Posts in Interviews


An Expresso for the youth

June 24th, 2014 Posted by Interviews No Comment yet

On June 16th (Youth Day) I spent the day with the lively peeps at Expresso Morning Show on SABC3.

Youth Day is about reminding ourselves of the legacy that was left by the youth that came before us and to have a look at what challenges we now face in our present and using that same gusto and drive to see change brought to South Africa.

You can watch a portion of the interview here:

You can also check out the interview on the website:

Ciao for now



Life Choices asked me about my struggles in life

June 19th, 2014 Posted by Interviews No Comment yet

Danilo Acquisto, 23, is most popularly known as a presenter on the SABC2 TV-show Hectic Nine-9. One of his life mottos is, ‘surround yourself with people that are different and challenge you. They teach you things about yourself that you never knew.’ We went to talk to Danilo about what challenges he faced growing up and being in the spotlight.

Danilo original from Johannesburg, comes from a privileged background. His family is conservative and successful which gave Danilo an excellent start in life. A winning recipe some may say, but for Danilo, ‘childhood was rough.’

‘I was always the weird one; I felt I did not fit in and I could not be myself. Every time I tried, people would say there was something wrong with me. I felt like a failure to society.’ Danilo struggled to focus in school and was put on medication (Ritalin) at young age. ‘In grade 8, I was severely depressed and Ritalin was the cause’. Family and school were concerned that Danilo might not pass the year and for that reason Danilo was brought back to the neurologist. After more tests it was discovered, ‘I had “hyper-intelligence” which meant that my brain has the potential to process information much quicker than other people. I think fast, speak fast and I am always thinking ahead which often confuses people around me. My condition could not be cured but I could only learn to manage it.’

Danilo completed matric with five distinctions and with the assistance of medication to assist him to concentrate. However, he decided that in university he didn’t want to rely on drugs. ‘I felt inadequate thinking that I could only achieve things through medication. I studied law at UCT and the degree required high amounts of concentration for big deadlines and this caused a lot of anxiety for me. I had to be strict with myself, take things in small pieces and tell myself that I could do it. My desire to be independent kept me focused.’ Danilo’s perseverance saw him excel academically once again, but although he enjoyed law he wasn’t fully satisfied. In his free time, Danilo worked at UCT radio station and became the ‘drive home show’ host. For Danilo media was never in his sights but he was always curious about new opportunities. With this opportunity, he said ‘I finally found a career that allowed me to be myself.’

The change in career didn’t come without its own new set of challenges, ‘insecurity is underestimated in the media world, there were many times that I doubted myself and the choices I had made. My energetic nature and forthcoming attitude offended many people, as I have always been someone who would tell it how it is. I was often labeled as arrogant.’ This stigma caused Danilo to have serious doubts about himself. ‘About a year ago I went through a deep depression, I cried a lot and questioned myself everyday, this was perhaps the darkest time in my career. I reflected a lot and asked myself if I was a bad person. I decided I needed to channel my energy into work, adapt and learn a new way of communicating. I finally realized that to be different was okay and I could adapt.’

When asked about his plans for the future Danilo said, ‘I will continue my career in media and I will start few enterprises’, laughing he continued, ‘my brain works too fast for me to just dedicate myself to one thing. I will also build my own brand in the social arena.’ Danilo’s passion for social justice has always been a big part of his life. An active member of his church, a mentor and a volunteer with numerous charities, ‘my charity work has ensured that my feet are firmly on the ground. I am passionate about affecting change right now, why wait?’

Danilo is a Leaders’ Quest Mentor

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Zalebs - Danilo Acquisto

Zalebs and I sat down to chat

June 19th, 2014 Posted by Interviews No Comment yet

Television presenter & producer, voice-over artist, MC, entrepreneur, radio personality and UCT graduate. These are a few words that can be used to describe 23 year old Danilo Acquisto- quite the achiever right? Selected as our ZAlebrity Crush of the week we caught up with the star to find out what he’s up to.

Besides being an all-round entertainer you’re also quite the entrepreneur.  Just a couple of years ago you published your 6B magazine can you tell us more about that venture in your life?

