If it wasn’t for Th abo Mbeki’s inaugural presidential address, the entertainment world might have lost local actor Armand Aucamp to a career in finance. ‘It’s quite a funny story,’ he laughs. ‘I made a last-minute decision to audition for the Professional Acting programme at CityVarsity, but I didn’t know what was expected of me. I Googled monologues, came across Mbeki’s speech, and went for it.’ Unconventional as his choice might have been, it got him a place at the school, setting his acting journey in motion.
Armand Aucamp Photo Gallery
Fast forward several years and Aucamp has since featured in South African productions, like Afrikaans film Ballade vir ’n Enkeling and drama series Die Boekklub (season 2 hit Showmax in July) and big international projects including Chronicle, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, Homeland and six-part TV series Th e Book of Negroes. It’s a CV that’s put him on set with the likes of Idris Elba, Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr and Aunjanue Ellis. His latest film, Krotoa, in which he plays Jan van Riebeeck, received a host of international awards before being released to a hyped-up local audience in August.
Fans can also look forward to seeing him shift genres in the new kykNET action series Knapsekêrels, premiering early next year. Looking back though, you could argue that Aucamp was always going to end up here. ‘My mother ran a drama school in Fort Beaufort when I was young – I remember seeing how much excitement it brought the students’. Of course, it also helps that he’s bent on success and not lacking in the looks department either. But it’s not like the climb hasn’t been tough. ‘I almost didn’t go into acting because I’m actually quite shy.
I still get nervous every day, but I’ve learnt to feed off that energy.’ And there’s the intensity of the work, too. ‘I need at least two coff ees before I leave the house every morning to feel grounded.’ If it’s coff ee that gets him places, then so be it. Because this is a man who’s moving. Aside from acting, he’s started dabbling in MC work, and has plans to move into directing. More immediately, he’s set his sights on jumping to Los Angeles to grow his big-budget portfolio, though he’s determined to hold onto his roots. ‘Local work is really important to me,’ he stresses. ‘It’s rewarding to keep coming back to my heritage.’
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