#aTypicalInterview: Natasha Sutherland on the song that sums up her life

Natasha Sutherland. Supplied image.

Natasha Sutherland. Supplied image.

Published Apr 11, 2021


In this week’s A-typical interview we feature South African actress and renowned author Natasha Sutherland.

The 50-year-old is best known for her roles in the television serials Honeytown, Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, and Scandal, where she plays the role of Layla McKenzie.

Sutherland began her career in the early 1990s as presenter of children’s show Kideo.

She then joined the cast of the soapie, Egoli, launching her acting career. This led to other shows such as The Wild.

She most recently featured in hit M-Net drama series Lioness, where she played the role of Megan Hugo.

You can star alongside any actor in a Hollywood blockbuster. Who do you choose to star alongside and why?

Oh actors I can learn and grow from please. Viola Davis is pure power. Meryl Streep’s choices for characterisation is intriguing. Judi Dench radiates no matter what. Sandra Oh is … Oh!!!. James McAvoy’s versatility on screen and on stage is magnetic. And Colin Firth and Idris Elba for a ‘yum’ factor ( not to mention the talent) BUT having mentioned these names I must say that our country’s actors have all that and then some!

Your biggest regret in life is?

The regret of spending precious time worried about regrets.

The meal that most reminds you of your childhood is?

My granddad’s crumpets (he was a keen baker). My dad’s bouillabaisse (a rich seafood soup). And Chinese food. When I was little my folks used to take me to the Sai Woo in JHB and there were all these beautiful pictures on the wall with Chinese lettering and my mom – a brilliant storyteller (and obvious fibber), pretended she could read the writing and she’d tell us the stories whilst we ate. I love food and love stories, so this was a match made in heaven!

Your favourite role as an actress to date is?

I CANNOT mention just one but will attempt to narrow down (LOL) playing the part of Helen in The Market Theatre’s Meet me at Dawn. Directed by Lesedi Job and my co-star was Pamela Nomvete meant I was working with some hard-core talent. My character was irreverent, funny, frustrating, and full of life so imagine her surprise when she realised she was in actual fact dead?! Of course playing Megan Hugo in M-Net’s crime drama tv series Lioness has been a beautiful challenge because Meg is an intensely unlikeable (some may say hated…ok…most would say hated) character – I’ve had an interesting time exploring her unlikability and finding how her obsessive need for control and curating this perfect façade means there’s a brittleness about her which causes her to unravel in a spectacular fashion. Playing ‘Shirley Valentine’ is another role – in this iconic one woman show directed by Gina Shmukler – I’ve fallen in love with my character since Shirley’s delightful & courageous in spite of the loneliness of her life. She has a remarkable resilience that is a gift to portray. I mean – she has the most irascible friendship with the wall in her kitchen!!!. (…and lets face it – who of us have spoken to inanimate objects in our homes during lockdown?)

The most adventurous thing you have done in your life is?

As a ‘youngling’ I left my comfort zone in Durban and travelled to Joburg in the hopes of being an actress, but I had no ’work in the bag’ promised at all. I still don’t know if it was fuelled by curiosity or just-plain-ignorance… but maybe it was a healthy mixture of both? Being a single parent to two boys is also an adventure that I’m blessed to still be backpacking through….

What song sums up your entire life?

You’ve got the love – Florence and the Machine … and …. Here comes the sun – Beatles.

Your fondest memory of presenting Kideo was....? In spite of the fact that I used to talk to a donkey for a living (ahhh Mr Chinwag!) Kideo was some of the hardest work I’ve done! I think we packaged three episodes in one day, no make-up or hair artist to make me feel camera ready, often scripts given to us a few days before, AND in case anyone didn’t know – I was also the voice and puppeteer for GrapeJuice (so multi talented LOL!). But the calibre of people I got to work and learn from was a blessing – Louise Smit, Linda Korsten. I think, ironically, the fondest memory associated with Kideo is one I experience still – so many people tell me how ‘Natasha from Kideo’ was their friend growing up. I kept them company when they came home from school – that’s a whole generation of adults whom I’m humbled to have been part of their childhood.

The biggest misconception people have of you is?

That I’m aloof and standoffish , but I’ve actually got my head in the clouds most of the time (space cadet) and have a silly random sense of humour. My mom says I’m shy.

Natasha Sutherland

Your celebrity crush growing up was?

Ahhh now that would be giving away my age… but let me give two words….‘Duran Duran’

You have been elected the President of South Africa. What is your first priority as President?

I used to talk for a donkey for a living – I hardly think I’m qualified to be the President.

The Saturday Star

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