KAJAL MAHARAJ LIVING HER BIG DREAM IN KZN WITH HIT E-TV SOAPIE, IMBEWU: THE SEED
“Just how many hours are in her day?” is a thought that is likely to cross one’s mind when getting to know the unstoppable force, Kajal Maharaj (33). Not only is this breathtaking talent an actress, television presenter, dancer, model and influencer, but she is also a wife and mother of two boys, Zorion (3) and Kyros (2).
Another thought that might follow suit would be: “Is there anything she cannot do?”. Indeed, there is even more to Kajal – she is an incredible baker, an entrepreneur (who runs a kiddies boutique online store called Little M) and she has a degree majoring in Marketing, Drama, as well as Media & Communications. On top of that, she runs a beauty community on Facebook (Beauty & MU Squad SA) where she educates women on all beauty trends by interviewing industry specialists.
Kajal laughs it off: “To be honest, I don’t sleep a lot. So I’m lucky that my days and nights are longer. And I wouldn’t be able to do it all without a really good support structure.”
New lead on e-TV soap – Imbewu: The Seed
Known for her roles on hit TV shows, including soapie Isidingo, presenter of the religious show Dharma Moments and a variety of films, Kajal is back on TV screens as one of the leads in the hit e-TV soapie, Imbewu: The Seed.
Kajal says that the show is authentically KZN, being filmed in the province and showing the beautiful city of Durban at its best. “I play Shria Rampersadh on the show. She is the first born in the family. Her father doesn’t have a son, so she feels that she needs to fill those shoes. Shria is a workaholic and very focused on her career. She always has a plan and is one step ahead of everyone else. However, like any human being, she is flawed and makes decisions that affect her life – so her journey is one to keep an eye on. As Shria’s storyline is constantly changing due to the fact that she is such an interesting character, it certainly causes a lot of drama that will keep viewers entertained with every episode,” she reveals.
Kajal enthuses: “My biggest dream was to become a mother and that was fulfilled thanks to God and his grace. I’m currently living my big dream – I’ve always wanted to become an actress on a soapie in SA, but I never wanted to leave my home and move to Gauteng as my kids love it here. Their entire family is in KZN, so being able to act full time here is unbelievable!”
A look into Kajal’s soul
Kajal, who lives in Westville, is hesitant to describe herself, due to her humble and down-to-earth nature, but says that she is often told that: “I’m a breath of fresh air when I walk into a room” and “I’m sparkly with a bubbly personality carried with poise and sophistication”. She adds that she always wants to uplift others and she believes deeply in her family and values.
“My philosophy in life is to always keep your head above the waves, hold your loves ones close and keep on swimming. I try to shine in adversity and be stronger than I even believe is humanly possible. My secret to my success is something my father taught me at a young age, namely ‘to believe in the power of your mind’. As per the Napoleon Hill quote, he would always say that whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, so it will be achieved. He taught me how to visualise, be positive and believe – long before The Secret came out,” she shares.
As a presenter of a religious TV show, Kajal admits that she is indeed deeply spiritual. “Nothing is possible without faith. I believe that I’m walking the path that God laid down for me, and all I can do is do it to the best of my ability.”
A surprise reveal for her fans will be that Kajal is in fact very shy and would prefer to hide in the shadows if she had the choice. “I however love meeting people on the street who support my work. Without them, we’re [actors] nothing and I really have all the time in the world to chat, to learn about them and to say thank you for supporting me.” She adds: “Although an introvert, I’m an extrovert when I need to work the room. Then I’m fearless and strong, yet with a lot of empathy.”
When insecurities creep in…
Kajal however admits that some of the biggest obstacles in her life, which she is still overcoming on a daily basis, is self-doubt, self-judgement, being too critical and being insecure. “I have a wonderful support structure, which makes all the difference. They keep me positive and I learn every day how to treat myself in a kinder way,” she elaborates.
It is for this reason that Kajal’s mom is one of her inspirations. She explains: “She’s the definition of strength. Also of surviving, creating and being the ultimate woman in my eyes. She’s fierce and protective. Others I admire include local personality Kim Jayde – she paved a way for herself, works incredibly hard, remains humble and she shares so much of herself with her fans. Internationally, J-Lo is my idol! She’s a fighter, an artist and she works hard. She takes nothing for granted and pushes her creative boundaries with every step she takes.”
Fame beckoned Kajal from an early age
Born (on 18 August, 1984) and raised in Durban, Kajal spent some of her childhood in Johannesburg, but the family moved back to Durban when she was 6 years old, and “I’ve been here, loving Durban, ever since, although sometimes spending time in Jozi for work,” she says.
As a middle child, Kajal has two brothers. Her parents were both in sales. “They supported me from the very beginning and they’ve sacrificed so much to see me live my dream. They bent over backwards to take me for auditions, to rehearsals and they made sure I had everything that I needed to enhance my skill and embrace my craft. They are my backbone and I owe them so much,” she passionately recalls.
Kajal began modelling from an early age, winning the “Ms Tinkerbell” contest at a mere age nine. She states: “I think I was born to be on stage; it’s undeniable. I was enrolled in speech and drama classes from the tender age of 5. It was something that I excelled at. I think I had a beautiful childhood. I wasn’t treated any differently, but was groomed in order to hold my own in the industry.”
Attending Danville Park Girls High School, Kajal matriculated with distinction, receiving the award for Speech and Drama. “At school, I was rather shy. I never grabbed the spotlight or tried to take the lead. I was quiet and focused on my studies,” Kajal reminisces. During the years following, she was also trained in Kathak dance, as well as hip hop and modern dance, over and above obtaining her degree. She even qualified as a makeup artist and fashion stylist. And that was just the beginning…
Kajal modelled for several television adverts and brands, including Vodacom, Suncoast Casino and the NWJ Bridal Fair, and has appeared in a variety of glossy magazines, ranging from Men’s Health, FHM to Fairlady.
During 2004 she won the Miss India KZN pageant, followed by winning the Face of India Bollywood SA title and then representing South Africa in the Miss International Tourism pageant, walking away with (surprise, surprise…), the Miss Congeniality prize.
Since then she has worked her way up in the acting world as one of the leads in several productions, including the film Run For Your Life 2, and a variety of other gigs, including Isidingo, presenting Dharma Moments and So FAB, and more.
A future that outshines the fathomable
Kajal concludes: “I know I’m a mom, but I don’t want to position myself as a mom only. Rather as a fearless, bold, and sexy woman. Fashionable. Ambitious. Inspirational. If there is a legacy that I would like to pass down, it’s the power of one’s mind. I have achieved incredible things, when others said it wasn’t possible…Our youth should know that they carve the world around them with their thoughts. Truly believe and anything is possible.”
Future plans for Kajal include shooting a movie later this year as one of the lead characters and creating her own makeup brand…
Join the discussion with Kajal on social media: Facebook (Beauty & MU Squad SA), Twitter (@KajalMaharaj) and Instagram (@KajalMaharaj).