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Bobbi Brown Pretty Powerful: Zakeeya Patel

Zakeeya Patel Pretty Powerful


South African actress Zakeeya Patel’s grandmother was the first distributor of Indian films in South Africa, no doubt attributing to her love for telling stories. Known for her television roles on M-Net’s The Wild and SABC3’s drama series High Rollers, Zakeeya has also acted in a number of films, highlights being Closing Act (directed by Layla Swart), Painting Water (directed by Kyle Davy) and Material (directed by Craig Freimond). 


Zakeeya’s name has graced many a programme, having appeared in theatre productions across the country including Locked, The Colonel Bird and The Black and White (Arena Theatre); Othello at the Baxter Theatre; A Style of the Eye at The Playroom; Vessel at the Rehearsal Studio; Qaphela Caesar at Hiddingh Hall; Wintertime at the Roofers Theatre; and Click-x-cess and Suitcase Stories at the Grahamstown Festival. Most recently she co-starred in a local adaption of Eve Ensler’s award-winning play Emotional Creature: the secret life of girls around the world earlier this year.


Growing up, was there any indication you’d be doing what you do now?

Definitely! My dad used to call me DQ: Drama Queen! I’ve always loved the spotlight but more than that I love the effect my craft has on people. Being able to move people to feel, whether joy or rage. Just being able to access emotions in someone in this intensely desensitised world, has always been my motivation behind acting.


Besides fame and fortune, what comes with being an actress?

That is the biggest misconception of being an actress – most actors will never be famous or rich from this profession – that is the plain truth of this cut throat industry. But for those lucky enough to find themselves working in the industry, it is all about business. It isn’t called ‘Show Business’ for nothing. It’s all about making your own work, being able to build your brand and find something sustainable and marketable about yourself in this fast changing industry.


What characteristics does it take to make it in your industry?

Pure tenacity and ambition. You have got to be a hustler. You need to be positive and you need a very strong support base – ’cause the lows are dangerously low. You don’t have to be the prettiest, smartest, thinnest girl but if you work harder than anyone else you will make it!


What have you learned along the way and what advice do you have for young actresses in the wings?

Stay humble. Never stop learning. Find an amazing mentor who you respect and admire. Keep reminding yourself of your goals. Don’t be discouraged when you fall, get right back up. The power of intention is infinite, tell the universe what you want and you will get it!


Where do you look for daily inspiration?

I am inspired by absolutely everything! Music, colour, food, people, stories, nature, art, books – everything!


What influences your craft?

Mostly people. I find myself stealing bits of people; the way someone always ties and reties their hair or the way someone else laughs. I love behavioural psychology. I love watching people. I love how people react; the things they say but even better the things they don’t say. Books and movies are also huge influences in my work, super duper places to learn and steal from.


What’s been your favourite role to play and why?

I have loved playing every role I have ever done because I have never allowed myself to be put into a box. It is easy to get type cast but I believe it is the job of the actor to constantly challenge yourself, reinvent yourself and constantly grow. From a 16 year old Muslim girl to a party girl I have loved it all and always challenge myself whilst doing so.


Beauty is…radical self love! Being able to shrug off the multibillion dollar body-shaming industry that keeps us hating our perfect, beautiful, able bodies! Knowing your worth is not in any way linked to what you look like. Celebrating yourself and spoiling yourself with positivity and kind words.


Powerful is…not toning yourself down or ‘covering it up’ to accommodate other people’s insecurities. Powerful is being brave enough to let our own light shine and in doing so, encouraging others to let their immense light shine.


When do you feel most powerful?

When I’m dancing; alone, in an open dance class, in a club or on a stage. It is those times when I feel truly free!


Where do you visualise yourself being in the future? 

I want to create a platform of rehabilitation and reeducation for both men and women in terms of the body-shaming epidemic. Body-shaming is a multibillion dollar industry that keeps us feeling completely inadequate. It keeps us hating and criticising our beautiful, strong, perfect and able bodies. When we limit what is allowed to be called beautiful, we also limit who is allowed to feel confident, empowered, important, sexy, brave and proud. I want to change that.


Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

On the red carpet collecting another Oscar. Telling women’s stories through top class film and television. Producing work that inspires other women to tell their stories.


Get the look.


Zakeeya Patel Pretty Powerful Zakeeya Patel Pretty Powerful


Ceramics sourced from Ceramic Factory.

Clothing sourced from Egality. 


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