Chit Chat: Jeannie D

2011-01-28 08:27

How did you become one of Audi A1’s ambassadors?
It all started with my agent’s phone call. I am not necessarily one to endorse products, but Audi is a massive brand.

I checked out their website and noticed that Justin Timberlake is the international brand ambassador, and I love him!

The car sold itself to me.

I thought it’s got curves and entertainment, just like me.

When you joined Top Billing, you came out of ­nowhere. How did you get into TV?
I started off on radio in Cape Town and Top Billing actually came to do a profile of me.

The producer felt that I was being “wasted” behind the mic since I have both voice and acting training.

Before I knew it, I was flying off to do interviews.

What’s the biggest misconception about you?
That Top Billing is easy. I love it, but I work very hard.

I write my own scripts and usually direct my own inserts. It’s my passion.

What’s the hardest part about being a Top Billing presenter?
The sacrifices I make. I am 28 and married to my ­career.

I am not married and I don’t have any kids ­because of all the travelling I have to do.

I have had to work extremely hard because the entertainment ­industry can be fickle.

Top Billing viewers are constantly seeing you dolled up and glamorous. Do you ever feel the pressure to be perfect all the time?
Well, the whole country has seen my weight fluctuate, but I never feel the pressure to always be perfect, whether in terms of looks or smarts.

I meet young people who I inspire and I don’t want to give off the wrong message.

I am no Heidi Klum. I think too many young people are trying to be something they are not.

Last year you posed naked for Marie Claire. Currently, Playboy South Africa is looking for its first cover girl. Would you consider it?
(Laughs.) Did Playboy put you up to this? Playboy stands for something very different than Marie Claire.

But Playboy has been around for years and has built itself as a reputable brand.

If the shoot was done in a tasteful way, I would consider it, but it depends (laughs).

What’s the weirdest fan experience you’ve encountered?
I have had police and lawyers involved once. A kid threatened to kidnap me and make me his wife.

I think South Africa doesn’t have a very big celebrity culture and sometimes some people buy into everything they see on TV, so there are people who look up to us and then there are stalkers. This kid crossed the boundary.

How does your partner deal with your hectic schedule?
My partner keeps me grounded. We cook together and laugh together, and we have our own little life.

He is incredibly supportive. Usually when I go on an ­overseas trip, he is the one getting all ­panicky when I haven’t packed yet!

Who has been the best and the most disappointing person you’ve interviewed?
Well, Laurence Fishburn was disappointing. I guess I was the last interviewer of the day so he gave me one-word answers.

But I was like: ‘I flew across the world to interview you and I can’t use this insert if you don’t give me good answers.’

But I still love him as an actor.

My best? The Michael Caines of the world, Roberto Cavalli and The Dave Matthews Band.

Will there be another season of Top Travel?
I really hope so. The series was picked up in the (United) States and received 10million viewers.

It was also picked up by the Travel Channel, so who knows?


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