Many of you might be wondering how he became so popular to where he is right now but as the old saying goes ‘hard work beats talent when talent does not work.’ Charisma, real name Kudzai Kizito Madangwa has gone down the memory lane explaining his road to fame. An actor, writer and model, Charisma has featured in many films among them Chipo The Gift and Murindagomo where he has unleashed the greatness within.
Celebrity caught up with Charisma and talked about his journey from where it began and below is the full interview:
We have been watching some of your movies and have come to appreciate your work. Kindly take us through your memory lane explaining how you chose your career and chronicle your journey.
Thank you for watching our shows, I am happy for the support you give to the local filmmakers. My high school drama teacher always casted me for his school projects saying I ‘looked the part’ and I was funny but I was never interested in acting perhaps It was fear from doubting myself and most probably because I was very shy to perform in front of people.
He never gave up, he chose me to do modeling, ‘You do not need to say anything we just need you to walk’, I agreed and did my first modeling runway show for the schools Culture Week. The experience was epic. I could not hide my shock, I smiled all the way through the ramp on all the rounds and after the show the adjudicators commented that I had the best smile, good eye contact, best walk and good outfits. I could not believe any of it but I was so excited, it startled me because I had never looked at anyone in the eye, never had been cheered and made so great like that.
I became so proud and confident. I would love to thank my teacher Mr Wilson Zaranyika, at Epworth High School, for having faith in me and for seeing so much potential in me. I also want to appreciate and thank my mother for also encouraging me to ‘go for it’. She also paid the designer and tailor who did my outfits for that first show and lastly on this occasion I want to appreciate my teacher and my whole class for standing with me and making the loudest noise every round I showed on the ramp. You guys made me awesome.
So from that show I somehow started accepting to do some school plays because I now had some confidence and courage. In 2015, I saw a film audition call by one of the top film stars who was trending on TV that time and I went to the auditions. Even today, that still remains the worst audition in my acting career. Having been the first, yes probably I was terrible but the words that Casting Director told me made me to quit acting and never felt interested at all.
I went home, cried and accepted that acting was not for me and I focused on playing cricket. Late December 2017 I was talking to a brother from church about how I used to do modeling and act. He gave me a contact, told me the guy was a model and if I present myself well he could help me with some links. I contacted the guy. Luckly, he was in preproduction for his film and he invited me for an audition, I went and he booked me for my first role in a feature film.
That is how events led each other until I got myself back to do what I was born to do.
You have worked with numerous producers and directors, what are the most memorable moments of your career so far?
When I was booked to play the character Nyasha in a film called Finding Nyasha, I asked the casting directors why they picked me because there was quite a number of good looking light-skinned gentlemen at the auditions. The directors told me that they chose me because I am dark!
It was so amazing, I never thought being dark could get me a job. I cherish that moment because it made me realize how powerful my darkness is and until now, I am getting hired more because of my appearance and being talented is an added advantage.
You have shared, on Celebrity Online, that you were raised by your mother. What has it been like?
My father died when I was five years old, before I had even started school. Growing up without him was and is a struggle I tell you. I never had an opportunity to know him though. He was hardly at home due to the nature of his work. My mother has always been there for me and my brothers and sisters played my father’s roles.
I became a family project; everyone in my family invested in me one way or the other. My mother and I are so close, being the last born child you know. I love my mother. Bringing me up without my father ‘the bread winner’ was and sometimes still a struggle, she was never employed I do not know how as a family they managed especially the early years when my bigger sisters were not yet working but with God’s grace they managed to raise a man who is becoming a super star.
You have rubbed shoulders with both upcoming and established film directors. In your opinion who is the best talent director and why you think so?
Marian Kunonga has this amazing respect for the talent (actors). Marian is very professional and treats the actors the way we are supposed to be treated on and offset.
You have shared the stage with prominent actors and have come to some point of admiring other actors. Who is the most promising actor and why?
I do not usually watch others when they perform, it does not do me good. I do admire Zolile Makeleni (Tsotsi), he is an intelligent actor. The most promising actor, besides myself, is Nyaradzo Matanga.She is talented, beautiful, has a good personality and she works hard.
How have you managed to stay single when pretty women surrounds you all the time?
I am in love but yes my marital status is still single. Love is a decision. Last time we talked I was not seeing anyone. I had decided not to love for some reason but later decided to love, it is my calling to love. I have managed to stay single besides working alongside pretty woman and being surrounded by them. I think it is because of the respect I have for myself and women.
I cannot just be with someone for the sake of being with them, there has to be a reason other than the decision to love. I also think it is because I keep it professional.
What is the most embarrassing moment of your life?
We were in a film camp at a hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg. It was evening and we were having dinner.That was the first day so both the cast and crew were on the same table. I do not know how it happened but I remember raising my head and saw this other prominent star gazing at me so I asked, ‘Everything alright?’
The room went silent. She smiled without taking her eyes off me and said gently
“My son, where were you when God said, ‘let there be light?’”
The whole room shook with laughter.
I also laughed but I felt really embarrassed. How could she? That was the most embarrassing moment I remember. It is quite embarrassing when a black person makes fun out of your blackness in front of other races.
In your opinion, which is more important, training or talent?
Both are important, talented without training is wasted talent. Training is as good as nothing when there is no talent.
What attracted you to begin a career as an actor?
I always felt that I am unique. I wanted to do something that had never been done before in my family history. However, what attracted me is how I earned by just having fun. Nothing gives peace than getting paid for living your desired life.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as an actor?
Showing on an international platform on my first film project still stands as the greatest achievement considering thousands of actors who have been working hard and never showed anywhere let alone DSTV. My first film to feature in, Flowers Of Dry Thorns, premiered on Zambezi Magic (DSTV) in 2018.
Which celebrities you believe are the most influential?
John Cena and Beyonce
Do you have any experience with criticism? How do you handle it?
I face criticism almost everyday, I am asked to quit acting many times. I overcome all of it when I sit down and think of the reasons why I am doing it. I also remember what my mother told me she said ‘always do what makes you happy, you not me. I am living my own life so you should’. That strengthen me knowing that I own my life and I am responsible for my own happiness. What people think or say is definitely none of my business.
Have you ever used your fame to get something for free?
I do not feel famous. I have not tried getting something for free I am not ready to be embarrassed in public.
What do you spend on the most? Clothes, accessories, perfumes, underwear, among other things?
I acquire furniture; asset buying is what I spend much of my earnings on. I am not yet rich enough to spend on luxury.
What do you do when not working?
When not working I am always looking for my next job. I also spent some time with my mother, then WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and sometimes Twitter.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yes, it happens every night and if you know you know. Love at first sight is real, like I mentioned love is a decision so you can just decide to love someone you have just met.
Where do you think you will be after 25 years?
I do not know but I am sure I will not be where I am right now. Career wise and financially.
What projects you are currently working on and when are they set to be released?
Right now I am working on Pombonoka, a social site I co-founded. It is a site where people interact and plan to have fun. There are dream trips, vacations, outings, games and lots of entertaining stuff we are bringing to the people. These are all suitable for singles, couples, students and everyone about 18 years of age. We are still working on it but quite a number of people have signed in and are already having a great time. We will officially launch it as soon as we are set.
Have you ever done any projects that you hated from the start but knew it would get you a lot of attention?
No I have not. If I do not love what I am doing I stop.
Has someone close to you ever used you in any way for their own personal gain?
Yes, it used to happen much before I took my assertiveness classes. I grew with no right to say No and even after growing up a bit I could still find it hard to say no to whatever I was asked to do but now I even say no to practice my right and I do not feel guilty anymore.