“You don’t really know the implications”
It centers on an underground business testing a dangerous skin lightening product on children wild beauty on Netflix.
It’s been debated whether there’s a fine line between justice and revenge, and as the show’s drama and mysteries unfold, that line begins to fade.
Rooted in the theme of how far one is willing to go for one’s family, the South African series depicts a story from two opposing sides. Don and Grace Bhengu (Dumisani Mbebe and Nthati Moshesh) run a successful beauty business, but the public is unaware that it was built on the immorality of testing a skin lightening product for their business on children. Until 15 years later, one of the two survivors, Zinhle Manzini (Rosemary Zimu), arrives to expose them and reduce their empire to rubble.
During the first season of brutally beautyviewers watch as Rosemary faces an inner struggle, who is who she is at her core, or set aside her morals to ensure she brings down the entire Bhengu family.
With a character this complex, it was quite a challenge for Zimu to showcase all of her layers.
“It was difficult at times,” the actress admitted to Shadow and Act of her portrayal of Zinhle. “I think there were times when I would read a scene a certain way and then the director would say, ‘No, this is how we’re going to do it.’ I thought, ‘What are you talking about? I can not do that.’ But with the help of the directors, everything just flowed. I think of moments when I just said, ‘Okay, Rose, stop it. Be Zinhle. The director knows what he’s doing and did it amazingly.”
John Ncamane playing Calvin ‘Kolobe’ Mamabolo – a close accomplice in the Bhengus schemes – had a similar experience to Zimu when it came to bringing his character to life. Though he hadn’t explored such a role in his time in the industry, it was a trial he gladly accepted.
“There was some connection I might have with the difficulties [Calvin] went [through.] And for me I thought that’s very interesting because I’ve never played a character like that before, and sort of illuminating that and bringing that to the surface was quite interesting and difficult.”
Along with the focus on characters’ backgrounds, the show’s lens alludes to the beauty industry of how skin bleaching comes from the harmful effects of colorism. It’s a touchy subject that some of the cast have grappled with themselves.
For Ncamane, the script was “extremely personal” as it relates to his experience of being the darkest in his family. Although he never responded to wanting to be lighter, he is sympathetic to other people’s choices due to societal pressures.
In Zimu’s case, she shared with us that the children the Bhengus used to test their product took her back to when she accidentally used an anti-acne product that had skin bleaching, causing her skin to bleed to a burned to the point where she couldn’t tell who she was.
“It just showed that these products are so easy to get, they’re cheap,” she said. “You can get them anywhere, but you don’t really know what effects they have and what harm they can do to your skin.”
The development of each character and the powerful storyline can be largely credited to the work of writer Lebogang Mogashoa.
wild beauty is a drama full of twists and turns, but at the core of the series is the message of how the beauty industry has impacted society. Before filming even began, Mogashoa transported the cast into his vision to tell the powerful story mosh.
“He did a great job. You could feel the passion in every stroke of the pen,” she said, describing the series’ writing style. you really did it And when we had our reading, he happened to be with us and he gave us the backstory on what led him to write about the beauty industry. This was a young man who is clearly very interested in the beauty industry and the impact of the beauty industry. We live in an age of Photoshopping, filtering and tweaking our looks, but at what cost.”
wild beauty now streaming on Netflix.