After a short sabbatical from our television screens, one of South Africa’s most outspoken, fun loving, effervescent and sometimes downright crazy celebrities are back with a bang.
Denise Zimba, who became a household name as a presenter on Vuzu’s V Entertainment celebrity and lifestyle show has bagged 4 new shows and is in studio putting together her debut album.
The celebrity unexpectedly announced her break from the industry last year to focus on her family and live the good life in Europe. Now she is back as a judge on Mnet’s The Wedding Bashers, and host of Channel O’s Top 5 Drive music show, MTV Base’s Ridiculousness Africa and Mzansi Magic’s Vodacom Nxt Lvl music reality show.
“I had decided to take some leave from the industry to focus on my family, my sister gave birth so I wanted to be there, I didn’t and don’t want to miss out on time with my family. Contrary to popular belief, I did not quit the industry. People in the corporate world take leave to relax and recoup and that’s exactly what I did,” she said.
While she was in Germany, she received a call to be a part of the Loeries again.
“So I agreed to be apart of them again and while I was back home for them, I got a call from Mnet and they told me about The Wedding Bashers and two weeks later I got a call for Ridiculousness Africa and then the other shows followed. It all happened very fast,” Zimba said.
The Wedding Bashers
“With this show I am working with people I have always looked up to in the industry. Cindy Nel and Siba Mtongana are both people I really love so working with them now is amazing. We are all very different people and I think we all bring something different to the show.”
One of the challenges of being on the show though has been understanding her fellow judges.
“We are constantly in each others faces and we really don’t know each other that well to be stuck with each other all the time, so understanding each other as people has been challenging. We are very different. Cindy and Siba are married, they are mothers, their outlook on life is different to mine. I am care free and really don’t care about what people think or say about me so finding that balance is important.”
She also said that being on a wedding reality show, has got her second guessing marriage.
“There is a lot that the viewers don’t see. I think everyone knows that putting a wedding together is stressful but sometimes we go to a wedding and the drama is on overload and I just think to myself ‘no this is not for me, I am not putting myself through this, i’ll just go to court’ and then other weddings makes me want to experience every aspect of the day because they are so beautiful. I’ll probably just got to court though and have a huge party afterwards,” she said.
Channel O Top 5 Drive
The Top 5 Drive sees Zimba pick up some of the country’s most popular celebrities in a taxi/truck and drive around with them while picking their brain about their favourite music, life and career.
“What I absolutely love about this show is that it is not a conventional interview. Yes we ask them about music but it goes beyond that, for me it's about getting into their minds and asking them the questions we all want answers to. I am blessed to have the producers value my input and allow me to run with the show the way I want to. It's very personal, it's a real conversation with the personality and it’s current,” she said.
Although she is happy with where her career is at the moment, she does admit that she misses V Entertainment.
“I really do miss that show and even the channel. Leaving was not an easy decision but I needed to, for my own growth, both professionally and personally, in fact everyone needs growth. Vuzu was family and it was an amazing environment to work in. To this day people still ask me why I left and they tell me how I inspired them to be themselves. When I pulled my wig off on national television I didn't expect young girls to feel empowered by that and thank me, but they do,” she said.
Zimba is also working on her debut album and although she says it is taking longer than expected, her fans can expect it soon.
“It’s taking forever because I have so much of work going on at the moment and now I live in Cape Town so there is a lot more travelling. However I do plan on giving it my full attention very soon. My music is going to be about my experiences and about the entertainment industry. I have named it Wonderland as a play of words because when you think of the entertainment industry, many people think it’s wonderful, which isn’t true,” she said.
She also said that the album will be a fusion of genres but have lots of hip hop and pop influences.