Soapie star Sibusisiwe Jili was not ready for the big stage when she landed her first role on Isibaya three years ago.
Being new in a big city like Johannesburg was a challenge for a laid-back Jili, who finds the life too fast.
The actress who portrays the role of Zanele in the soapie Isibaya had to take a break a year later just to discover herself.
“I had to take a break to think if, really, I wanted to be here. I asked myself if I was ready to deal with all the challenges of the industry.
“I guess I was caught off guard. As much as I had studied drama, when I landed the role I was working for a marketing company.”
Born and bred in Machibisa, Pietermaritzburg, Jili experienced a culture shock in an industry full of fake people.
“I realised that people of the industry were different. I could not relate to the way they do things. I also discovered the industry was not as glamorous as it looks from the outside.
“After a break, I came back because I wanted to be here, and I had fallen in love with it. Most importantly, I knew it would benefit my company that I run in Pietermaritzburg that focuses on youth.”
In Isibaya, Zanele runs the upmarket Club Sheba with Iris that was recently robbed. Zanele has been through hell since chief Bhekifa Ngubane (Vusi Kunene) died.
“She is trying to find herself after everything happened to her. She starts to realise that things are more difficult than she thought.”
Now that her profile is established, Jili can afford to appear in two shows at the same time. The 29-year-old has landed a lead role in the SABC1 drama series Mina Naweflighted on Sundays at 7.30pm. Mina Nawe is about a love triangle between Sakhile (Solomon Sebothoma), Funeka (Tengo Ncentezo) and Dineo, played by Jili. Sakhile is married to Dineo and they have two children together.