Walking the walk and singing the talk

21 March 2019

Walking the walk and singing the talk

Singing-acting celeb siblings Bobby and Karlien are literally trading places with people from other walks of lives in their 13-episode reality show In Jou Skoene (2017-current, now streaming on Showmax).

“It’s easy to read about someone in a particular situation or who does this kind of work or is struggling and to say, ‘I know what you mean’,” explains Karlien, “but until you are physically in their shoes, physically in their world, you know nothing.”

The point of this show is that you can only understand someone’s perspective and the way that they are once you’ve walked the proverbial mile in their shoes.

A new sensation

Even living briefly without eyesight is a literal eye-opener for the pair, with younger brother Bobby being blindfolded in episode 2 to see how difficult it is in the unforgiving world when you’re living without one of your senses. That’s the reality that The Voice SA star Vernon Barnard lives daily and it immediately changes Bobby’s perspective.

“It was indescribably uncomfortable. I felt so isolated and different and it was unsettling for me, but I could take the blindfold off afterwards – not everyone is that lucky. After this episode, I realised just what a blessing it is to see.”

The point of this show is that you can only understand someone’s perspective and the way that they are once you’ve walked the proverbial mile in their shoes.

“Until then, you don’t know how they are looking at the world,” says Bobby. “We’re living in someone else’s shoes for just forty-eight hours. We get a glimpse of their lives, just a toe in the pool of what they live daily. And sometimes we’re not even together for the episode. We have one or two episodes where we’re split and get to experience things on our own.”

Balancing act

It’s not just physical changes that the pair experience – materialistic influences are also involved.

“People take money for granted,” explains Karlien, who has been in the entertainment business for years alongside Bobby. “There are so many people in the country who are living on less than fifteen-hundred rand a month. And they do it. Being able to keep your home clean and neat – that’s a luxury that so many people take for granted. And that’s just the beginning!”

The siblings’ schedules are jam-packed as it is, but it was a no-brainer when they were presented with the opportunity for this show. The season was filmed at the end of 2016 and ran through to March 2017, “Which we were lucky enough to be able to do,” reveals Karlien. “Our lives can be really crazy but this was something we couldn’t pass up. We both made the time and space to film it.”

Producer Carien Loubser from Brainwave Production House says that the angle and dynamic of In Jou Skoene was something new and fresh for them and the reality TV world, and that has helped with its popularity: “When you do something for the first time, you don’t really know what to expect. The reality element, the fact that they are actually out there, doing what you see them doing, keeps both us the production side (including Bobby and Karlien) as well as our audiences on our toes. It was different to anything we’d seen or done. Swapping lives and living in someone else’s world has had an incredible impact on all of us.”

Really real

In Jou Skoene has a second objective and that’s to lift the lid on who Bobby and Karlien (and by proxy many other celebrities) really are – just normal people, albeit well-known.

“I think that there is an image that gets portrayed often about celebrities and it’s not real. It’s not always a hundred percent truth. And people get the wrong idea. I really hope that our viewers will get a fresh, real look at who Bobby and I are – normal people,” says Karlien. Her brother adds that “viewers will see who we are: two kids who grew up in Witbank in Mpumalanga who’ve refused to be held back and how we have grown as performers. I think that people will see our hearts in this show.”

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