High Rollers actress Jo-Anne Reyneke says she’s in no hurry to marry her actor beau Thami Mngqolo despite the fact that they have been together for eight years.
Reyneke clarifies that although people, especially on the internet, think that they are married they actually are not. The couple are the proud parents of two kids, a 3-year-old girl and 10-month-old boy.
“We have discussed marriage. I’ve always been a little afraid more than him, because I have never had any successful marriages in front of me when growing up. He has, he lost his father last year. Until then his father and mother were still together. So it’s something that he aspired to. Because of the man that he is, he makes me want to give him that phase of life,” Reyneke declares.
“But we are not rushing. We want our dream wedding, which means finances. We are willing to wait until we get whatever we think we need to make that happen. For us marriage will just be a formality. We are living married life. We have been living married life for eight years. It will just be the paper signing literally.”
The hot item met and hit it off at a friend’s party when Mngqolo had just had his breakout role as gay character Senzo Dlomo on Generations, while Reyneke had just started playing the recurring role of Pearl on Muvhango. Asked about the secret behind the success of their romance after all these years, Reyneke replies:
“You have to like each other. Even when you fall in love, make sure that you like each other. You don’t want a situation of ‘I love you to bits, but I can’t stand you’. The like has grown more than the love. The love you really can’t mess with. I don’t mind just staying in the house with just him the whole day, talking or not talking, just in each other’s company we feel comfortable. Once that goes away, I’m sure that’s when the rocky road starts in a relationship.
We have had problems, but the key is in the way we deal with them because we like each other there is a respect factor. Even when you are fighting you don’t want to use words as if you are breaking up, but we are fighting to make things better and not to demolish one another. I think we can do another eight years if the ‘like’ doesn’t die.”
Many may have noticed Reyneke’s dramatic weight loss now as compared to when she was onMuvhango. She explains that she has no weight loss tips for anyone, as it happened by chance. During her second pregnancy last year, she fell sick and her body couldn’t retain anything she ate, even water. She adds that it was quite as scary pregnancy as doctors at one stage were worried that the baby was not eating enough. After she gave birth, she decided to keep her skinny frame.
“I wish I had a cool story about my weight loss, because women keep asking me about my weight loss tips. I was sick my entire second pregnancy, I was losing weight while pregnant. It was the weirdest thing. By the time I gave birth I was a stick, especially when you remove the belly. I just worked on maintaining it and toning the body,” Reyneke shares.
The 28-year-old starlet grew up in the small town of Pietermaritzburg, where she was raised by a single mother. She reveals that growing up she was very close with her older brother, thus that’s where her tomboy side comes from. Her mother is Zulu and although she has never actually met her father, he is white. His name is Johan and she was named after him.
“My mother is the best. She’s a momma and a daddy. I’m a Kasi chick. I don’t look it, but I sound it. I grew up in a financially unstable home, with a single mother who was working hard to provide for us. As a result, I went to one of the best schools in Pietermaritzburg. I don’t know how, because she didn’t earn enough money,” Reyneke muses.
A few years ago, a friend encouraged her to find her father and she embarked on a search for him with the help of SABC 1 hit docu-series Khumbul’ekhaya. The episode drew a lot of public interest, even though the search was unsuccessful.
“They say I last saw my father when I was two years old. I have their word to take for it because you don’t remember much when you are two. I don’t even know that he’s alive,” Reyneke cites.
“That whole search on Khumbul’ekhaya ignited a lot of fear. I was actually very scared to meet him. I was like ‘what if they actually find him’. Because now you know him and you must have a relationship with him. I kind of breathed a sigh of relief when they couldn’t find him. People were shocked, because they think famous people don’t have problems too.”
Two months after giving birth to her son last year, she landed the role of a lifetime of SABC 3 telenovela High Rollers. She plays the role of ballsy chartered accountant Busi Duma. Thanks to the blessing of Hlaudi Motsoeneng’s 80% local TV content roll out, High Rollers now airs fives days a week with heartthrob Thapelo Mokoena joining the star-studded cast. Reyneke is over the moon about the decision.
“For us it means more work, which translates to more paper. The best news any working actress can get, especially a young mother with two kids. When they tell you more work, more availability and more money, it’s the best news in the world,” Reyneke states.
“Season 3 is huge transformation for High Rollers. Thapelo Mokoena’s new character is trying to seduce my character. Right now I just finished shooting a steamy sex scene with him. He’s such a sweet guy, professional and humbled. But personally, I’m not into pretty boys. Hence my man. He’s handsome, not a pretty boy.”
Reyneke says her High Rollers role is her second career favourite, after her 2008 breakout role on Muvhango. Her acting resume includes roles in Uzalo and Rhythm City.
Her least favourite role to date has been in the Mzansi Magic’s ‘Lokshin Bioskop’ film Taxi Cheeseboy, opposite rapper Riky Rick.
“I shot with a certain rapper, who should rap always and not act. Even the name of the movie is cringe-worthy. For a Mzansi Magic movie when you’re getting a minimum wage, you are not really inspired to give your best performance,” Reyneke quips.