The Wild had to be one of my favourite soap operas. It was the only time I’d sit down and watch a drama with the family. When they announced the show was going to come to an end I asked myself what would happen to the talented cast.
I caught up with one of the actresses from the show, Hayley Owen, whose career has recently blossomed. FHM’s 100 Most Sexiest Women nominee, actress, radio and television presenter – Hayley is making big moves in the industry. After The Wild ended, she went on to appear in both Isidingo and High Rollers.
That’s not all. Hayley is also a business woman and has a project called Digital You, which focuses on teaching children to protect their reputation on social media. Through Digital You, Hayley and her team use theatre performance in schools to entertain and educate. The roadshow kicked off earlier this year and has already visited schools in Western Cape and Gauteng.
“When I studied drama in Wits I actually majored in educational theatre. This also made it much easier and fun doing the roadshow because it’s something I’ve done before,” stated Hayley.
Educational theatre is not the only thing Hayley has an interest in. She also loves sports which helped her get the opportunity to host her own sports lifestyle show on Ballz Radio, an internet radio station that caters for an online audience.
“In terms of sports, my dad is sports crazy and he got two daughters… Shame, he indoctrinated us into loving sports though,” she giggled.
“When I was still an actress on The Wild I got called to Ballz Radio for an interview and Darren Scott who started Ballz Radio interviewed me and there was such a great vibe that I wrote to Darren and asked him if I could do a little feature once a week. He told me that they have an open slot on Fridays, I should rather come over and do my own show.”
In South Africa, internet radio caters for a niche market and that’s because not so many people have access to internet as compared to countries like the USA or UK. Hayley does not seem to be bothered by that aspect.
“I know South Africa doesn’t really have great internet connectivity yet or access, but as soon as they do you want to be that market leader on the online space. I think online radio is a little bit ahead of time but we getting there,” said Hayley.
Not so long ago Hayley drew attention when she was nominated as one of FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women. Her pictures were flawless and had everyone talking about how gorgeous she looked when modelling, but Hayley said modelling is not really her thing.
“I still do auditions for commercials and things like that but I’ve definitely never been a model. I’ve been an actress who’s posed for a few photo shoots but I’ve definitely never been a model,” she laughed.
“You know sometimes with the acting and the publicity side of acting you have to do photoshoots, and I enjoy it but I’d never pursue modelling as a career I love food way too much,” stated Hayley with a smile.
Hayley loves going out to restaurants and trying different things, and she would rather indulge in burgers, ribs and pizza than green salads.
“Like I mean I don’t overindulge. I love food but I don’t eat too much; plus I also exercise a lot. I’m an ambassador for Sweat 1000 and I also run. I do like half marathons. My fiancé is into triathlon and he just ran the marathon so he’s also like a motivation,” said Hayley.
Oh? A fiancé huh? So all the fellas who keep drooling over Hayley can take a seat because wedding bells will be ringing soon. Personally, I don’t know how I would deal with having an actress as my fiancé, so I asked how Hayley’s fiancé copes. She says he isn’t big on her having to do love scenes, but he is very supportive of what she does.
“On Isidingo I was a hard core drug addict and on High Rollers I was a prostitute. On The Wild I had to kiss a character named Jack like 24/7! [My fiancé] had a bit of a tough time, but he knows it’s my career. He’s always known I’m an actress. So, as much as he doesn’t like it he would never prevent me from doing it. He just doesn’t watch, actually he never watches,” she laughs.
While acting is Hayley’s first love, she dips in and out of that side of her career. The demand for actors in South Africa is minimal. You can’t really be a full-time actor unless you have a secured slot in a soap opera, which can also come to end by a simple change of script.
“What I’ve realised in SA, if you acting it’s almost like a bonus. So you have to have something that you do day-to-day and when acting work comes around you do that because you can’t rely on acting work every week of your life. It’s sad, but it’s the reality.”
That’s not the only sad reality in the acting business,
“There isn’t enough work, especially for white girls unfortunately,” said Hayley.
The most popular shows on television are usually dominated by black characters, reflecting the country’s demographics. Problem is the limited space for new talent. We rarely see new talent on our screens, regardless of race. For Hayley, that means spending a lot of time on other pursuits.
“This is Ballz Radio guys, welcome”, Hayley said to us when we got the chance to sit in one of her shows. Ballz Radio has a very cool set up. You can see that the team puts in a lot of work and effort to keep the station running. Being an internet radio station, I thought I’d see computers and wires all over the place, but actually the set up was the same way as any other radio station.
After our interview, Hayley was digging in a goodie bag sent through by Wakaberry.
“Ugh the best part of this is also these little goodies we get randomly.”
“Not only the goodies, but also the greatest thing is knowing that I’m actually playing a role in starting new trends in the South African media with internet radio like Ballz, so being here just also makes me very happy.”
Follow Hayley Owen : @HayleyOwenSA