I woke up at 4:45am mid last week. Willingly (perhaps masochistically), I’d set my alarm for ridiculous o’clock because of the winter time difference between the UK and South Africa. My sister, being the culinary creative force that she is, was appearing on a breakfast programme, Expresso, and had two planned segments that morning showing us all how to make a gluten free cake and later some low carb pizza. The show is streamed live over YouTube which means I could watch the broadcast in real time and not feel so far away from my favourite human.
The last time I woke this early I was actually with my sister only a few weeks ago. While I was staying with her, she was booked for a couple of segments and I tagged along – despite the unusually early call time. Getting to see her do her thing made it all worth it.
Travelling into Sea Point at 5:30am was surreal. Being out in the dark pre sunrise sky was not something I associated with Cape Town, where even gloomy days seem consistently brighter than London. Driving to the studio also made me think back to my college days, studying film at the foot of Table Mountain. The sky was just beginning to lighten as we signed in and ascended to the top floor of what looked like a plain office building.
Greeted by the super friendly guest relations guy, he confirmed my sister’s segment times with her and we made our way up to wardrobe. It was so exciting to walk passed the control room which seemed entirely built of screens, and hear the presenters chatting near the top of the stairs we were climbing. Knowing this was being broadcast live nationally was so strange.
Stranger still was watching my sister be made up so much more intensely than I’m used to, or that is indeed necessary in everyday life. Television make up needs to be strong, and the urge to pull faces at her in the mirror while the war paint was being applied was almost irresistible. One of the presenters sauntered in during this scene to fix his hair and my imposter syndrome kicked in. I was convinced that at any moment I would be discovered as a ‘hanger-on-er’ and ejected from the studio.
Thankfully this fantasy dissolved when we were escorted to the green room and both handed hot beverages. The excitement then became very real. It was a quieter day on set and we were left alone in the green room, directly behind a wooden screen being used as a backdrop for the segment we could see being aired on a television in the corner. The urge to laugh out loud started to bubble up.
Soon it was Teresa’s turn; she was fitted with a microphone and we tiptoed across the set (behind the cameras) to the kitchen area. I found myself a little nook near a pile of props that did not look camera ready.
Watching her create lunch box snacks with the presenter, Graeme, was such a proud moment. I was shocked when Graeme mentioned that not only was Teresa a mum of two, but a sister of one and mentioned I was visiting the studio; a sweet gesture, which thankfully did not result in any cameras swinging around to show me casually leaning in the corner.
Once the segment was over we had a couple of hours to waste until she was on again so we took a wonderful sunrise walk along the Promenade – a tourist activity I probably wouldn’t have managed to get to otherwise.
Returning to the studio, and my little corner, I watched Teresa make gorgeous looking cranberry rusks. Unfortunately the set dogs, a trio of adorable French bulldogs, had arrived at the set during our break and while I was delighted one decided to sit on my lap, this had also set my allergies off. Trying not to sniff and sneeze seems so much more difficult during a live broadcast.
Congratulating my sister when she was done, we stayed in the kitchen set as they shot the next segment in a lounge set directly next to us. As we planned our route back to the green room, skipping over cables and dodging the pups, one of the camera guys caught my eye. I thought I was going to be told off for doing something wrong, but he pointed at my t-shirt and gave me a ‘thumbs up’. I was wearing the shirt I bought at the Queens of the Stone Age festival day in Finsbury Park last summer.
By the time we made it back home it was only 9:30am, although it had felt as if we’d already had half a day of activity. With a busy day still ahead we only had time for a quick cup of tea before driving out to Stellenbosch, an adventure I shall be sharing soon.
It was a really special opportunity to see my sister do what she loves, excelling at it, and being able to share it with the whole country. I’m still beaming with pride and feel so lucky to have been there in person. Definitely the most ‘feel good’ and fun way to start a day.
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