JOHANNESBURG — When she joined the Big Brother house, she already had one foot in the entertainment industry as a content creator on TikTok and Instagram.
Her dancing and presenting videos had been going viral for some time.
Thato Mokoena (28) left her comfortable job to pursue a career in entertainment. When the opportunity to be on Big Brother came, she was already serving her 30-day notice at an accounting firm and jumped at the chance to compete for R2 million.
“I resigned from work a month before the show was announced. I just decided I was done being an accountant. I have wanted to be in the entertainment industry since I was 15. I did campus radio at university, and I produce a few You Tube shows. Even as an accountant weekdays, on weekends I worked on fulfilling my purpose and never really had time to relax,” she tells Drum.
“When my dance video went viral on TikTok I decided at some point I will need to leave my job and focus on my brand and making this my career.
“ I am a great presenter, actress and dancer and this opportunity will help to build on what I have already started,” she said.
“I went in the house with the hope to win the R2 million or at least to be in the final week. Top five is a big achievement, so leaving is bitter sweet,” Thato tells Drum.
While many contestants said they had no strategy, Thato had a game plan.
“I definitely had a strategy. I was already on social media and my dance challenge went viral and I got a huge following. It was important for me to lie low in the house and not pose a threat. I needed to see what is it that I needed to do to make sure I stay in the house longer, every week. I went to the back and let them shoot each other before coming out and it worked. But I wanted to make connections with two or three people to be able to last,” she added.
Her plan succeeded as she was seen as a dark horse.
Finding love in the house was not in her plans, but it happened, and she has no regrets.
In the fifth week of her stay in the house, she built a connection with one of the top five contestants Gash1, they did almost everything together and she was sad to leave the house.
”I was there for 9 out of 10 weeks and finding love is something I did not expect at all. He is not the kind of guy I usually go for, but love is love I guess,” she said.
Unlike Venus, who said her connection with BU and Themba was just her playing the game, Thato says her bond with Gash1 was real.
“It was all real for me. I did not believe that Gash was playing a game with me, and that is what my heart told me. He let his guard down and would sacrifice the game when speaking to me and I did the same. I am yet to see if he was playing me after he wins the R2 million. If he was, then his loss.”
She would be happy if Gash1 wins but she is also routing for Mphowabadimo.
“Of course, I want Gash or Themba to take the money, but for women empowerment, I would not mind Mpho taking it,” she said.
“Themba was my least favourite person in the house because his jokes were often mean but I should be okay if he wins. I found him to be unnecessarily mean and I fought with him the most. Tulz on the other hand must just stay away from me. He became very personal but would then say it is just a game. He is the one person I am apprehensive about.”
While she waits for the love of her life to be announced the winner, she continues to pursue her career as an entertainer.
“I am so grateful to be walking away with a huge platform. I was able to put myself out there and show who I am. I want to continue curating content on social media. I would love to have a talk show on radio or television and maybe also get an acting job here and there. I am multi-talented, and this is the beginning of big things to come from me in this space.” — News 24