Sibel Kekilli

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Sibel Kekilli
Sibel Kekilli (Berlinale 2012) cropped.jpg
Kekilli at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival, February 2012
Born (1980-06-16) 16 June 1980 (age 33)
Heilbronn, Germany
Nationality German[1]
Occupation Actress
Years active 2003–present

Sibel Kekilli (born 16 June 1980) is a German actress. She gained public attention after starring in the 2004 film Head-On (German: Gegen die Wand). She won two Lolas, the most prestigious German film awards, for her performances in Head-On and When We Leave. Since 2011 she is known for her role as Shae in the television series Game of Thrones.

Life and career

Kekilli was born and raised in Heilbronn, to a family of Turkish origin. Her parents came to West Germany from Turkey in 1977, and were described by Kekilli as fairly liberal.[2] After finishing school successfully at age 16, she completed an apprenticeship as a public administration employee at the local city government, and then worked for two years at the municipal waste disposal office. She moved to Essen in 2002, where she had various jobs, including work as a saleswoman, cleaner, manager of a nightclub and promoter.[3]

One day in 2002, while at a Cologne shopping mall, she was noticed by a casting director, who invited her to audition for a role in a movie.[4] Sibel won the leading part in Fatih Akın's Head-On (German: Gegen die Wand) against a field of 350 other hopefuls. The film was released in 2004 and was a major success, receiving several prizes at film festivals. Filming proved strenuous for Kekilli personally, however, and she also underwent an appendectomy during the filming in Turkey.[5] After the movie, she had a rhinoplasty.[2]

Shortly after the release of Head-On, it became known she had previously acted in pornographic films using the stage name "Dilara".[6][7][8] This report, as published by the German tabloid newspaper Bild-Zeitung, led to a public scandal, and Kekilli's parents broke off all contact with her.[2] She received the 2004 Bambi prize for best "shooting star" for her role in Head-On, and during the televised acceptance speech, she tearfully complained about the "dirty smear campaign" and "media rape" against her.[9] Bild-Zeitung was later reprimanded by the German Press Council (Deutscher Presserat) for the manner in which it covered the story.[10]

Kekilli starred in the Turkish coup d'état movie Eve Dönüş (2006), playing the wife of a man who was unjustly imprisoned and tortured. The performance won her the Best Actress award at the 2006 Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival. Also that year she played a Jewish woman on the way to the Auschwitz concentration camp in the 2006 German movie Der letzte Zug (The Last Train).

In 2009, she played Umay, a young Turkish woman who leaves Istanbul to return to her family in Berlin, in Feo Aladag's When We Leave (Die Fremde, literally "The Foreigner" or "The Outsider"). Kekilli was awarded the Lola for Best Actress in 2010 for her leading role in this film.[11]

In 2010, Kekilli was cast as Shae in HBO's Game of Thrones, an adaptation of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels.[12]

In 2011, one year after first appearing in a supporting role in the long-running crime series Tatort, she became a permanent cast member as the new investigator Sarah Brandt, working alongside chief investigator Klaus Borowski played by Axel Milberg.[13] She said that she was glad not to be playing a character of foreign descent, as she feels she has been typecast in the past.[14]

Personal life

Kekilli lives in Hamburg. She supports the organization Terre des Femmes in its work against violence in families of Islamic background. In December 2006, at an anti-domestic violence event run by the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet in Berlin, she stated, "I have experienced myself that physical and psychological violence is seen as normal in Muslim families." In response, the Turkish consul general left the room.[15]




  1. ^ Malzahn, Claus Christian (6 March 2007). "Schauspielerin Sibel Kekilli: "Ich bin mir sicher, dass ich irgendwann aus Deutschland wegziehe"". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Sibel Kekilli Biografie", Yahoo Movies (in German), retrieved 5 December 2009 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Man erkennt sich", Welt am Sonntag (in German), 7 March 2004 
  5. ^ Gegen die Wand-Presseheft, page 6.(German)
  6. ^ "Culture & Lifestyle: From Bare to Bear for Ex-Porn Queen", Deutsche Welle, 18 February 2004, retrieved 20 October 2007 
  7. ^ Sibel Kekilli at the Internet Adult Film Database
  8. ^ Sibel Kekilli at the Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ "Goldene Rehkitze für Hanks, Kekilli und Elton John", Spiegel Online (in German), 19 November 2004 
  10. ^ Deutscher Presserat rügt "Bild"-Zeitung. (in German) (20 November 2004). Retrieved on 23 June 2012.
  11. ^ Vogel, Elke (23 April 2010). ""Das weiße Band" räumt bei Gala zehn Lolas ab". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 24 April 2010. 
  12. ^ Not A Blog – You Guys Are Scary Good, the Sequel. Retrieved on 23 June 2012.
  13. ^ Koch, Dorit (2 October 2011). "Kieler Tatort-Duo: Sibel Kekilli, die Neue an der Seite von Axel Milberg". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Sibel Kekilli: "Tatort"-Rolle ist Ritterschlag". Focus (in German). 12 August 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011. 
  15. ^ "Eklat um Sibel Kekilli in Berlin", Der Tagesspiegel (in German), 4 December 2006 
  16. ^ "When We Leave Scores Top Honors at Tribeca Film Festival". New York Magazine. 29 April 2010. Retrieved 15 May 2010. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Ursula Werner
German Film Award for Best Actress
for Die Fremde
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Beste Bereket
Golden Orange Award for Best Actress
for Eve Dönüş
Succeeded by
Özgü Namal
Preceded by
Hannelore Elsner
German Film Award for Best Actress
for Gegen die Wand
Succeeded by
Julia Jentsch