Almost 2 weeks ago was the final of Talent 360, a glamourous gala event. The gala was a success and an amazing experience for all finalists. Two of the winners (Leatitia and Razia) were interviewed weeks before the event took place. Meet in this blog the winner of the drama category, meet Leatitia!
Leatitia Solomons (33 years old) is a finalist for the drama category in the Talent360-competition. Leatitia won the semi-finals in Cloetesville. She was born in Stellenbosch hospital, but grew up on a farm together with her two siblings, parents and grandparents. When she was 7 years old her parents built a house in Tennantville and moved in. Leatitia and her siblings stayed behind with her grandparents. When she grew older she had to move to town, there was no high school where she grew up and her grandfather decided that she needed to go to a good school now . Laetitia ended up at Bloemhof Girls High.
After High school she went to Boland College, here she qualified as a Legal Secretary. She decided this wasn’t good enough and followed an extra course in wine at the Wine Academy. And so Leatitia ended up in the wine industry of Stellenbosch. Here she got into different jobs, at the Municipality, Haumann Smal design studio, Boschendal Wines and at Vinimark The Wine Company. “I was making money, but somehow I wasn’t really happy.”
In 2009, Leatitia’s life changed completely when her grandmother died, out of the blue. “She always supported me in singing when I was a child. So I realized that what I was doing wasn’t really what I wanted to do in my life. Plus the fact that I couldn’t get off from my job, was part of the reason why I resigned for the job. I was scared of course, because I had a comfortable life and a comfortable job.” She decided to focus on her passion: drama. Despite this great change in her life, Leatitia is very grateful for the support she gets from the family.
Leatitia’s first job in drama was at the Breughel Theater in Cloetesville. The job was to go to primary schools and do educational puppet theater. “I learnt a lot, I told them I don’t mind if you don’t pay me, but tell me anything that I could do, anything. Just to do drama.” Leatitia didn’t get paid, but through networking with people, she found a job as understudy for the educational theater of the Stellenbosch university. She loved the job, however her grandfather got a stroke last year and she could no longer combine her work and the care of her grandfather. Nowadays, Leatitia is doing a lot of auditions, she even has her own agent.
Being unemployed no longer scares Leatitia. “I understand that life is about money, about providing. You need to earn money to survive. And sometimes you have to put your dream behind so that you can think of your children’s dream. If I was a parent, I would probably.” One of the reasons why Leatitia keeps on trying is because she knows she has the qualifications and experience to fall back on. But she understands this is not the reality for everyone. “I know it is difficult for people to follow their dream, because of the fact you need to earn serious money. But remember – I didn’t die when I chose to do what I want to do. I believe it is possible.”
When she got to hear about the Talent360-competition she thought in the first place that she was too old to participate. She didn’t spent much time thinking about participating when she found herself in Idas Valley library while auditions were on. Later, when Talent360 came to Cloetesville she found out that she wasn’t too old, and the prizes – like performing at the Woordfees – interested her and so she ended up at the auditions. “The thing is I never did something on my own, something alone in front of a lot of people. It is easier when you perform with a group of people. You can react on other people. But with you all alone there, it is just you and your voice and your emotions. The competition was the first time that I wrote something myself, and that I was performing all alone.”
The piece that Leatitia wrote for the competition is based on a true story. “I went to the clinic, because I am unemployed I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor any longer”. She was inspired by what she experienced there.
She loved to perform in front of the big audience at the Open Day. “I think why I love drama is because you can be so many different people and sometimes you tell the sad stories and people think you are acting.” At the moment Leatitia is busy working on something new. “I want to do the competition and I wanna do my best. And… win. Oh, I want to win!”