presenting industry.

“I’m very eclectic, really easy to get along with (I agree with this) and bubbly. I’m not overwhelming or brash. I’m here to stay.

“I’m all about connecting with other people. It helps, especially when you are on TV – you become aspirational, but also need to be relateable. People must feel like they can touch and see you without it all being a mirage.”

Her style intrigued me and perusing her Instagram (stalking, actually) I could see why – she’s inspired by Solange Knowles.

“I love everything about her She is aesthetic goals,” she said. And Cupido’s style? “It’s very classic, not too vintage though. I try to wear things that look good on me. I don’t think I’m trying to be different with my style.

“I think that the things that often catch my eye are not what someone else my age would wear. Most importantly, I think it evolves all the time.

“It’s not the same as it was two years ago when I was still studying. Thank God (laughs).”

It’s surprising that she struggled with self doubt during the show. “It crippled me and stopped me from doing things. Sometimes I would have to go sit in the loo and try to psych myself up to keep going. I reminded myself that there’s a reason why I’m here and why they chose me. I needed to remember that. I needed to step into it, channel good energy and do my best.”

It clearly worked because she’s now one of the newest TV presenters on the scene that the industry has its eye on.

Her prize? Cupido will be hosting a show on TLC, called TLC’s Most Extreme, a four-part series coming to TLC Entertainment (DStv 135) in early 2017.

This new show will showcase some of the channel’s most gripping, exciting and thrilling clips from the TLC archive. She will be shooting the show in London in a few weeks.

Her favourite TLC show? 90 Day Fiance. “It’s real and it puts people in long-distance relationships to the test to see if they can stay together or not and what it means for their relationship.”

I guess we can expect a number of extreme moments from this show to make the cut? “Probably yes,” she said, as she left to go change for her big reveal.

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