“Amazing! The whole experience exceeded my expectations. I have never seen nor felt so much love in one place,” said an excited Nqobile Hlekwayo. She recently returned from a 10-day trip to the United States of America (USA) after being successfully afforded an opportunity to try out her ‘acting talents’ at the ARTS 2019 Showcase in USA.
The jubilant Durban University of Technology (DUT) third-year Information Technology student gained the chance to audition in front of international scout, Executive Director of the Applause Rising Talent Showcase (ARTS) International, Kimberly Myers, and was extended an official invitation to perform at the ARTS 2019 Showcase in USA.
“The Just You Agency and ARTS International visited every province in the country in search of new talent and I was privileged enough to have auditioned in Durban, February 2018. It is unbelievable that a township girl who has always wanted to embrace her talent is finally getting somewhere with it,” she said happily.
Hlekwayo spoke of her ‘dream come true experience,’ saying that from the time she stepped onto the plane from South Africa to New York, she was really humbled to have been given such an opportunity.
“I registered for four categories, namely monologues, commercials, photography and creative runway. I did a dramatic monologue from the Movie, ‘Never been kissed’ – I’m not Josie Grosey Anymore. For commercials, I was given scripts to follow, but one was expected to show their creative side, and sense of style and creativity as artists,” she said.
Hlekwayo said she was awarded three call backs, one from Zeena Entertainment which is based in New York City and the other two were from educational institutions. “I had the opportunity to make connections with some of the most successful agencies, producers and casting directors from Los Angeles and New York City like Rhayann Drummer from Tyler Perry Studios/Nickelodeon and Debra-Lynn Findonn. I am excited for the opportunity they have given me to work with them in the near future as they were happy to exchange contacts with me and clearly stated that I should inform them if I was in USA again,” she said.
Besides getting recognition for her talent, Hlekwayo was equally thrilled with the training she had received. The event did not only allow her worthwhile international exposure and recognition but also intensive international training. Hlekwayo said that the workshops were held by industry professionals such as Chelsea Ricketts, Abbie Cobb, Aaron Marcus, Blaze Johnson, Lawrence Moore and many other amazing professionals.
For Hlekwayo, her most exciting highlights was getting the chance to visit the New York Film Academy campus, the city tour, Hilton Times Square and the mind-blowing experience to see a group picture, featuring herself, on one of the Times Square billboards.
“I have never had any formal training as an artist, following my acceptance and partial sponsorship at one of the best film institutions in America, New York Film Academy. I am extremely excited at what the future holds. International is not impossible, if you can dream it than you can live it,” she said.
Pictured: Nqobile Hlekwayo