Located on the southern tip of Africa, South Africa is known for its incredible nature and unique people. Apparently, some of the most talented people in Hollywood and in the entertainment industry are of South African origin, and you probably had no idea. Usually, when you think of celebrities you are pretty sure are not American born like Chris Hemsworth or Sienna Miller, the first countries that pop in your head are England, Australia or Canada. For some reason, South Africa is not on that list, or at least not on the top of people’s heads when they try to guess where their favorite idols are from. As it turns out, there are more celebrities who are from South Africa than you can imagine, and they totally own that fact.
Actress, Charlize Theron, is possibly the most famous celebrity to come out of that multi-ethnic country. Theron, who is not only one of the most beautiful ladies on the planet, she is also one of the talented ones, has even won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 2004 film, Monster. Another famous face that has South African roots it of supermodel and Victoria’s Secret Angel, Candice Swanepoel. These two are amongst the highest-paid actresses and models, each in her own field. Theron also has her own star on the famous Walk of Fame. As Hollywood is making big steps into becoming more culturally diverse when it comes to casting and choosing the people that will set an example in Hollywood, it’s nice to see that South Africa is home to many celebrities who are striving to become a household name in Tinseltown. From Sasha Pieterse to Trevor Noah, these are famous people and celebrities whom you didn’t know of South African origin, or whom you thought were from some place else.
While we can’t picture modern American music without him, the frontman and leader of the award-winning band the Dave Matthews Band is actually from South Africa. After spending most of his youth there, Matthews relocated with his family to the United States. While originally he was supposed to return to South Africa to enlist to the army, Matthews eventually decided to remain in the US in order to become a full-fledged musician. The band became a staggering success, achieving six consecutive albums that debuted number one on the Billboard Music Charts.
He is considered today as one of the most influential writers in the world literature and specifically in the Fantasy genre, and has been a source of pride to many South-Africans. J.R.R Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, the capital of orange free state in South Africa, and spent his childhood there before moving with his family to the United Kingdom. His famous books including the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings are regarded as modern classics and were also adapted to a successful series of high-grossing movies.
This South-African hottie is best known for her part as Alison Dilaurentis in the ABC series Pretty Little Liars. Sasha Pieterse was born and raised in Johannesburg and became the youngest cast member on the show, winning the part when she was 13 years old. aside from her role in the show, Sasha also portrayed Amy Loubalu in the film Geek Charming, acted in a Disney film and appeared as Fawcett Brooks in G.B.F. These days, Pieterse plays a lead role in the Netflix show Coin Heist.
Charlene, princess of Monaco
While the princess was born in Zimbabwe, she and her family moved to South Africa towards the end of the 1980s. Before becoming part of the royal family, Charlene was a successful Olympic swimmer in the South African national swimming team. at the 2000 Olympics in Australia, Charlene and the team won the fifth place in the 4 by 100-meter relay. She met Prince Albert at a competition in Monaco in 2000 but still continued swimming regularly until she finally retired in 2007. Albert and Charlene married in 2011 and she gave birth to their twins in 2014.
The Harry Potter series is known to be one of the famous franchises in world history, with the J.K Rowling’s novels sales surpassing every known book except for the Bible. Warner Studios then chose to cast young Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter himself, launching the movie series to earn over $20 billion. With a net worth of over $100 million, Radcliffe is considered one of the richest and successful actors in the movie industry. It may come to you as a surprise but Radcliffe’s mother, Marca Jacobson, is originally from South Africa.
Sienna Miller entered the public eye during the 2000s, soon becoming of the famous celebrities in the United Kingdom. She appeared in the movie Alfie and later became involved with her co-star Judd Law. While most people believe that she is English, Miller actually has South Africa ancestry in her family line. Her mother was born and continued to educate her family on South-African culture and values. Miller herself grew closer to her heritage when she filmed a movie in Cape Town, often praising the country’s warmth and hospitality. She went to appear in other movies such as Factory Girl and American Sniper while maintaining her own fashion line.
