I had the fortunate opportunity to interview Roberto Kyle, who played a role in one of my favourite series Homeland, see link below.
Roberto is from Paarl, and is living his dream. I thought he would the perfect person to interview to shed some light on what is like living his dream, and possibly inspire and encourage those who are in pursuit of fulfilling their dream.
Let’s get a snapshot of the life of Roberto Kyle in 23 Questions!
1.How are you doing, and what is currently keeping you busy?
I’m doing very well thank you for asking. Well, right now I am currently working on a new show called Reparation written and directed by the phenomenal Ameera Conrad, who I recently also got the opportunity to work with on a show called People Beneath Our Feet (which we performed at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown). Reparation will be showing at the Theatre Arts Admin Collective in Observatory Cape Town. The show will be running from the 29th of November until the 3rd of December. That’s basically what I have been keeping myself busy with these last couple of days, aside from juggling auditions and callbacks for other film and theatre pieces.
2.You attracted my attention when I saw you were part of the Homeland series cast, how was that experience?
Shooting Homeland and being a part of the season 4 cast was an enormous blessing and milestone for me. I learnt so much about myself and my artistry, and overall it served as validation that what I chose to do in life, which is acting, is exactly what I am supposed to be doing. Getting to work with individuals such as Mandy Patinkin, Numan Acar (Prison Break) and Lesli Linka Glatter (director: Nashville/ True Blood/ Pretty Little Liars) felt like an out of body experience, and I constantly had to pinch myself to check if it all was real.
3. Where and when was the audition, how was the experience of the audition, and the feeling being successful for the role?
The audition for Homeland happened in Cape Town, in the Protea Hotel Greenpoint. It was a pretty scary and overwhelming experience, as it was the first audition that I have ever done (in a professional capacity) and I have never auditioned for anything for screen. I was also aware of the fact that the casting director was one of the biggest in the country, so I really wanted to make a good impression. All worked out for the better in the end. Landing the part meant the official start of my professional career.
The main reason I want to chat to you is because you are from Paarl, and I would like to get a snapshot of your earlier days…
5. Which Primary school did you attend? Best memory/achievement in primary school?
I attended William Lloyd Primary School. I have many fond memories of my primary school days. I also count myself very lucky that I have received the type of education and support structure at William Lloyd, because it has enable me towards so many things in life that now makes sense. My fondest memory however dates back to 2004. It was our academic prize giving. I remember feeling extremely proud getting to see my mother walk up towards the stage, and badging me as the Deputy Headboy of 2005.
6. Which High School did you attend? Best memory or achievement in high school?
I went on to continue my secondary education at Klein Nederburg Senior Secondary School. Like the above mentioned, I have a lot of fond memories. The most poignant one however – and I say poignant because it was a life changing moment, was during our matric valedictory in 2010. The school had invited a speaker to deliver a motivational talk to the matriculants of that year. I cannot recall the individual’s name, but I know she is a doctor. She brought a poem with her called Desiderata by Max Ehrmann. She gave everyone a copy. I kept mine, and I still have that very same copy with me, and I take it with me wherever I go. I see this as a pivotal moment in my life, because reading the poem changed my perception of the world, and my stance in it. It reads as follows, “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others…”
This has become the mantra by which I have sculpted my life, and I am forever grateful for that specific moment in my high school career.
7. Where did you live during you childhood, and where do you stay now?
I grew up in Paarl and then moved to Cape Town for studying purposes. I am still in Cape Town, living in Woodstock.
8. After high school, was the plan to always be an actor, where did it all start? If you did not succeed with what you currently doing, what do you think you would be doing?
The plan was to always become an actor, yes. If this did not work out, I would most probably have become a musician.
9. Growing up, who was your role model, and who is it currently? What keeps you positive and determined to keep going?
I have had a lot of role models growing up…. But one of the most important, looking back at it now, has probably been Keenan Watson, a track and field sportsman from Paarl, who has reached phenomenal heights during his sporting career. I even got the opportunity to do a primary school project called “our heroes”, and I chose him. I remember feeling so chuffed with myself, because I got to ask him questions. In retrospect, I count myself extremely lucky to have been able to know him and to see him as someone that I would like to grow up to be like.
Representation, for me has always been key. It is also something we are lacking within our own community. It is not every day that we get to see people who look like us, speak like us and come from where we come from – do extraordinary things. That is why having role models, like Keenan Watson, is important. I got to see myself and the possibility of me conquering the world, within his success. Little boys need to always see successful men do phenomenal things, so that those little boys eventually can become those successful men.
