Diaan Lawrenson is a woman with many hats.
You might know her as Paula from 7de Laan, Ingrid in the film, Raaiselkind and more recently as Joey Steyn in the kykNET series, Spoorloos: Steynhof.
But, she is also a mother of two, a wife and the Dean of AFDA’s Cape Town campus.
She has been married to actor Jody Abrahams since 2014, and together they have a daughter, Olivia (11) and a son, Thomas (8).
There is no doubt that for her – even while working as an actor and the Dean of the Cape Town campus of the South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance – family comes first.
Diaan Lawrenson’s roles and their womanhood
Lawrenson’s career and motherhood have pushed her in another direction and while she has been the Dean at AFDA for 2 and a half years now, she is also back on the telly with a bang, playing the fierce female role of Joey Steyn.
“Today we still struggle to see strong women characters, but Joey Steyn is clever, a good businesswoman and knows exactly what she wants, and she is not afraid to fight for it.”
Lawrenson says these are all qualities that she appreciates of her character, although fighting for what she wants might tempt Joey to make questionable decisions.
Her previous roles also epitomised many aspects of being a woman, with her role as Ingrid in ‘Raaiselkind’ proving how strong you often need to be as a mother and that no matter what people say, you will fight for your child.
Her role in ‘Susters’ depicted the relationships between sisters and the meaning of family. 7de Laan’s Paula van der Lecq was another female role filled with truth about being a unique, young woman growing up.
Being a real, everyday woman
Lawrenson says that, apart from being a mother and a wife, there are so many aspects to being a woman – especially a modern woman, without excluding stay-at-home moms. She says that all the various aspects of being a woman requires focus, discipline and balance.
“You need to know how to prioritise. You need to ensure that all the aspects in your life are attended to, which is sometimes difficult to balance.”
One of the biggest lessons Lawrenson has learned is to not stand back.
“Believe in who you are and stay true to it.”
She says that women are often expected to stand back when opportunities arise or when opinions are required, but that as a woman you need to move forward even when others don’t believe in you.
As a working mom, she says: “We all struggle with balance.”
She says that sometimes your work requires more of your time; other times it is your children and sometimes it is just all at once.
“I made the decision long ago that when everything requires my attention at the same time, my children always come first.”
Lawrenson says that it is only when she has ensured that her family is well and taken care of that she is able to focus on other things.
Diaan Lawrenson on being a mom
To be a mom is… the best thing that ever happened to me.
The last time I cried was when my child… was sad.
My advice for other moms would be to… breathe.
My favourite part of being a mom is… the things I learn from my children.
The biggest challenge of being a mom is… to let your children discover their own personalities without any fixed ideas.
My and Jody’s success as parents is measured against… the happiness in our home.
The most important affirmation I tell my kids every day is… to do their best and to not compare themselves with others.
The most important attitude I try to show my children is… empathy and respect.
My work-life balance is… my diary.