Vuvu Nqezane: Who is Liezel Van Der Westhuizen?
Liezel Van Der Westhuizen: Liezel is a sister; daughter and best friend. A tomboy from Pretoria who used to work as a journalist in Grahamstown, and a woman who loves spending time with her family in Port Alfred. I am girl who has a soft spot for the Eastern Cape and the sporty girl who isn’t the fattest or fittest athlete, but the person who has the most fun taking part in any event.
VN: Tell us a bit about your family.
LV: I have a truly big African family, lots of aunts and uncles and cousins and we’re all very close. We spend a lot of time doing stuff together. I have one sister and everyone always jokes and says we’re twins because we are very similar.
VN: haha_ wow…. Sounds like a very interesting family……Are you currently involved?
LV: Yes I have a fabulous partner.
VN: Mmmmmmm_ I’m getting a sense of secrecy here…
LV: Hahaha, no not really
VN: then share with us! Who is he!?
LV: He’s a jozi boy
VN: Oh ohk! I’m sure your boyfriend and family understands, but a lot of people out there still fail to understand your deep love for sports, particularly triathlon- care to explain that to us?
LV: I love triathlon because its 3 different sports in one, you get tested on 3 different levels. It’s a great variety and you’ll never get bored with Triathlon. The nice thing is it’s also a team or family sport. You can get 3 different people to do either swimming, cycling or the running section. I even got my mom to do one with me; she did the running part of it. And it doesn’t matter what your age is and/or how good you are, in most triathlons there is no cut off time.
VN: Wow_ your passion is contagious….
VN: Have you always wanted to be a presenter?
LV: Yes, from a little girl, I’d always wanted to be a presenter.
VN: How hard is it to remain relevant and ‘fresh’ in the industry you’re in? Let alone employed
LV: It’s a small industry and it’s important to remain fresh and relevant, so I try to be creative with the work I do and I don’t only focus on TV, I do radio as well.
VN: Yes, South African audiences have received you very well!- one can tell you got very good training at TuksFM
LV: I’m now on KFM in Cape Town, its very, very new. I just did two shows in December and to do two more shows in the next two weeks.
VN: sounds promising…
*If you could have any other career, what would it be?
LV: My alternative career would be a personal trainer.
VN: Any other work that you do in radio?
LV: Yes, I also do Gold Reef City’s in house radio as well as Carnival City Radio and Airports Company South Africa’s in house radio station.
”This is an exclusive because no media person knows about the other radio work I do”
VN: Wow_ you seem to have your hands on a lot of projects. That’s always good in the South African media, versatility is key.
LV: That’s true!
VN: Why do you do what you do? What’s the driving force behind getting up everyday and going to work?
LV: I love what I do, I love getting up every morning and waking up South Africa and the Expresso viewer family. It feels like I’m part of the viewer’s homes and enjoying coffee with them in their lounges each morning.
VN: Your passion is commendable! What other people in the media industry do you admire and look up to?
LV: I look up to Joanne Strauss, she’s hard working; passionate and has a great sense of style.
VN: Very true.
VN: You are known for having a strong sense of style that is elegant, chic and very feminine, do you have a stylist?
LV: I don’t have a stylist; I do have a very stylish sister though who I always ask to advise me on what to wear.
VN: haha, that’s sweet- dress-up time must certainly be a lot of fun!
*Define your sense of style?
LV: I mix my tom-boy sporty nature with something from a local designer and I always add a twist.
VN: As I can imagine, image is everything in the media industry- did you at any point have to change or alter your fashion perspective to conform to industry standards?
LV: Yes I did. I used to have bright pink hair and I had to dye it pink when I started at SABC3.
VN: uhm… So you went from bright pink to pink?
LV: Hahaa! Sorry I meant from pink to blonde.
VN: Hahahaha_ thought so….. What would your definition of fabulosity be?
LV: Fast Fabulous and fashionable!
VN: Haha, How important for you as ‘Liezel’, not the model and media personality to dress fabulously and immaculate at all times?
LV: Not too important, I’m just like every other women, there are days when I go shopping in my running/cycling clothes with no make up.
VN: Ohk, Now for someone looking to follow in your footsteps and pursue the same career, What advice would you give with regards to school activities and study options?
LV: My mothers advise to me was to first go and complete my degree in anything other than acting or presenting, and once I’d gotten an education I could follow my dream. It turned out to be the best advise for me as I went on to work in the field I studied in. The entertainment industry is very short term career and I know when I’m not able to do presenting anymore, I’ll be able to fall back and work in another field that I’m qualified in.
VN: Wow, wise words!
*Thanks a lot Liezel, its always a pleasure talking to you