Many basketball fans will recognize this next one. Steve Nash played for numerous NBA teams during his basketball career such as the Los Angeles Lakers, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Phoenix Suns. Contrary to popular belief, this recipient of the MVP awards was actually born in Johannesburg where he grew up with his Welsh mother and English father. While Nash and his family moved to Canada after when he was growing up, he always kept considering himself as a South-African.
While her name won’t ring a bell, you will probably recognize her face instantly. Bijou Phillips is an actress and a musician, appearing in various films such as Almost Famous, Bully, Choke, The door in the floor and Havoc. Furthermore, Phillips garnered fame for her recurring role in the TV series Raising Hope. Trivia buffs will probably know that her father was John Phillips from the Californian band The Mamas and The Papas, but her mother, Genieve Waite, was a model from South Africa.
This tennis prodigy was actually born and raised in Switzerland, but his mother is originally from a city near Johannesburg, making the famous tennis player half South-African. Throughout the years, Roger Federer attracted many fans from his mother’s native country due to his colossal success, classy style and elegance in the field. Even today, Federer still holds a South-African citizenship and is extremely proud of his heritage, making his South-African fans and followers even more dedicated to him.
The handsome lad has won the hearts of many women across the globe with good looks and boyish charm. His status propelled to worldwide fame with two of his famous roles – Legolas in Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit series and as Will Turner in Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Originally, Bloom was raised up believing that the renowned South African novelist and activist Harry Saul Bloom was his real father. It was only a few years later, after his father’s passing that his mother confessed to him that Bloom was not his biological father. Bloom decided to keep the last name as a memory of his late step father.
Dean Geyer is mostly known for his role as Brody Weston from the hit TV series Glee, joining the cast in the show’s fourth season. However, Joanssburg-born Geyer was already establishing himself in his native South-Africa and later in Australia as a musician, appearing in the reality show Australian Idol. Geyer eventually finished third, but his growing popularity landed him the role of Ty Harper in the Australian soap-opera Neighbours. That part brought him to Glee’s producers’ attention, who decided to cast him based on his looks and singing skills.
Arnold Vosloo is one of those actors that you always saw in Films and TV but never knew where do you know him from. Vosloo was raised in Pretoria to a deep-rooted South-African family, later studying theater and relocating to a pursue a career in the United States. The South-African actor is indeed a talented one, appearing as the antagonist Imhotep in The Mummy and The Mummy Returns. In addition, he played in other movies such as Hard Target, Darkman, and G.I: The Rise of Cobra. Vosloo most famous role on TV was the portrayal of a terrorist in the fourth season of 24.
No one ever believed that The Daily Show would survive after the departure of its host Jon Stewart. However, everyone at their hat when the South-African comedian Trevor Noah proved that he is much more than a pretty face, gaining praise from fans and the media alike. Noah grew up in Johannesburg to a family of mixed-heritage, as his mother was black and half Jewish and his father was from Switzerland. Noah began his career as a comedian in South Africa before moving to the United States and securing a role on The Daily Show in 2013.
Known by many in the entertainment industry as The Chameleon, Christian Bale is still perceived today as one of the talented, versatile actors in the movie business. Groomed to be prodigy since childhood, young Bale first appearance was in Stephen Spielberg’s war drama The Empire of the Sun. The actor then went to appear in several independent and small movies before winning the part of Batman\Bruce Wayne in the critically-acclaimed reboot by Christoper Nolan. While his family’s heritage is spread all over the British Commonwealth, Bale’s Father, was a pilot and a talent agent, is originally from South-Africa.
Probably the most famous actor to have come out of South Africa, Charlize Theron has appeared in many successful, award winning films since she started her career in the 1990s. Born to a family of Dutch, French and German ancestry, Theron originally started as a model before switching to a career in acting. She appeared in blockbusters such as The Devil’s advocate and Cedar House Rules before winning an Oscar for her portrayal of serial killer Elaine Wuornos in Monster. While she eventually received an American citizenship, Theron is still extremely close to her South-African identity and speaks fluent Afrikaans and other African languages from the area.