PE ‘Idols’ lass taking on a new look

Karen van Rooyen

AS Idols hopefuls gear up for the next phase of the popular reality TV talent show, one of last year’s Top 14 is getting ready to launch her new image and release an album.

Funeka Peppeta, who grew up in Overbaakens, Port Elizabeth, made it all the way to the live show round in which viewers cast votes for their favourites. She was voted off fairly early in the show.

But her performance up to that point was enough to open many doors for her.

“Immediately after I left the competition, I got various offers, including one to perform with Gangs of Instrumentals,” Peppeta said. “For anyone who enters Idols, the exposure is great. Winning is a bonus.”

Her exposure on Idols also led to a US record deal to record a dance house track – she flies to New York in a “couple of weeks” – and the offer of a sponsored website which launches in two weeks.

Even so, Peppeta would have liked to stay on the show a bit longer.

“The longer you stay in the competition, the more beneficial it is. I left too early for my liking because I had so much more to give.

“The person you saw on Idols was not 100% who I am, so I’m making my image a little more funky”.

And career aside, it was also love at first song for Peppeta, who started dating fellow contestant Bongi Mthombeni soon after the show ended. “Let’s just say Bongi and I are still very close,” she said coyly.

Peppeta, who was headgirl at Alexander Road High School, was a regular on Port Elizabeth stages growing up. She moved to Johannesburg after  matriculating to attend Afda Film School. In 2007, she registered entertainment company, Mood Mechanics.

Peppeta said she often visited home – especially for home-cooked meals and the beach. “Growing up in Port Elizabeth was the best … I’m a black girl so I don’t ever swim but when I go back, I just want to smell the ocean.”

The Idols “junkie” was impressed with the talent at this year’s competition, especially at the Durban auditions.

And although the judges skipped Port Elizabeth this time, she  is still hopeful of a winner from here – even though she missed out on her dream of being a “pioneer, the first Port Elizabethan to win Idols”.

Peppeta’s album will be released in two months.

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