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Mentoring: Unathi Daniel

Friday, May 10, 2013

Unathi Daniel  is an actress, voice over artist and founder and casting agent of Arizona Casting Agency. She's also a woman of faith and purpose. In this mentoring feature, she speaks to us about her faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, she also gives advice to aspiring "celebrities" and shares God's wisdom with other entrepreneurs.



Inside Woman: Please share your testimony of how you came to know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Saviour?

Unathi Daniel: I was literally raised in the Church with the Word because my mom was a biblical studies teacher. She encouraged me to study the Bible everyday and explained it to me. Our head mistress was a born again Christian and we had an assembly everyday. She would share the Word with us everyday during the assembly. On Saturdays, we had youth services at Church and main services on Sundays. So, it was during that period that I got to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I was about 14 years old.

Inside Woman: What role does prayer play in your life?

Unathi Daniel: Prayer is communicating with God. It plays a major role in my spiritual life. I pray to give thanks, praise, and to express my needs. It is through prayer that my needs are being met and prayer gives me peace in the middle of storms. Prayer basically gives meaning to my life.

Inside Woman: What was your first entertainment job?

Unathi Daniel: I got a role on TshaTsha 1, way back in 2003, followed by a stream of voice over bookings.

Inside Woman: At what point did you decide you wanted to be a casting agent?

Unathi Daniel: There was a point when I was getting audition briefs by myself and sometimes I'd get to even know about those I didn't qualify for and pass them on to others, then I thought, 'I could do this full time' and Arizona Casting was born.

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Inside Woman: How did you come up with the name Arizona Casting Agency?

Unathi Daniel: My mom toured the US a lot and Arizona was one of her favorite destinations. So that's the name she gave to our first family business and I thought it was only appropriate to name the agency Arizona Casting.

Inside Woman: What exactly do you do at Arizona Casting Agency?

Unathi Daniel: We are basically a talent agency. In our books, we have models, TV presenters, musicians, choirs, dancers, acrobats, make up artists, MC's, poets, actors, voice over artists, promoters, activators, comedians and impersonators. Our role is to find them jobs.

Inside Woman: Why do you think you will succeed as an entrepreneur?

Unathi Daniel: I am not afraid to face challenges, because I put God in everything I do.

Inside Woman: How has your career as an actress helped you transition to the role of a successful casting agent?

Unathi Daniel: Starting off as actress made me clued up on the ins and outs of the entertainment industry. Some of the companies I worked with as an actress are now my clients.

Unathi Daniel


Inside Woman: What's the best advice you've ever received about following your dreams?

Unathi Daniel: Its from the word of God, Proverbs 12 verse 11 'he who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who pursues worthless things lacks sense'. I always choose to go for the former, not the latter.

Inside Woman: How long did you have to work before you achieved that initial success as a business?

Unathi Daniel: I got my first major project about 6 months after I started out, but there was one or 2 small projects which came up before that one.

Inside Woman: How did you fund your business?

Unathi Daniel: I used my savings.

Inside Woman: So what’s the one thing you wish you’d known when you started?

Unathi Daniel: I never get used to being the bearer of bad news. I wish I knew it would be so difficult to inform artists that they were not picked for certain projects they auditioned for.

Inside Woman: And along the same lines, what do you feel is the secret of your success and/or what advice would you give somebody starting out now?

Unathi Daniel: Remove fear and doubt, substitute them with faith and do what Esther did because she was not afraid of challenges.

Inside Woman: Do you have a mentor and what role do they play in your life?

Unathi Daniel: I regard Bishop Stephen Zondo as my mentor because of the change he keeps bringing into my life and there's also a bunch of business principles he taught me which I apply and I must say, they work. I thank God for people like him.

Inside Woman: What are some of the methods you use for finding new talent?

Unathi Daniel: Some companies usually ask me to judge competitions such as beauty pageants and acting auditions. That's where I normally spot talent.

Inside Woman: Let's talk about the audition process. What should actors always remember when coming into your office for an audition?

Unathi Daniel: Always be punctual, come prepared and make the first 20 seconds count.

Inside Woman: Lots of actors have a particular show/programme that they’d love to work on, what’s the best way to go about getting considered for something specific?

Unathi Daniel: They must get their resumes, professional headshots and showreel ready, then approach the casting directors/ producers of those particular shows, get into talks with them and probably get the casting directors to put them on tape.

Inside Woman: What's your best advice to people who want to act?

Unathi Daniel: Its imperative to always do what you love the most because even if you're unable to make money out of it sometimes, you still do it wholeheartedly because its something you're passionate about. It really takes passion to get up at 4am and start working at 5am, because there are actors who are required to be on set from as early as 5am.

Inside Woman: How does your faith play a part in helping you deal with negativity, disappointments and the “hard knocks” of life?

Unathi Daniel: I never focus on them, I look beyond them and focus on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. I wait on Him and confess what I'm hoping for, not what I see, but what I want to see.

Inside Woman: So many women are feeling stuck. What can they do to move forward to the promises of God in their lives?

Unathi Daniel: They should surround themselves with positive people and not focus on their fall but on how they will rise and stand. Only God will make it possible for them to get to that stage.

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