AS MUCH as the camera loves Katleho Sinivasan, viewers have taken a shine to this easy-going, confident presenter. Looking back, 2007 was a momentous year for him. Aside from making his debut as a presenter on SABC1’s YoTV, he also explored his singing prowess as part of a six-member group performing in SABC2’s reality series, Famous!, back in 2007.

Little did he realise how the show’s title would eventually manifest itself in his career trajectory - more so when he became one of eight contestants vying for the title of the landmark first season The Search: E! South Africa.

Prior this, he was spotted in the Eric Miyeni directed movie, Stolen Time, co-presented SABC1’s Play Your Part and become a familiar face on SABC1’s breakfast show, Mzansi Insider.

When Tonight got a hold of Sinivasan on Tuesday, he had managed to catch his breath after a whirlwind of radio, print and TV interviews after his win last Wednesday.

Feeling euphoric, he says, “I’m good man. I’m not complaining. It’s everything I wanted and more.”

So what was the journey like for him, going into the house and participating in The Search: E! South Africa?

“I got a call from my agent telling me he got a call from the people from The Search,” he recalls. “They were looking for new talent to come through for an audition. Immediately, (I thought) I don’t care where it’s happening. I’m there - sign me up.”

He continues, “For the longest time, I’ve admired the channel itself and the talent on E! Who would have thought that they would be searching for a presenter in SA? I thought it was the perfect opportunity.”

Going up against seven other hopefuls was no walk in the park, though, as everyone had their own strengths and followings.

Sinivasan says, “Throughout the whole competition, I was so hungry for it. I just had to get this job.”

Although some of them, including him, were comfortable presenting in real life, having done so on numerous occasions, the show came with its own set of challenges.

He admits, “A simple thing like somebody being a diva became the biggest challenge for me. You tend to beat yourself up about it. It was such a hectic experience but, more importantly, I learned so much from the competition - more than I had in the 10 years I’ve been doing this.”

Living in such close proximity to your rival means one of two things - you either let your guard down or make friends. He did the latter.

He laughs, “Abigail (Visagie) is like my brand new friend. It’s unbelievable. On the first photo shoot we did, she went back home and told her parents, ‘I don’t like this guy; he speaks of himself too much.’ Eventually, we did get to bond.”

As for the jitters on the night of the announcement, he says, “Everybody kept telling me I was going to win. I felt the competition was so tough, it was anybody’s game - especially after the red carpet challenge. I was thinking, ‘If I mess up this job, I’ve lost it.’

He shares, “Standing in that room with Andile Ncube and Terry Pheto, I was numb. It was almost like watching the countdown of a bomb happening; you close your eyes and your body gets stiff.”

But the real moment when his win sunk in was when he saw the presenters of Hollywood congratulating him on a video.

Sinivasan admits, “These are people I’ve admired all my life and they were addressing me and telling me I’m coming to Hollywood. I crumbled - and I never cry.”

But before hopping on a plane to LA, he makes a detour to the 11th annual South African Film and Televisions Awards (Saftas), which kicks off at Sun City from today until Saturday. Even better, he is co-hosting the red carpet with none other than the fabulous Bonang Matheba.

He gushes, “She’s the biggest star in our country right now. With this opportunity... my career has been propelled in a matter of weeks. I’ve been telling her that I want to work with her. And it’s finally happening.”

When asked whether he is ready for this, he comments, without any hesitation, “An E! host needs to be on the pulse of pop culture and, honestly, they couldn’t have found a better host. I have watched every single TV show and read every single magazine.”