Lorna Maseko – Raising The Bar (Part 1)

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I learnt to work hard

The transition between BTA and SABT gave me a lot more drive and ambition. I’d always felt I deserved things because I was black and so on. But when I got to SABT, my whole perception about life and how my dreams were going to come true really changed.

Description: I’d only got into SABT because of the colour of my skin.

SABT was a completely different environment where people were passionate about what they wanted – and they really wanted to be ballet dancers. There was a lot more competition.

There were a few dancers who bitched about my position – that I’d only got into SABT because of the colour of my skin. I wanted to know I deserved what I got so I really dedicated myself.

I’d spend two hours at the gym running on the treadmill every morning before class – and sometimes after ballet. Then spend the whole day in class or rehearsal. It was very important to get my body in good shape.

My quest for perfection

There were dancers who were much skinnier, or had some kind of eating disorder. You’re always trying to fix yourself; nothing’s ever good enough. You’re constantly surrounded by mirrors, which made me miserable.

Obsessing about your weight is part of the lifestyle – it becomes such a norm. At my ballet peak and thinnest at 49kg, I’d have fruit in the morning, half a tin of tuna with  a dollop of mayo and some tomatoes for lunch, and the leftover tuna for dinner.

Now I’m a lot healthier. For breakfast, I have fruit and yoghurt and then I’ll have a light lunch like a salad. Dinner is always healthy: chicken or fish with vegetables. I hardly eat rice and pap. I love junk food – it’s my biggest weakness on weekends. Fortunately I still love going to gym. I run a lot on the treadmill, do aerobics and dance classes, and I teach a hip-hop class. I rest on weekends.

Ballet has definitely taken its toll on my body. I can’t sit for too long because my hips and back lock.

I’m still very aware of what I look like, especially because television makes you put on about like, it doesn’t matter what you do.

I had to sink or swim

I was doing very well with my ballet but I came to a point where I started to question whether there was more to my life than pliés.

My biggest fear was that I’d just stay doing ballet. I didn’t want to earn R6 000 a month for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to become a ballet teacher. I’m the kind of person who jumps and then learns how to swim, so I jumped.

My life philosophy

It’s hustle, hustle, hustle hard. I’m realizing more and more – especially as my mentor is Basetsana Kumalo – that you have to have a vivid vision of what you want your life to be like. It’s important to see your dream clearly and then work backwards to attain it. You need to think about what your life will be like in five years – ask yourself specific questions. For example, how many kids will I have?

I believe you should embrace risk and its opportunities. As someone pointed out” opportunities don’t come past waving at you that they’re an opportunity.

Looking forward

Description:  lorna maseko wedding

My husband, GC, who’s in the corporate world, and I were married in December 2010, so we’re still quite newlywed. We’re hoping to have children in about two years. I want to build up my business even more. Hopefully I’ll have a long career in the television industry. I’d love to be on radio too.

I never want to be put in a box – I want to die knowing I did everything I possibly could and I did it well.

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