10 THINGS – Sibongile Mlambo
You’ve been in the business for some time and have built a nice range of work. What initially made you want to get in the industry and how did you get your start?
My earliest memory of performing is putting on shows with my siblings and cousins at my grandfather’s house when we were really young. It wasn’t until I saw my sister’s performance in a film when I was about seven or eight years old that I thought to myself, “I want to do that!” That following year, my brother was asked to read for a feature film. I tagged along with him and convinced the director to let me audition too. Long story short, I ended up booking my first feature role.
The pool of talent is vast for actors. Which actors body of work has impressed you the most and which ones would you want to emulate?
I love Tilda Swinton’s work. Whenever I watch her on screen, she completely transforms herself and the idiosyncrasies she brings to her characters is fascinating. Andy Serkis is another actor whose work constantly stands out to me. He’s brilliant at bringing creatures to life and I watched a lot of his work when I was preparing to play the role of ‘Donna’ in SIREN. It was my first experience working with motion capture and I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to do more.
Currently, you’re on Freeform’s SIREN. How were you first introduced to the show and what made you decide to be a part of it?
My manager sent me the script which was very different from anything I had read that entire year. Plus, mermaids! Speaking to the creator Eric Wald and showrunner Emily Whitesell, further piqued my interest and made me fall in love with their vision. I tested for the pilot and was offered the role of ‘Donna’ when the series was picked up.
On the series, you play the role of Donna. What more can you tell us about Donna’s personality?
Donna is essentially a fish out of water who just wants to go home. Being on land has been a traumatic experience for her. It’s a strange place and she doesn’t understand why her sister wants to be there. Donna is fierce, loyal and dangerous; she will do whatever she can to preserve her kind and maintain their way of life.
Being able to draw out a character and really become who they are, makes the performance more real for the viewers. What do you enjoy most about bringing Donna’s personality to life?
Donna’s strength allows me to tap into my inner warrior and fighter. I also enjoy playing a character that’s not human, which lets me to be weird.
After immersing yourself in this world, are there any similarities between you and Donna?
I think we are both very loyal and… very stubborn.
What can viewers expect to see from Donna and the rest of the cast in this season?
Things have gotten really tense between the humans and mermaids, especially with the death of Xander’s father. Donna still wants to get Ryn back to the water and will face a surprising betrayal. Viewers can expect to see more mer-people and a lot of action.
Its refreshing to see the diversity of roles that women are portraying on screen. How did this factor into your decision to take on this role and future roles in your career?
I was drawn to Donna because she is a very strong character; she is a hunter and a protector, qualities that are usually portrayed by men. Furthermore, mermaids have rarely been seen in episodic television, especially as predators. I hope to continue to play characters that are complex and unusual.
When it comes to fashion, which designers and styles fit your personality?
I really like Balmain. A lot of the designs look like urban armor with a feminine edge, which is a great combination for the tomboy and girly-girl in me.
Besides SIREN on Freeform, what other projects do you have coming up?
I am also in Lost In Space, which is currently on Netflix and will be in the upcoming neo-noir/comedy-drama Under the Silver Lake, which comes out this summer.
Photographer: Martina Tolot
Make-up: Anton Khachaturian
Hair: Tiffany Daugherty
Styling: Danni + Emma