Arts and Culture
Actress and Model
Although she may not be Straight outta Benoni, as in
the comedy she starred in, Durban-born model and
actress Tanit Phoenix is tipped by some
to be South Africa's next Charlize Theron.
Phoenix, who has modelled since she was 15, has
enjoyed a meteoric rise from obscurity to stardom. Her
beauty has catapulted her on to the covers of glossies,
double-page spreads in Sports Illustrated and runways in
all the fashion capitals. It has also helped her land golden
contracts with brands such as Veet, to be the face (and
legs) of their global campaigns.
But Phoenix's greatest achievements and ambitions
lie beyond beauty and firmly in the film world. Her debut
role, starring opposite Nicolas Cage in the 2005 feature,
Lord of War, remains her career highlight and was the first
of her pairings with A-List heavyweights, including Wesley
Snipes, Danny Trejo and, most recently, John Cleese in
Spud and Denzel Washington in Safehouse.
And she has no plans to slow down just yet. Phoenix
recently landed the lead role in Femmes Fatales, a
television series that airs across America in May and, later
this year, she will be shooting her next film, playing the
role of Pablo Picasso's first muse.
She may be hot in the Hollywood spotlight but Phoenix
is just as down to earth as the next Durban girl. And
though many agree that she is hypnotising on screen, off
screen she is, in fact, a hypnotherapist. She is also a vegan
and an avid nature lover who dreams of owning her own
self-sustainable, fully organic medicinal herb farm.
Until then, she'd like to work with her two heroines,
Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett, and turn the stream
of scripts coming in from big studios, and from Steven
Spielberg himself, into accolades and awards. It may
not be too long before another Oscar is brought back to
South Africa. - Lu Larché