EXCLUSIVE: It's all a dream come true- Terry Pheto

By Molife Kumona
14 July 2017

Terry says it has been a surreal past couple of days

Actress Terry Pheto was recently nominated for three awards at the International Achievement Recognition Awards (IARA) and one at the Black Reel Awards. We chatted to the star about the nominations, her plans for the future, and asked her for her advice to young people.

Congrats on your nominations Terry!

Thank you so much! It has been a surreal past couple of days. I feel so happy, grateful and validated by the nominations I have received and the love people have been sending me. I am really really excited! It's all a dream come true.

And this is straight after the news that you have joined the Longines family as brand ambassador. How did that partnership happen?

Well Longines has friends of the brand across the globe and they approached me to be part of the family. I was and still am happy about the partnership.

Just before you got the Longines partnership, you were in London for a while, what was happening there?

I was shooting an indie film - it was the first time I worked on a film based in the UK. It was an amazing experience and I got to work with a really amazing cast and crew. It was a great follow-up to my win for Best Supporting Actress at the UK National Film Awards earlier this year for my role in A United Kingdom. I was pretty chuffed by it.

Your career has been on an upward trajectory since you started. Is it strategy or has God and the universe lead you in the right direction?

A strategy or a plan can only take you so far. God and the universe usually take you further than you want to go. That's what it is. Yes, I have always had a plan and a strategy but I have always trusted God to lead me. And He hasn't disappointed so far.

Has the road been difficult?

It hasn't been easy, but I have learned what I needed to and stayed to my plan and the vision I have always had when I started.

What vision is that?

To play the type of women that inspire me and that I look up to. The type of characters that show the strength in being a woman. I have never changed direction, I have stayed on course throughout the 13 years I have been in this industry.

What would you say are some of the things you have learned?

Know when and how to walk away from projects. Trust in God's timing - not everything will happen in your time. Always be ready when the opportunity comes to you.

Speaking of being ready, how do you stay in 'shape' so to speak as an actress?

Just like an athlete, I train. I am an emotional athlete so I train often. I have an acting coach in South Africa and another in the US who help me train and master my craft.

With all this travelling and sometimes being away for months on a project, will you ever leave South Africa and move overseas?

The world is small and I am grateful to be able to work anywhere in the world. However, my answer to that is I will always be where the work is.

For the Black Reel Awards, you are nominated alongside Oprah Winfrey, Loretta Devine, Nia Long and Sanaa Lathan. How did you feel when you got that news?

I was gobsmacked! And here's why: I grew up watching most of these women on film and TV, and they made what I am doing now seem possible. To be nominated alongside them is such a great feeling. I am very happy about it.

So what would your advice be for young people who want to achieve the same level of success in their careers?

No matter what career they choose, here is my advice:

  • Always be ready to do the work.
  • Have a clear dream and plan that makes sense.
  • Follow your passion, don't fall prey to the pressures of what social media thinks success is, or what it says you should be doing. Follow your own road.
  • Stay in your lane, and just like a horse, keep your eyes on your goals.
  • Understand that your journey won't be the same as someone else and accept that.

Find Love!