She may now play the role of the driven and serious Swartmarlyne swimmer, Charity Vorster, but the bubbly actress Dané de Waal is far removed from her Deep waters-character.
Viewers of this telenovela were introduced to Charity on Monday evening after she kicked dust (aka water) in the eyes of the Swartmarlyne swimmer, Nina, during her test run.
Although she already has a good swimming reputation, and pretends that everything is rosy at home, things seem Deep waters-style quite different in this character’s bottom.
“Charity is purposeful and unwaveringly independent. She is determined to make her mark in the world of swimming and is not interested in friends or looks, but she throws that cold shoulder due to difficult circumstances, which viewers will learn more about later.”
Dané, who has been in series like Hang on, Belinda and the KykNET story film, The class of Miss Nellie Welgemoedwas to be seen, tells that Charity as a character has many layers and required her to delve into her serious side as an actress.
“I’m not an intimidating or bitter person at all, so I totally have to be switch when the cameras are rolling, because our personalities are vastly different from each other.”
Yet at times she can relate to Charity’s emotions.
“With such a character, you have to go to a certain place inside you and recall times where people have let you down in order to bring out the right emotions. I have already gone through difficult phases where I had to make the head move myself to prevent myself from digging a hole from which I cannot get out again, so I certainly understand her actions.”
Deep waters ‘s young flanker, Johan (Liam Bosman), grandson of the Swartmarlyne swimming coach Gys, is of course immediately interested in Charity and even steps in for her when his grandfather gets angry with her during practice. Still she doesn’t want to know anything about him.
“She doesn’t want to put herself in a position to be vulnerable and forge bonds, because she’s scared and protective. I think viewers will enjoy watching her story unfold, they will learn so much more about her.”
Because Deep waters due to its various sets not being filmed chronologically, Dané also decided to keep a diary of Charity’s storyline in order to stay in touch with her character development.
“It helps to see where she is now in the storyline, how she feels about who and where her emotions are. She changes a lot and how she behaves towards others changes throughout the story. I wanted to keep up with what was going on in her head myself.”
Dané tells that the Deep watersteam immediately welcomed her with open arms.
“They are all people of the heart. For example, Justin Strydom (Gys) is the opposite of his angry character, he is warm and friendly. Jokes are often made behind the scenes; it’s a nice working environment.”
The 26-year-old actress jokes that the almost seven-year age difference between her and her 19-year-old character has already made for some good laughs on set.
“Stiaan Bruwer (Henry) is only two years older than me, but in the story I call him ‘uncle’, so it’s damn funny. We also got along quickly, because we both come from the Cape.”
Although she has more to do with the “young crowd” as she refers to the small group of actors who play the Swartmarlyne swimmers, Dané says that at times she is still in awe of sharing the screen with actors such as Nadia Valvekens and Werner Coetser.
“I grew up with them on television, so it’s funny to think that I’m now starring in a series with them. I still can’t believe it sometimes.”
To the Cape and back
Dané’s family moved to Gauteng during her high school years, but she returned to her home province after school where she studied drama and theater studies at Stellenbosch University (SU).
After three years in Cape Town as a freelance actor, his work as a production assistant and later production coordinator at Homebrew Films took off. Here she is on the set of programs like cook door worked.
Her roll in Deep waters however sent the Capetian back inland.
“I had to say goodbye quickly, but everyone was supportive. I’m also living with my parents again, so for the first time in a long time I’m saving a little on rent,” she teases.
The modest actress does not describe herself as a “keen swimmer”, despite the fact that she took part in the popular Midmarmyl open water swimming event in Durban more than once in high school.
“I had swimming lessons as a child, but in high school I was more of a long-distance athlete, which helped me stay fit. I love jogging and mountain climbing, and long to return to the Cape.”
Dané says that her parents, Arend and Louise de Waal, are excited to see her on the couch at night. “My parents always knew it was something I liked and they would never want me to do something I didn’t like. They are my biggest supporters.”
Her mother is also eager to help when words need to be learned.
“She knows all the storylines now. She was already Gys and she was already a 17-year-old teenager. She plays the majority of the other characters and she plays them quite well,” she says with a laugh.
Dané says her ideal future plans include a full-length movie in which she can give roles to all her friends in the entertainment industry. Furthermore, she would like to use her postgraduate psychology qualification to become a drama therapist.
“My sister Izanne currently works as an art therapist in Belgium. We said we would one day join forces and open a shared practice.”
For now, this self-confessed adventurer is at home in Johannesburg and focused on her nest Deep waters-character to also make her mark in her chosen industry.
“I do like to be versatile and enjoy all the different components of my career. Who knows what the future holds?”