Johannesburg - Actor Terry Pheto is living her best life – all the stars are aligning, taking her towards her ultimate dream after a decade of hard work.
This week, as Pheto and her fans were celebrating her Black Reel Awards for Television nomination, she was announced as the most nominated actor at the 4th International Achievement Recognition Awards, which recognise the work of extraordinary positive role models who have excelled within their respective industries.
The event takes place in London on 2 September.
Pheto received three nominations: best actress; best international actress for her role in A United Kingdom; and best actress – TV or drama for her role in Black Entertainment Television’s Madiba miniseries.
She was also nominated for her role in Madiba at the Black Reel Awards in the outstanding actress category, which will take place in August.
The Tsotsi star will be up against the likes of Sanaa Lathan, Loretta Devine, Oprah Winfrey and Nia Long.
She said the nominations felt surreal.
“Being nominated alongside women I grew up watching – and who I still watch today – is amazing. For my name to even be mentioned alongside Oprah’s is amazing. But it’s all God’s plan,” she said.
She described this year as “a whirlwind experience”. She is also celebrating being home with her family.
“My mum and my sisters are so proud of all my accomplishments, and have the same amount of excitement every single time. Mostly, they are just happy to see that I’m happy.”
This has been a year of international acknowledgement for Pheto.
Earlier this year, she won the best supporting actress award at the National Film Awards UK for her role in A United Kingdom, and also joined Swiss luxury watch company Longines as a brand ambassador.
“From day one, the plan was to do what I love and find meaningful roles that are challenging yet rewarding.
"All these nominations that I’m receiving give me a great feeling – it’s validating,” said Pheto from her home in Johannesburg.
'They saw something'
She said being part of an industry that can be chock-full of rejection was difficult, but the test was in the patience that one had because the highs could be very high – like she’s experiencing now – and the lows extremely low.
“When the judges at these awards watched the films, you need to realise that those people had no clue who I was.
"The name Terry Pheto doesn’t mean anything to them – as Nia Long or Oprah Winfrey would.
"In no way could my name possibly influence them to add me to their list of nominees. They saw something and, to me, that is overwhelming and very humbling.
“Who would have thought that a girl from the Vaal would one day be nominated in the same category as the likes of Oprah Winfrey, and lead with the most nominations on internationally recognised award platforms like the International Achievement Recognition Awards?” asked an excited Pheto.
When I asked what her ultimate dream is, she immediately said:
“To be part of the process and work with these actors I’m up against, and eventually be able to co-produce with Oprah … I’m putting it out into the universe!”