Already a household name after an impressive stint on MNET Idols, Liezel van der Westhuizen is currently taking the South African entertainment scene by storm.
The relaxed smile, smooth and professional working manner and impeccable style has made her one of the most sought after presenters and emcees in the country. Coupled with a drive for success and an incredible work ethic in everything she does, it is no wonder the sky is the limit for this talent.
As only the second woman in the world to present Idols, Liezel has become the familiar face on the popular reality show in season five and six, and continues to impress with her current task of presenting SABC3’s new daily breakfast show – Expresso – as well as her weekly radio show – the Sunday Sundowner – on 94.5KFM in Cape Town.
With so much going for her, it’s hard to believe it has just been just a few years since Liezel was “discovered” by Jacaranda FM after the programme manager heard her working as an announcer at Makro after serving her apprenticeship at TUKSFM.
“I began my radio life at Tuks FM and was well and truly hooked on the joys of being able to use media to connect with people,” she explains. While At TuksFM she received a job offer from EMI Music South Africa as International PR Manager, which introduced her to an array of global music stars.
An 18month stint as an SABC3 continuity presenter and presenter of the lunchtime show Lunchbox led to greater things, with IDOLS confirming her rise to the top and in 2010 she launched SoundCheck Live on MNET before starting her work on Expresso, as well as making her on-screen debut in the movie, The Race-ist.
With her professional style and ease of conversation, it’s no surprise to find out Liezel has a Master’s Degree in Communication Management from the University of Pretoria and since 2000 has been a member of Toastmaster’s International, receiving her Advanced Toastmaster Bonze certificate in 2005.
She also holds a degree in Human Resources Management and holds both a Honours and Masters degree in Communications Management and is now working towards a PhD in Communication Management as well as attending Xhosa lessons
Liezel also manages to find time to work as a voiceover artists, with an impressive portfolio of television and radio voiceover work underpinning her other exploits as well.
It all encompasses a drive inspired by her grandmother’s fight against Cancer.
“My gran being diagnosed with Cancer was a big life-changer. I even shaved off my long hair, and went bald for a year in support of her. “
“I now keep my hair short in memory of her and as a reminder that life is short. Before my gran passed away, she told me to grab every opportunity in life and enjoy every moment.”
But away from the microphones and cameras, in 2012 abd 2013 Liezel partnered with Canoeing SA’s High Performance coach Greg van Heerden to finish the toughest canoe marathon in the world - The Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon. She keeps a healthy fitness regime, training six times a week. She was selected to be part of Nestle’s Triathlon team, completed a gruelling The Full Iron Man Triathlon in 2010 (which comprises of a 3.8km swim; 180km cycle and 42.2km run) and was a Top 8 finalist in the 2007 Shape magazine/Sanex Cover girl competition.
With so much going for her, it wasn’t a surprise when she was voted in at number 56 in the FHM Hot 100 Sexiest Women in the World, and again in 2009, while a nomination in the Heat Hot 100 came in both years as well.
Stylish and professional Liezel made number 4 on designer Simon Rademon’s best dressed women in SA in 2008 and was also nominated for an Olay SA Iconic Woman award.
She is also very passionate about the environment, being an ambassador for Glass Recycling South Africa and gives back in a big way.
“I am involved with a charity in Cape Town called Velokaya - it’s a not-for-profit organisation based in Khayelithsha which uses a range of holistic, education-based cycling programmes. I believe sport and schooling go hand in hand. I am passionate about South Africa and educating our learners.”
With so much going for her, Liezel will continue her drive to grab every opportunity presented, while changing lives and bringing joy on her daily path.