They look like cool party animals but behind the scenes, the glamorous presenters of All Access Mzansi are all business.
Television’s hottest trio are used to tabloid gossip and speculation about everything from drug use to cat fights and romantic entanglements.
But Nandi Mngoma, ProVerb (real name Tebogo Thekisho) and Dineo Ranaka insist that no-one gets too down-and-dirty at the events they get invited to these days.
Sure there are divas who party too hard and egos that get bruised too easily, they admit, but cellphone cameras, YouTube and Twitter have put paid to a lot of crazy behaviour.
‘High profile personalities are very aware of their brand and the power of social media – and know they need to position themselves accordingly,’ rapper ProVerb, 30, says.
‘All it takes is one photograph of you passed out in a toilet to go viral – and your good reputation is ruined overnight.’
Dineo, 29, a radio presenter and reality TV star, is the first to admit that she is energy to the max when she’s on set, but that these days she’s more of a happy couch potato than a party animal when she’s off camera. ‘I know it’s a bit of a cliché, but my kitchen really is the soul of my home,’ she says.
‘I love being there, experimenting and trying new recipes.’ And it’s her oxtail with dumplings that she says is her foolproof crowd-pleaser. This doesn’t mean she’s a demure homemaker, though.
‘I am a hothead and I’m opinionated and I won’t back away from an argument if I think it’s important to get my point across,’ she says.
ProVerb chirps in: ‘The beautiful thing about Dineo is that her “madness” is truly her, it’s consistent madness; what you see is what you get.’
The mother of two adds there’s a separation between the public and the private her. As an All Access Mzansi presenter, she sees herself as a bridge to celebrity, rather than being the celebrity herself.
Dineo and Proverb are at Skyline Gardens rooftop bar in downtown Joburg with a small camera crew, where they shoot the All Access Mzansi links and intros. The building keeps company with the Nelson Mandela bridge and a horizon of bank buildings, office blocks and Park Station’s trains disappearing westward.
‘Let’s start with Dineo’s lines,’ says director Samora Sekhukhune. A reflector board directs captured sunlight onto the pair, the two cameramen cue each other and the soundman listens out for rustling scripts and the distant call of the muezzin from the inner city mosque.
In an instant Dineo and ProVerb snap into their on-screen personas. Then Dineo’s hair blows out of place, a few tenses get jumbled and it’s time for a mini break.
In-between shots, ProVerb discusses the celeb party life. ‘I’m a husband and a father of two and I really don’t get to party that much unless it’s for work. And when I do attend events, I’m quite tame. I’m not a drinker – so I’m really more about conversation and cool vibes.’
The rapper and well-known TV personality adds that he’s pretty selective about the gigs he goes to. ‘I’m more into watching polo at the Joburg Country Club, or going to functions where I can learn something from experts,’ he says, adding that if he were to throw his own no-expenses-spared party, it would be very laid-back.
‘Instead of a DJ, I would hire a live band to play some blues and a chef to prepare a wine and food pairing. The shindig would be very conversation driven and I might even get a poet to deliver a few pieces. At the end of the evening, the goodie bag would include my latest album, FourthWrite, a few of my favourite books, fragrances and vouchers.’
‘It’s always great fun on set and we laugh so much,’ says the third anchor of the show, Nandi, 25, who released her debut single, ‘Good Times’ this year.
‘I’m the newbie at this and I am a bit of the baby of the three, but it’s a dream come true. It’s not every day you get to work with two pros like Dineo and ProVerb and on a show that so classy.’
She says their on-set chemistry and the laid-back vibe of the entire crew make it feel like one big family – ‘like Destiny’s Child’, she says and, of course, that would make her Beyoncé, she jokes.
Nandi rocks a natural look, with her own hair and eyelashes. She says this is important because she often speaks to schoolgirls and wants them to love how they look, not what they haven’t got.
‘But yes, I do love fashion,’ she says, admitting to being a shopaholic who currently has a soft spot for a black and beige Tiger of Sweden fedora, and Hollywood hotshot Bradley Cooper.
The Man U fan is also not too posh to break into a Michael Jackson moonwalk on set, or some crazy dance moves to the Motown tunes she keeps in her mental playlist. It’s her way of re-energising and keeping the vibe going, even during long shoots or when things veer off plan.
It’s Dineo, though, says ProVerb, who keeps the three of them in stitches. ‘Aah, thank you, sweetie,’ she smiles.
Too soon Samora cuts in. ‘Okay guys, the light, the light, let’s go, and Dineo, you’re a bit shiny, let’s do a pat down,’ he calls out.
There’s no make-up artist or hairstylist running to her side. Instead, she calls for a tissue or a serviette from the lunch packet that held chicken wings a few minutes earlier; something, anything from the crew.She gets the serviette.
The cameras roll, the three run through their script lines again and again. They continue with the do-overs and the ‘in case’ shot, until eventually Samora calls out, ‘It’s a wrap people, good job!’
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