Move over Kris Jenner! Delyse Vittone is South Africa's original 'momager'

Cape Town - Even though Kris Jenner popularised the term "momager," South Africa has its very own list of celebrities managed by their parents including Bobby and Karlien van Jaarsveld, Amor Vittone, and Nádine. Because we all know, mom knows best! 

Channel24 spoke to Delyse, who has been managing her singer daughter Amor's career since she started working in TV at the age of 15, hosting Body Beat and Junior Topsport

"It helped as she had a hectic schedule at school, together with all her other activities, including dancing, drum majorettes, athletics, school arts festivals, and being head girl of her school," Delyse says. 

Although it's said that blood and business don't always mix, Delyse proved to be one of the exceptions to the rule and started to manage her daughter's career on a professional level in 1998, with the release of Amor's debut album titled Wild Cherry Kisses

Delyse Vittone. Amor Vittone

Kris Jenner might have coined the phrase, "momager," but Delyse has been managing Amor's career since a decade before the first episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians even aired. 

Delyse, who was a school teacher for 20 years, says she didn't have any public relations or communications training before taking on the mammoth task of managing her daughter. 

After leaving her teaching job in 1988, to focus on raising her three daughters, her husband asked to take on the responsibility as a payroll administrator at his engineering company, and she worked from the office one day a week, mainly utilising a typewriter and fax machine to perform her duties.

"When I started to work with Amor I had to buy a computer and learn how to draw up booking forms, contracts, logistics, checklists and invoices. Amor helped me with it though," she laughs. 

Delyse Vittone, Amor Vittone

Through the years their professional relationship has sometimes been "on and off,"  she says, adding: " She has had other managers in the past because I complained that the work was just too much, but it always lasted only a few months until she begged me to come back on board."

After Amor's marriage to former Springbok rugby captain Joost van der Westhuizen, Delyse managed both their professional careers. 

She remembers when Amor gave her a special gift to thank her for her dedication and hard work, saying: "I was in the office busy with their contracts when Amor walked into the office and gave me a diamond ring she received from American Swiss. To thank me for going the extra mile for them."

Through the years her role as "momager" has evolved, and at the moment her primary duty is acting as booking manager: "Currently, I don't manage or book any other artists so I can concentrate on Amor.  We trust one another. Amor does most of the marketing herself as I hate meetings, so I am her booking agent."

Amor Vittone, Delyse Vittone

Between her job as "momager," payroll administrator, human resource manager, and running her household, Delyse's day can be hectic. 

Her day-to-day duties working with Amor include taking calls and emails, quotations, drawing up contacts, booking sound engineers, dancers, handling payments, managing CD sales, and organising transport.

Delyse says that even though it is challenging, she tries to separate family from work and "closes the office 17:00."  "I switch off my computer and set my answering machine, but often a client will call me on my mobile phone during the evening for an on-the-spot quotation. I don't mind it, as I don't want Amor to miss out on work."

During the weekends she puts on a grandma hat and helps Amor with her two children Jordan and Kylie. She says: "Jordan has to be at a soccer match and Kylie at a horse riding competition and it's usually on the same day. But it also gives me time to discuss Amor's work schedule with her."

Delyse Vittone, Amor Vittone

Delyse doesn't mind all the long hours, and she says: "Every successful booking is a highlight and especially receiving good feedback from the clients makes me jump for joy."

A highlight during her career was when Amor was nominated at the 2007 SAMAs in Sun City, and she was sitting in the audience: "I was super-proud!

But of course, being a "momager" also has its stressful moments, Delyse recalls when a backup dancer pulled out of an event last minute. "One Saturday morning one of her dancers informed me three hours before they had to meet at the airport that she was ill. I had to call around for another dancer; change the flight ticket."

"I also had clients insist on meeting with Amor before the event she was booked to perform at, and I had to add a separate clause to her contracts to prevent it from happening repeatedly."

Despite the ups and down, Delyse wouldn't change a thing about her working relationship with her daughter: "I love chatting to the clients and Amor's fans. She often tells me that I am too friendly with the clients, but I have become good friends with some of the people I met and will cherish that forever." 

(Photos: Supplied)

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