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Sing, travel, see the world and get paid in dollars!

She left everything behind. Even her husband. Packed her bags and went on a six-month European tour while earning a salary. Now, singer and TV presenter Bianca Le Grange is back in SA. But not for long, she tells InBound SA Editor GAVIN PRINS.

Many Idols fans fell in love with Bianca Le Grange’s voice when she entered South Africa’s first Idols and reached the finals, where she got 4th place. But her musical career did not end there. She continued to sing and even hosted a few TV shows. After all, she comes from a musical family. Mom, Berenice is a music teacher. Dad, Keith, played the saxophone, and her siblings also played other musical instruments. 

Bianca, however, was destined for the limelight. Corporate performances and TV appearances followed, and she met and married her actor husband, David Johnson. 

“I have been in the entertainment industry for 21 years. And when Covid struck, work in South Africa dried up,” she tells us. “No matter how many jobs I took, I was just not making ends meet. My expertise, knowledge and experience were not landing me the big jobs. Terms like BBBEE were thrown around too much and no matter what I do, I will never be white enough or black enough.”

Cruising, she says, was something she wanted to do in her 20s, but an agent denied her the job opportunity. Years later, and with a lot more confidence, she auditioned and got a YES from Silversea Cruises to sing on one of their ships.

After a big family goodbye, she set sail on the luxurious Silver Nova, a brand new 728-passenger ship carrying 556 crew members exclusively for the wealthy. “The ship is so beautiful, and the guest areas are fabulous with top-of-the-range décor screaming opulence. We worked hard. So many drills keep you on your toes in case of emergency. You work long hours 7 days a week,” she says. And the best part? “You get paid in dollars, you travel and see the world.”

In September, a month after setting sail, the ship docked in Málaga, Spain (Painter Pablo Picasso’s birthplace), and it happened to be her birthday. “We spent a night in Málaga, so I decided to experience the nightlife.”

“I bought myself a sequinned dress for R15 000. I had to look good on the ship.”

Shopping, she says, was inevitable. Her most expensive purchase was in the Italian town of Portofino. “I bought myself a sequinned dress for R15 000. “I had to look good on the ship. And it was my birthday gift to myself.”

And so, she discovered 35 countries in just six months. She does not have a favourite country. “I can’t choose to be honest. I love the Mediterranean around Italy, Spain, and France. It was incredible – from the landscape to the food, the fashion and shopping. The people there are different. It was particularly strange that people just don’t speak English.”

On the ship, the food was spectacular. “The food was excellent, a selection of salads, proteins, and desserts. I was lucky enough to be invited to the guest’s restaurant, so I also got to taste the good stuff. Silversea offers top-notch cuisine.”

Whether top-notch or not, South Africans always miss something about home when they are abroad for long periods. “I missed biltong, I missed Woolies, I missed hearing birds and crickets. I really missed seeing trees and having 24-hour- internet. We only got 2 hours of internet a day.”

Bianca hopes to return to the ships, but this time with David. “I missed my husband. We plan to do this together.” IB

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