Vanessa Haywood is an international actress, model and fitness athlete, whose worked with some of the best directors in Hollywood. A farm girl turn beauty queen, Vanessa's success story seems like a fairy tale. Blessed with good looks, it was her mother who encouraged her to enter pageants at an early age. After a few finishing and modeling courses, Vanessa was raking in the sashes culminating in a finalist spot for Miss South Africa in 2000.
This launched her modeling career and after completing a degree in Marketing and Business Management in 2001, she became an international jet-setter, traveling extensively for modeling work from London and Hamburg to such exotic destinations as Thailand and The Bahamas.
Vanessa studied drama, appearing in amateur theatre productions before breaking into television and later film with small roles in Hey Boy and Blood Diamond. Her big break came in 2009 when she landed a lead role in Oscar-nominated alien phenomenon, District 9. Then in 2010, Haywood starred opposite Gemma Atkinson and Matthew Lewis in The Sweet Shop, a British romantic comedy.
Between filming Vanessa runs a corporate marketing and events company called Blue Fox Marketing and Media Solutions. She recently competed in a celebrity edition of Survivor in the Maldives and is gearing up to host her own radio show on 2OceansVibe Radio. A natural go-getter, Vanessa's drive, determination and passion will ensure she's always got a place in the sun. We were lucky enough to catch up with her and get her take on movies......
"...some friends and I try to buy or hire
the BEST worst movies ever made."
I can't watch movies without...
- In Winter it's a blankie and tea or a glass of wine, in Summer it's a glass of sparkling water with lemon. And the perfect date, if my boyfriend Ryan's not there, is a packet of Woolies Chuckles! Popcorn every now and then.
Which famous people share your birthday?
- John Deere, the famous tractor dude - I kid you not! Haha! Charles Dickens the famous author and Ashton Kutcher. (7 February)
What is the first film you remember watching?
- The first film I ever watched was E.T. and my mum and I watched it at the drive-in in Nelspruit! I remember it like it was yesterday and it was such a jol! It's such a classic and my mum couldn't have chosen a better film for my "first movie"!
What's the worst movie you've ever seen?
- Now this is debatable... because some friends and I try to buy or hire the BEST worst movies ever made. So I guess Yeti or Return of the Killer Tomatoes starring George Clooney would be up there! We love the cheesy, bad movies though, so are they really the worst I've ever seen?
Which movies have made you tearful?
- The Green Mile - it's my all-time favourite movie and I cried buckets. Passion of the Christ was a bit hectic and surreal so I cried like a baby. Legends of the Fall was also a tearjerker... there are so many!
Who is the most famous movie star you've ever met?
- There are a few but I guess Denzel Washington is the most famous one. I met him, his wife and their kids through a mutual friend when I was in Sardinia working last year. I was a bit star-struck cos I love his work and had literally watched The Book of Eli a week before I met him!
What's your favourite movie line?
- "Yippee ki-yay motherf**ker!" without a doubt. (Die Hard) "I'll be back." is another. (The Terminator)
Who would you choose to play you in your biopic?
- Charlize Theron! Ha ha! I guess cos she's also blonde and tall; she's South African so she'd be able to relate to me. Scarlett Johanssen as well, just because I love her! And she's also blonde! And a damn good actor!
If you could produce a movie, what would it be about?
- I'd like to produce a South African drama - perhaps the life story of a little girl who loses her mum to Aids and is brought up by her granny or aunt and the trials she goes through to become a mature, educated woman. I don't know if I'd want to produce though. I love directing!
Finally, your top ten movies of all-time...
- The Green Mile ...it's a magnificent story and the acting is brilliant. I don't usually like Stephen King but this story is beautiful!
- E.T. ...it was the first movie I ever watched.
- Yeti ...it was the first movie I watched with my man, Ryan so I have great memories of that time. It's also the BEST worst movie I've seen!
- The Pursuit of Happyness ...a profoundly moving film, which needs to be watched every few months to get us "back in line" and appreciate what we have.
- District 9 ...obviously!?!
- Dead Poet's Society ...it was the first film study I ever did and I loved every moment!
- The Time-traveler's Wife ...a beautiful far-fetched fantasy love story.
- Seven Pounds ...sheer brilliance! I love Will Smith in both Seven Pounds and The Pursuit of Happyness... in most movies he acts in! Both movies are really thought-provoking and have a special message. He's fantastic and I first grew to love him as The Fresh Prince of Belair!
- Closer ...Closer was written as a theatre piece and later made into a movie. It was my set-work piece whilst studying drama. I love the story and the actors are great.
- Burn After Reading ...a very odd, black-comedy drama! Brad Pitt is brilliant in it! I think he should have won an Oscar for his performance. He's an underrated actor and I can't wait for the day he wins an Oscar! He's been nominated for Oscars and BAFTAs but never won!
Top Ten Movies with... is a people series on SPL!NG, featuring a host of celebrities ranging from up-and-coming to established personalities from all industries including, but not limited to: Internet, Radio, TV, Film, Music, Art and Entrepreneurs. It's a chance to discover who they are, find out where they're at and to get a fun inside look at their taste in movies.
CREDIT ROLL: Elle Cover Photo - Gerda Genis