Multi-talented TV presenter, actor, model and rapper Jesse Suntele is quickly becoming one of SA’s MOST BELOVED TV PERSONALITIES
The 28-year-old studied sound engineering at the Academy of Sound Engineering but discovered his love for acting during his participation in numerous school plays. This passion encouraged him to pursue his dreams and landed him his first big break in 2015 when he had a guest-starring role on South Africa’s most-watched soapie, SABC1’s GENERATIONS: THE LEGACY
During the same year, he landed a recurring role, as Kabelo on the E.TV SOAPIE ASHES TO ASHES.
Jesse’s career was solidified in 2016 when he WON THE SECOND SEASON OF TOP ACTOR AFRICA ON BET. This opened many doors for him – from starring in SABC1’s youth drama series Mutual Friends to debuting as one of the ANCHOR PRESENTERS ON BET’S POPULAR A-LIST TV show alongside Nomzamo Mbatha, Nandi Madida and Jessica Nkosi.
Jesse’s many TV cameos including his debut on and the recurring role of Tuelo on the MZANZI MAGIC TELENOVELA THE QUEEN, and his most recent TV role of Nqaba on RHYTHM CITY, have made him a household name.
With music being his first love, it wasn’t surprising when he joined the cast of the Vuzu Amp reality competitions series THE HUSTLE in 2017 as one of the Season 2 contestants, using the rapper stage name J-Flo.
The excitement continued into 2018 where J-Flo collaborated on the track ‘JEHOVA‘ with popular South African singer, Kelly Khumalo. Later on that year the heartthrob featured on the FRONT COVER of the December edition of health and lifestyle magazine, FITLIFE.
Q&A with J-FLO
How did your career in the industry begin?
Surprisingly, my intention was never to enter the entertainment industry through film and TV, I sort of “fell” into it while trying my luck in modelling. Ironically, I’ve never actually landed any real modelling gigs! I just kept landing TV roles for commercials and shows, and that’s how it all happened.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
I don’t get a lot of advice from people actually, it usually comes from my favourite films, quotes from role models I look up to or even from the music I listen to. I think one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever heard was “Don’t try”. Charles Bukowski said that no matter what your goal is in life, don’t try so hard to achieve an end goal, rather, do what you do for the sake of doing it. Enjoy the process.
Tell us something about yourself that nobody knows.
Well, if I do that then everybody would know, wouldn’t they? If nobody knows, it’s probably because they shouldn’t hahaha.
What is your biggest career highlight so far?
I think different highlights are big for different reasons. I would have to go with winning Top Actor Africa some time ago. Compared to some of the roles I’ve played to date, and some of the platforms I’ve been lucky to grace and the HUGE number of fans and supporters I’ve been blessed to acquire, some might say the competition wasn’t all that, but I choose that highlight because I truly believe without that platform, my rocket would have never taken off and I might not have been where I am now.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m back in my element, writing new music. I’m always super hyped to see what this side of entertainment has for me! On the silver screen side of things, there are always projects in the pipeline that I can’t talk about until they’ve aired which is such a drag because I want to tell EVERYONE and their mamas! All I can say for now is… NETFLIX BABY!!!
How do you think we can grow the creative industry and bring African content to the world?
Invest in ourselves, and then do it again, and then do it some more! Too many times we blame the audience for not watching our shows or movies, not listening to local music, not supporting local businesses and brands, meanwhile WE supply them with sub-par content or products that are just “good”. It would’ve been a different story if we didn’t have the ability to produce great stuff, but we actually can (and have). We have the talent, skill and unique way of thinking to create world-renowned, award-winning content. We just have a tendency to sacrifice quality for the sake of getting the job done quickly so we can all take our peanuts and go home.
With FAME Week Africa being hosted in the Mother City, what do you love about Cape Town?
Cape Town is one of my favourite cities to visit. The thing I love the most about it is the relaxing “weight-off-your-shoulders” atmosphere in the air, it’s no wonder so many people retire there.
Read about more FAMEous Friends here