Hellen Motsuki plays Suzy in The Queen, a ‘challenging role’ for a good-natured person.
After making her television debut in 2010, Hellen Motsuki says it was during that unforgettable “Generations scandal”, when actors were suspended and eventually fired after they went on strike - that her role as Nadia, was beginning to flourish.

The drama resulted in South Africa’s most viewed and longest-running soapie coming to a halt.

Although she didn’t have a big role in the show, Motsuki was among the 16 actors who were axed from the popular soapie in 2014.

“I didn’t take it take it personally when I wasn’t called back for Generations: The Legacy,” reveals Motsuki.

Fast forward to 2017 and Motsuki is reunited with the former Generations cast Thato Molamu, Zenande Mfenyana and Zolisa Xaluva on DStv’s Mzansi Magic drama series by another former Generations co-star Connie Ferguson, The Queen.

Motsuki plays a role of the evil step parent, who abuses her niece, Refilwe.

“Suzy is a very bitter woman. She and her husband are very abusive towards the troubled niece who was ‘forced’ into their care, following the teenager’s mother’s tragic death at the hands of the father,” she explains.

Chatting to Motsuki about her character, she describes her reaction when she first read her script.

“It was a challenging one, especially the part about abusing a child who doesn’t have parents. I lost my mother when I was younger and my dad about two years ago, so it sort of hit home.”

Suzy believes in the saying that “you spare the rod, you spoil the child”, hence she sees nothing wrong with beating up Refilwe. And in her heart of hearts she really thinks she cares for Refilwe.

“Her resentment for her niece originates from far deeper that what is on the surface.

“Suzy is a married woman who is struggling to fall pregnant. In her longing for a baby, she somewhat hopes that Refilwe would fall pregnant and she will then raise the child as her own.

“She also secretly blames Refilwe for her inability to conceive because she’s always stressed out due to her troublesome behaviour.

“Refilwe is that stubborn child that everyone complains about and Suzy doesn’t know how to deal with her,” she adds.

Asked how her character is different to her personally, Motsuki says: “I’m this kind and sweet person, no matter how you hurt (me) I don’t shout. I don’t remember ever shouting at any human being, so Suzy and I are totally different, which was quite challenging too but I did a lot of research and practice. It’s interesting how in acting school they teach you how to get into the character but not getting out of the character; all that bitterness and anger.”

And she has interesting remedies.

“I meditate... in a weird way, though. I sit in my car and I listen to loud music. I can sit there for an hour and then I will say a little prayer.”

The actress also makes appearances on the SABC 2 soapie Muvhango as Advocate Grace.

“I’m still at Muvhango, on a call basis. Whenever they need a lawyer, they call me. I’ve been King Azwindini Teboho, and Thandaza’s lawyer so far. It’s been three years now.”

The Limpopo-born starlet is no stranger to the small screen. In 2013, she played alongside Stoan Seate in Mzansi Magic’s Khumo, Lehuma le Kgosi: War. She played Melita in SABC1’s Skeem Saam and also made a cameo appearance on Rockville.

The actress, model and businesswoman also reveals that she recently opened a spa and a beauty parlour which will officially launch next month.

Another exciting project this year is a book that is in the pipeline.

“I’m writing a book. It’s Christian-based. It’s about all the women in the Bible, how they relate to this modern life, what we can learn from them, especially with all the challenges women are facing today.

“I have been writing it for three years. I will be launching it this year. I’m still in talks with Paula White, a senior pastor of New Destiny Christian Centre in the US.”

Motsuki is well on a her way to being the star she always dreamed of becoming. “I’m graduating this year with a Media Practice Degree from Boston Media House. I majored in television and sound engineering.”

She says she is hoping for a big role this year.

* The Queen airs weekdays at 9pm on Mzansi Magic, DStv channel 161.