How would you describe your character, Sienna?
She’s the oldest sister who decided to stay, to be responsible, and to look after her family – to do all the things that she knew her mother could not do, and her younger sister would not do. At the start of Season 1, she deeply loves her sister, but is also jealous of her for leaving and living the life that she doesn’t feel she can do herself. And then of course Yola returns from Chile for their father’s funeral and promptly inherits the family farm, which doesn’t help Sienna’s jealousy either. Sienna’s also desperate for love, even if she looks for love in the wrong places.
What can we expect from the second season?
We are picking up from where we left off in Season 1, with a lot of questions. Yola is missing. In Season 1, I was responsible for putting my sister into a psychiatric hospital, so I am dealing with that guilt. Sienna’s journey this season is not only about finding out where her sister is and what has happened to her, although that is the driving force. It’s also about trying to take responsibility for a lot of the hard truths I found out about my family and the town that I’m living in. I’m trying to take ownership of who I am and find my voice and freedom.
What was the reaction to the first season?
We had an amazing response. When we were making Season 1, I knew we were making something bold and brave and out there. To be part of a show that was pushing the boundaries and was really exciting. What comes with that is mixed reactions, of course, because for some people, they were like, ‘Whoa, I couldn’t watch that; it was really scary and out there. But I think for the most part, people were excited about what we made and trying new things on South African TV.
What makes Dam different?
I think what made it different is we were shooting Season 1 right in the middle of COVID, in a life-altering year, and I was playing a character who was also dealing with a lot. I think all of us came with the experience of what the year had meant to us and made us feel, so I think there’s a rawness to a lot of the performances. There is so much complexity in the characters and Alex really allowed us to be free and be ourselves, so it felt like I had total creative freedom and ownership over who this person was. That much freedom is not often given. It was refreshing to play a character who is showing all aspects of their emotions – rather than just being put in a pretty box, which is sometimes how female characters are portrayed. We could all dig in deep with the roles we’d been given.
Dam’s been described as a psychological thriller but it also has horror, fantasy and romance elements. How would you describe the show?
Sienna’s story is a drama: a love story between these sisters, which explores the complexity of family bonds and jealousy and the lengths you would go to protect the people you love, and also to protect yourself. But what I love about the show is that it doesn’t really define itself in any way. It’s got a little bit of drama, it’s got a little bit of horror, it’s got some mythical and thriller elements. There’s quite a bit of comedy in it, too. There’s a mesh of all the genres together; that’s what makes it interesting and different.
What was the highlight for you this season?
Oh, man, shooting in the Eastern Cape. The landscape out there is so beautiful. And the people really make it. We’re living together in this tiny town for six weeks while we’re filming, so we’re a close group. Not just actors, but the crew too. I mean, once all of us just got together and hung out at the hotel and played Nineties music and karaoked the whole day. I learned that Thembisa Mdoda knows every lyric to every 90s and 2000s song out there!
What have you watched on Showmax recently?
I enjoyed Reyka. I think M-Net did an amazing job with it. And the HBO shows are brilliant. What I love about where we’re at as an industry is that South Africa is starting to create exciting content. Everyone in the industry is looking inwards to our industry and creating more shows for ourselves, which is exciting. I’ve loved seeing what people I’ve studied with and people I’ve looked up to in the industry are making.