Up Close and Personal with Sunet van Wyk- The actress who plays the racist antagonist in The White Line
Sunet van Wyk admits that taking the role of Anna-Marie, the racist antagonist in the upcoming Namibian feature film, The White Line was actually a really difficult decision.
Sunet says when she got the opportunity to take the role, she legit prayed and spent a lot of time considering whether or not she should take it.
“Obviously, there was a massive part of me that wanted to take the opportunity but because the story plays out in the apartheid years I was very cautious. I went back and forth within myself between taking the role and turning it down. I even contacted one of my acting coaches in Cape Town to ask his opinion,” Sunet says.
As a white person taking on the role, her biggest concern was mostly the fact that she would be playing a racist character with opinions and beliefs so far from her own. The storyline of the film plays out in the 1960s when Apartheid was still rife.
Sunet says she was scared that people would assume that she is similar to the character in real life.
“I really didn’t want people to get that impression from me,” the actress says.
She feels Namibia and the world at large needs to be unified and didn’t want to be part of something that would end up dividing people once again. However, she ended up taking the role when she realised that it isn’t a movie about apartheid, rather that of love.
The White Line is a love story that plays out within the context of Apartheid and it’s that love story that Sunet believes in. She says the story is about two people who found each other and fall in love regardless of the colour of their skin, their cultural or socio-economic backgrounds.
“I believe that love conquers all. I feel that if anything, I am hopeful that it will bring people together,” the bubbly actress says.
The film is Directed by first-time film director Desiree Kahikopo with a screenplay by musician and playwright, Micheal Pulse and stars Girley Jazama, Sunet van Wyk and Jan-Barend Scheepers.
Sunet sat down with Namib Insider to talk more on the ‘The White Line’, her vlogging hobby, acting and everything that makes Sunet, Sunet:
Q: Without revealing much, what is your favourite line the film?
A: As a short prelude to my favourite line, I would just like to say that funnily enough, the more I learned about my character and why she is the way she is, I slowly but surely started to enjoy her a little bit. Don’t get me wrong, not because she’s a good person, but because I just understood her motivation for everything a little more and began to realise that she’s not just doing the horrible things she’s doing for the sake of it, she’s got a lot of hurt from her childhood that influences who she is. She’s coming from a wounded place. She was also quite hilarious in that she’s just also so incredibly extra in everything she does! So I actually have a few favourite lines from my character in the film, but I guess if I had to pick my favourite one it would be:
“Oh hoeps! Daar gaan die De Wets al weer!” (Oh boy, there goes the De Wets, again.)
Q: What was is the ‘The White Line’ experience like for you?
A: Probably one of the best experiences to date. I see every project I work on as a learning experience where I try to take as much as I can from it and I honestly learned so much from the people I worked with. For example, Girley Jazama, who plays the female lead is one of the most talented people I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and to see her in action was not only amazing but also inspiring. We were all in this thing together and we were all just trying to make it the best we can and that made for a pretty epic atmosphere to work in. Not to mention, I just had such a good time on set with all the cast and crew. One of my best experiences to date.
Q: What’s your take on racism?
A: I think that while the Apartheid years have passed and we no longer have racist laws and/or formal policies meant to specifically oppress people based on the colour of their skin, there is still a lot that needs to be done on an individual level. I feel like there are still a lot of wounds and scars that were inflicted (on people and our society) during that time, that needs healing.
Q: Moving on, what is the most meaningful project you have done?
A: I have so many! If you haven’t noticed I’m horrible at decisions, can barely pick a favourite quote, never mind the one project I would love to do. There are so many people in the industry that I would love to work with so I cannot pick. With regards to the most meaningful project that I’ve done to date- I would have to say ‘The White Line.’ Simply because I learned a lot as an actress, but also as Sunet- the individual.
Q: Who is your favourite director to work with and why?
A: Honestly, it would be dishonest of me to pick one person because every single director that I’ve worked with has taught me something, whether it’s something relating to my craft or just something that will help me grow as a person or a professional. Deep- I know.
Q: Thoughts on the local film and theatre industry.
A: It’s definitely growing. More and more opportunities are popping up and it’s exciting to watch and be a part of. However, I would like to add that there is still a long way to go. The funny part is that it’s not because we don’t have talent, that’s the one thing we do have! One of the biggest problems, I’d say, is funding. So yes, we definitely feel the growing pains at times, but hey, that’s all part of growing, isn’t it?
Q: Indeed. So, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: In 5 years I see myself working on projects not only in Namibia but in other countries as well. I’m no psychic (although that would’ve been nice) but I am a hard worker and right now I’m doing my best to start reaching a wider audience to worm myself into other markets. Hustling all day- every day!
Q: What song do you listen to that psyches you up and makes you feel strong?
A: Believe it or not, that would be ‘Look at me now’ by Chris Brown, Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes.
Q: Congratulations on starting your YouTube channel. What is it about?
A: Why thank you! See, I always say that my channel is the place where we don’t take life too seriously because none of us is getting out alive anyway. I feel like that is a pretty good description of what it’s all about. It’s basically just me talking about aspects of life, but with a lighthearted and funny twist to it. In a nutshell, I want to laugh at life and hopefully get other people to laugh with me.
Q: Who or what inspired you to start vlogging?
