Tanit Phoenix

Actress and model

Although she may not be Straight outta Benoni, as in the comedy she starred in, Durban-born model and actress Tanit Phoenix is tipped by some to be South Africa's next Charlize Theron. Phoenix, who has modelled since she was 15, has enjoyed a meteoric rise from obscurity to stardom. Her beauty has catapulted her on to the covers of glossies, double-page spreads in Sports Illustrated and runways in all the fashion capitals. It has also helped her land golden contracts with brands such as Veet, to be the face (and legs) of their global campaigns. But Phoenix's greatest achievements and ambitions lie beyond beauty and firmly in the film world. Her debut role, starring opposite Nicolas Cage in the 2005 feature, Lord of War, remains her career highlight and was the first of her pairings with A-List heavyweights, including Wesley Snipes, Danny Trejo and, most recently, John Cleese in Spud and Denzel Washington in Safehouse. And she has no plans to slow down just yet. Phoenix recently landed the lead role in Femmes Fatales, a television series that airs across America in May and, later this year, she will be shooting her next film, playing the role of Pablo Picasso's first muse. She may be hot in the Hollywood spotlight but Phoenix is just as down to earth as the next Durban girl. And though many agree that she is hypnotising on screen, off screen she is, in fact, a hypnotherapist. She is also a vegan and an avid nature lover who dreams of owning her own self-sustainable, fully organic medicinal herb farm. Until then, she'd like to work with her two heroines, Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett, and turn the stream of scripts coming in from big studios, and from Steven Spielberg himself, into accolades and awards. It may not be too long before another Oscar is brought back to South Africa. � Lu Larche

Twitter: @tanitphoenix