Mzansi Celebs

Penny Lebyane speaks about fighting criticism in the industry

Despite now being one of the most well-known personalities in the entertainment industry, Penny Lebyane had to fight to make her mark in the industry, including battling a barrage of criticism that at one point led to her breaking down and doubting her abilities.

“I spent a lot of time questioning myself and my behaviour and saying: ‘I have got to stop that’. That chipped away at a lot of who I am and so I had to rework (on myself),” Penny said.

Penny Lebyane

She said that these episodes contributed, in part, to her developing postnatal depression after the birth of her son.

Speaking to Sunday Times in June, Penny described how her “world crumbed” during this time.

The host of’s Sunrise breakfast show told Gareth Cliff that she had been labelled loud, too opinionated and even unladylike as she tried to break into the industry.

“I try to speak to a lot of young people who are coming up and try to affirm them because I didn’t get a lot of that and that made me doubt myself. Maybe it was a women thing and I didn’t know how to interpret it. I was told that I have too many opinions and that I was unladylike. Theses were senior people who were supposed to be guiding me. They broke me at some point because I started doubting and questioning myself. I then started comparing myself to women they would chose over me,” she said.

She said that these criticisms made her feel like she had done something wrong and led to her sometimes crying over why she was not being accepted by certain people in the industry


“I’m a hyperactive A-type personality and I had everything organised. But my world crumbled when I had a breakdown and had to be admitted for treatment. My biggest fear was the media backlash,” she said.

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