A familiar face to soap opera fans, Vredehoek actress Dorette Potgieter will be lighting up cinema screens as one of the main characters in Thys & Trix, an Afrikaans action comedy being released nationwide tomorrow, Friday June 22.
Ms Potgieter plays the role of Chandré Wolmarans Janse van Rensburg who, together with her husband, André, are considered the alpha couple in an exclusive golf estate where a crime syndicate is operating.
The movie follows siblings and eager yet helpless police officers Thys & Trix – Bouwer Bosch and Leandie du Randt Bosch – who are drawn into the investigation.
Ms Potgieter has been acting since the tender age of 5 and lived in Europe for two years where, she says, she “pretended” to be a model and was rather successful at it. She came back in 1997 and joined Egoli as Susan Bosmann and has been gracing our television screens since. Some local television series she has worked on include Voete van Goud, Soutmansland, Villa Rosa, Hard Copy, Plek van die Vleisvreeters, Rhythm City, Vloeksteen I & II and as the Glitterati talk show host.
Ms Potgieter has a Master’s degree in Live Performance from AFDA and is currently teaching this to postgraduate students at the institution.
She describes her character in Thys & Trix as being larger-than-life. “There’s nothing small or subtle about her. She can afford to buy taste and her house is as big as her ego,” said Ms Potgieter.
The character’s husband is well-put together and they host great parties. She said they don’t take life seriously and people will wonder about the façade they are putting on for the world.
Ms Potgieter said she’s nothing like Chandré but shares her need for connection and can only relate to her on an energetic level.
Touching on challenges she has faced as an actress, Ms Potgieter said it has been difficult for her 8-year-old daughter to pack up her life and join her when she needs to go somewhere to earn money.
She is a single mother who needs opportunities that will not uproot her little girl’s life. She said she has declined offers in the last year because they would have taken her away from her daughter for a long time.
“I have to be a mother, a caregiver, breadwinner and I need to be creative and be able to cover bills, last year alone she was in three different schools, three different provinces, with three different groups of people and friends so it must be hard and unsettling for her but I try to make the best.”
Ms Potgieter said she didn’t audition for this role but was approached by the producer. She said she was extremely grateful to be working with a wonderful and supportive team, which respects its craft.
In her efforts to give back to the community, Ms Potgieter is currently working with the Department of Correctional Services to try and help young prisoners rebuild their lives through film-making and story-telling.
She said when she started her career in this industry, she lacked information, support, vision and just people acknowledging her passion.
Now she wants to use the industry as a platform to help create spaces for other people.
She said the industry needs great writers and storytellers and she believes that prisoners have many untold stories.
As a trained relationship facilitator, Ms Potgieter, together with the SA Film Academy, aim to make a significant contribution with the skills training and development programme at Pollsmoor for correctional services in South Africa, assisting the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into society and the economy.
She said she plans to focus on this project for the next seven years.