If you are in the model or acting industry and you hear the name Martéz Saporta-Rothuysen, you sit up and listen. To the average man (and woman) on the street, she is a familiar face thanks to hundreds of commercials, stills campaigns, a TV series and a couple of celebrated films under her belt. But for talent in the industry, she is the head of MMM, a multi management agency – representing some known names across all spheres of the entertainment industry – and a sought-after agent that you would want to take an interest in you.
With a successful modelling career that started in 1988, Martéz recalls: “The 80’s and 90’s was a fantastic time to be a model as a select few were landing all the commercials, catalogue shoots and advertising campaigns. I was very fortunate to be one of them. I thrived on the backstage chaos at fashion shows, the challenge of being required to be versatile at fashion shoots and the pure thrill of being able to transform into someone else.”
She further went on to enjoy a staggering 25 years of modelling and acting in both South Africa and abroad. “Even so, the decision to become an agent wasn’t on the cards when it all just seemed to unfold, mould and place me centre stage as agent. It was purely meant to be,”she enthuses.
Although her breathtaking looks most certainly helped, her success with her acting career was not purely based on appearances. She regales: “My love for acting started at a young age and was fuelled by being chosen as the youngest actress to perform in a Gilbert and Sullivan production in Port Elizabeth when I was 14. And once I started, I just didn’t want to stop. Being an actress and transforming into another persona is nothing short of magical.”
But naturally her beauty caught the eye of many modelling agents – launching her into a dream career. “Having international representation allowed me to model in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal and America. What followed was a whirlwind few years living out of suitcases, having the time of my life and always bringing back gifts to my family with tremendous excitement.”
Martéz says it was due to her family, her biggest fans, that supported her and sacrificed a lot, which led to her success. “I’ll be forever grateful that they allowed me, at the tender age of sixteen, to move to Cape Town on my own to pursue my modelling career while finishing school at the same time. I come from a conservative upbringing, yet we were always allowed to spread our wings, test new waters and were graciously given the room to grow. This equipped me with skills to cope with whatever life threw at me.”
And it was while Martéz lived in Cape Town that another massive surprise awaited her. “Imagine the surprise one gets when someone calls you and congratulates you for being a semi-finalist in the Miss Port Elizabeth competition – something you never entered. After a phone call to my mom, all was revealed. One of her colleagues entered a picture of mine and of course Mom was in on it too. I had nothing to lose so flew to PE to take part. After a few weeks of social commitments as a finalist (at that stage), the big night arrived. I was one of the youngest contestants and honestly didn’t think I stood a chance, but I won! What a night and what a year! I was travelling back and forth to meet my commitments as Miss Port Elizabeth and then
the Miss SA pageant beckoned as I automatically made it as a semi-finalist after being crowned Miss PE,” she says.
She continues: “I made it through to the finals of Miss SA and was flown to Johannesburg. This was an incredible experience and where I met my travelling companion for many modelling trips, Corinne Durrheim, who was crowned second runner up – we were actually roommates while competing. We made a pact that no matter what, we would remain friends. She ended up introducing me to her modelling agent and that’s where my international modelling career began.”
An agency from the UK scouted Martez and she had three very successful seasons in the UK and equally in Cape Town. And on top of that, Martéz got married shortly before leaving for the UK. “None of this would have been possible without the support of my wonderful husband, Anton.
What a way to start a marriage! For the next 3 years, I spent at least five months a year abroad. Anton would visit for short 2-week stints to break the long stretches and would be dragged to castings in between as well. He is just amazing!” Martéz reminisces.
The heavens smiled on them even more with the birth of their daughter, Zoryn. “International travel was put on hold for a while while I performed my mom duties, had the occasional shoot and then ventured into a few business opportunities. One of these endeavours was coaching acting for commercials at ACT Cape Town. This was where my love for growing individuals was birthed. It was so rewarding helping a shy, nervous, self-conscious person blossom into a calm and positive one, ready to take on life’s challenges. I was also coaching models and several asked me to become their agent. After much encouragement from my husband and a dear friend, I decided to register the agency and go for it! I can’t believe this was already six years ago,” she says.
Together with two of her colleagues, they also started a sister company (FMT Movies) based on their passion for film. Currently Martéz is working on a feature film that is in development, entitled The Choice – based on the best-selling book written by Elizabeth Robertson Campbell. “We’ll be going into production later this year and I’m excited beyond words for this epic story to be shared with the world,” Martéz enthuses.
Martéz was born in Port Elizabeth on 1 December 1970. And while attending school, you might be surprised that she was not part of the “in crowd”. She recalls: “I was okay with that until one of my fellow pupils asked me if I was attending the matric dance at our neighbouring boys’ school. Excitedly I answered ‘yes’. She looked at me intently and said, ‘Aren’t you going to feel out? All the beautiful girls will be there.’ Up until that point I had never considered myself beautiful or not. I was content with who I was until that moment. It might seem shallow, but her words gutted me and it was the beginning of a slippery slope of self-doubt, before moving to Cape Town.”
Martéz describes herself as caring, creative, conscientious, and confident. Her philosophy in life is to treat others as you would wish for them to treat you. “See and find the good in someone before assuming the worst. My parents instilled great values and work ethic, and I pray to God every single day to give me strength and guidance for the day ahead, with thanks in my heart,” she states.
Some fun facts about Martéz include:
Their dogs sleep with them in bed;
The film Pretty Woman had a huge impact on her in her early twenties.
“So I decided to dress to the nines after a store manager gave me a complete snub when I asked for assistance wearing jeans and a T-shirt. It worked! In fact, every sales person came running to attend to me. How incredibly sad!”
She loves to paint, although she does not have much time for it anymore;
Martéz enjoys making her own food concoctions and has labeled many a
dish “A la Martéz”;
She completed grade 11 and 12 in one year and went on to study Law
until she won Miss Port Elizabeth.
Martéz concludes: “My life is wonderfully full and overflowing with endless possibilities as there is so much I envisage for the future. I feel there’s so much more I want to contribute to society, as well as experience with my friends and beautiful family. The adventure never ends if one chooses for it to be so.”
For more of Martéz and her incredible modelling and acting achievements, visit mmmagency.co.za
Also join the conversation with Martéz on social media
@MartezSaportaRothuysen and @the_mmm_agency.