When actress Vinette Ebrahim recently had to undergo a complete transformation for her character in the SABC2 soap 7de Laan, she welcomed the opportunity with open arms.
Vinette, who plays both the roles of twin sisters Charmaine and Vivian, is absolutely smitten with the idea that Vivian recently had to undergo a transformation to look like a man. While the character of Charmaine, a businesswoman, is a motherly, steady type, Vivian is mentally unstable.
Many viewers were astounded when Vivian recently posed as a man in order to escape from a mental institution.
The transformation took about two hours, Nicola Roodt, a makeup artist at 7de Laan, told YOU. “Our storylining department came up with the idea and we went looking for inspiration that would suit the structure of Vinette’s face – it influences the kind of man into which we transform her appearance,” Nicola says.
It took Vinette and the team two days to film three scenes of her in her male guise. First, the makeup team changed her skin tone by applying a different texture. “Then we gave her harsher features to get a more manly appearance. We also added a beard and moustache,” Nicola explains.
“After that we added more hair to her eyebrows to take away the feminine brow line and make her features appear more severe. We combed all her hair back and added glasses to further hide her feminine features. The glasses also helped complete the character’s appearance,” Nicola adds. She says it took 15 minutes each time to remove everything and return Vinette to her original appearance.
It wasn’t painful applying the beard or changing the nose shape, Vinette tells YOU. “Nicola is so smart that she made a pattern of my chin before starting to stick the hairs on.”
She got to a point where she didn’t even recognise herself, the actress says. “When they started with the make-up I first thought I looked a little like my dad but I gradually saw they were taking my appearance in a whole other direction.”
Co-star Hildegardt Whites, who plays the role of Bonita, gave Vinette’s male alter ego a nickname, “Samoosa”, she says. “The other actors on set were laughing hysterically. Some of them didn’t even recognise me on set.”
She says she found it interesting as an actress to play a male character. “It was very enjoyable to embody that persona.”
And she adds it wasn’t that hard to go from the character of Vivian, a woman, to playing a man. “Vivian is quite butch, so it was a natural progression for me to go from her character to playing a man.”
Vinette has been playing the role of Charmaine, whom she says can be a “goody two-shoes”, for many years now. “When I saw where the character was going and then when they introduced Vivian, it just felt right.”
Vinette adores Vivian. “I’m crazy about her because I’ve been playing the role of a goody two-shoes for so long. And deep within me I had the yearning to play a role in which I could be rough and ready. Then came the part of Vivian,” she says.
“I’m so lucky to be playing both roles. It’s a huge challenge.”