Wedding bells for Laan’s Bonita

When she received the call from the producers of 7de Laan last year she thought it was the happiest day of her life. They wanted Hildegardt Whitesto play the role of Bonita, Vince’s new girlfriend with the dark past. But little did she know the happiest day of her life was just around the corner.

Early in January her Polish boyfriend, Kuba Silkiewicz, invited her for a romantic candlelit dinner at her favourite eatery in Brooklyn, Pretoria. She began to suspect something when she saw hundreds of candles burning in the lush garden and her boyfriend led her to a table tucked away in a corner.

After a four-year relationship she was ready for a proposal but also knew she was the type who could overreact to something that was too big a surprise.

When Kuba took the specially made ring out of his pocket the actress shrieked and burst into tears.

Hidegardt (24), who has three older brothers, has loved being in the limelight from an early age. She regularly led the singing at her church in Vanrhynsdorp in the Northern Cape, where she completed primary school.

But it was only in matric after she’d played a lead role in the musical West Side Story at Vredenburg High that she knew for certain she wanted to be an actress.

She was a third-year drama student at Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria when she met Kuba (25), a music student, at her hostel’s Valentine’s Day party.

In 2008 Hildegardt auditioned for the role of Errol’s girlfriend in 7de Laan but didn’t get it. When she was eventually offered the role of Bonita, Hildegardt was supposed to be on the set for only four weeks. But the weeks became months and now she’s well known to 7de Laan fans.

She says she loves playing Bonita because the character has so much depth. “It’s my first big role and I love it,” she says. “I still can’t believe it happened; it’s my big break.”

Hildegardt also loves singing jazz and hopes one day to release an Afrikaans solo jazz album. She also wants to act in a film and do music theatre.

Read the full article in YOU, 14 April 2011.