Actress and presenter Nicole Bessick moved to Johannesburg for her role in e.tv’s Broken Vows.
“When I moved up, I didn’t have any friends or family in Johannesburg, but I can honestly say I’ve never felt more at home,” said Bessick, although she admitted she did miss Sunday family lunches and her mother’s “next level” cooking.
“Joburg is something else,” she said. “It’s very fast-paced and very much an ‘adapt or die’ kind of city. Success belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their own dreams I’m loving every second of it.”
Bessick plays Chloe Hendricks in Broken Vows (weekdays at 6.30pm), the strong-willed, confident cousin of Brandon (Danny Ross). “The two grew up together and are closer than siblings. Brandon has multiple personality disorder and Chloe is the only person who understands him and treats him like a normal person,” Bessick said.
“She joins the cast to help him get revenge on his estranged father, Chris (played by Emmanuel Castis) and his father’s wife, Azania (played by Enhle Mbali Maphumalo). Chris has a long-lost child whom Chloe is pretending to be while his real child is actually Brandon. The two stir up a lot of trouble and throw the story on its head.”
Bessick said working on the show had been an “absolute blast” and she was having fun playing Chloe. “Being the character everybody loves to hate is always a bit touch-and-go, but the buzz it has created on social media has been amazing,” she said.
Bessick is a UCT graduate and was last year named one of a handful of Future Shapers in South Africa by Marie Claire. She wants to play an active role in the future of her generation and live life as a positive role model. “I want to challenge stereotypes,” she said. “In this day and age, especially in this industry, it’s very easy to settle into and accept roles or deals just to put food on the table. That’s not me.
“Everything I do, every project or collaboration I enter into, needs to have meaning. It needs to effect change. As for ‘challenging stereotypes’ - the roles I take on need to be challenging and go beyond the ‘glitz and glamour’ my profession has become synonymous with. It needs to tell a truthful story that ‘speaks’ to someone, to let them know they’re not alone, and to inspire them In the same breath, these roles need to challenge me.”
Bessick is an anti-bullying spokesperson, a celebrity boxing champion and presenter on The A1 TV YouTube show called The Chat Show. Mid-last year, Bessick was crowned as the female #BullyProof Celebrity Boxing Champion in an event headline sponsored by the Jag Foundation, an organisation that uses sport as a catalyst for social change. “Being a victim of bullying myself, I absolutely had to get involved,” said Bessick.
“My road to the belt was a tough one. After accepting the challenge to fight, I trained like a professional boxer about three hours, six days a week, and lost 15kg in a month and a half to be able to qualify for the fight.
“After a gruelling three rounds, my hand was raised and I was crowned as the #BullyProof Celebrity Boxing Champion.”
Preparing for the fight stirred up a lot of emotions Bessick said she had never really dealt with while in school. “I was bullied every day for 12 years, and when preparing for a fight, you go through similar things: the drama, the smack talk, the naysayers. I’ve always prided myself on never stepping down from a challenge.”
Bessick has sound advice for those going through what she went through: “I know it’s not easy, but a saying that always brought me comfort is as follows: What God has put in your path, no man can take away. So keep doing things that set your soul on fire.”
Lookingto her future, Bessick said: “I hope everything I do and all the projects I embark on, inspire.”