Re-introducing: South Africa’s Action Barbie, Nicole Bessick

South Africa's celebrity boxing champion and actress, Nicole Bessick, has a long list of accolades that would make any overzealous achiever go green with envy. NOWinSA takes an exclusive look into the life of this dynamic woman, as we continue to pay tribute to some of South Africa's awe inspiring female entertainers this women's month and beyond.  

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NOWinSA Women's Month edition

South African actress and celebrity boxing champion Nicole Bessick is no stranger to the local entertainment industry, having already made an impressive impact on our television screens for the past couple of years, most notably as Chloe on e.tv’s telenovela, ‘Broken Vows‘, Xenia Samuels on ‘Binnelanders‘, and Britney on the IGTV drama series, ‘Lockdown Heights‘.

As many of her followers would attest, she has a list of accolades that would make many of her peers go green with envy.  In this article, the aptly named South Africa’s Action Barbie gives us the lowdown on her illustrious showbiz career, which saw her secure a spot in Marie Claire’s inaugural 2017 Future Shapers project.

For all our readers, who is Nicole Bessick?

Nicole Bessick plays imaginary people for a living, and knocks out real people for fun. I’m a Cape Town born Actress and ‘white collar boxer’ based in Johannesburg.

August is Women’s Month in South Africa. How are you celebrating the strong, dynamic women in your life?

I’ve got lots of fun, meaningful projects in the pipeline. The one that is the closest to my heart is the #IconicWomen campaign spearheaded by Shelby South Africa and Road to Races. It highlights women who are dominating their sphere by smashing stereotypes and holding their own in male-dominated spaces. It showcases 7 incredible women including Lynn Forbes and Letshego Zulu to name a few, who occupy space in areas that you may not expect a woman to: think boxing, summiting Kilimanjaro, racing sports vehicles etc. 

What is it about the South African entertainment industry that you love and admire?

There’s something about the South African entertainment industry that really sets my soul on fire: being able to, through story-telling, directly impact and effect social change. I grew up watching a handful of women of colour on television… I looked at them and thought ‘they did it, it’s possible, I can too!’. Fast forward 15 years or so, and I’m literally in their shoes, doing what I love and making SA a better place in the few pockets of influence that I have. I think that’s absolutely incredible. The SA entertainment space made it possible for me to do just that. 

What change do you hope to see in the South African entertainment industry?

I want to see more women everywhere. Not just in front of the camera, but behind it. Directing, producing, sitting on boards, influencing copyright legislature… the world needs more of it. 

Most inspirational moment, something that impacted you during your career?

The most impactful moments for me, happen far away from the glitz and the glam of the entertainment game. They happen in the priceless, unseen moments shared with women who watch my shows, who watch my fight career and who are in some way empowered by watching me do what I do so unapologetically. To know that it somehow touches the lives and hearts of other women, is an incredibly humbling thing.

Dominating male dominated spaces; actress and boxing champ Nicole Bessick

How do you remain humble and grounded in an industry that is so publicised?

What I’ve learned is that the industry can’t change you… it merely acts as a magnifying glass that amplifies who you truly are on the inside. It all comes down to your “why”, the reason you’re here and what drives you. Are you doing this to pursue your passion or are you fuelled by ego and just in it for the fame?

In this game, you have access to everything: power, money, sex, drugs, alcohol… and very quickly your “why” becomes apparent. My “why” is “being able to tell and celebrate South African stories, and effect social change while doing so. It’s impossible to get an ego or be blinded by the shining lights of entertainment when you have blinders on when it comes to your “why”.

Also, I was raised right. My folks have instilled in me that in life integrity, character, humility and discipline are paramount. You could have all the money and fame in the world, but without those, you are truly poor. 

What do you want to be remembered for in the acting/entertainment industry one day?

I want to be remembered for holding my own and dominating male dominated spaces, without ever compromising or dimming feminine attributes. I hope to be remembered for breaking boundaries, smashing stereotypes and paving the way for other women to do the same.

What can we expect from Nicole going forward?

Season 4 of ‘Lockdown Heights‘ has just gone live! It’s an Instagram telenovela created in South Africa, by South Africans and has since achieved international acclaim by the likes of BBC. I am so proud to be a part of the show and I hope you guys have as much fun watching it, as we did creating it!

South Africa’s Action Barbie; fav things

  • What is your favourite cheat meal or snack: French Fries
  • What inspires you: Kind, driven people
  • Favourite lifestyle brand: Sassy Chic. I never leave the house without: My mask… Corona mos! 
  • If I were to be an animal I would be: A lion. I like to believe I’m “King of the Jungle” material. 
    Song from my youth that I can’t help but bust a move to is: TKZee – Shibobo
  • The person who always offers the best advice is: Shashi Naidoo, what a boss.
  • I can’t go a day without: A great cup of coffee