Johannesburg – SA born actress Jenique Hendrix had everyone talking when she hit the big screen to star alongside the likes of Mark Wahlberg and John Malkovich in Hollywood blockbuster Mile 22.
The film, which debuted in SA cinemas on 7 September, follows the life of elite intelligence officer James Silva (played by Mark Wahlberg) who, with the help of a top-secret tactical team, must smuggle a foreign intelligence asset from Southeast Asia to an airfield 22 miles away.
A task that proves even more difficult when Silva and his team members find themselves going up against the military in a race against time.
Speaking to The Juice, Jenique opened up about her role in the film and what it was like working with John Malkovich.
“I was blessed to be on set with John Malkovich for nearly a week, this was truly like a masterclass to me. He plays the role of Bishop, and overlooks this entire high stakes mission involving international espionage and covert forces. I play the role of Knight, one of 5 'chess pieces' (Rook, Pawn, King, and Queen).
"We are a highly trained group of top-secret operatives, the CIA's most highly prized unit - Overwatch. We are only activated for missions such as this one, we are sort of like the 'Avengers' of the US Government. We are the eyes and ears in the sky and all around the operation. I have the ability to be five steps ahead of the enemy at all times.”
Portraying a strong character was important for the local actress.
“Often times women aren't depicted as such in film, so this was an honour to say the least. As a motivational speaker for women and the youth, these roles are important, and it's lovely to witness more and more of it in film and TV,” she explains.
Having relocated to the States at the age of 15 along with her family, Jenique went on to attend the School of Arts in Rochester, New York.
With this being her first feature film, the star admits being on set was a little daunting in the beginning.
She says: “I'm not going to lie, it was incredibly intimidating at first because everyone on set had huge resumes, and a ton of credits. I was standing in a room full of hustle and bustle and the crowd was parted like the red sea as Peter Berg [the director] came to me, touched my bald head with a smile and hugged me, he then thanked me for being there. It was in that moment that I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I earned my position here, and his kind heart reflected exactly that.”
And though she may call America home for the time being, Jenique says she does plan to visit South Africa in the future and maybe even buy a house here.
“I do believe I have much work to do in South Africa. I'm a motivational speaker and my purpose is to uplift the youth and women, I will do my work at home once I've established myself in my career and have a platform for the work I've been called to do. I may own a home in South Africa one day, but the world is my home.”
As for what the actress has got planned for the future, she says for now it’s all about working hard to grow in the industry.
“This is my craft, however, I take it incredibly seriously. I strive to be the woman known for more than what meets the eye, I’m deep like that and I know what I bring to the table. I work really hard, and live in a way that attracts all that I seek – manifest destiny! So just keep your eyes peeled, don’t forget my name. This proudly South African gal has got a whole lot to give the world, and I plan to take everything that I came for.”
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: