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The Superb Ms Sutherland

24 July 2013
Natasha Sutherland

She has a career spanning 23 years, proving that Natasha Sutherland is one of SA’s most versatile actresses. We chat to her about playing Scandal’s Layla.

Natasha Sutherland has been a part of the South African TV and theatre industry for 23 years and has appeared on numerous popular TV shows including Kideo, Egoli, The Wild and more.  She began her career at 19 and has played diverse roles, from being a rock star to a gypsy and now a mother on Scandal!

“I’m very grateful that production houses have always created three dimensional characters that allow me to inject my input,” says Natasha. “So, all the characters I play have a little bit of me in them.”

The 43-year-old actress joined Scandal in 2012 as Quinton’s biological mother. When she was brought into the show, the scenes between her and Brighton Ngoma (Quinton) were dramatic and fun because they were being reunited as mother and son for the first time in decades.

Now the story has evolved; they have bonded as mother and son. “My character has developed and she is shifting slightly,” says Natasha who let on she enjoys working with Brighton.

We chat to Natasha about her role on Scandal, confronting Daniel and more.

Tell us about your character Layla.
Layla’s wonderful because she is flawed and damaged. She is damaged because of choices she’s made in the past and choices her parents made for her. She rebelled when she was a teen and had to suffer the consequences. She’s the product of a highly manipulative mother.

I think Layla possesses the same attributes. But I think she tries to use that cunning attitude to protect her son. They’ve been separated for so long and she’s making up for lost time. She’s definitely three-dimensional; she’s not a miss goody two shoes.  Right now she’s trying to win her son’s trust and show him that she can be there for him.

Being separated from her family, Quinton and Cain, must have been hard. How did Layla deal with that all these years?
She’s quite hard. When her parents fed her false information, she went into survival mode. She’s come back into Quinton’s life to try to repair the damage.

What did it feel like being reunited with Cain only to lose him?
I think in terms of romance what they had is long gone. But she cared for him and she didn’t want him to pursue vengeance. She didn’t want to rekindle with Cain, but she wanted things to work out between Cain and Quinton. She feels responsible for introducing Quinton to Cain and now he’s been thrust into this dangerous world of the Nyathis.  

Layla confronted Daniel last week. Does she blame Daniel for Cain’s death?
Of course, she does. She blames him for destroying an amazing man. What Daniel did was despicable. She blames him for the state that Cain was in and now the state that Quinton is in. She is also conflicted. Her hands are tied. The Nyathis are too powerful.

The justice she wants, is it for her son or Cain?
I think it’s both, but everything goes back to Quinton.  

Soon after she confronted Daniel she was kidnapped, will she back off?
I think it scared her and Quinton. They realized revenge is not as easy as it sounds because it directly affects them. It’s too life threatening and dangerous. The kidnapping scared her but it didn’t back her off.

She and Quinton are gonna have to find another way to punish the Nyathis, maybe something more long-term. Quinton is hot-headed and he wants to rush things, but she’s more strategic and wants to wait. So watch this space, there’s more to come.

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