Former Miss SA turned radio jock, Liesl Laurie, adds another feather to her cap as she joins the cast of Dancing With The Stars SA - a move dedicated to her mother.
The Jacaranda FM breakfast show presenter chatted to Saturday Live about life after the crown and all she wants to accomplish in 2018.
“Winning Miss SA was such a growing experience for me. I was sad when I had to pass on the crown, but at the same time I always believe that when a chapter of your life closes the next opens and that’s exactly what happened,” she said.
After her reign as Miss SA, Laurie went straight into radio, but started by working the graveyard shifts on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 6am. She wanted to ease herself into radio instead of jumping into the deep end and falling flat on her face.
“I actively pursued this career. I fell in love with radio when I won Miss Soweto years ago, and we got to take over Eldos FM for a day. Even when I attended interviews on other radio stations, I clearly remember saying to them that I am going to come back and take over the interviewer chair. I also dropped hints about wanting to be a jock, eventually they listened, I am now a part of the breakfast team on Jacaranda FM,” she said.
Laurie said what she loves most about radio is that it allows her to think on her feet and speak with conviction.
“No one can see you so you can get away with smiling or flicking your hair. Every day is a learning experience for me, but I absolutely love it and want to eventually become one of those radio veterans, where 30 years from now people still remember me,” Laurie said.
This year, Laurie took up another challenge, which she dedicates to her mother. She agreed to participate in the world renowned show, Dancing With The Stars.
“I am very excited. I remember when I got the e-mail inviting me to participate in the show, I immediately checked my schedules and shooting dates to see if I’ll be in the country and then replied saying: “Yes, let’s do it, it will be fun
“My mom was the first person I called because she is such a big fan of the show. She watched every season and episode since its inception, so she was ecstatic that her daughter was chosen to be on it,” she said.
Laurie said she thinks she’s got what it takes to win the competition.
“We had our very first rehearsal on Monday (this week) and it went really well. Although it was just the first, we did so much. I’m really enjoying it. I definitely got moves and rhythm. If I were to rate myself, without sounding conceited, I would say I’m an eight out of 10. If you add ballroom and Latin, teaching aside, I would rate myself a seven out of 10, so I would say I have a good chance of winning,” Laurie said.
She said viewers will be in for a treat as the 12 contestants participating are very enter-taining, full of life and ready to dance.
“Viewers can look forward to a phenomenal cast just enjoying themselves, having fun and dancing their socks off. I believe if you dance with your heart and soul and you’re sincere about it, then you can put on the best performance. And although I am very competitive, I’m mature enough to know there is a time and place for everything, so I am not so serious all the time anymore,” she said.
“I’m so glad that I was paired with someone that “gets me” and is assertive enough to lay down the rules and leads well, and not someone who is okay to just try again and again hoping I’ll eventually get it. I’m the kind of person that’s not afraid to say what I feel, so I was hoping and praying I get someone who’ll complement me,” Laurie said.
Aside from radio and TV, Laurie, is also the international brand ambassador of L’ Oreal Vichy Laboratories in South Africa, the US and Brazil.
The 27-year-old also runs the family’s non profit organisation.
“It was started by my family when I was about 11. It has various sectors under the one umbrella, like the food schemes, skills development and the Pearl Project which I’ve started, where I go to schools, communities and homes and offer motivational talks and hand out booklets. It’s a free service for the less privileged.”
On the personal front, Laurie and her musician, TV presenter and producer boyfriend Proverb, recently declared their relationship. The two were seen looking happy on Instagram in London late last year.
“He and I know that business is business and private time is private. And we have no problem with this rule. There is a time and place for everything so we do enjoy doing our own thing and also being together when we are.”
Considered to be one of South Africa’s sweethearts, Laurie has a striking sense of style.
“I think my sense of style comes from a mixture - ‘tomboy and Miss SA’. It exploded to form Liesl. I like to take my time dressing up, and although looking good is important, I do remind myself that it’s just an outfit. I think everyone could look good if they just do the simple grooming techniques like smell good, take care of your finger and toenails and make sure your hair is washed, then even if you’re in gym clothes it wouldn’t make a difference,” she said.
As 2018 gathers pace, so too do her ambitions.
“This year I want to do a lot more travelling and modelling. I also want to grow on radio and do more TV work. There is really no stopping me now. I’m from a small town and I always think about the promises I made to myself and I want to keep fulfilling those,” Laurie said.
* Catch the former Miss SA, Liesl Laurie on Dancing With The Stars on February 4 at 5pm on M-net channel 101.