Another role model of mine has always been my mother. She has taught me everything that I know, and my only wish is that I could one day be half the person she is, to someone else. She has also been one of the main contributors as to why I haven’t given up yet. She, my sister, the good times and the bad times (even though there has been many) are all a part of what keeps me going and moving forward. I am grateful. Deeply.
10. If there was 1 positive change you could do in Paarl to make a difference, what would it be?
This is a very difficult question, because I can imagine other people thinking about wanting to do deep, powerful things…. So I don’t know…. I would most probably, in an ideal world, sponsor five of the most talented matriculants, of colour, every year (not necessarily based on educational merit, but also on privilege) to continue studying (after high school) within their fields of expertise. They however have to – at least once – do the same to five young individuals from Paarl.
11. Give me a rundown of an average day in the life of Roberto Kyle?
This changes all the time depending on whether I am working on a theatre production or a film. I wake up. Run. Get ready for work. Try to go to castings in between. Come back in the evening. Shower. Eat. Eat. Eat (that was intentional) Read. Pray. Sleep. (Maybe squeeze in a movie or learn lines)
12. How often do you visit Paarl, and what do you get up to when visiting?
I come to Paarl a lot these days. Previously I’d go twice a year, because my studying schedule literally never allowed me to leave. I’d also always be doing some sort of show. I have decided to step away from acting for the past three months however, after doing Grahamstown. So I have been going to Paarl a lot. I usually just hang with my three closest friends (Inge, Nicole and Chelsea) or hang inside the house and binge watch movies.
13. If you had 1 superpower, what would be and why?
My superpower would be…. Reading minds…. It would just save so much time. In general. For both parties involved.
14. Three guests for supper, and three guests for a beer? (dead or alive)
Three guests for supper…. My dad (who I lost to cancer in my second year) my dad’s dad (whom I lost a year after my dad past) and my mom’s sister (who past when I was 10)
Three guests for beer…. Well it won’t be beer, it would champagne…. Kiroshan Naidoo. Shalima Mkongi. Mvelisi Mvandaba.
15. If you could single handedly elect the President for SA who would it be? Must be south African, and alive?
Ameera Conrad. I consider her very wise when coming to the subject of politics. Also, I am in love with her brain. If you want to know what I mean then come and see Reparation.
16. One characteristic that irritates you the most of human nature?
Selfishness. I wish we can learn to see past ourselves and our own egos.
17. What 3 items do you never leave the house with?
My cell phone. Lip balm. Wallet.
18. What do you do when not working?
I am not working, I am reading some sort of script. I also love watching movies in my free time, and having great lunches and suppers with the people I love.
19. If I had to look at your phones playlist, what would be the top 5 played songs?
Can’t Let Go – Adele
When We Were Young – Adele
I can’t make you love me – Bon Iver
Rise Up – Jojo
Take me to the king – Tamela Mann
21. If you were a director and could select the cast of your movie, which 3 actors/actresses would be in your movie?
Francis Chouler. Warren Masemola and Clint Brink
22. What are the plans for Roberto Kyle for the future? Where do you want to be in 10 years time?
I don’t know to be quite honest. All I know is that it is filled with telling other people’s stories, whether that might be on stage or in front of the screen, time will tell. I would also like to start my own fashion label or model management company (with just black models).
23. Lastly, for all aspirational youngsters who want to become actors, or individuals who just want to follow their dream, what message would you have for them to get out there and make their dreams a reality?
It is always difficult when coming from a disadvantaged background (I am saying this because I have no interest in privilege), and I am bringing this up, because I know what it feels like, and have experienced it myself. The trick is to look beyond that, beyond what is surrounding us and beyond what we are experiencing at this given moment. I know this is difficult because many a times it feels as though we will never get out of it. Essentially what we go through at any given point may have a bigger meaning within the context of one’s life. So we must see them – our struggles – as lessons. Use your struggle to propel yourself from point A to point B, and remember that your life, is your life. Whether the leaps and steps are big or small, remember a step forward is still a step forward. So whatever it is you wish to achieve in life do it with honesty, and love, and know that you are so much more than just your circumstances – that you are worthy of being great. Just continue pushing for your dreams, whatever they may be, and don’t ever compare your story to someone else’s. Remember a flower doesn’t compare itself to the next flower. It just flowers.
“Just like the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here” – Desiderata