Starlet Zimkhitha Nyoka simply looks the part
Talented actress Zimkhitha Nyoka's plain-Jane looks are an asset that gets her roles.
In addition to her stellar performances on the small screen, the petite actress says she believes that in an industry that demands women to be a perfect 10, her simple look is the reason she keeps getting cast.
"I will not lie, when I was starting out I was like 'maybe I should try look more appealing and that will get me other sources of income', but then I thought the reason why I got hired was because of the way I looked, my simplicity and natural rural look.
"That is how I have always looked in all my characters and all my shows, so I thought if I ever tried to look like these perfect girls, I will lose out on these great parts," she says.
The Eastern Cape-born performer is currently the talk of the town, following the premiere of her latest drama Nkululeko, where she plays Sibulelo Nginda, the daughter of a well-known cop.
Set in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, Nkululeko centers around the life of Zwai, played by newcomer Aphiwe Mkefe and follows his life as a mathematics genius with ambitions of becoming an astronaut. However, his plans get derailed after he makes a careless mistake.
Though this is not her first big role since launching her career on SABC 1's drama Mutual Friends, featuring on Mzansi Magic's drama Isithembiso and revered producer Akin Omotoso's film Vaya, Nyoka says she is still afraid of reading reviews of her work.
"People can be very strong in their opinions, even about me. Sometimes it's the truth and you are just not ready to hear it, especially on Twitter. I believe if you are not ready you must stay away," she adds.
Nyoka says acting found her after a teacher at Indwe High School encouraged her to move to Lady Grey Arts Academy.
The 27-year-old former University of Johannesburg (UJ) student says her big break came in 2014 on Mutual Friends.
"They have a drama company at UJ. I was doing plays there and one of my colleagues said I must audition for the SABC drama," she says.
Nyoka says her acting abilities are constantly honed by directors she works with.
"I am inspired by people I work with, mostly directors because they can nurture you."
She refuses to reveal too much on her plans for the year ahead, but she says she is eyeing a role in an international movie.