ABC’s Quantico is nothing short of a mega hit! This amazing series entailing the professional and personal lives of FBI and CIA personnel is nothing short of riveting. Starring Priyanka Chopra, the show is action picked, suspenseful, and has story lines with plot twists so unexpected that soap operas would run for their money! Quantico is now in its second season, and that means new motives, new story lines, and most importantly, new characters. Meet Pearl Thusi, South African actress, model, radio, and television personality, and now the latest addition to this series’ amazing cast!
Kontrol Magazine was able to snag an interview with the starlet as she explains the ins and outs of the show as well as her riveting new role. She admits she was not an avid viewer of the series initially but has since caught up. “When I got the role it was not airing in South Africa yet, but I had heard good things about the show. The online streaming channels were not available where I was so I was only able to watch snippets online. However, I was able to watch all of it before shooting began.” As a series regular on Quantico, Pearl portrays “Dayana Mampasi,” a competitive, driven, and focused lawyer who is recruited by The Farm (CIA training ground). She is set as Alex’s (Priyanka Chopra) roommate who from almost the beginning makes it very clear she is not interested in making friends.
However, Thusi does admit there are some surprising similarities and differences between she and her character, who on the series can be quite cold. “It is often necessary to share traits with any character you play and of course take on other traits they exhibit. We’ve both suffered tremendous loss and use work to cover it up and deal with it when necessary. I am often told that I’m very strong and hope I apply that strength to Dayana’s character. Dayana is also extremely brave and intelligent and I like to think I’m all of those things too. Another way we are similar is that she is also very loyal and has created an almost perfect coping mechanism for dealing with her ghosts. One way I feel that we are dissimilar is that I consider myself a lot more fun and enthusiastic.”
Pearl goes onto to reveal she had to quite a lot of reading to prepare for this particular role what she feels Dayana’s ultimate goal is. “LOTS of reading and watching footage went into the preparation process to make it look real. Some important character traits were decided once shooting had begun so I rolled with the punches and worked with research I could find as we moved along…Dayana is a human rights lawyer and she believes in getting justice and is ready to fight for it at any cost. Joining the CIA is a different way of achieving her purpose of protecting people and fighting for the justice she holds so closely.” Naturally, the role was highly coveted, and Pearl admits she had to fight for it! “The production company was looking for an actress from Africa and they put together a short list of candidates and then asked us to send through an audition tape. It was quite grueling for me but I did my best and it paid off! I truly thank God for this opportunity. Preparation and having a great team in place is critically important to anyone’s success. Opportunities like this come once in a lifetime and I treated this one as such – a once in a lifetime opportunity that I had to fight for. I read with a good friend, a friend and actor, and even my South African manager for the tape. It was crazy! So I did not read with any of my costars until I met them when I arrived in New York.”
Pearl’s portrayal of Dayana is flawless and she has easily become a fan favorite of the megahit series. Her skills, alongside that of her amazing cast, may very well be the formula that makes Quantico one of television’s biggest hits. However, the actress has her own opinion on what makes the show so wildly successful. “Everything that makes anything successful is team effort. When people collaborate well and listen to each other it makes all the difference and I really believe audiences can tell when something is made with love – it comes through. I am so blessed to be part of such an incredible group of people. Going to work every day has been such a pleasure!’” Naturally we had to inquire about what it is like to work with the series’ protagonist, Priyanka, and Pearl’s response was ALL love! “Priyanka is an all-round professional and someone who embodies what it really is to be more beautiful on the inside, a real quality human being. She is such a pleasure to work with and extremely talented. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised that Priyanka, Blaire, Jake, Russel, David, Yasmin, Johanna are all so down to earth and personable. There are absolutely no egos or weird vibes on set, it’s a relaxed but extremely professional environment. Everyone just wants to have a good time at work. There is no hiding in trailers, everyone is supportive and invested in making sure the story works and the characters are well rounded and believable. Working with a large, lovely, and incredibly professional group of individuals has contributed so much to my career and me. It hasn’t been long but I feel like I’ve grown immeasurably and am excited to see what happens to my character as the season rolls out and what this will mean for other actors from South Africa.”
We love Pearl Thusi! It is amazing and humbling to meet an actress who is not only amazing with her craft, but can see the skill and prestige in others. She won’t disclose what other projects she has in the works, but assures us we will love them. We definitely believe her as we already love the work she has done. A star is born and she’s currently playing a kick ass lawyer/ CIA agent! If you are not watching Quantico you definitely should be tuning into ABC on Mondays at 10 PM EST!
Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning