Celebrating HERITAGE MONTH, we thought we’d pay tribute to TERRY PHETO, and throw it back to our first cover interview. (full article click on link – Style Africa ORIGINS edition magazine)
When African actress Moitheri “Terry” Pheto calls herself a leading lady, she’s talking about more than her film and television career. She sat down with STYLE AFRICA to talk about why her humble, yet proud, origins have inspired her to spend the next decade paying it forward.
Most South Africans are aware of Terry Pheto’s accolades because they are undoubtedly phenomenal. She achieved international acclaim for her debut performance in Tsotsi, South Africa’s first Oscar – winning film. This was quiclkly followed by impressive roles in a string of films and TV dramas, a recurring role in one of the world’s most popular syndicated television programs (The Bold and the Beautiful) and a number of endorsements, including a highly coveted position as spokesperson and Face of L’Oréal Paris.
Born and raised in the Vaal, Terry had to overcome hurdles from an early age. Like many South African families, social and economic hardships meant that her family lived in relative poverty. Despite her bleak surroundings, Terry was encouraged to strive for a better life, something she seized when an opportunity arose to move to Johannesburg, to pursue an acting career.
Leaving her family behind, Terry moved into a one-room dwelling in Soweto, which she shared with a stranger. She enrolled in a local theatre group, where leading casting agent Moonyeenn Lee spotted her. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Though she’s aware of an embellished rags-to-riches version of her story doing the rounds, she is still passionate about telling her version, “I try to tell that story over and over again,” she says. “There’s always a Hollywood story, and it’s always dramatic.” The problem with the embellished Hollywood version of her story is that it undermines the drive and creativity that has underpinned her success. She wasn’t plucked from obscurity and thrown onto a red carpet – she put in the work.
Terry takes every opportunity to showcase and celebrate South African talent and fashion.
I got the chance to wear local designers like David Tlale, Gert Johan Coetzee and Marianne Fassler, who has always been the leading lady of design in my life. There are some amazing pieces. I like to see African fashion in a global light. There is more to us than leopard skin and beads.”Terry Pheto
Keeping her cultural identity alive comes easily;
I love to eat. I love to cook. And as a South African, I think having the spirit of ubuntu wherever I go is definitely part of celebrating my heritage.Terry Pheto
Though she has a positive outlook, Terry admits that it hasn’t always been easy.
For a very long time I felt bad and felt guilty for everything that I achieved. I felt like I wasn’t worthy, because of where I come from. I had to forgive myself. There is nothing wrong with me. There is nothing wrong with coming from where I come from, being where you are today and wanting more. I had to stop apologising for my success. If you’re going to ask for something, and not celebrate it, you are letting God down.Terry Pheto
…read the full article in Style Africa ORIGINS edition magazine
PRODUCTION Style Africa TEXT Joseph Torline STYLING Asanda Sizani HAIR Alet Viljoen MAKEUP Algria Ferreira COVER IMAGE Coat by KlukCGDT