Stars don’t try to shine they just do it – just like Niza Jay, a SAFTA nominee. “I come from a dramatic family and the drama in the house helped launch my career from pre-school”. For him the entertainment industry was something he has always wanted. His latest project is a movie called Blood Psalms, a South African European co-production.
Without giving much away he’s says” I play a role of a prince in the movie that is envious of his mother and sister and claims his throne and wants to ensure that people know who he is”.
Proudly South African Niza Jay is in-between Los Angeles and South Africa. The pandemic has kept him in SA but he says “now that my age group can vaccinate I can make my way back to Los Angeles because I have other projects waiting for me”.
When he was in Los Angeles Niza Jay realized he needed to return home and establish a fan base. “Returning to SA was very intentional and I have achieved a lot already”. With his achievement he is confident he can fly the SA flag much higher.
Niza Jay has been involved in a number of brilliant productions and most recent added to the list is popular series aired on Etv called House of Zwide. It was a complete surprise to fans.
“I love surprising people but an important lesson out of this is people must know that moving in silence is okay”. Even the cast knew not to post me on social media until my first appearance on House of Zwide.
“It’s interesting times to be a creative. It’s a time for committed creatives but I don’t think it’s a time for all creatives. The industry is evolving and it’s only for those that are not interested in the hype and fame and for those who want to pursue specific goals”, says Niza Jay.
“The industry has a lot of influence and power, a lot of that came through at the beginning of the pandemic when people started consuming the medium vigorously”, he adds.
Niza Jay says in the entertainment industry it is important to get the right representation and this starts with a creative having their own best interests at heart and being clear about their life goals and what they want to achieve in their careers.
He also mentions that there are a lot of agencies in the industry and a few managers, citing that it is also good to seek help from agencies if looking for a short-term gig. The SAFTA nominee says “ you need to trust your manager and the relationship needs to be an intuitive one. A good manager must fight and stand up for you”.
Niza Jay starred in the controversial movie Inxeba which was highly criticized for sharing a story on the Xhosa initiation culture. The movie was doing well in cinemas in 2017 but following the criticism it was pulled.
“It almost seemed there was a push for the film not to be seen and was denied the recognition it deserved” Niza Jay says. The movie was shortlisted for an Oscar at that time.
Inxeba was the actor’s first professional gig. “I believe I could have prepared better and should have done extensive research, however I did learn from the set – hard work, dedication, respect, asserting self and knowing my worth which is something I have always known”.
NizaJay is multitalented, he can sing dance and act. Even though he was born for the stage one of his other childhood dreams was to become an architect and hopes that he will get an opportunity to honor his dream. He spent most of his high school days harnessing his craft. “I only applied to one university for drama or music and was accepted”, he adds.
As Niza Jay spreads his wings – to aspiring entertainers he says” “If you’re in the industry for the wrong reasons you are in trouble”.
By Sandra Lesenyeho