A star was definitely born when lovely Camilla Rogers made her way into the world 28 years ago. But there is more to the young Ballito vocalist, actress and drama teacher than meets the eye.
You’d never say, looking at her petite frame, perfectly manicured nails and blonde locks, that Camilla only recently gave up her part time hobby of competitive bass fishing…or that she has competed provincially in both surfing and jet skiing.
A professionally trained opera singer who has performed with the Durban Symphonic Choir and the Philharmonic Orchestra, Camilla recently joined forces with three other well- known KZN singers, actresses and dancers to put on a slightly different type of production.
The Foxy Four, as they are known, perform a cheeky, fun cabaret show with loads of costume changes and well known music from the 50’s right up to present day hits.
A ‘born and bred Ballito girl’, Camilla has spent her entire life on the North Coast, attending Umhlali Preparatory and Crawford North Coast. With a love for singing, particularly opera, she had hoped to study opera at UCT after school, but it was just too expensive. Instead she followed in her parents’ footsteps and went into the property industry.
“My yearning for music didn’t go away though. I planned to go to Germany to sing opera, but decided to stay in South Africa and marry my high school sweetheart – a decision I don’t regret at all,” she says, smiling.
With her goal of pursuing a singing career firmly in place, Camilla decided to study Music and Drama Performance at UKZN. She qualified with an honours degree at the age of 24, and it was at university, she says, that she really found her love for performing.
She got married in her third year and, in her final year Camilla was given the opportunity to work with well-known actor, director and writer, Themi Venturas. “I started doing events with him and I performed in his play, The Complete History of Durban at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. It was so much fun.”
This was round about the same time in their lives, Camilla says, that she and her husband started competitive bass fishing. “I used to rock and surf fish with my dad and brother and I actually bought my husband his first fishing rod. We loved it and would travel every weekend to fish in different events. Ryan is still very into it, but I found it was taking away too much time from my singing.”
In 2017 Camilla got a teaching position with the Helen O’Grady Drama Academy. “They have academies all over the world and we teach children from the age of three years old right up to adults.” Camilla teaches at various schools on the North Coast and also hosts weekly lessons for home schoolers at the clubhouse in Simbithi.
But that is just her day job. At night, Camilla follows her true passion – singing and acting in front of audiences. She joined the Kickstart Production Company early last year, something she says she always dreamed of doing. “I love working with them. My love for theatre has grown tenfold. It’s amazing to be a part of the Kickstart family. I know that this is definitely what I want to do for the rest of my life.”’
But work isn’t always abundant and that is why Camilla says she and fellow performers Leigh Meyer, Marion Loudon and Jemma Kate Badenhorst, started their Foxy Four cabaret show. “We all love singing, acting and dancing (although I’m not the best dancer, haha) and the show is evolving all the time.”
In between teaching and shows Camilla spends her time working with her vocal coach, Vanessa Tate-Jones, and honing her skills. If she’s not doing those things, Camilla says, chances are you fill find her in the ocean. “Both Ryan and I love surfing and I often feel like I just need to be in the water. It’s my biggest grounding.”
Text: Leah Shone : Photo: Barry Bowditch/ www.bowditch.co.za