Liezel van der Westhuizen
She may be a new face to South African television audiences but SABC 3 continuity presenter, Liezel van der Westhuizen has long been working in the homegrown entertainment industry.
Liezel is a regular fixture on Gautengís Jacaranda 94.2 radio station. It was on the latter station that Liezelís ability to reach audiences, with her finely tuned, warm and hugely likeable presenting skills, earned her a strong following amongst the provinceís radio listeners. ďI began my radio life at Tuks FM and was well and truly hooked on the joys of being able to use media to connect with people,Ē she says.
Those early days as music manager at Tuks FM whilst still studying led to a job offer at EMI Music South Africa, where Liezel held the position of International PR Manager working with an impressive array of global music stars, including Lenny Kravitz, Atomic Kitten and Blue
Itís no surprise that Liezel is so at ease when talking to an audience: this Pretoria raised-girl has a Masters Degree in Communication Management from the University of Pretoria and, since 2000, has been a member of Toastmasters International, having received her Advanced Toastmaster Bronze certificate in 2005.
ďIíve always loved speaking in public and conveying my point of view to a broad audience,Ē Liezel says of her Toastmaster experience. In fact so committed is she to the benefits of this form of communication that for three years she taught public speaking and communication at Kumba Bridging School as a volunteer. ďIím passionate about young South Africans being able to stand up and speak, confidently and with knowledge, about the issues that move them,Ē Liezel says simply. And in addition to her Toastmasters experience, Liezel is a recognised voiceover artist, having done an array of television and radio voiceover work.
That Liezel is so focused on her own passions is entirely consistent with her personality: after all, this is a woman who, as a learner at Pretoria Girls never once missed a day of school, in her entire 12 years spent in the education system!
In fact, Liezel is no slouch when it comes to the other pursuits that she canít live without: sport and health. ďI train five days a week and follow a very healthy lifestyle. And Iím crazy about golf!Ē That - and swimming, running, cycling, spinning and scuba-diving! Itís a head-spinning array of physical passions that, when combined with Liezelís model-looks make it easy to see why she was a Top 8 finalist in the 2007 Shape magazine Sanex Cover Girl competition.
But, for Liezel, what drives her to push on each day are new challenges and over the years sheís earned a reputation as an MC of note. That said, with her heavyweight media background, keen intelligence, easy manner with audiences and cover-girl looks, itís surely not going to be long before Liezel becomes a household name.