PICS: Former Miss SA reignites her modelling career two decades later
Cape Town - Former Miss SA Michelle Bruce restarted her modelling career last year at the age of 50. She is taking on roles in movies that have garnered significant success this year.
Bruce, 51, now with known by her married name Michelle Mountain, won the Miss SA title in 1989.
“I could’ve either gone down the road of a ‘traditional’ life by working a normal 9 to 5 job or I could’ve been brave and courageous by following my dreams and passions. I chose the latter. Establishing myself as an actress and model all over again is one of the most exciting, scariest and adventurous journeys ever. This passion and excitement is something I would so love for other people to discover for themselves, allowing them to chase their dreams, and to never give up too and chase these for their own lives," she said
Mountain said although she is establishing herself again as a model and actress, she is not after fame or “celebrity status”.
The past year proved to Mountain that she made the right decision having done several short films and television commercials - including Booked, which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival this year and Disowned, which was shortlisted for the 48 Hour Film Project.
A big passion for Mountain is raising awareness about living a natural life by assisting people to become more conscious of what food they put in their bodies and what products they use on their bodies.
Mountain and her younger sister were born and raised in Joburg where she lived until she was 18 years old.
Her father was a pilot and her mother a bookkeeper and entrepreneur. After matriculating, Mountain moved overseas and lived in Germany, Spain and Switzerland for four years where she worked as an international model.
It was after she returned that she won the Miss South Africa title at the age of 22.
“I started modeling when I was 16 years old. At that stage, I had been at a performing arts school for ballet, but after grade nine I decided to move to a normal school so that I could take science as a subject, which wasn’t offered at the current school. At the new school, I was encouraged to enter their fashion show. Although reluctant, I took up the challenge. Being on the ramp was so exciting and fun, to my absolute surprise, I actually won. One of the prizes was a modeling contract.”
Mountain said her modeling career took off when she was in Europe, working almost daily and traveling extensively. “Winning Miss SA was a peak event for me, but personally, the most enjoyable and successful part of my career was as an international model. I ran it like a business and approached it professionally, always being on time, always being on time and always properly prepared for each job. I believe this gave me a reputation as a pleasure to work with.”
After her “beauty queen” year as Miss SA, Mountain gave up her public life entirely and started a business. “After closing that business, it took me a while to discover myself again. I had forgotten who I was and what made me happy and passionate. After some deep and introspective soul searching I decided to restart my modeling career, which organically developed into acting,” she said.
On jobs, castings, auditions and movie sets, Mountain never mentions she is a former Miss SA, feeling that there would immediately be assumptions made of her.
“I would far rather have my hard work, work ethic, and performance be seen for what it is, and not what someone thinks I should be."
Both Michelle’s children are actors too. Her son completed his three-year acting training last year while Her daughter is currently at an acting college overseas.@WeekendArgus