ON BELOW THE BELT…
is your role on Below the Belt?
In TV jargon I suppose that I would be called The
Presenter. But that has a rather dull ring to it…
shades of Prim Reddy. So it might be more appropriate
to call me “The Angel of Chaos” swooping
down to disrupt your well-ordered lives and minds,
or perhaps “The Guardian of Mercy”,
soothing the discomfort or guilt that might surface.
At my most dramatic I could be called “The
Queen of the Dammed”, but as I have a financial
interest invested in this production, maybe we should
just stay with “Presenter” or “Hostess”.
How would you describe Below
Not to be missed! It’s
part chat show, part expose and certainly somewhat
risqué. It’s an opportunity for adult
television viewers to take a ‘walk on the
wild side’ of South Africa with yours truly.
I’ll be touring through the underworlds and
nightlife of Johannesburg and Cape Town looking
for interesting people to meet. I’ll also
be probing a few local celebrities on their private
lives and bedroom antics.
did Below the Belt come about? Apparently
the show’s production company has worked on
some controversial projects in the past.
I met the boys from Underdog many years ago when
they were still comparatively wet behind the ears,
but I knew in an instant that they were extremely
talented, focused, ambitious and very liberal in
their thinking. The subsequent accolades and awards
that they have garnered speak for themselves. I
have kept in close touch with them over the years
and it seemed inevitable that we would eventually
do something together. SABC 3 came to the party
and here we are!
Scandal has it that you had a huge crush on the
director of Below the Belt, Lars Schwinges
– some even say a torrid romance! How true
are the rumours?
HAD a huge crush? The word is HAVE! Beautiful and
talented as he is, he is also young enough to be
my son. So, as to the “torrid romance”,
I will leave that to speculation, and say that I
have no further comment.
What did you find intriguing
about the Below the Belt project and it’s
To be given the chance to illuminate the dark side
of the soul. To be able to acknowledge that we all
have fantasies, obsessions and secret desires….even
addictions. Just because you might find the idea
of entering a brothel alluring, gives no one the
right to call you a “degenerate”. Similarly,
the desire to have your bottom spanked should not
label you a “pervert”. Your “darker”
sexual thoughts should not plunge you into areas
of guilt and possible self-loathing, and then be
seen as a problem to be solved. Rather see it as
a mystery to be unraveled, and to be entertained
along the way.
How is Below the Belt
different to anything you’ve done before?
I am departing from a world of glamour and theatrical
illusion, and facing (and interacting) with something
more real and most definitely a little sleazier
than I have dealt with before!
You have you been on television
countless times before, but never in your own show?
How do you feel about owning a piece the “box”?
Powerful! The “box” is a kind of god,
and those who use it as a pulpit have extraordinary
power. Miss Winfrey has certainly proven that! In
my case, I would hope that just because I say something,
doesn’t necessarily mean that it is so, and,
at your peril, feel quite free to contradict me.
Why do you think you are right
person to host this type of adult show?
Because I can drink with the boys, (enjoying the
jokes, the smoke and the noise!) utter the word
“penis” on camera without being coy
and say “pussy” without sounding apologetic.
I have sipped pale whiskies with the late Princess
Margaret, have charmed the pants off Lord Brown
of Monaco, I can use the men’s-room in establishments
where no powder-room exists, and couldn’t
give a damn whether or not I am mentioned in Gwen
Gill’s column. Shall I go on?
Where do you see this show
in terms of social value and entertainment value?
Entertaining it is! As far as social value? I hope
that it will be enlightening, and expand the horizons
of your thinking in these particular areas. Why
shouldn’t girls enjoy a night out with some
gorgeous male strippers without felling that it
is “naughty”? Perhaps a “swingers
party” could heighten the intensity of sexual
energy in a marriage? Maybe you believe that your
S&M tendencies should remain secret when there
is a whole world out there to be explored and shared
with others. Perhaps the programme will unlock those
emotional padlocks, which have prevented you from
growing into a fully rounded person. But then, perhaps
you might just choose to watch. Voyeurism is quite
was the highlight of the Below the Belt project?
