Ayanda brings her A-game on Celebrity Game Night


The businesswoman, model, actor and presenter say South Africans are in for real light-hearted fun on Celebrity Game Night.

She wears many hats, but presenting is her first love. We talk to Ayanda Thabethe about what it’s like to work alongside Jason Goliath and Anele Mododa on Celebrity Game Night.

What’s the highlight of being one of the team captains on Celebrity Game Night?

This will sound cliché but everything about the show was totally fun; the personalities we featured, the challenges and just the entire atmosphere of the production. Jason and I are quite competitive but in a very loving way. I kid you not when I say that everyone (including the celebs we had) interacted with such a positive attitude and it was all fun and games.

Jason mentioned that you’re the one who’s likely to cheat. What do you have to say about that?

Listen, he calls it cheating but all I’m saying is that a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. At first, I was worried because Jason was really crushing me, and then I was like “C’mon Ayanda you need to represent and do it for the girls now!” In short, I will do whatever it takes to win! [Laughs apologetically]

Of all the celebrity guests appearing on the show, who would you love to be stuck in an elevator with?

Hmm, let me think… Oh, that’s a hard one because everyone we had was interesting at some level or another and such fun. If I had to pick one, let’s say Candice Modiselle. She is such a ball of fun and energy, she’s loud and I think I’d have a jolly good time being stuck with her.

What would you do if you woke up as Jason Goliath?

I would go to every space possible and tell jokes to everyone I meet because I don’t think I’m that funny at all. So, to wake up and do comedy for a living, bringing joy to people’s lives like that is something I’d cherish.

And aside from Jason, who was the last comedian to make you laugh out loud?

My favourite comedian in the country is Mpho Popps. He was one of the celebrities we had on the show and I was literally laughing the whole time he was there; I think he made me lose focus a bit.

Why do you think South African audiences will love Celebrity Game Night, and what do you, as Ayanda, bring to the show?

This is such a light-hearted show, it’s simply about fun and seeing your favourite celebrities become themselves without the facade of showbiz. South Africans will love Anele Mdoda for her fun and loud personality, Jason is a natural-born entertainer and for me, people will see Ayanda in her true element. I think I’m known as a somewhat serious presenter, but on Celebrity Game Night, I let it all down and become that feisty competitive girl.

You’re a businesswoman, a model, an actor and presenter, out of all these, what’s your first love?

It’s definitely presenting. I’m so privileged to wake up and do what I love. When I’m presenting, it comes so naturally to me that it doesn’t feel like I’m working, that’s how much I love it. With that said, all the different spaces I occupy contribute to my presenting craft, and I like exploring and developing myself, but presenting is where I’m at home and at ease.

Was there anything that went ridiculously wrong on the show?

It was a well-oiled machine for real. Behind the screen and on camera, everything was beautifully planned, and everyone just played along so well. Nothing felt forced. We didn’t step on each other’s toes, and yes, in the beginning, we were trying to find our feet because we weren’t sure of the format of the games. But once we got into the groove of things, it was plain sailing, full steam ahead.

If you were stuck on a desert island with Anele and Jason, who would you eat first?

Hahahaha, oh my gosh you want to make me a killer… oh no! Let’s just say I’d try to get out alive, all three of us out alive in one piece, and not in pieces.

You have such a good sense of style, so for the show, what was your style philosophy?

That c-word, comfort! Comfort had to come first because the games are so active. My number one priority was comfort and not being limited in any way. The adrenaline was high, the competition won’t wait for your 9-inch heels to catch up, so as much as I love to doll myself up, I had to go for the good, old classic comfortable way.

And since you’re such a wanderlust, what’s your favourite place in the world right now?

I just recently came back from Italy, and I fell in love with a place called Lake Como. It’s earthy, it’s scenic, it’s like opulence is in the air there. That is, by far, my favourite place in the world.

Celebrity Game Night SA S1 starts on Monday 28 October on E! Entertainment (124) at 20:00

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