The face of MTN’s Summer MMS advertisements seen on TV and on
cinema screens is not your ordinary granny. In fact, she’s
extraordinary and she laughingly explains that she has absolutely no
time for babysitting because she’s too busy living life to the full.
This 71-year old mother of five, granny to 14 and great grandmother
to 2 great-grandchildren has a true zest for life and work. Molly
Pankhurst just can’t stand doing nothing, which explains why she is
still working as a fund accountant for Investment Data Services, a
specialist financial Administration Company based in Cape Town, even
though she reached retirement age many years ago. And, through a
casual remark made by her boss, Ian Hamilton, she was pivoted to
fame as the star of MTN’s MMS advertisement.
“It was a case of being in the right place at the right time”
explains Molly. A phrase that she has uttered on many occasions,
and which she believes characterizes much of her life.
“One day, Ian asked me if I had ever done skydiving. I
replied that it was on my list of things to do before I die! He
handed me Teru Adamson from Meerendal’s card and told me to ring
her. So my amazing adventure began….”
“Teru told me that she had been approached by an advertising
agency to ask if her mother would be prepared to make a tandem sky
dive jump for the MTN advert. Her mother refused, but I was more
than interested – I never say no to anything! From that moment, the
whole experience just gathered it’s own momentum – I was contacted
by the agency, then the casting agency, called in for a photo and
screen shoot and shortlisted. Before I could catch my breath, I was
taking off from an airstrip in Melkbos, kitted up and tied up to my
tandem master – (a bit of a celebrity due to his having been the
tandem master for Prince Harry’s jump) – and preparing to jump.
“I undertook five jumps in two days and it was just an
amazing and fantastic experience. The only scary bit is just before
you jump when you are sitting at the very edge of the plane with the
door open. Then it’s a quick drop, a somersault or two, free-fall
and finally when the parachutes open, you just glide down. It is
then that you get the most satisfaction, as you gaze upon the
beautiful vista that unfolds before you and you are filled with a
great sense of peace” she says.
While sky diving is the latest addition to Molly’s long list
of passions, she remains steadfast to the greatest of them all –
dancing. “Dancing changed my life” she exclaims “I was widowed
seven years ago after 44 years of marriage. On the first
anniversary of my husband’s death, my sister-in-law, myself and her
sister embarked on a cruise around the Mediterranean Sea. Every
evening after dinner, the band would strike up and there would be
dancing – I loved it so much that I vowed to continue. The moment I
was back on South African soil, I enrolled at the local Arthur
Murray dance studio. I really wanted to master the Cha-Cha, but my
passion was aroused and I embraced all the dances.
Her other passions and interests include theatre and
exploring new destinations – next up on her itinerary is
Madagascar. Molly loves entertaining – she has a wide circle of
friends, and is never short of invitations.
And yes, she still has time for her family, which she claims are the
most important thing in her life. Her children are supportive of
what she does and are very proud of what she has achieved.
Molly recently joined Time Out Ladies Club and Traveltime and
is certainly an enthusiastic participant in our outings and tours.