Leading lady Kgomotso Christopher is hoping third time will be a charm with her latest South African Film and Television Award (Safta) nomination.
The vivacious 39-year-old actress has been nodded in the Best Actress in a Soap category yet again – and has walked empty-handed the last two times. But with a year that was full of superb storylines, emotional range and nuanced acting for her portrayal of Scandal! vixen Yvonne Thebe, she looks like a lock in the race.
Christopher will duke it out against Isibaya heroine Nomzamo Mbatha and Uzalo villainess Dawn Thandeka King on March 2, in Sun City.
She was nominated last year for the same role but lost out to Jo-Anne Reyneke. For her role as Katlego Sibeko in Isidingo, Christopher lost out to Masasa Mbangeni in 2015.
“It’s always an honour. Any nomination, it’s always great to be acknowledged by your industry and peers,” she says coyly.
“I always say it’s up to the universe and, of course, the judges who will ultimately decide on whose work is worthy of the gong. We never know, maybe third time is a charm.”
Christopher kicked off her con artist role on the e.tv soapie two years ago and instantaneously became a fan favourite as she wreaked havoc. Many of her naysayers thought she would fail since she came from a high-profile role on Isidingo, but she reinvented herself and proved them wrong.
“It’s always so humbling to receive such an acknowledgment, especially for a character that’s so new,” she recounts.
“The character was already written and very differently from anything I have ever played.
“The script they wrote was in full Sesotho. I’m not a Mosotho [she’s Tswana] so it was fantastic because people got to see a different range of my work.”
Her chemistry with her leading men on the show, Jerry Mofokeng wa Makhetha, Hlomla Dandala, Tshepo “Howza” Mosese and Bongile Mantsai is what has left audiences begging for more.
“I’m the least method actor you will find in this country. Ironically, it seems like I’m very method,” she observes.
“I’m one of those strange actors that, before a traumatic crying scene, I can be found laughing and joking around before the camera rolls.”
Christopher’s fascinating 20year acting career kicked off as a starry-eyed ingénue on the set of Backstage at age 20. While her career was just peaking, she dropped everything, packed her bags and moved to New York to obtain her master’s degree in acting at Ivy League institution Colombia University.
“I don’t know how I achieved such a feat, because I don’t come from a wealthy family,” she says. That put me on a path of so many blessings to follow when I returned home, such as being a lecturer at Wits University.”
After living six years abroad, Christopher moved back home in 2008, but she says the industry didn’t receive her well. Her lead role in drama series 4Play: Sex Tips for Girls in 2010 became her first big role that cemented her undeniable comeback.
“I had lost all my time, so the industry didn’t receive me. Who am I?” she remembers.
“I would go to auditions and I was told ‘your time is up’. I remember top producers telling me that ‘people your age are far away, you can’t be thinking of starting now’.”
In November she and husband, Calvin, celebrate their 15th wedding anniversary.
“I don’t think there is ever a secret to the success of a marriage. Every person’s relationship is different,” she advises.
“I have a very open, honest and communicative partnership. We are very supportive of each other’s dreams.”
The couple is proud parents to two children – daughter Larona, 11, and son Lesika, 9.