Emmys give Kim Engelbrecht a nod for her role on MNet's hit drama series, Reyka

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Kim Engelbrecht has been nominated for the Emmy Awards in the best actress category.
Kim Engelbrecht has been nominated for the Emmy Awards in the best actress category.

She’s done it again.

Kim Engelbrecht has put on another award-worthy performance, this time for her role as Reyka Gama on Mnet.

Kim has been nominated in the best actress category of the Emmy Awards and the show is also nominated in the best drama series category. In the same category are fan favourites like Lupin, Narcos: Mexico, and Vigil. 

Kim played the lead in the show.

“Reyka has a fantastic story. It’s about a girl who was taken from her single mother when she was 12 years old, she escapes her capturer years later,” she told Drum ahead of the series premier.

“She then grows up to be a criminal profiler and she has her own daughter.

“The story is heavy, yet so captivating and it's directed and edited so well that after the first episode you are sucked in, and you just want to know what will happen next because of the cliffhanger. It is a very intense, graphic and disturbing story that has been done so beautifully,” she explains. 

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“I think everybody has a story, and it's not just one story, it is many stories joined together and mixed into one,” she says.

“This show is great because they have taken time to focus on one person and you can see the layers of her life and it makes you see life through her eyes.

“The truth is, everyone is messed up and trying to get by. Reyka’s focus is to make sure she does right by the victims and closes each case. If that means she must show her vulnerability, then so be it,” Kim shares.

The star-studded cast includes Iain Glen, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Thando Thabethe, Hamilton Dhlamini, Mavuso Simelane, Nokuthula Mavuso, Kenneth Nkosi and Desmond Dube.

The eight-part production is shot in KwaZulu-Natal and Johannesburg. The series was distributed globally by Fremantle.

Speaking on her latest accolade, Kim is beyond excited.

“This nomination means so much more than you could ever imagine.”

“This serves as validation to our entire Reyka team that hard work and commitment does not go unnoticed. Congratulations Team Reyka. I saw a quote this morning: ‘You can get to where you want to go from exactly where you are.’ Thank you to the International Emmys for the incredible nomination. Thank you for the opportunity to share our show with the world. South Africa has so many stories to tell.”

Kim is just the fifth African actress to be nominated for the International Emmy, after Egyptian Menna Shalabi (Every Week On A Friday) in 2021, Thuso Mbedu (Is’thunzi) in 2017 and 2018, and Lerato Mvelase in 2010 and Brenda Ngxoli in 2007 for Home Affairs. Thuso has gone on to star in The Underground Railroad and The Woman King to international acclaim.  

At the 2022 SAFTAs, Reyka won four Golden Horns: Best Actress (Engelbrecht), Directing (Catharine Cooke and Zee Ntuli), Scriptwriting (Dickson), and Cinematography (Tom Marais).

It was also nominated for TV Drama, Best Actor (Hamilton Dlamini), Editing (Melanie Jankes Golden and Matthew Swanepoel), and Make-Up and Hairstyling (Theola Booyens). 

Kim won her first SAFTA when she played Lolly on Isidingo, a role she praises for propelling her career.

She played a cutthroat journalist who always uncovered stories in Horizon Deep. Although Isidingo is no more, viewers will never forget their Lolly.

She has built a solid career for herself in the US and says playing Lolly helped her career.

“I basically grew up on Isidingo because I started as a teenager and Lolly grew up, and lived a full life, even getting married. I am a product of the SABC,” she laughs.

She says, sometimes, viewers will wonder whatever happened to a certain actor and the truth is that they are working but people might not always know because the work is done on different platforms like theatre, and not the small screen.

Since leaving Isidingo in 2015, she has worked on shows like Dominion, The Flash, Bulletproof. 

Kim says working abroad has been a blessing, but she was never really fixated on it.

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“I was always of the view that if it happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t then it’s also ok.”

She is proud to be counted among several talented South African actresses who are doing well overseas.

“I think social media has allowed people to get a glimpse of the work people are doing overseas in real-time. 

“There are actors who have done great work and people will say they were working quietly, but I think there are always stars, it's just that there was no spotlight on them. I mean how amazing are Terry Pheto or Charlize Theron?

“I think it is great for South Africans to show their ability to perform at an international level and see how great they are when given a chance,” she says.

Young actresses like Thuso Mbedu and Nomzamo Mbatha are also making big career moves, each securing roles alongside stars like Viola Davis and Bruce Willis.

For the different American shows she has been part of, she has had to learn an accent and it’s not easy.

“I think it’s quite tough to get an accent. I do a lot of training on the shows and personally too. 

“I think it is great to be able to do different accents as an actor. You get to sound like someone completely different.”

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