Sipiwe was born in Ensley, Alabama to Zimbabwean immigrant parents. She is a graduate of New York University Tisch School of Fine Arts and made her screen debut in 2014 in the role of Dembe’s mother on The Blacklist.
From a small child, Sipiwe knew that she was destined to be in the arts. She fell in love with visual arts at an Art Museum in Alabama. After being exposed to Eddie Murphy (thanks to older siblings and cousins) she knew by the age of 5 that she wanted to be an entertainer.
She started training early. While attending Acting Camp with her sister in Upstate New York, she landed the major role of Mother Superior. Before her junior year of high school, she attended an Acting Camp at Boston University. That next summer, she attended the Acting Camp at NYU and her destiny was set. She was hooked on New York City. Sipiwe applied to the NYU and was accepted into their early admission program.
During this time of quarantine, Sipiwe shares that things that are important are becoming crystal clear, and everything else is falling away. She encourages everyone, but especially those interested in the arts to take full advantage of this time. Continuously learn, create and hone your craft.
Now with Zoom, Webex and other platforms ,you have access to options that you may have never had access to before. Everyone now can set up self-tape auditions and take classes remotely. Sipiwe herself has used Zoom to get make up tips from her sister in law in Australia, and to have friends outside of the US teach her children Spanish.
Opportunities can be found beyond the fear of the moment.
When asked about a professional challenge, Sipiwe talked about her very first day of acting school. It was the morning of September 11th. As she walked to class, the planes flew over her head. New York was in a state of uncertainty, and she had to decide if she wanted to stay or go home. She decided to stay.
Tips that Sipiwe would like to share to those interested in the arts are:
- Build and nurture relationships. Relationships can open doors. I always make an effort to leave people with a good feeling about me.
- Think about what you are giving, instead of being me focused.
As a performing artist, you must reinvent your relationship with perceived failure and success. Learn to recommit yourself after every project and after every life change. To get 1 acting job you have to hear 100 rejections. There is no guarantee of success in this industry, even if you are skilled and work hard.
When it comes to auditions:
- Realize that every audition is a step closer to your next role.
- Know that every audition is an opportunity to perfect your craft.
- Learn to enjoy auditions because they may be your only chance to perform for a number of years.
In closing, remember to nurture that whisper that you cannot stop thinking about. Find ways to use it to help other people. Remember that you are the solutions to someone’s problem. You are the person that someone is looking for. You have to have the skin of a rhino and the soul of a butterfly, but you can do it.