Actress, Presenter, Voice Over Artist and Content Creator
There’s no restraining actress Lauren Jenae.
The Lockdown star doesn’t hold back in the role of jailbird Vicky.
Actress, presenter and producer from the city of gold – Lauren Jenae – is quickly forging a name for herself on the local acting scene. Currently best known for her role as an inmate in the Mzansi Magic series Lockdown, Jenae (27) has been gracing South African screens for over two decades and is only growing from strength to strength whilst perfecting her craft.
Lockdown, now in its fourth season, is set in a women’s prison where power and survival mean everything. The series, which can also be viewed on Showmax, is a tense, fast-paced drama that delves into the lives of its inmates as they battle the mental and physical demons holding them prisoner in every sense of the word. The series sees Jenae embrace the character of Vicky; a jailbird that spends her time either in prison or trying to find ways to get back into prison, and who possesses the cunning ability to smuggle almost any and all contraband in and out of the institution. The popular show, which has hundreds of thousands of die-hard fans tuning in on a weekly basis, has amassed more than a handful of prestigious Best TV Drama awards and nominations since it first aired in 2016, and is arguably Jenae’s most prestigious acting accolade to date. “In season 3 I had the honour of working alongside American actress Tichina Arnold best known for her role as Rochelle in Chris Rock’s hilarious sitcom Everybody hates Chris,” says Jenae who’s looking forward to viewers’ reactions to what’s currently in store for them: “Season 4 is particularly riveting and sees my character embroiled in a myriad of plot twists and turns that will undoubtedly keep viewers glued to their screens.”
Starting out as a child star at the tender age of four with a part in Kideo, Jenae chose not to rest all her laurels on acting alone and studied journalism at Rhodes University; going on to graduate from AFDA with an Honours Degree in Live Performance and Broadcast Journalism. “Studying journalism developed my ability to share and tell stories; a skill that would hold me in good stead when it came to TV and radio presenting as well as acting,” adds Jenae.
It was in 2014 when she got her first serious job in “the real world” that Jenae’s presenting and acting career really started to take shape. She – together with four other South African socialites – hosted and presented Hashtag 7, an African social media-driven magazine TV show which covered the latest music, entertainment and travel news. Naysayers predicted that the venture would be short-lived but much to their dismay it led to Jenae’s first step towards becoming involved in multiple SAFTA award-winning short films such as Ana, Patrick and Nicolas, Arca Vulpin and Faceless. It was then only a short step for Jenae as she went from short films to feature films, resulting in playing the lead in The Haunting of Sangoma Hill, followed by a feature role in Shona Ferguson’s The Gift.
In 2015, Jenae’s career sky-rocketed; seeing her pursue several successful opportunities including that of becoming one of two presenters on Entertainment Files, presenting local celebrity news, and as presenter for MovieBuzz, a TV show focused on giving viewers the ultimate insight into local and international films. She also teamed up with three like-minded souls to pursue their unified love of travel by creating a travel show with a difference. “Each webisode on Wander-lust TV is integrated with social media, writing, photography and virtual reality in order to achieve a holistic perspective of the exclusive destinations that we visit,” explains Jenae. Shortly thereafter, Jenae was recruited to join the Hot 91.9 Radio family as a news and traffic presenter, as well as a presenter and producer for the community radio station’s online entertainment show Hot TV.
Where to next? If the past is anything to go by, the sky’s the limit when it comes to Lauren Jenae. Watch this space.
Watch Lockdown every Tuesday evening on Mzansi Magic, channel 161 DSTV at 20h00 or binge watch the series on Showmax.