* Please note: the show changed name to Let's Chat... with Mel, after this first-look feature was originally published on 16 November 2009.
No-no - not Melanie Bala's but rather fashionista Dion Chang's - one of the first guests on Absolute Woman.
The name change was announced on Friday, 27 November 2009.
The new Melanie Bala talk show Absolute Woman
premieres on M-Net Series
in the new year - on Wednesday, 6 January 2010
The show started filming the first episodes this month so that it's ready to debut after the holidays. Filming began with Episodes 2 and 3 and on Thursday (the 12th) the show recorded the first episode, which I caught as a member of the studio audience*
The result ... these sneak peak pics of the set:
Dimly lit. Waiting for lights, camera ....
Mel and first-up guest Dion Chang in between takes, both flashing someone an: "OMG, we can't believe she's daring that."
The topic of the first episode: life choices.
How do you come up with the topics? Are you involved in it all?
Yes I'm involved with the process - I didn't want to be the type of host who just arrives and gets the questions. I'm working with the production company (Clive Morris Productions), coming up with suggestions, putting forward contacts and we come up with the shows together.
Mel on set with another guest: actress Natasha Sutherland, who's just written a book about Life After Steve called Bittersweet. She was married to Steve 'I smack journalists' Hofmeyr for 10 years.
Other guests in the episode are:
someone from an Earth organisation who's involved with eco-awareness and gives tips on how to go Green easily; and a Life Coach who sorts out a viewers' problems when it comes to the clutter in her life.
After the Life Coach was on there was a break in filming so I went over to tell her about a friend of mine who has a Life Coach who ... get this ... couldn't see him the last time he needed her advice 'cos she was having a Life Crisis. True story, ha!
Needless to say she wasn't impressed with either me or my friend's Coach.
What are some of the other topics we can look forward to?
The first episode we filmed was about earth angels - people who are angels on earth. We chatted to a woman who's set up a house in Soweto for children, we look at how she's been an Earth Angel to them; and a story about another woman who helps her daughter through something very difficult.
Then the next episode's about style - so we have emotional shows and then lighter ones so there's real variety. In the style episode we look at fashion, make-up, style tips and so on.
Mel on a break in between filming.
Is there any topic that you definitely know you have
The mommy-thing. In the sense that there's this whole thing about how mom's have to be perfect. Where everyone has an opinion on how to be the best mom. I'm a mom and the minute I had my kid other people were like: "Oh? You're giving him a bottle? *disapproving voice* Why
?" Everyone tells you how to do it.
Lights dim as Mel wraps
I was one of those peeps you see on Oprah: whoopingly getting giveaways. I scored:
1 x Natasha Sutherland book
1 x cellphone airtime in a box
1 x package of shower gel and cream by The Victoria Garden - eco-friendly. You could either get this pack or a body-scrub/body-butter combo ... you couldn't choose but you could swap afterwards. I didn't.
There are two rows of audience who sit on pink, purps and orange cushions.
The cam that stares up the audience's nostrils: