Kelly Khumalo has grown a thick skin over the years. But she’s had no choice but to do so as the award-winning singer and actress has had her name dragged through the mud on several occasions.
Synonymous with controversy, especially where her love life is concerned, she is regularly trolled on social media.
We chatted shortly after Showmax announced “Life with Kelly Khumalo” would be debuting on the streaming platform in August.
Having done “Rolling with Kelly Khumalo” on e.tv a few years back, reality TV is a familiar playground for her.
On her return, she said: “I don’t think I decided. This was decided upon me by the power above, I think. I didn’t even think I would do a reality show again until last year when I was approached by The BarLeader and they handle their story with so much dignity, I had no choice but to be a part of this.”
She added: “I don’t want people to think I’m setting the record straight. That’s not what this show is about. I owe nobody an explanation, whatsoever. The premise of this show is to tell my story through my own lens. I’m not rectifying anything or trying to win people over or to check people’s perception of me. No. I’m telling my own story in my own voice rather than my story being told by people who don’t even know me.”
Shooting began before the Covid-19 lockdown and resumed under Level 3.
In being a fly-on-the-wall, viewers will get to witness what goes on in her everyday life and the people who are a huge part of it.
Khumalo shared: “They will see the spiritual process, my healing process based on everything I’ve been through in my life; and, childhood traumas.”
“People are going to experience me, in the studio, for the new music that’s coming out; people are also going to experience the business side of me as I venture into the alcohol business. It’s a new world for me altogether. I’m learning as I go.”
Interestingly, she launched her gin, Controversy, just before the lockdown in March. Her album, “Undithatha Kancinci”, is coming out in October.
She laughed: “Even recently, we were putting the billboard up on Monday just as alcohol was banned (again). So it’s been quite hectic. It hit me blind.”
Covid-19 hasn’t made life easy for anyone. As an artist, Khumalo is still navigating her way through many hurdles triggered by the global pandemic.
“To be quite honest, it’s been very tough,” she admitted. “With our industry literally being shut down and no one being certain of what the future holds and not being able to make the income that we are used to is worrying to me and a lot of people.”
While she has applied for a relief fund, like many others in the entertainment sector, she is not holding her breath on it making a huge difference when it does arrive.
She said: “I’m still waiting. I’ve not received the money as yet. Whichever way, I’m not counting on it because the amount of money they are giving out doesn’t cover what I’ve lost.”
“I would not even lie to you, I’m still trying to find my feet. I do what I can when I can. At the end of the day, this is so new. Even with the online shows, it’s quite an intricate process that a whole lot of us are trying to get our heads around,” Khumalo continued.
On the show, viewers also get to witness her wrestle with the dilemma of whether or not to send her kids to school.
She also gave the production house carte blanche to shoot this series.
She explained: “As far as I’m concerned, this is my reality and I’m happy with it. My only concern is to be true to myself and live the best life I possibly can.”
*“Life with Kelly Khumalo” is available on Showmax from Thursday, August 6.