INTRO: Cape Town City Ballets Principal ballerina Megan Swart is a modern day princess who lives a fairy tale life in Constantia. Dawn Kennedy was invited into her charmed circle.
Copy: Megan’s impeccable taste permeates every aspect of her life. Her home is drop dead gorgeous and designed for theatrical effect. One expects ballerinas to leap from behind the long drop white curtains and jette across the oak parquet floors.
Her fantasy is to open a French salon where bespoke clients would quaff French champagne and oysters while models parade the latest design. She bewails the fact that in South Africa she can never find the desirable items that she lusts after in magazines. “I shop overseas or have clothes made by my wonderful tailor. I’d like to start my own line of one off pieces. I like the classic look: – Chanel, Lanvin, and Balenciaga.”
Naturally, such good taste doesn’t come cheap. “I’m all about high maintenance.” I’m just a consumer at heart.” She jokes.
But Megan is far from frivolous. “I like to think of myself as an intellectual. I’m an avid reader. If forced to choose between my looks and my brain, I’d choose my brain. Your brain can make you anything you want to be. You can keep redefining yourself. Looks die. If you are intelligent people see more of you every time they look because there’s plenty of you to see.”
When Megan was younger, she admits that, like most dancers, she had a weight obsession. “Now I’m happy with my body and it’s easier to maintain weight.” Megan’s secret is moderation in everything. “Self-discipline is good but if you deny yourself the good things in life you become bitter and small.”
“I’m a real princess,” confesses Megan. “I like to look good but I don’t fiddle – I’m not at all vain. I go to work in a tracksuit, looking like a bag lady.” This is open to dispute – she’s changed into comfortable gear after our photo shoot and looks just as stunning as she did in her designer label dress form London.
Life hasn’t been only sugar, spice, and all things nice for Megan. Her father died in tragic accident when she was three, leaving her mother to raise her and her brother. “I attended Kingsmead College in Johannesburg. All my peers were from wealthy backgrounds. My mum is a wonderful woman who made me feel very special and gave me everything that I needed. She struggled, but never let it show. The word no never came into my childhood and it was instilled in me that I could do anything I wanted. That left me a little up in the clouds but also made me each for the stars.”
Off-course, every Princess must have a Prince charming and she lives with fiancé Keith, a futures and equities trader with RIK Cadiz and Co. “He’s macho, with rugged good looks but he has a sensitive, feminine side. He treats me like gold. I don’t think anybody could love anybody more than he loves me. I’m unbelievably lucky.”
The couple have a busy social life. “Keith has thousands of close friends- more than any other person I have ever known. We love to invite our favourite friends over to enjoy the magnificent view over the greenbelt. I’m a tree person and not into the ocean. I could never live on the other side. Keith loves the Weber. We love Thelma SA(checking name) – We buy cases of it.
The couple met when Megan was 19 and because she doesn’t believe in getting married young they have postponed the big day, which, naturally, will be a grand affair. They definitely plan to have children. “I think it’s very important for r a woman to be a mother. Artistic women tend to be quite self absorbed and children make you selfless.”
So has Megan managed to get tit all together? “I know it’s a cliché but I love that Book, The Secret, and I believe that what you visualise will be yours. Right now, I’m visualising being the dancer I’ve always dreamed of being. I’m also visualising just being satisfied, but with my personality that not easy. I’m very competitive and nothing is ever enough. As soon as I’ve achieved one goal, there’s something else to reach for. It’s difficult to strive and be content but I’m never depressed or upset. I’m a bit of a Pollyanna and when something I don’t like happens, I play the glad game and imagine it to my advantage. The only thing that upsets me is when I know I can do better and I’m not given the chance.”
The life of s ballerina is exacting, a constant striving for perfection. Megan rehearses 5 days a week, often from 10-6pm. 10-6. No wonder that the four-week vacation is a highlight in her life. “I pack everything in. I love Africa but as Keith says, the only stars I will sleep under are five stars. I love Tinga at the Kruger and Hamilton’s tented camp. A memorable trip was visiting the Victoria Falls in the dry season. I also loved a cruise along the Nile and stopping at the Old Cataract hotel, where they filmed death on the Nile. We often holiday in Mauritius. We hire a car and travel around the island, eating at the local Mauritian restaurants.
Little black book
Looking good is important to Megan. To keeps her skin glowing she has natural fruit acid peels with anti-aging specialist Dr Alec Nicolic in Wynberg 021-797 0960. She likes to unwind and pamper herself with a full-body massage and sauna at Paris Spa at Cellars Hohenort 021-794-5434
Regular treats are part of her daily life. Her Favourite spot to relax Jonkershuis restaurant at Groot Constantia 021 -794 6255 which she likes to visit with her mum and her mum’s longhaired daschund Rupert.
She practices Pilates to keep her core strong and works out at her mother’s Pilates studio in Newlands (number to follow)
Most of her favourite purchases were made overseas. She adores shoes and her favourites are a pair of light tan thigh high Bally boots and a pair of prized Botttega Veneta evening shoes.
JPG 41 A ballerina in her boudoir.
Jpg42 How can you stand it? Megan can stand on point for hours.
Jpg 43 Ballet shoes must fit like a glove
Jpg44-47 Chiselled cheekbones and wide- open eyes are perfect for the stage.
Jpg 50-52 s
Jpg 56-59 Megan’s favourite role is Giselle because of her purity of soul.
Jpg 64-73 Ta-Da: Megan makes an entrance
Jpg 74-75 Megan’s beauty is classical and timeless.