Bathabile Mashigo, who plays Grace on e.tv’s Scandal!, chats about her love for film and motherhood.
Please tell us a bit about your acting background.I started acting in high school. My speech and drama teacher was a graduate of Technikon Pretoria Drama School. She thought I was the most impressive character she'd ever seen, and so she encouraged me to rethink the marketing and advertising path and study drama instead. I did just that. My dad took me to auditions, watched me crash his dreams of me becoming a doctor, but he also witnessed me discover my passion and pave my journey. I graduated from Technikon Pretoria in 2001 with a B-tech, and a drama degree. I worked at various production companies, and did a lot of industrial theatre until 2005. I landed the role of Magda at Generations, which was my first TV job. When I left Generations, I was given the opportunity to present Mother Of All Professions, I did Society II and III, playing the role of Petunia, I appeared on Death Of A Queen, Khululeka, an HIV awareness campaign that went on the road with the 46664 campaign.
You’re on Scandal! now. How did you join the soapie and how has the journey been so far?I've always wanted to do Scandal!. I actually auditioned for the show a few times previously. When I went in for the role of Grace, there was just something about the role that just felt right. I walked out of the audition knowing that it was the best audition I'd ever given them. Weeks later I got a call to come in for a fitting. I love the show and my role. I have the best colleagues ever. This role is completely different from anything I've ever played before. I've always played mousy little women, but Grace is powerful and humble. She just has so many layers to her character and I feel like I get to watch her grow. She can be so very naive at times; she just wants to find true love and happiness, like most people do.
What do you love most about being an actress?Acting is such fun work. It's like reading – you get to travel to places you've never been to before, and play out situations that you have never dreamed of. It teaches you a lot about empathy because you can't judge the character that you play, you don't even have to understand them. Your job as an actor is to give or share the character's messages or experiences as authentically as you possibly can. Acting is about your character’s truth. This is by far the best job on the planet.
Mother’s Day is in two weeks; do you have any plans for the special lady in your life?I haven’t decided what to do for my mother yet, but I will do something nice. My mother is very easy to please; she's such a girl. She loves all-things floral and pink. She’s a recent retiree, so this has been a very exciting year for her.
What do you love most about your mother?I love my mom for encouraging us to be ourselves even when she didn't quite like who we were. She did not raise mini-hers; we were always allowed to have a voice. In my family, kids were seen and heard.
What are some of the most valuable lessons your mother has taught you that you’d pass on to your own kids?My mom taught me to take pride in who I am, and to always introduce myself by name and surname. I was taught to always take responsibility for my actions. Don't ever be proud to apologise. She also taught me that no matter how broke I am, I must look my best. Sometimes it's okay to choose face moisturiser and washing powder over Oros and sliced bread. Drink water and find that bread knife! No one will know. Cracked skin and smelly clothes on the other hand...
Catch Bathabile as Grace on Scandal! weekdays at 7:30pm on etv.