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GLAMOUR Women’s Month Series: Tiffany Barbuzano

This GLAMOUR Women’s Month Series is an ode to women who are following the beat of their drum and doing it successfully.

Tiffany Barbuzano

If you have been following South African film and televison, you would have seen Tiffany Barbuzano on most of our favourite shows. Barbuzano is an actress and writer. She is creator for critically acclaimed Mnet show Still Breathing and has acted in Seriously Single, Sober Companion, Housekeepers just to name a few.

Barbuzano managed to fit in a few minutes into a busy schedule to chat with us.

Which woman has positively impacted you in your career/business? And what is the one lesson she taught you?

Without a doubt - Moonyeenn Lee. We recently lost her to Covid 19 complications and it feels as if the industry will never be the same, She was a maverick. She had absolutely no time for chancers. She was direct but kind. Incredibly intuitive and could spot talented actors a mile away. She had an innate ability to see potential and then to grow and nurture that potential. She changed lives. I know of some many people who will attest to the fact that they not only helped them in terms of their careers, she changed the course of their lives. If Moon believed in you she would do ANYTHING to make sure you saw it and acted on it. She taught me to believe in myself, in my talent and my abilities. She taught me that speaking your mind with integrity and truth is invaluable and she taught me that we all have inbuilt bullshit detectors! We just need to trust them a whole lot more. Moon also taught me that fine wine, delicious food, magnificent company and celebration is integral!

What are the three words that spring to mind when you hear Women's Day/Month?

Strength, Love and Nurturing.

To you, what is the most beautiful thing about being a woman?

We are powerful beyond measure. We are strong. We are abundant. We can change the world because we have unlimited power, we have drive and we have the ability to overcome. We are beautiful, in all of our shapes and forms. We are able to grow new life. Being a mother is one of my greatest achievements. My greatest joy. Women are adaptable. We are intuitive and we have deep understanding of how the universe works. We have a voice and most importantly, the time has arrived for us to use our voices!

In your industry or in general, have you seen any more movement to gender equality in the workplace?

There is a small move. Is it enough? No. But it’s really encouraging for me to see more female D.O.P’s (directors of photography). More women in the sound department and camera departments. More female directors. More female writers. It’s still male dominated for sure, but there is a distinct move to let women shine. There is still a long way to go but even a small step forward is moving in the right direction.

As a  woman who looks to inspire young girls that look like you what are some of the measures you think should be put in place to assure young girls have an equal say in society?

The very fact that we have to put “measures” in place is problematic. We shouldn’t STILL be fighting this fight. Young girls need to know that their voices are important! The Dalai Lama says that ALL people need 4 things in order to thrive. To be seen, to be heard, to be recognised and to make a contribution. This is what I’d love to see - that girls are given these fundamental rights. BE SEEN! BE HEARD!

With Black Lives Matter being at the forefront and black people calling out racism and transformation. What do you think we can teach the next generation about inclusion and representation?

There is no question that we have a long road ahead of us. As a white woman, all I can say is that I teach my boys that we are allies. It’s not for us to comment, it’s not our voices that need to be heard… We are witness to an integral movement where our job is to listen, to learn and to hold space for POC. Black lives matter is a movement where we are able to look at the inherent racism we need to address.

Gender Based Violence (GBV) especially women and children abuse has been prevalent in the country for a very long time and there have been various initiatives that speak to this but the scourge of abuse still continues at a large scale, what would you advise as a solution going forward? And who should be involved?

MEN! My word, it all starts with educating the boy children of this country. We need to address the broken sons of broken fathers and try to fix what has been devastatingly shattered. The broken systems where perpetrators get away with these violent and evil acts. My job as a boy Mom is to raise my boys with love. To teach them empathy. To teach them control, to teach them respect and accountability. But I never want them thinking that they are less than... And the same applies to how they treat women. I’m the only girl in my home and part of how they treat their future wives/ girlfriends/ friends is how they see their father treat me. We have to be the role models. Men have had the power for far too long. And the systems in SA don’t hold them accountable. Harsher punishments for offenders. EDUCATION is key!

What does women’s month mean to you and what would you like to be done to push or commemorate this month?

Every month should be women’s month! There is an inequality that still exists… I mean, you don’t see us having a “men’s month”, right? Women’s month, for me, is a chance for us to focus on powerful women and celebrate them. But personally, this should be done all day, every day.

As a modern African woman, who is a powerhouse in her own right, how do you manoeuvre the African expectations for what Africa believes a woman should be, particularly in countries that are rooted in patriarchy like ours?

RAISE YOUR VOICE! There are so many archaic rules and regulations that are still in place that keep women silent. And in order to change that, women need to step into their power. And not be ruled by fear. That’s how we are “kept in our place”… by fear. Once we realise that we are powerful beyond measure, we are unstoppable. We don’t need permission from anyone to be who we are intended to be. We need to tell our stories! We need to worry less about what people think of us and focus on how we make people FEEL. We are at an advantage because we are naturally more nurturing and more empathetic. We’re “allowed” to be more emotional… And this is our greatest power. To operate from our hearts and not our heads.

What are some of the great possibilties about being a woman in the world right now, that may not be easy to see but you feel women should take full advantage of without being ashamed or afraid?

Tiffany with her kids Jamie and Jesse

The possibilities are endless. Power comes from self belief and I think women have had enough of being silenced. We are warriors. When we support each other, we become unstoppable. And that’s one of the biggest hurdles we still have to overcome… It’s not only the patriarchal systems we have to still break down. The judgement of other women is just as troublesome. There are all of these rules that we place on each other instead of supporting one another. When we live authentically, when we are supported for our choices by our sisters, then we can reach for the stars.

The imposter syndrome is something a lot of women confess to suffer from or have suffered from. Have you ever had to deal with it? What would you say to another woman reading this about not letting the syndrome run one’s life in anyway?

Imposter syndrome is a reality because we allow others opinions to govern how we see ourselves. What woman HASN’T experienced it? It’s taken a lot of inner work for me to realise that I am powerful beyond measure. That the universe has given me this time, in the place, with these talents for a reason. Imposter syndrome only exists because your light shines brighter than those around you… and they then, because of their own inadequacies, try to make you dim your light… It’s a clear indication that you need to burn brighter…

How has self care contributed to the woman you are in all facets of your life? Why is self care important, particularly for women, as most of us are raised to believe we put everyone else first before ourselves?

As women, we are master jugglers… in every detail of our lives. As mothers, sisters, daughters, friends… The mental load can over burden us. Self care - for me - means you realise that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Once you are fulfilled, you can freely give energy and love to those around you. Do what sets your soul on fire. Do things that inspire you. For me, it’s working out. It’s doing my nails, having a glass of wine with my friends. It’s working on my weaknesses, acknowledging when I need help. It’s sitting with my boys and revelling in the wonder of their little minds. Taking care of yourself isn’t selfish. It’s essential. Because when we are happy and feel like we are recognised for our contributions, we will give to those we love without reservation.

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