Scandal! and MTV Shuga actress Stephanie Sandowns is at the International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam, and sat down with Oscar award-winning actress, Charlize Theron to talk about how TV and film can be used to advance HIV and AIDS awareness.
Speaking to The Juice, Stephanie - who played Tsholo on the explosive TV drama, Shuga - said that she was invited to attend the conference as part of the MTV team.
The annual International AIDS Conference is the largest conference on global health or development issues in the world.
"It's overwhelming. I've been to conferences and workshops, but never ever on this magnitude. Also in terms of delegates and guests. It was so overwhelming and nerve-wrecking at first but I've just been learning so much from all the seminars, that I just want to bring back home," says the 26-year-old.
Stephanie portrayed the role of Tsholo on Shuga in 2017. Her story-line tackled the issue of transaction sex, when Tsholo entered a relationship with a blesser who gave her things in return for sex.
Following her role on the TV drama, Stephanie has been involved in several causes in an effort to end abuse against women.
Speaking about her experience at the conference thus far, she says: "I have been attending quite a few of the seminars, once again it's just been so overwhelming, because there is this wealth of knowledge and information that you get in on a constant basis and you're trying to keep up."
"It's been quite a ride and I've been so fortunate to do some great interviews, not just moderating," she adds.
At the conference the former Scandal! had the opportunity to meet with the CTAOP founder and UN Messenger of Peace, Charlize Theron, saying that it has been the highlight of her time at the conference.
About the interview she says: "It was such an amazing experience. She was just great. That was probably the highlight so far, in terms of the interviews that I've done. I had dry mouth for the first few moments, I forgot the English language. She is so tall, and I am so short. As the interview carried on I realised that she is so down-to-earth, humble and passionate."
"Sometimes we have interviews and it's so static, but she is so passionate about what she is doing with her foundation and the partnership that she has with the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and because she is so passionate, it really just makes it so much easier to talk to her, not just about the epidemic as there is so many other things to talk about."
Among the many things that they spoke about include, masculinity, patriarchy and adolescent girls, HIV, abuse and women's violence.
"We spent a lot of time finding out how we could integrate film and TV with the message that we are trying to portray, and the legacy she wants to leave behind," she says.
Stephanie has also been spending time with several ministers and youth leaders from Nigeria and Kenya, focusing on how effective the film and TV industry is in changing attitudes and behaviours of young people.
The youth advocate - who is passionate about promoting discussion surrounding gender based violence in Africa - will deliver a talk on Friday, and expects between 4000 and 6000 to attend.
Her discussion will centre on how the media, social media and telling stories can be used to get through to young people.
Stephanie's aim is to give young girls a voice and making sure that they are heard. "They need to know how strong and powerful they are," she says.
Source: The Juice