Tracey Lange Interview

TV and Heart FM presenter Tracey Lange, 33, chats about co-host chemistry, the best advice she’s been given, and her dance-skill envy…

My life changed when my boss told me that I was wasting my talents. I didn’t have much planned after I finished school, so I took a job working as a secretary for property developers just to earn a bit of money. One day the director told me I had too much charisma to be stuck behind a desk; his words were the nudge I needed to sign up for a TV presenting course. My parents taught me not to chase money, and it was this advice that led me to my big radio break. They told me to value experiences over material possessions; I’m from Somerset West, and while I was doing the TV presenting course, my mom suggested I work at the community radio station – for free. She said that if I found a job I was prepared to do without getting paid, I’d know I’d found my true passion.

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So I decided to help out at the station over weekends, and when someone from RSG heard me presenting a show one Saturday morning, he offered to help me record a radio demo, which landed up in the hands of the station manager at Good Hope FM – and that’s how I got my first radio show. In radio, some stories you work on affect you more than others. One that made a lasting impression on me was about two girls from poor communities who were fighting the odds to finish school and get a tertiary education.

One was diagnosed with a disease that left her paralysed, while the other lost her mother and fell pregnant shortly afterwards. Out of sheer determination, both of the girls had managed to finish high school, and after sharing their stories on air, a listener called in to say they were so moved that they wanted to offer each of the girls a bursary to study at university.

I was blown away. Presenting a live television show has a lot to do with the chemistry between you and your co-host. Luckily, from the first time my co-host Chris Jaftha and I read lines together, we hit it off. Chris is a lot of fun to work with, but I’m actually quite envious of his dancing skills! This season of Dancing with the Stars SA is a nail-biting one. Viewers get to watch some of the country’s most loved celebrities show off their best dance moves on the stage – and see what happens when they’re pushed out of their individual comfort zones. I’m glad I’m presenting the show and not a competitor because my dancing is terrible! But working on the show has made me want to learn a few ballroom and Latin American steps, even if it’s just the basics.

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