Over the years, Danilo Acquisto has made a name for himself as one of the greatest presenters on South African television. He won a place in our hearts during his time on Hectic Nine-9 and after winning SABC 3’s presenter search back in 2015, he’s been keeping us company every weekday on Afternoon Express. We catch up with the talented presenter and discuss everything from Afternoon Express, his new appointment as CEO of Special Effects Media South Africa and his obsession with living a healthy lifestyle.
You’ve become quite one of the most formidable presenters on TV at the moment. How do you think you have grown since SABC’s presenter search?
Wow! Thank you. It feels so undeserved – I have just kept my head down and tried to produce my best work. I think my growth has been since I have presented Hectic Nine-9. I have become a more well-rounded presenter, more mature, less worried about what people think of me and I think I have started coming into my own.
Afternoon Express is incredibly popular. Why do you think so many people keep tuning in?
We have the most fun! It’s a show that is so dynamic that the FOMO sets in because you just can’t miss out on each episode – there is something fascinating every day and we never stand still. I often get fans of the show approaching me to tell me how grateful they are that ‘every day there is something new’. We bring the best guests, we ask the hard questions, we make delicious food and we have fun while we do it.
You were recently appointed as the CEO of Special Effects Media South Africa. What sparked your interest in getting involved in this exciting program?
I am 26 and have long been involved with traditional media, but at the same time digital media has always interested me in a big way. I need to keep investing in the future of broadcasting – which is shifting toward digital in a big way. Many don’t know this about me but I am a serial entrepreneur – always looking for ways to add value, plug gaps and change lives. The Hungarian team approached me to ask if I would be willing to partner with them on starting a local Multi Channel Network. I knew there was a need for it and I had the skill sets and so I jumped at the idea. And so Special Effects Media was born and I am so humbled to be able to captain the ship that is going to be changing the game and the way brands and creatives see YouTube and digital media. We have HUGE things planned!
You’re been on quite the fitness journey as well! Now that summer is nearing, what is your best piece of advice for those wanting to start living a healthier lifestyle?
Yeah, training for these triathlons has been such a great journey of self-discovery. Often I feel like I am just unable to achieve certain things and I felt that way about exercise for a long time. It took someone to push me beyond where I thought I could go to realise that my body is capable of so much more than I give it credit for. All it takes is the guts to push through and just get started – get uncomfortable. So my best piece of advice is to find someone to hold you accountable to your training. Sign up for a race (even a small one) and work towards something – give your training a purpose, otherwise there is nothing to keep you motivated and to do that extra sit up or extra lap around the field.
We’re obsessed with your fashion sense! What inspires your fashion choices lately?
I used to wear board shorts and silly printed T-shirts. It’s a miracle that I am now so fashion conscious. But, I think it took one person to push me out of my comfort zone to realise that fashion is about clothes, and style is about how you wear it. I have been working hard at owning myself and playing around with fashion more. I keep pushing my own personal boundaries and I only buy quality, while always accepting advice from people who I admire in the fashion space.
Tell us a bit about who Danilo Acquisto is once the cameras stop rolling.
I am just a regular guy who loves Jesus and just wants to live a great life – leaving no stone unturned. I have an older brother living in London with his wife and they are giving birth to their first son soon. My mother is in education and my dad is a coffee lover and has been in hospitality for most of his life. I was always the reject kid with not much ambition. I was ADD, medicated and always felt like I was never good enough. I only really came into my own at varsity when I realised I was completely normal and just a bit too creative for school. My hobbies include hiking, exercising, cooking, drinks or dinners with friends and family, starting businesses and creative projects… Remember, though, that I have made some of my hobbies my work. I see work as fun and I love most aspects of my professional career. Give me ice cream, a foreign location and a sunset and you will have me eating out of the palm of your hand.
You’re also a presenter on Good Hope FM. How different is the presenting approach on radio to that of TV?
Radio was how I got into TV. It’s such a different medium in the sense that TV requires all of your attention – your face, your voice, your body, everything! Radio requires your voice alone and you are MUCH more hands on with content production, delivery, technical, music, flow etc. On TV you are one member of a HUGE team. I love them both but TV and radio require very different skills.
What else can we expect from you over the next few months?
I am working very hard at the moment on many social and businesses ventures. I will be working a lot more with the homeless. I will also be working hard on Special Effects Media and my clients. We are going to change the way brands and creatives see YouTube. That’s my biggest venture. I am also considering venturing into podcasting and content creation.