With Days of our Lives stars, Arianne Zucker (Nicole Walker), Drake Hogestyn (John Black) and Galen Gering (Rafe Hernandez) in SA to meet their legions of fans, SABC3 invited local soapie stars to join them at a star-studded cocktail evening this week. The who's who of daytime television came together at the Emoyeni Hotel in Johannesburg.
Isidingo stars, including Maurice Paige (Calvin Xavier), Kgomotso Christopher (Katlego Sibeko), Arno Marais and Stephen van Niekerk (Benjamin and Daniel le Roux), Ashish Gangapersad (Pradashan Naicker) and Jay Antstey (Charlie Holmes) all worked the red carpet. And what would a soapie event be without Generations' Queen, Sophie Ndaba? The SA stars joined Zucker, Hogestyn and Gering for pictures on the red carpet. Afterwards the Days stars were interviewed by the likes of Top Billing's Lorna Maseko and Real Goboza's Pearl Thusi, who had a smitten Hogestyn demonstating his most iconic John Black romantic moves.
Chatting to Maseko, the MC for the night, the soap stars discussed their characters, life on the set of Days and what they'd gained from their trip to SA. Hogestyn stressed the influence fans have on the scripting of the show, saying his role was initially only meant to last a few months, but fans wrote in saying they loved the chemistry between Jack and Marlena (Deirdre Hall). Over two decades later he's still there (he may not be on SA screens at the moment, but he'll be back). Gering seemed truly touched by the warm welcome he'd received in the City of Gold, especially from pupils at Tshebedisano Primary School in Soweto who sang to welcome Gering and his castmates who were joined by Cheesekids.
Zucker was recently in SA filming her youth leadership programme, LifeCHANGE, which brings together young people from different cultures to learn leadership skills. She emphasised her love for the country, assuring fans that she was aiming to become a frequent visitor. While she's nothing like her character, Zucker told us she enjoys playing a villain. "Playing Nicole is so much fun. I try to bring colour to her; I understand her motivations, she just wants to be loved. Without characters like her, it's hard to tell a story."