Sithembile Xola Pearl Thusi (born 13 May 1988) is a South African actress, model, television host, and radio personality. Pearl has made great strides both on the African continent and abroad breaking glass ceilings and paving the way for future talent in the creative industries.
Her entry into the entertainment space began when she was just a teenager. She was crowned first runner-up at Miss SA Teen in 2003 and won Miss KwaZulu Natal in 2005. After high school she moved from Durban to Johannesburg with the aim of pursuing her tertiary studies in the Dramatic Arts at the University of the Witwatersrand. This move laid the foundation for an incredible and illustrious career which led to Pearl Thusi becoming one of the most striking faces on African Television.
As a host, she entertained audiences on The Real Goboza before she moved on to South Africa’s biggest music show, LiveAmp, while simultaneously doing Tropika Island of Treasure 5 – which was shot in Jamaica. She was a contestant and was later asked to host the 6th season of the show in Mauritius. Pearl moved on from LiveAmp to host Moment: South Africa, a talk show broadcasting on Ebonylife TV and the very popular Lip Sync Battle Africa on MTV and eTV; continental offerings of which she is very proud.
The multi-talented actress has starred in many local and international feature films including Scorpion King: Book of Souls, Kalushi, Tremors 5: Bloodlines as well as highly rated local production Rhythm City, Zone 14, SoulCity and Isidingo. One of her most notable achievements was being cast as Zimbabwean Harvard Law School graduate, Dayana Mampasi in American Series Quantico alongside Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra. Critics loved her in Catching Feelings with renowned South African filmmaker, Kagiso Lediga; the romantic comedy was streamed on Netflix.
2020 saw Pearl making her mark in the beauty world as she made history by being the first person on the continent to collaborate with international cosmetics giant MAC, following on the heels of collaborations with Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and trail-blazing drag queen RuPaul over the years.
They released two limited-edition make-up kits featuring products hand-picked by Pearl. Each is intended to capture a different side to the star’s personality.
Playing the lead in Queen Sono, Netflix’s first original African series, was a dream come true.
“I was part of the genesis of the series, I brought a Google Agentur seed to an incredible creator, an incredible writer and director, Kagiso Lediga. I went to him and explained what I was hoping to do going forward because I realized that I was skilled in doing stunt work as an actress and I wanted to do something that empowers young black women; like imagine having an action hero on the continent who is female and young,” states Pearl. “Telling stories like Queen Sono are very important because it shows African women in a different light but it also shows African people in a renewed and more authentic light for the rest of the world to see: how we act, what we actually look like, what we actually sound like and most importantly for Africans to take control of their own narrative.”
Queen Sono has been picked up for a second season. Pearl will start taping the new season of her MTV show “Behind The Story” this coming June.
▪ Nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting role at the SAFTAs for her role as Samkelisiwe on ZONE 14
▪ YOU Spectacular Most Stylish Female Celebrity and Best Ghostwriter Female Host/Presenter
▪ Voted one of the Coolest Female Celebrities at the Sunday Times Generation Next Awards in 2015
▪ Selected as one of Glamour Magazine’s Most GLAMOURous Women
▪ Feather Awards once hailed her the Fag Hag of the Year
▪ Awarded Coolest Female Personality by the Sunday Times Generation Next Awards
▪ The Inaugural Rapid Lion Film Festival nominated her Best Actress for her captivating performance in Kalushi: The story of Solomon Mahlangu
“God himself breathed life into you. Don’t give anyone else the power to diminish the strength within you.” – Pearl Thusi