I’ve always felt like media personalities in South Africa aren’t necessarily involved in the broader scheme of imparting new knowledge and encouraging youngsters to find new careers.  First off I’m ADD, so I’ve always liked to place my fingers in many different pies and from that my interest in entrepreneurship grew very quickly as I felt like there wasn’t much more I could learn from television and radio. So I just thought to myself “why not create new opportunities for myself and others?”

6B was my stepping stone purely because I knew a lot of famous people who could keep it real and actually inform youngsters about the difficulties of being an entertainer. I saw a need in youngsters wanting to be more informed about the ins and outs of being an entertainer and I provided that service and I guess that’s what entails being an entrepreneur.

We like how you keep it real with the bad and the ugly side of the celebrity life, it really isn’t all glitz and glam is it?

Like I said I get to interact with quite a lot of famous people and I’ve found that a lot of the time during social interactions, a lot of the celebrities are faking their lifestyles, they’re not necessarily living their lives to the fullest.

For instance, some of the things they have are sponsored; other times they’re tweeting because something has been offered to them. Maybe They’re at events because they’re told to be there which leads to them hustling for an outfit and that’s not what I believe in. I believe that my brand has much more to offer rather than representing this fake life.

How have you found the journey as presenter of Hecticnine9?

It’s been a great learning experience; I’m now not only a presenter but I also produce for the show.  I’ve been on the show since 2010 so I’ve managed to be one of their co-anchors for a while now.  But like I’ve mentioned, I felt as though I wasn’t growing much as a presenter so I then requested to learn more about the production sphere.

In the past we’ve had great kiddies show like KTVTube and Wildroom.  As a producer do you think South African children’s television is heading to the right direction or is it dwindling?

Not to be biased but I think Hecticnine9 is the best youth show to be referring to right now we’ve been around since 2007 with about 3 million viewers on a daily and its success comes from the fact that the show has a lot of diversity.  South Africans are divers. They don’t only want to hear about music or entertainment, they want to have a holistic experience of the real world and that is what Hecticnine9 offers. In terms of South African youth television, yes we have a long way to go. We’re not that good in comparison to international standards and I will always compare our local standards to those of the international one’s because that’s the only way we can improve.

Ladies we have quite a catch here don’t you think?

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Project Ignition’s Q&A

June 6th, 2014 Posted by Interviews No Comment yet

Q: Who is Danilo Acquisto?

Danilo: In a more simplistic way, I am just a young guy with massive dreams and crazy drive who is inspired by far too many things and wants to do far too much. All that has changed is that each day I make sure I learn something new and improve myself. I am now a face on national television and a voice on radio with my fingers in many other pies.

Q: What is your passion?

Danilo: This is a bit of a tough question to answer. My passion in life is just to see change. This can manifest in so many forms. It could be in changing the way a business is structured, changing the way people view specific topics, changing the world, changing someone’s life for the better. It’s all about having a real impact and using your life to leave a legacy.

Q: What inspires you?

Danilo: I think I am inspired by failure. I am inspired by seeing how far I can push myself. Success is never the destination or “prize”. Success for me is how often I can learn and grow. So I am inspired by new challenges that I face every day and how I choose to view and overcome them. Failure is so inspirational if seen in the right light.

Q: If you could spend time with one of your role models whom would it be and why?

Danilo: Wow I think even though it sounds lame I would love to spend some time with Jesus. That man got the whole world speaking about him and managed to influence generations of people yet still he remained so humble and focused in his devotion and vocation. People were just drawn to him – he radiated this amazing energy and even though he received so much resistance he persevered and changed the world. That’s powerful – true power and fame. He made himself relevant to the people at the time.

Q: How do you deal with negativity and criticism?

Danilo: I won’t lie and say it’s easy to receive. Criticism is never nice to hear. It’s an attack on the core of your being. However, in the line of work I do it is my job to talk to over 3 million people, each with different views, beliefs, loves and hates etc. It is impossible for me to please every single one of them. It is my job to focus on the majority who look up to me and take a keen interest in what I do. The key is to be brutal with yourself – to take each piece of criticism and ask yourself whether it is valid or not. If it is valid then take it and grow from it – you grow as a person and are then given an opportunity to grow yourself. But if it is just resistance to your path and you feel like you are on the right track then just ignore it. People will move on and find someone else to bother. It’s a momentary emotion – This time will pass.

