Kim Engelbrecht

Kim Engelbrecht

It's astonishing to think that Kim Engelbrecht, now firmly established as a leading South African actress, never once thought she would be a household name when she was growing up.

From a small middle class family in Cape Town this 27-year-old started her career at the age of 12, playing the lead - Sara in the Italian production, 'Sarahsara' (based on the true-life story of a 12-year-old cripple girl of Sudanese decent, who swims the 35km challenge from the Isle of Capri to Napoli in Italy)

After school Engelbrecht worked at a local gym. "One day I was working there and this guy came in with a camera and crew. He was shooting something for Craz-E, a new television show, and he asked me to come and audition for it."

At just 18, Engelbrecht started her journey towards being one of South Africa's most well-known faces - spending nine months on the daily national programme on eTV before moving to Johannesburg in 1999 to host their flagship youth show, Take Five. Engelbrecht was chosen out of around five thousand girls. "I couldn't believe that I got through but it did mean moving to Johannesburg."

Engelbrecht remained part of Take Five until 2004 - but again, her ever-evolving destiny stepped in and in 2002 she auditioned for the role of Lolly, the controversial teenager on the SABC 3 soapie, Isidingo. Getting into the role presented a challenge for Englebrecht. "I remember the producers saying to me to stop trying so hard and just go with the character in the beginning.

During her years playing Lolly, Engelbrecht began spreading her wings, joining the Pure Monate Show to write and perform comedy, as well as taking on the role of Sadika, a lesbian dancer on the cop drama Zero Tolerance. Her film career also began moving in a more serious direction: she won the role of Nancy in the 2004 production of 'Twist', where she stepped into the shoes of a Cape Town Prostitute and lover of Bill Sykes and also appeared in the 2005 independent film,' The Flyer'.
The film that has done the most to reveal Engelbrecht's at times sublime ability to bring a character to life on the big screen is the multi-award winning 'Bunny Chow'. Directed by John Barker., the film is an examination of urban living in contemporary South Africa character.

Most recently, Engelbrecht has taken her ability to convey wild and conflicting emotions to the stage, starring as the troubled Scout in the South African version of Ben Elton's 'Popcorn' for which she earned a Naledi nomination for best new comer. Also playing Pettie Peters the lead in "Kroes". An Afrikaans piece based on a novel by Pat Stameteloos,which opened at the Suidooste fees this year.

"Acting is an ongoing learning experience and that is something I have learned to love."



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