Where Are They Now?
Fairlady|June 2017

We checked in with seven South African celebs from the ’80s to find out what they’ve been up to since their days in the spotlight.

Kristen Birch 

FORMER MODEL Tanya Fourie

I’ve been running Cape Town guest house Homestead Villas since 2010. I don’t see this as a career, but a lifestyle.

Real estate is my passion; I love the potential of properties, even if they need a lot of TLC. I bought my first piece of property – a petrol station – at age 16.

In the beginning, my sister was my business partner. She went on to open a wedding and venue business. We recently lost her to a tragedy [she died in car accident]. Through this grief, I’ve learnt the importance of celebrating friends and family. So part of what we do at Homestead Villas is provide a budget-friendly function venue for people who have something to celebrate.

Everything I’ve learnt in life, even during my modelling days, I’m able to use now when meeting people or building relationships. I travelled a lot during my modelling career, so I understand the costs: you miss home and your family so much. We want to create a comfortable space that’s a home from home.

This work has opened other doors: I’m director at Anna Beulah, an NGO in Durbanville that runs a community farm and a little school for children from the local farms.

Everything I do is underpinned by faith. Faith is key to it all. 

FORMER NEWS ANCHOR Gillian Van Houten

I’m a yoga teacher. This seed was planted way back during my varsity days. I thought yoga was ‘cool’ but didn’t really understand it at the time. As the years passed, my practice progressed to commitment.

During my time in the bush – my Cat Lady days [Gillian and her husband at the time made wildlife documentaries about big cats] – I’d practise outside my tent, often with our lion, Shingi, our tigers, Ron and Julie, and leopards sitting alongside watching with curiosity or occasionally pushing me over.

JV [conservationist John Varty] and I have three children – Savannah, Tao and Sean – and during those years, we hired a teacher to join us in the bush for some of their education. But when the time came I moved to Wilderness, where they completed primary school. They went to high school in Grahamstown.

I was a full-time mom, teaching and practising yoga while they were at school, with visits to India to do teacher-training courses in between.

I’ve written a couple of books about my Cat Lady days, did a ‘grey gap year’ to Europe recently to tackle empty-nest syndrome, and now I’m planning to turn my Wilderness house into a yoga retreat.

I frequently visit Tiger Canyons in the Karoo – where JV’s tiger project is based – and Londolozi, my original bush home.

ACTRESS Sandra Prinsloo

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