A: I’ve been a pretty big fan of YouTube for a few years now. I would spend hours wasting away watching YouTube videos, and what I loved about it the most is the fact that it makes you feel like you’re just hanging out with this person. So one day I was just like ‘I wanna do this! I wanna hang out with people!’ Also, I love connecting with people and I’ve been wanting to reach a wider audience for a while now. What better way to connect with more people than through a global platform like YouTube?
Q: On Youtube, who are your biggest influences?
A: Again with the decisions! I honestly don’t know. I have about a hundred different YouTubers who I watch regularly and who I get ideas and inspiration from. I try not to focus too much on getting all my inspiration from one YouTuber because I’m scared I start taking on their style, instead of creating my own.
Q: What is still your biggest challenge?
A: Time management at this point. Having a job as a radio presenter, trying to get involved with acting projects and running a YouTube channel isn’t easy fam! The fact that I script, shoot and edit all my videos myself- doesn’t make it easier.
Q: Did you have any professional help or did you create the vlog yourself?
A: I never got professional help from anyone. I did it all myself, but I did a lot of research before I started. In fact, it took me two years from the moment I decided I want to start my own channel to when I uploaded my first video. I really wanted to do things right – I can be a bit of a perfectionist at times. So I did ALOT of research. I spent hours and hours reading up about everything from SEO to Thumbnails. I even read up about marketing strategies so that I can use it to make the most of my channel.
Q: In the future where do you hope your vlog will take you?
A: I’m hoping that my vlog will help me reach a more global audience. Like I mentioned, I want to connect and work with people from all over the globe. I want my channel to show me the world (Had to toss in an Aladdin reference their:-) ).
Q: How would you describe your vlogging style?
A: Very laid-back and casual. It’s literally me sitting in front of the camera talking. No fancy gimmicks or anything – mostly because I can’t afford it right now – and also those are the types of vlogs I enjoy personally. I also have a bit of randomness that I bring in when I edit my videos. I love throwing out random memes or photos in between. I have a weird sense of humour sometimes – what can I say?
Check out more of Sunet’s videos here.
Q: What is on your bookshelf?
A: Well I’ve got a few books- I love me some good books. But the one I’m currently reading is ‘I am number 8’ by John Gray. What an amazing book!
Q: What item in your closet do you wear the most?
A: Leggings. Every woman needs a pair of leggings in her closet. It’s not only comfortable but it goes with pretty much everything. You can dress it up, dress it down. You do you.
Q: Who is on the guestlist for your ideal dinner party?
A: Mmm… depends on whether I want the dinner party to have constructive, interesting and philosophical discussions – or whether I just want to have fun. Considering my mood right now, I’d go for the fun party. That guest list would include G Eazy, Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Chris Pratt, Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds. And yes I realise there are only men on this list, but I would like to have them all to myself… Okay, thanks bye… 😀
Q: What quote do you live by?
A: “Good things come to those who hustle!”
Q: Which would you pick: being world-class attractive, a genius or famous for doing something great?
A: You’re killing me with all these decisions I have to make! I really suck at making them. But if I had to pick, I would go with being famous for doing something great. At the end of the day, none of us lives forever and you’re not going to be able to make money or anything materialistic with you to beyond the grave. The only thing that in my opinion matters in life, is the difference you make in other people’s lives.
Q: What was your favourite toy growing up
A: Barbie and Co. I had like a whole cupboard full of Barbies and Kens. I used to pretend my Barbie is this famous actress in Hollywood – go figure!
Q: Name a celebrity you think is lame.
A: Anyone who’s famous for doing something stupid. If you’re not contributing to the world in some positive way, you shouldn’t be allowed to have a platform. That’s just my opinion. Sorry, not Sorry.
Q: Which of your friends are you proudest of? Why?
A: I can’t pick just one. Generally, I like to surround myself with people who are striving to be the best they can be and reaching for the stars because I’m a firm believer of ‘You are the sum of the 5 people closest to you’. So in other words, I’ve got some pretty awesome friends doing some pretty awesome things and I’m proud of all of them.
Q: If you could shop for free at one store, which one would you choose?
A: Gucci. I wanna be part of the Gucci Gang. Just kidding! Probably Forever21 or YDE. I can shop there for days!
Q: What’s the worst thing you did as a kid?
A: The one thing that still haunts me to this day – not even kidding – was when I was about 8 years old and I was trying to close the window of my bedroom because it was cold, but the window didn’t want to close. So I kept pulling at it and pulling at it, and eventually, I heard a sound and I managed to get it shut. Then, when I looked down I saw one half of a gecko stuck at the bottom part of the windowpane. I opened the window, and I realised that the reason the window didn’t want to close was that the gecko was sitting at the bottom, and when I finally closed it, I basically cut the gecko in half. I still get sad about this! It was horrible. I was crying for the rest of the night!
Q: What is the best part of being a part of your family?
A: My family is a little crazy and weird, but we’re really close. That’s what I love about them. Then there’s also the fact that I’ve always believed we need our own reality show because nothing is ever boring when my family is concerned.
Q: What is your favourite day of the week?
A: Saturday! I generally get to sleep in on Saturdays and if there’s one thing I love more than food – it’s sleep!
Q: Are you a sports fanatic?
A: I’ve never been a major sports fan. I’d much rather watch an awesome movie than watch a sports match but growing up I watched a whole lot of Rugby because my dad is a big Rugby fan. So, I would say out of all the sports, I enjoy Rugby the most. When it comes to teams, I’d have to say the Springboks.