She normally lives in a world of make-believe as an actress. But there's no acting when it comes to her new role as a pastor.
On TV, she played the role of Sonti, sister to Mapitsi who recently got married to Tbose Maputla on SABC 1 soapie Skeem Saam.
In real life, actress and model Pearl Maimela Nikolic (29) has accepted her calling to become a pastor. She gave her first sermon at Triumphant Church International, Sandton this August after six months of working on her dream.
Pearl grew up in a Christian home and the progression to being a pastor was smooth.
“My grandparents are both pastors. I’ve always had the church foundation in me. But it's recently that I thought the things of the world needed to take a back seat while I prioritise my spirituality," Pearl says. “I had been avoiding the gift, but everything has its season, and this was my season to focus on my calling.”
It was daily life challenges that pushed her to do follow her path.
“Nothing major happened, just small challenges of life; losing friends, betrayal of friendships is just some of the things that led me into taking this road,” she says.
“I had just joined the praise and worship team at church, and it opened my heart to adapting more. I wanted more for myself and my spirituality.”
In February, she took the leap of faith and received mentorship from Pastor David Mosa John from Triumphant Church International.
“I am very fortunate to be under the guidance of Pastor David Mosa John. He put me on a leadership program, where we had a daily meeting, he mentored me and taught me to constantly meditate on the bible. I am very grateful to have received teachings from a highly esteemed man of God with patience.”
Daily she learns bible scriptures and prepares sermons.
“Daily, I am tasked with the responsibility of learning the bible because I have taken it upon myself to be God's spokesperson and I need to make sure that I speak on facts. I need to stay humble myself before God and have humility at all times.”
Pearl lives by the scripture, Jeremiah 1:5 which says, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’ “It was just a matter of time, before embarking on this journey,” she says.
Before becoming a pastor, Pearl says she needed to practice discipline. The mom of two boys, who are nine years and 18 months, and a housewife had to make a few lifestyle changes.
“I had to adjust to being disciplined, making time for the word of God. I have always been a housewife, taking care of my family and this just completes the whole journey and lifestyle. I learned that this is a lifestyle and not a journey which comes to an end.”
Her husband, who is also Christian, has been supportive through this time.
“I am so grateful to have someone understanding and lets me be myself,” she says.
Pearl studied mechanical engineering before joining the SA State theatre as a stage manager in 2010. She has worked on big productions like Kalushi and The Rivonia trial before auditioning for Skeem Saam.
She joined Skeem Saam in 2011 and was there until 2017 and her role of Sonti had many misfortunes.
“Sonti had gone through a lot. She became bankrupt, her ideas were stolen and recipes that could have created an empire for her were stolen by her ex, Lehasa who was playing her. She had to go back home with her tail behind her legs but recently appeared for her sister's wedding.”
Pearl loves acting and wishes to get more acting roles. She also recently joined one of South Arica’s biggest modeling agencies, Boss Models.
“I am excited about doing more modeling work,” she says. Balancing motherhood and being a pastor is not easy but she is willing to make it work.
"I also have an NGO where we focus on community development skills and donating food parcels for disadvantage. The mission is to open a library in Kwamhlanga in Mpumalanga. This is one of my goals to help better my hometown."