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Back to basics with Michelle D.

Whilst you may be dreaming of sinking your toes into sandy white beaches in Mauritius, or sipping cocktails with friends in New York City, it’s time we as South Africans start embracing, and more passionately adopting, the saying “local is lekker” when it comes to our travelling habits! Whether it’s a trip to our favourite bush lodge, sea-side hotel, or mountain resort, supporting your local tourist destination has become a top travel priority, especially of late.

Thanks to Ignition TV’s newest show, Wild in SA, you won’t have to think too hard about it, plus they’ll take you on an adventure before you’ve even packed your bags. 

Wild in SA is a travel and adventure show, covering all of the wonders that South Africa has to offer. In each episode presenters Tumelo Maketekete and Michelle D aim for an amazing destination - a special, out of the ordinary experience, and you, the viewer, get to go along for the ride too. Each episode takes them on a whirlwind journey as they visit interesting people and places in specific areas all around our magnificent country.

In each episode, two mountain passes are featured: a gravel one, and a tar version. What captivated the audiences is that the directors mostly steered clear of the more mainstream, well-known passes, and instead featured some lesser-travelled routes. Each episode also contains a short insert on “how to survive in the wild” on an adventure, showcasing different scenarios such as, if you run out of fuel, or what would happen if your vehicle picks up a mechanical issue. Survival specialist Ian van der Vyfer shares tips like how to start a fire with your vehicle’s battery, and much more.

Michelle D, better known as one of the contestants on the first ever season of The Bachelor SA captivates audiences with her vivacious and fun-loving attitude. She grew up on stage from a young age and was behind the camera. From TV presenting jobs, to modelling, Michelle was born to be in the spotlight.

What did you take away from filming this show – personally and professionally?

Personally - I took away the reminder that we are blessed to be living in such a stunning country. One that is diverse and interesting, to say the least.

Professionally – this was my first travel presenting show and I had to learn that things do not work on a schedule. So for a planner like myself, just "going with the flow", was a new skill set that I had to learn to deal with on set.

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

I admire the fact that the industry is not trying to be anything else but South African. Very often I sit in conversations and hear viewers compare our entertainment industry to the likes of Hollywood. But what they forget is that we are not American, we are South African, and our industry is producing amazing quality shows right on our doorstep, that truly reflect and celebrate South Africa. From shows like "The Bachelor", to "Wild in SA", to quality dramas like "Still Standing" and "Trackers", we have incredible talent to produce them all. These are all made locally and as a nation we should support our industry with as much passion as we do Hollywood.

Where do you find the confidence to go behind the camera and film?

I have no idea where the confidence comes from. I started ballet when I was 3, drama when I was 5 and grew up performing on stage and in front of the camera.

When we are filming I don’t look at the camera and think “oh my that’s a camera” – I look at it and think of it as a portal through which I am having a conversation with someone on the other side. It’s an odd way to look at it, but I always imagine someone sitting there listening to me.

Who is one woman you look up to, and why?

Kaitlyn Bristowe, is one woman who really inspires me. She is a former Bachelorette (loyal to #bachelornation to the end) but as a woman I respect her. She is in the entertainment industry; she runs her own successful brand and podcast, AND she lives her life the way she wants and does not apologize or make excuses for being just the way she is. And I LOVE that. I would love to sit and have coffee (or wine) with her one day.

What does it mean to you, to be a strong woman and take up space?

To me, to be a strong woman, is to own who you are. The good, the bad and the downright factual.

Beyond the lights, action and camera’s, you’re also a businesswoman – how do you balance your career and maintain priorities?

The answer is in your question – PRIORITIES! I will not lie, it takes planning and hard work. Some days I put in 16-18 hours of work time and I sometimes have to make some sacrifices. But at the end of the day, I am doing what I love and what makes me happy.

I suppose I can say that I live by a simple life mantra – if it is not adding to my happiness, my bottom line or my future – then its not a priority.

When you travel, what are your 5 MUST HAVE’s that you always pack in?

I always pack:

· a good comfy pair of sneakers (my current favorite ones are my FitFlop Uberknits),

· my K-way jacket

· my Bluetooth tripod /selfie stick

· hairspray (not only is that a cosmetic must have but if need be a girl can start a fire with that)

· a good lipstick (you don’t want those lips cracking).

What can be expected from Michelle D going forward?

Well, hopefully another exciting season or two of "Wild in SA", and I would love the opportunity for a kind of cooking show (hint hint to any producers out there).

I am also working on some exciting new business ideas – so hopefully there will be something exciting along those lines coming out of the works soon #WATCHTHISSPACE

Fun Facts:

Dream car: A vintage Mustang – in blue! With white sport stripes on the bonnet.

Favourite on-set memory: There are a few but I am going to choose the waterfall scene. Because of lockdown we were the only people there and it was amazing. Plus I “sang for the mermaids” (you will have to watch that episode to see but I thought it was pretty priceless)

Favourite show destination: It has to be Klaarstroom experience. The hotel, the people, the beauty and of course listening to the stories of Koos Roets. It is just a special place.

Jokester on set:  Honestly – I am going to have to say me. I sing random things, do a jive now and then, plus, I can say some of the most stupid things at times, haha. Then the crew goes quiet, gives me a moment to think and then we all laugh about it.

Most challenging task: There really were no challenges on this show. It was just so much fun and easy flowing. I did struggle to get onto a horse (don’t ask) but other than that there really wasn’t anything that stands out, lol.

Catch all the excitement in the first episode, which airs on Saturday 15th August at 08h00, on Ignition TV, DStv channel 189 (@ignitiontv)

Follow them on IG: @wild_in_sa and @michelleddiaries

Repeats through the week:

Saturday: 08h00; Sunday: 14h30; Monday: 20h00; Tuesday: 17h00; Wednesday: 14h00; Thursday: 12h00 and Friday: 04h00.


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