Roxane Hayward

My family is a South African version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. We’re a very loud bunch of characters who are full of love and are foodies at heart. I’m the youngest of four sisters and the age gap between us is huge at eight, 11, and 13 years. It actually worked out really well, because it was like I had three extra moms to look after me. My dad certainly managed well in a house full of women!

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I’ve had my eyes on acting from the age of four. Over the weekends, my cousins would visit and we’d make it our mission to put on the best play our parents had ever seen. We’d spend the time before dinner cobbling together some silly storyline or choreographing a dance. Once dessert had been served it was show time. My first TV appearance was in a KFC advert.

I was 11 at the time and it was for a new Glitter Pops meal. I remember having to wear a pink top that said ‘never been kissed’ in bold. My school friends thought that it was hilarious – especially the boys. I love that my job is unadulterated fun. While working on a children’s series for the BBC, I dressed up like a princess almost every day for four months. I also got to play a really complex character called Caroline in the feature film Accident [out 1 December]. She has been one of my favourite roles to date, because there were so many layers to her. I also got to do a lot of crazy stunt work. I can’t wait to return to the stage as Viola De Lesseps in Shakespeare in Love.

I matriculated at 16, and went on to train in drama and musical theatre at Trinity College London. I’ve focused a lot on TV and film, so it’s going to be an exciting change to be back on stage and in front of a new audience each night. My mother and my grandmother are my role models. At 81, my gran is the poster child for ageing gracefully; she’s more like a 21 year old with 60 years’ experience. My mom is a creative businesswoman – everything that she touches turns to gold. I took up martial arts as self-defence, but now it’s become a lifestyle. I lived in London a couple of years ago, and was nearly kidnapped on my commute home. I felt helpless not knowing how to defend myself. When I came back to South Africa, I started Muaythai [Thai kick-boxing] classes and I couldn’t get enough of it. It’s made me feel physically and mentally stronger, and has taught me a lot about balance – both physically and emotionally.

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