Expresso presenter Jamie-Lee Domburg says everything she’s done has prepared her for her big break

Expresso presenter Jamie-Lee Domburg.
Expresso presenter Jamie-Lee Domburg.
Jamie-Lee Domburg/ Instagram

*This article was previously published in the Move! print edition

While growing up, it  was almost every  child’s dream to  be a TV presenter  – to have fun on  television while gaining fame and  fortune.  And it was no different for  Expresso Presenter Search on 3  winner Jamie-Lee Domburg (26) who  now gets to live that dream.  She won the competition in  October and has been on Mzansi  screens since November.  It’s been an adjustment, she  admits. Because the show is live, the  pressure is challenging and the fear  that came with her new job initially  held her back.

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 She has now let go of the fear and is  ready to help people kick-start their  day with a vibe she calls the “gara” – a  word she made up, found catchy and  ran with it.  Jamie-Lee hopes to learn as much  as she possibly can while working on  Expresso. Initially, she thought she’d  be an actor, she says, and went to  study speech and drama at the Cape  Academy of Dramatic Art.

 This after she took a gap year after  matric and went to Dubai in 2011  because she wasn’t sure what to  study. “I did not want to study just  anything,  so while there I was bored  and I was like, ‘This is not me, I need  to be on stage’.” 

That’s when she came back  to study. Although it did not  go as planned as Jamie-Lee  lost interest in her studies, the experience helped her with speech and  some direction. “I remember going to  an interview because we had to do one  before starting with school,” she says.  She was asked if she wanted to be on  Afrikaans  soapie 7de Laan, but Jamie-  Lee said she wanted to be a presenter.

 “They were like, ‘You know you don’t  need to come to acting school, right?’  and I was like, ‘No, Jamie, this is not  your calling, you suck at acting’,” she  laughs.  The Cape Town-born single  mother to 10-month-old Luca  David is happy she gets to spend  more time with her son since she’s  doing a morning show. When  she’s working, her mom Patricia  Domburg (59), a part-time nurse,  helps her with David.

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  During the Expresso presenter  search, she interviewed  musician NaakMusiQ and she  was very nervous.  “I think [now] I’m  becoming a bit more  comfortable. After the  show I watch the episode  and make notes to see  where I can improve.”  She always goes to the  directors to get feedback,  and they are always helpful. 

Jamie-Lee says she feels  she’s her biggest critic  because sometimes she  feels there were embarrassing  moments while  presenting.  “Someone would message  me and say, ‘We loved  what you do and when you  say ‘gara’.”  She’s learning not to be so  hard on herself, she says, and  to understand that this is part  of the learning curve. 

“I am going to grow and  eventually  get better,” she  says.  “It’s like everything  I have  done prepared me for  this moment,” Jamie-Lee  says.