Getting to know Family Secrets actress, Keabetswe Mashugane

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 Keabetswe Mashugane stars as Captain Neo on SABC 1 drama, Family Secrets.
Keabetswe Mashugane stars as Captain Neo on SABC 1 drama, Family Secrets.
@Thabangr_photography/Supplied to TRUELOVE

She plays the determined character of CIU Task Force Captain Neo on SABC 1’s thrilling drama Family Secrets. The drama series tells the story of the inter-generational Mokwena family, who are bound together by their immense wealth and their terrible secrets.

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But in real life, Keabetswe Mashugane is nothing like the tough Captain Neo who she portrays on screen. Instead, she would rather play with make-up brushes than handle guns, after all, she is a professional make-up artist who makes people pretty when not on set.

She tells TRUELOVE all about her character, how she got into the acting industry as well as the world of beauty.

­­Who is Keabetswe Mashugane?

Keabetswe is an actress, make-up artist, event MC/host and speaker who hails from Mahikeng, North West.

Please tell us about your character, Captain Neo on Family Secrets?

Captain Neo is the captain of the CIU Task Force. She is a young woman who is relentless, dedicated and committed to the South African constitution and serving justice.

How did the role come about?

I actually started off on the show as a featured extra in season 1. I initially came in as a sniper for the CIU, and as the story and storyline grew, so did my character. It has been an interesting journey and I can’t thank the executive producers at SAWITA enough for believing in me as a performer.

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@Thabang_photograpgy/Supplied to TRUELOVE.

Are there any similarities between Captain Neo and Keabetswe?

As rough and aggressive as Neo is, she ultimately is who she is because she cares about and protects those close to her. So in that respect, we are similar. I would go to the ends of the earth to protect those I care for.

What are the major differences between Keabetswe and Captain Neo?

Not so much a difference, but rather something I admire about her is that she always follows her gut instincts. This is something I wish I did more of as Keabetswe. I would have saved myself from so much heartache and disappointment.

How did you get into acting?

By sheer luck and chance. I went to an impromptu audition for a television show one afternoon. I was still working at the time and just thought to myself that I had nothing to lose. I went, had fun and totally forgot about it. I eventually resigned from my job a month later and while I was home, unemployed and job hunting, I got a call from the producers of the show telling me they’re offering me a role and that I’d start shooting the following week. I never looked back since. That was in 2015 , the show was The Road and I played the character of Grace.

How hard/easy was it for you to break into the industry?

My journey wasn’t as hard as some (if not most) actors have it. I’ve been fortunate in this regard. I started out small and my next role, which was my break-out role, was as Princess Oarabile on Greed and Desire. I started work in an industry I was already familiar with from a young age, so being on set feels like being home. And while this is so, it hasn’t made it easy for me to secure jobs. Starting was the easy part for me but remaining a working actress has proven difficult.


Had you not been an actress, what else would you be doing?

A boring Chartered Accountant.

Out of all the characters you’ve played on different shows such as Family Secrets, Green and Desire as well as uBettina Wethu, which would you say has been your favourite to play and why?

Definitely the character I play on Family Secrets. She’s remarkably different from all the characters I’ve played. I wish for more roles like that for myself. Ones where I can transform and that will challenge and push me as a performer. It’s unfortunate that the way our film industry is set up, we aren’t afforded time to adequately prepare for roles. It would be interesting to transform and play a plus size character like Charlize Theron did for Monster.

As a make-up artist, what three items do you think every woman should always carry in their make-up bag?

Only three? Oh my goodness! That’s so unfair. Okay, I’ll say concealer, mascara and lipstick.

Kea’s top tips for maintaining good skin as seasons change
  • Have a skin care routine – cleanse, exfoliate, tone and moisturise.
  • Keep the skin and yourself hydrated and bulk up on good multi-vitamins.
  • Wash off your makeup as soon as you can to allow your skin to breathe.
  • A satin pillowcase is a must have.

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