The whole damn thing was a highlight! Years of talking
and discussions, concepts and exciting ideas had
finally borne fruit. We had a show! And when I heard
the director call,” That’s a wrap!”
on the final day of shooting, I felt as though I
had given birth to a nation!
Below the Belt was
often shot in the evening and late at night. What
did the shoot do to your sleeping patterns?
Darling, I am a creature of the night, and besides,
what lady would dare call herself sophisticated
if she SLEEPS at night!
What were the major challenges
in shooting Below the Belt?
Coping with Mother Nature. She is not a favourite
girlfriend. And it is somewhat difficult to conceal
the ravages of time when drenched in South African
summer sunlight. I have always loathed the idea
of going to the beach, (sandpits for adults, as
I call them), and only peasants tan as they toil
in the fields. Why would anyone deliberately lie
in the scorching sun in order to turn brown? Still,
I did meet some stunning lifesavers on Clifton beach…some
consolation I suppose…and a few deliciously
naked men at Sandy Bay. Perhaps the agony of clambering
over rocks and ripping my stockings was worth it!
Were there any complications
on the shoot?
Yes, my hair being annihilated by the turbulence
from the helicopters filming from above. But what
could I do? There I was cruising down Camps Bay
high street in my pink convertible Cadillac, Gino
at the wheel, crowds of curious and admiring on-lookers,
when suddenly there is a gleaming white helicopter
hovering above me. I remember thinking…’the
wretched paparazzi again’…and then my
phone rang, telling me that it was director’s
orders! Thank God I am vaguely in love with my director,
for no other man would dare to tousle me in such
a way…and in PUBLIC!
What was the most exciting
part of the process for you?
Part? Seeing Juan’s naked bum backstage at
some nightclub in a place called Boksville, or Boksburg…something
like that. He is part …oh, there’s the
word again…of XTC International, a male stripper/dance
group, and his posterior is positively perfect!
How was Below the Belt
different to anything else you’ve worked
The spontaneity and the unexpected. My work is usually
very rehearsed, with every nuance, gesture and word
worked out in advance. There were times with BTB
that I was literally hurled to the lions. But that
was exciting, and took me to the edge many times…and
occasionally right over it.
Who was the most interesting
person you met whilst shooting the show?
Very hard, almost impossible to answer…there
were so many. But perhaps I could single out Ira
Hoffmann, a lady pornographer. She has starred in
50 adult movies, and directed and produced over
150. Now you don’t meet someone like that
everyday over tea and crumpets. I found her fascinating
and a person of great integrity.
Where there any places that
you visited where felt you would have liked to have
spent more time?
Yes, the swingers venue…The Marquee. I had
such a misconceived idea of what a swingers club
was all about, and from the moment I walked in I
felt safe, at ease and very turned on. The owners
welcome you warmly, and one makes friends instantly
due to the lack of sexual jealousies and possessiveness.
If you find a man attractive, you can smile at him
without the furious wife rushing off to grab a hatchet.
They have a lovely restaurant, bar, dancing, heated
swimming pool…. and then of course the bedrooms.
But that’s another interview!
How did you decide what to wear to the places that
you visited and who designed your outfits?
One doesn’t always decide what to wear…you
wear your mood. Hence I found myself on a beach
in a pencil skirt and six inch stilettos. Crazy,
when you think about it! I had many designers on
this show, and must make mention of two. The divine
JJ Schoeman of Rosebank who knows exactly how to
flatter one’s body…at my age you choose
to reveal and conceal with your designers approval…and
the relentlessly elegant Derek of DePatri who knows
just how to tailor me.
What was it like having such
an intimate ‘tour’ of the most decadent
and sexy industries and societies in South Africa?
How do you think South Africa
will respond? Do you think the Broadcasting Complaints
Commission will cope?
A very, very interesting question. I believe that
I may well unleash the hounds from hell, but I also
believe that I will bring the angels of chaos into
some sort of order. On the other hand, I hope to
bring laughter and amusement, and who knows, perhaps
a little “Education”…after all,
SEX never goes out of fashion!
If Below the Belt had
a motto, what would it be?
Everyone should have a nun and a whore as friends,
and whilst chatting to them, forget which is which.