People of Jozi – Vanes-Mari du Toit

We caught up with Vanes-Mari du Toit, South African pro netball player who currently plays in the positions of Goal Keeper and Goal attack on our national squad – and she is taaaalll!

Vanes-Mari recently competed on Dancing with The Stars SA, and along with her pro dance partner Johannes Radebe made it to the semi-finals. Considering that Vanes-Mari is more comfortable in tekkies – she pulled out all the stops to get so far in the competition, and of course we had to find out more. She also sports (excuse the pun) an incredible sense of humour, which we love about her…

Vanes-Mari, take us through your Dancing with The Stars experience earlier this year – what did you discover about yourself during the show?

I discovered that I have more resilience in me than I ever thought, having survived the dreaded dance-off more than any other contestant on the show, it kind of brought out the best in my having my back against the wall. It made me dig deep and trust in the very little dance abilities that I have. It made me believe in myself.

From netball to ball room dancing – big difference or not?

I consider Netball and Dancing both sports that demand a lot of agility and high fitness levels. But apart from that, they are completely different, especially if one looks at the footwear. I do prefer my netball shoes to those ballroom & Latin high heels…

What is the most challenging thing about being a professional netball player?
It’s a catch22 situation as I would probably say all the travel, missing my family and a lot of weddings/birthday celebrations as a result of that, yet it’s the most rewarding too…

And by that token the most rewarding?

Except from seeing the world and meeting amazing people everywhere you go? I would have to say the sisterhood that exists in a netball team. Only if you played netball would you understand 😉

Who is your role model and why?
I get inspired by a lot of my peers nowadays, women who face every day difficulty and overcome struggles and insecurities, women who believe more in themselves than breaking others down. I’ve always wanted to be as graceful as Steffi Graf (Tennis Player), so driven like Natalie du Toit (Swimmer, she’s got an awesome surname by the way) and as “badass” as Serena Williams (Tennis)…

Craziest thing a fan has ever asked of you?

A man once asked me if I could sign his balls… he meant his rugby balls… Also got a lady who asked me if I would date her son, after showing me pictures of him on her phone.

If you hadn’t have been a netball player, what would you be doing?
I would’ve loved to have been an Actress/presenter, a chef or an Industrial Psychologist (What I studied to become)…

If you could have dinner with one person, alive or dead – who would it be, and why?

I feel like I have to say my husband, but I’m sure he’ll be okay if I have dinner with Nelson Mandela.

Straight Up Eight with Vanes-Mari…

My shoe size is… UK10

One thing that not many people know about me is… I’m partially blind in my left eye and I have a massive fear of monkeys.

Favourite food of all time… Does Nutella count as food? Okay fine, Sushi…

Favourite Recipe… my Butter Chicken Curry…

Bucket list travel destination… Vietnam

What makes me nervous is…. thinking about what other people are thinking about…

My favourite item of clothing is… my very own designed Proudfit sports bra.

Books or movies… Movies please.

Photo credits: Tamaryn Thomas

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