Elize du Toit

60-second Interview



SOURCE: Metro Newspaper, May 30th 2002

60-second Interview with Elize du Toit, by Ben Sloan

SOUTH AFRICAN ELIZE du Toit, 22, shot to fame – and the pages of many a lad-mag – when she landed the role of Izzy Cornwell in teen-soap Hollyoaks. Beating 40,000 other hopefuls, she gave up her history degree and has just been voted in at No.46 for FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women In The World poll…

How often do people get your name right?

Never. It’s one of those awful things. Every time I say my name to anybody, I have to spell out the whole thing. I guarantee you’ve got it wrong.

Elize du Toit?

The pronounciation is right but how have you spelt it?

E-L-I-Z-E D-U-

But have you got capital letters in the D-U? It’s a lower case ‘du’, space, capital ‘Toit’. You do pronounce it ‘du toy’ because it’s South African, but it’s ‘of the roof’ in the original French.

Why did you leave Pretoria?

My parents wanted us to have a recognised university education and there was the situation in the country at the time. But we go back every Christmas and we have a little holiday cottage by the beach.

Apparently you only need to say ‘yes, no and thank-you’ in any language to be able to get by. What are they in Afrikaans?

Ja is yes, nee is no, and dankei is thank you.

And swear words?

Vok and kak are quite obvious – I won’t translate. They’re brilliant. I think vok and kak are much stronger than in English.

Have you ever typed your name into the Internet?

[Laughs] My boyfriend did it for me once. It was funny because he found a whole load of porn sites I was supposedly on. A lot of topless photos and stuff like that, but we couldn’t access any of them because you had to be members. But it’s not really me.

I typed in your name but got no porn sites.

Really? What did you find?

Lots of photos that were definitely you, and some discussion boards. For example: ‘Elize is by far the best bird on Hollyoaks’. Discuss.

[Deadpan] That’s hilarious.

Do you feel comfortable doing photos?

Sometimes. It totally depends on how you’re made to feel doing it, because, if it’s tongue-in-cheek, it really doesn’t bother me. I did a shoot in the Bahamas and didn’t mind because it was really hot and I didn’t feel awkward in a bikini. But there are limits and sometimes I do feel uncomfortable. Sometimes, I see a photo of myself and think: ‘God, is that me? I’ve not really seen myself in that way before.’ But it’s all part and parcel. I just take everything as it comes. It’s quite good fun and I won’t do it forever.

There was a Loaded cover with you and Joanna Taylor looking like the ultimate clich├ęd men’s fantasy.

We weren’t shot together on that shoot. We had singles done and, when the magazine came out, all of a sudden, both of us were on the cover.

How did you feel when you saw it?

I like that photo, but a lot of people didn’t because it appeared lesbian and I’m sort of holding my breasts. But, when I did it, I was holding them in a prudish way. I was kind of embarrassed and trying to hide them because you could see the shape, so I put my hands there to hide them. It all seems very sexual but it wasn’t meant like that. As a photographic composition, I think it’s very nice but, obviously, you detach yourself from the fact that it’s you.

Do the Hollyoaks people encourage you to do magazines?

I guess it’s a question of facing what you really are. It’s a soap and it has a whole load of sexy young girls in it and that’s a plus point of the show. It pulls viewers. A certain audience likes young, good-looking people on the show. And so it’s just exploiting that, going into men’s magazines. They don’t encourage it as the be-all-and-end-all, but it’s part of what we do.

Dawson’s Creek and Hollyoaks in a fight. Who would win?

What kind of a fight, physical or…

Well, let’s start verbally.

Dawson’s without a doubt, because they have this weird thirties-talk coming from teenagers. But I do love Dawson’s Creek. It is a bit irritating but it’s really well made. Katie Holmes is fantastic. But I don’t like Dawson. He’s just wrong, although he’s looking better this series. His hair’s not so floppy but he’s got black eyebrows and blond hair.

So are you a worshipper at the church of Joshua Jackson [Pacey in Dawson’s Creek]?

Mmm, I go on and off him. Sometimes I think he’s really cute and lovely and sometimes I think he’s just a bit porky.

So if it came to a fistfight?

I think Hollyoaks would win, without a doubt. Dawson’s a bit gay, isn’t he?

Do you read your own press?

[Laughs] Not that I have that much, but yes.

Every article describes you as the ‘Edinburgh University student’. Does that get annoying?

I guess people find that interesting because: ‘Oh, she didn’t finish her degree. She got two years through it, and had to drop out.’

You don’t think of it as dropping out, though?

No, no. I’ve just deferred. I’ll finish it at some point in my life.

What periods were you studying?

We did three different courses in each year. I did American history and a bit of European history, and the rise and demise of imperialism. I did a lot of art history as well.

Who’s your favourite painter?

I like post-expressionism, I like Modigliani.

Did you do art as well as art history?

I did art history but my mum was an artist so I was brought up with it.

You haven’t got the artistic gene?

Not that I’m aware of. I love it, absolutely love it. It rocks my world but I’m not as good as my mother.

What did you have to do in the Hollyoaks audition?

In the first round, we had to walk past this table with the casting director and another lady sat there, and they basically said yes or no and sent you off into either direction. And then in the next phase we had to read from scripts and the numbers got whittled down. Then we had to do some more reading and some weird group work. That was a bit crap.

What constitutes weird group work?

I just remember Jenny Powell was presenting it because they made a whole documentary on it. We did this weird kind of improvisation thing for the documentary but it never saw the light of day – not the documentary, the weird improvisation thing.

Do you have any choice as to whether or not you do things such as the racy Hollyoaks videos?

You don’t really have a choice. I was really lucky with the video. I didn’t really have to do anything that I would have hated – some of the raunchy stuff. My stuff was all quite light. Nothing saucy, just tongue-in-cheek and very funny.

Do you get any time to do anything else outside Hollyoaks?

No, we don’t. If you’re contracted to a certain thing, then you can’t really do anything else. I don’t even have an agent yet because I got the job through an open audition, so that’s on the cards for me now – getting an agent and seeing what’s what.

9:41pm on 30th May 2002

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