Another mechanism is to keep TRUE friends close and your family even closer. They are the most critical but will catch you when you fall. Don’t rely on fans or fake friends. They are only there when you are succeeding and won’t push you to do better.

Q: What is your most humbling moment?

Danilo: Every Sunday at church I am humbled. I am forced to look outside of my crazy lifestyle of glamour and realize what my true purpose is in life – how do I positively affect the lives of others. There was also a moment when my ego got the best of me at a location insert shoot for Hectic Nine-9 and I was called in to the office and put back in my place. There is nothing worse then being told how dispensable you actually are and that regardless if you are right or wrong, you need to respect your elders and superiors. Arrogance although is a beautiful trait can sometimes not be the most productive.

Q: The youth looks up to you; do you look up to them? If so why?

Danilo: Young people inspire me every day. I get asked so many questions from my fans about doing what I do and it is so inspiring to see how hard working some of them are. It inspires me to build my brand and work hard so that one day I can be a pillar of support and opportunity for young people. So yes, I do look up to young people. They are filled with so many innovative ideas and are not bogged down by structure and rules – they have goals and will risk their lives to achieve them. It’s such a powerful trait. I love young people!

Q: How do you plan your day-to-day life and when the plans fail what is your coping mechanism?

Danilo: Ok so besides being a Hectic Nine-9 presenter and a radio host on Good Hope Fm I also strategically manage a singer and MC a lot and I start small companies and provide consulting work to big corporates. So I am a busy guy. I make sure that I plan my exercise every week, I make sure that as soon as I book a meeting that it goes STRAIGHT in my phone. Everything is organized on my phone. I will admit though that I am very disorganized. I am late for many things and double-book myself but that’s only because I over commit myself – I get excited easily. I now have a pseudo manager and publicist to help me with structuring my schedules.

When my plans fail it is really disorientating as you had an image in your head that you would be so busy today and when it fails your day opens up. This means that you need to begin prioritizing other tasks like doing house work, renewing licenses, starting new businesses, replying to the billion emails I receive in a day, doing community service etc. There is ALWAYS something to do and achieve. I always go to bed feeling like my day hasn’t been wasted. I don’t know if that answers the question though.

Q: At Project Ignition we dedicate ourselves to youth upliftment, what is your way of giving back to the youth?

Danilo: You know, I could always just type out a list of the community service initiatives I work at but that for me is not giving back to the youth. That is supporting current structures that improve people’s way of life. My job is much greater than that and much more powerful. Every time I am on air it is my duty to inspire and give people hope and joy. With these in a young person’s heart, life becomes a journey and an adventure where anything is possible as opposed to just a chore. Besides inspiring, the work I do on the side is looking WAY into the future and creating platforms for young people to use when they are ready – innovating media, creating magazines that inspire and teach, engaging in talks etc. All I can be is a model of hard work. If you want my lifestyle you need to work as hard as me – I am not going to provide the answer for you. I will support you though and make the journey easier. That’s what I do to give back along with doing as much community service as I can.

Q: What is the one quote/saying that can always apply to Danilo Acquisto?

Danilo: “All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.” Pope Paul VI

Any Dream is achievable. ANY dream!

Q: Do you have words of encouragement for the youth?

Danilo: My words of encouragement are just that you can be anybody you want to be. All great things start somewhere very small. Madiba started as a sheep herder, I started as a teachers child studying law, Some of the best entrepreneurs started out in shacks in townships… What connects all these people is passion, determination and a belief that they have what it takes to change the world. Go out there and be the next Oprah, be the next Madiba. Be the best you that you can be – there is always opportunity for growth. Rome wasn’t built in a day and Nokia started out making Fisherman’s Boots. Everything must start somewhere and fail MANY times before the one success comes. Be patient and when in doubt, try.

Q: How has your involvement with Project Ignition impacted in your life?

Danilo: To be honest I haven’t engaged much with the organization as a whole for a long enough period to truly appreciate the impact it has in our lives, but the small amount I have spent doing work with Project Ignition I am just in awe of the dedication people have for growing others. It is so selfless and Christ-like. We need more people like that in the world.

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