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Esta TerBlanche Interview

Esta TerBlanche

Esta TerBlanche is a TV actress. She has been on the show "All My Children".

What did you like about playing your character on All My Children?

Wow, there were so many things I liked about it just - I think that she started off kind of one way, very interested in men, and then she changed a lot, and she grew a heart. So, I think I really liked that. And the fact that later on, they started to write a lot of comedy scenes. So, there was a lot of growth for the character, and what a change. So, I really liked that.

How did you find the filming of soaps? Was the amount of work a challenge?

It was. It was a really big challenge for me actually. I was in South Africa on a soap, so I had some experience with that. But we were only doing…a half hour show. We were only doing a half hour show, and suddenly, this was an hour show. And also, I was now working in English, which is not my native tongue. I'm awkward times. So, that was a big challenge for me as well, and just the amount of lines I had, you know, the amount of words I had to learn. I remember the one day it was sixty pages, and I was so overwhelmed. I thought, “How am I ever going to memorize all these lines?” And it's not that you have a week to memorize them. You have a day, because you're working the previous day, and you're working every day. So, that was a big adjustment for me. Yeah, that was a big challenge for me, but I got through it. I did it.

Who did you like doing scenes with on All My Children?

Well, I can honestly say that I love working with everyone. Everyone was really wonderful. Of course I loved working with Cameron, just because the majority of scenes were with him, and we just had a lot of fun working together, but I think each each actor, working with each one, was a whole different experience and had a different energy about it. So, I could really - For me there was a beauty in working with each different actor, and I feel like it was different working with each one. So, yeah, it was special working with with each one. I can't say “this one was better” or “that one was was better.” Each one was beautiful in its own way.

Can you remember a scene that was particularly fun to film?

There were so many great scenes, but for some reason, I don't know why, because it wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but we did a scene where Ryan had hypothermia, and it was really cold, and I was trying to basically save his life. I told him, “Let's take off all our clothes, and body heat is the thing that's going to warm you up.” Oh my goodness, I know why that scene was so stands out for me so much. Because in South Africa, we grew up with a story, I just realized why that stuck with me. It’s a story about this girl who saved her brother in a snowstorm, by taking off her clothes, and it's a true story, and she saved her brother. And for some reason, that scene just really stuck in my head. I think that's why, because I grew up with that story, and it always was such a beautiful story to me that she saved her little brother. She took off all her clothes, and she saved her brother, and she died. So, that scene stood out for me. Yeah, and now I know why. It just hit me. Yeah.

What storylines involving your character did you like the most?

I like very much the storyline where Gillian was in an accident, and she lost her voice, and she couldn't speak. She had aphasia, and it was interesting. I thought, “Oh, that's gonna be great. I am not going to speak for a couple of weeks. How great is that? No lines from me.” And I was so wrong, because it turned out to be harder, because you have to convey all of these emotions with no words. You have to convey your sadness, your happiness, your anger, everything, with no words, and it's all got to be there. It turned out to be a bigger challenge. It was really interesting to me, and I actually loved it. But I was so wrong, thinking that it was going to be easy. It was more difficult, and that made such an impression on me, how I was so wrong about that, and that’s something that I will always remember.

How did you feel about being part of All My Children's final weeks?

Oh, what an honor. I was honored and emotional. After we filmed our scenes, Cameron and I hugged each other goodbye, and we started sobbing. We started crying, and we could not stop. We couldn't stop crying, and the floor manager, they actually gave us a moment, because Cameron had to go back to shoot some more scenes. They saw how we were crying, and they saw everyone was crying, and he was sobbing, and they took a little break for him to get composed, and they took like a little break, and I remember I came home, and I was still sobbing. I don't know why; we just were. We really got really emotional. I think it was just the show ending and us seeing each other again, and yeah, it was just a beautiful emotional day for us.

Would you consider getting a role on another soap?

Yes, I would. Absolutely. Yeah.

Which other screen productions did you particularly enjoy acting in?

I have to say, my first big soap in South Africa, Egoli: Place of Gold, was just so phenomenal. It was just it was a breakthrough for me, and it was unforgettable for me. So, I think that, and then Spin City with Michael J. Fox. He had just gotten diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and it was just so beautiful to see him struggling with it and yet working, and I was in awe of him dealing with it and still working.

How competitive is the acting industry in South Africa?

It's very competitive. It's like in America. It's just the same. It's just a smaller country, but yes, it's very competitive.

How did you get into acting?

I just think I just was born that way really. Since I remember, I was always acting, like I was always putting on a show for my dad and playing with something and playing a part or doing a little show, and then I started doing acting in school. It was never not a part of me; it was just always a part of my life, of me. So, it was just there for me always. Then, I started to host TV programs in South Africa. Then, from there, I got into it slowly, which was the TV show. Then, from there, that's kind of how it went.

What do you like about acting?

That I get to live other people's lives and emotions. It's why I sometimes feel that I live a fairly boring life, because I tried to keep on a straight and narrow path in life, and I feel like I can really explore things in characters I play. I don't need to do it in real life, because I get the chance through acting, and it gives me that opportunity when I act to go to places emotionally where I don't necessarily want to go in real life. And also, I have a hard time sometimes communicating and expressing my feelings, and with acting, it's easy, because it's all written for you. So, you can just say the lines and go there with your emotions. So, it is sort of easy for you to say what you have to say. It's all scripted for you. Sometimes it's more difficult for me in real life to do that. I sometimes wish there's just a script for me to, you know, live my life.

Are there aspects of acting that you find challenging?

Sure, yes. You might have a difficult day in your life. You might wake up in a certain mood, and then you have to go and portray your character are completely different. You may, for example, wake up feeling so happy - or no, let's make it the opposite way. You may wake up feeling really depressed, and now you have to go at something really funny or happy, for example. So, that is challenging. So, when you feel the opposite than what you have to portray, that's difficult or challenging. Yeah, that's something that's challenging. So, you have to just switch off basically from from your life, from your real life, and when you play someone that's completely different than you, to find something that resonates with you where you can find something that's a little bit like you or where you can connect with the character. So, sure, yeah, there are things that's difficult. Yeah.

You own this spa. What were the most challenging aspects regarding owning a spa?

I would say that it's…just in a completely different field, and it's something totally not acting related. So, just channeling different energies almost, acting and then more of a business sense of me. So, it's almost like you had to like make that switch. So yeah, I probably would say that, like putting on the business hat.

I know that you have a cancer foundation. Why did you start this foundation?

I got asked by Rudi Rebstein in South Africa, and I'm very honored to be part of it. And it's also something that's really close to my heart, as I've lost my mom to cancer, and that's how I got involved with it. I just feel that everybody knows someone or personally even has it or is affected by it, so I just think it would be so wonderful if we can in this lifetime find a cure for it.

What has been the main challenges associated with this work?

I think just, for actors in general, it would be to just be able to disconnect from characters they play and be able to when they go home from the set to leave the character behind and go back into themselves and not bring that character with them and let it control them. I think that can become very difficult for a lot of actors where they start to lose themselves, and they don't know who they are anymore. I remember on All My Children, I made a conscious decision every day I left the set and I left work. I had to decide “Okay, Gillian is staying now. I'm Esta now. I'm stepping into Esta now.” It was something I had to do. I actually decided I had to do that for my own sanity. When I came to work, I stepped into Gillian, but when I left, I had to step back into me, otherwise it will just consume you too much. I think that that's where a lot of addiction happens from. Yeah, because it gets too much.

Where can people follow you?

On my Instagram. It’s @EstaTerBlanche.

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