Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bucket Babe: Vanessa Haywood

It's 2014 and it's time to kick off the new year with a smoking hot local lass that will set the tone for the rest of the months ahead. This weeks featured beauty is an actress and an adventure enthusiast as she par-takes in lots of outdoor sports, mainly mountain biking and cycling, before making her break on the big screen she also had many stints on television, most recently she was a celebrity contestant in the local Survivor Series. Besides all the media accolades, she is also a qualified professional but now uses her time to focus on her sports and charity work. Back in 2010, during the World Cup she was flying around the country and so was I, just by chance we were always flying into the same destinations at about the same time, so I used to joke with her on twitter that she's stalking me. Having a beautiful blonde stalker? I wasn't complaining. Take time to read through her bio, some inspirational stuff there and find just what makes her all round Gorgeous-Ness.

Vanessa Haywood


I grew up on a farm in Mpumalanga, South Africa and spent most of my childhood running in wheat fields and covered in mud! I come from a family of five. My mum, Caroline has been with the Medi-Clinic group for many years and my dad, Eric is in the milling industry having come from a farming background. I have two gorgeous younger sisters, Kim (28) and Robyn (21). 

I was painfully shy as a child and my mum thought that doing some modelling and beauty contests might help. I completed a few finishing and modelling courses, and went on to secure a number of beauty queen titles. Little did I know at the time that it was the start of an extremely exciting career! 

After high school I studied Chiropractic in Durban but due to terrible violence on campus that year and witnessing a fellow student get shot and killed, I decided my life had to change course. I went on to study marketing and business management and got my diplomas in 2001. This particular education has been paramount to my creating and managing my own personal brand and working very closely with my sponsors and the media. 

In 2000, I was a Miss South Africa finalist, which was a important catalyst for my career. After finishing my studies I started travelling extensively for my modelling work and got to see the quite a bit of the world. I lived between London, Hamburg and Cape Town, travelling to exotic destinations such as Costa Rico and Sardinia. I met wonderful people all over the world and have been on the covers of many magazines, filmed a number of TV commercials, and appeared in many clothing catalogues and advertising campaigns (all local and international). 

In 2007 I was chosen as the Shape Cover Look of the Year winner securing a Shape magazine cover, which grew my career further and also opened the door to the sporting industry.I eventually studied drama as theatre, film and television have been a part of my life since I was a little girl. My television career started before my film career did, having presented for Groen (Kyknet), Top Billing (SABC 3), AgriTV (SABC 1), Superdance (ETV) and Wildlife Video Cast (Asia). I have also presented many corporate videos and record voice-overs for both radio and film/television.

I had small roles in “Hey Boy” directed by Brendan Pollecut and “Blood Diamond” directed by Edward Zwick. It was an honour to work with the Oscar winning director! My big break came in 2009 when I was cast as the leading lady for District 9 directed by Neill Blomkamp and produced by Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) which sat at number 1 for 3 weeks and raked in more than $200 000 million at the Box Office. We were nominated for 4 Oscars and look forward to the possibility of making the sequel. The thought of working with a genius director like Neill again excites me! 

I completed my first British film in 2010 called The Sweet Shop, which is a Romantic Comedy, directed by Ben Myers and produced by Bertie Stephens. I played along side great actors like Gemma Atkinson (daughter of Rowan Atkinson) and Matthew Lewis (Harry Potter). 

In 2011 I took part in “Survivor Maldives – Celebs vs Plebs” and my experience can only be described as phenomenal; a once in a lifetime opportunity and the epitome of suffering! I learnt such amazing things about strength, my life and myself in general! 

I took to the airwaves for a few months in 2011 with my own radio show on 2 Oceans Vibe Radio called Vee-Entertainment! I love radio and learnt so much about this exciting media medium! Earlier this year I had my own Podcast show at the ABSA Cape Epic, called Epic-Ness. 

My life has taken a major turn and although I am still quite passionate about the film industry, I focus primarily on the sporting industry now, using my profile to influence children and adults to lead healthier, more active lives. Having being sporty my whole life, and then meeting my partner, professional trail runner Ryan Sandes in 2010, embracing sport became a daily part of my life and at the end of 2012 I became a semi-professional mountain biker, earning most of my income through cycling. For fun, I still compete in in trail running, XTerra and I’m also a keen golfer!


Twitter: @VanHaywood


1. Hot girls and hot cars go hand in hand, what ride would you like to see yourself in?
  • My absolute fav fast car is the Audi R8. I LOVE the slick lines, the engines sound, the interior, etc.! But since I'm a farm girl, I tend to be more practical and love SUV's- my fav is the Range Rover Evoque.
2. What sandwich are you most likely to make for me? and will it be toasted or plain?
  • I love these questions!  Ha ha! I would make you a rye sandwich with roast beef, grain mustard, rocket leaves, emmental cheese, slice tomato and a bit of  low-fat mayo. Ground salt and pepper to finish it off. A whole lot of goodness but some naughty-ness too ;-)

3. What type of music gets your booty shaking?
  • I LOVE music and since most of my life revolves around sport and training now, I always have my iPod on! I have eclectic taste when it comes to music and like a bit of everything. My fav bands however are: Mumford & Sons, Avicci, Florence & the Machine, The Naked & Famous, Ben Howard, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Bruno Mars, Swedish House Mafia, Foo Fighters, etc, etc!
4. Being both an actress and a model, which profession do you prefer?
  • That's a tough question because although both professions are interlinked at some point or another, they are VERY different. Modelling doesn't require too much thought and is more "artistic" and about body movement. I enjoy having my hair and make-up done; getting all glamed -up and putting pretty clothes on. Acting however, demands a massive amount of your energy and creativity. You have to learn scripts, embrace the character you're playing whilst playing off other characters you're playing alongside. It's quite intense but I am so passionate about it. I would chose acting any day!
5. Which movie did you enjoy making the most?
  • That's easy! District 9 of course! Working with Neil (Blomkamp) was amazing and trying to get a rather complex story across was quite a challenge but the end-result was so rewarding.
6. Popcorn goes well with movies and everyone loves it (well I think they do) what's your topping sprinkle of choice?
  • Salt and vinegar for sure!
7. Growing up you must have had someone you aspired to be, so who is your role model?
  • As a teenager I absolutely loved Cindy Crawford and Julia Roberts. Julia is still one of my favourite actors but there are some amazing "new kids on the block" like Amanda Seyfried. She's phenomenal!
8. By following you on twitter, it is evident you're quite the athlete and like to keep active, what is your best tip to stay healthy?
  • "Everything in moderation" is what I live by. I eat a healthy diet which consists of balanced food groups but I eat a lot of fresh veg. I only eat free-range or organic meats. I've also started incorporating "Superfoods". Go to to get a better understanding of that they are. I make great smoothies using these superfoods. I do however love my red wine too but it's full of anti-oxidants, so in moderation is good for you too. I drink a lot of water which is vital for body function. I train hard but I also rest when my body tells me it needs to :-)
9. You're also quite the outdoors person, done anything adventurous of late?
  • My most recent epic adventure was hiking up the Matroosberg in the snow, to the top of the mountain where we stayed in a gorgeous ski-hut and spent the weekend snowboarding! Only 2 hours from Cape Town!.
10. Christmas and New Year has just passed but which city would be your dream destination for these festivities?
  • I've always wanted to go New York over Christmas and New years! I've only been there in summer and it was so hot! I'd love to experience the hustle and bustle of NY during the festive season!

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