When we meet, Mabalane’s billboards for her endorsement deal with Huggies have just gone up, her pixie face gazing at her second child and first son, Khumo. Shooting the campaign and getting a series of activations and events off the ground were the first bits of work she’s indulged in since his birth a few months ago.

“When you have a new baby, you put yourself on hold quite a bit, focusing on this little person and nurturing them. So I needed to find myself again and also focus on my physical recovery from the birth. I felt as if I’d woken up and three months had gone by.

“I know I’ll be a better mother if I take care of myself – and that means doing the things I’ve always wanted to do: exploring acting opportunities and building my business again,” she says.

She’s toying with the opportunity of a four-month-long filming gig for a local feature film, but is reluctant to say anything more about the deal that was unsigned at the time of going to print. However, true to her character, she’s sage about the prospects. “I believe I’ll get what’s meant to be,” she says.

Mabalane’s story since winning talent pageants as a child is a home-grown South African one. It’s impossible not to identify with the softly-spoken, determined soul from Kimberley and her instantly recognisable smile. Well, before the word “slashie” was unleashed on us, she was a consummate actress, singer, model and businesswoman.

On set, she made fast friends with the crew, revealing funny and self-deprecating things about herself that made us fall in love with her even more. For example, how self-conscious she is about her musical tastes and her penchant for luxury shoes.

BODY LANGUAGE 2.0

Mabalane’s authenticity is evident on the business side too. She happens to be picking up the pieces of a not-insignificant business loss. The past few months have seen her fire up and revive Body Language, the range of beauty and personal care products she launched three years ago. She admits that she allowed the demands of running the business to consume her.

“Adjusting to the new normal and juggling everything with a new baby in the mix proved to be extremely hard,” Mabalane says. She quickly adds: “Business is hard. It’s not child’s play, but I just wasn’t ready to let go of it.”

She failed to recoup the R950 000 investment of her personal savings that she used to launch Body Language, which left her despondent.