Sibel Kekilli

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Sibel Kekilli
MJK30806 Sibel Kekilli (Berlinale 2017).jpg
Born (1980-06-16) 16 June 1980 (age 42)
Heilbronn, West Germany
Years active2001–present

Sibel Kekilli (born 16 June 1980) is a German actress.[1] She gained public attention after starring in the 2004 film Head-On. She won two Lolas, the most prestigious German film awards, for her performances in Head-On and When We Leave (2010). Beginning in 2011, she became more widely known for her role as Shae in the HBO series Game of Thrones.

Early life

Kekilli was born and raised in Heilbronn, to a family of Turkish origin. Her parents came to Germany from Turkey in 1977, and were described by Kekilli as having a rather modern and open attitude.[2] After completing school with excellent grades at age 16, she entered a 30-month-long combined training program to become a certified public administration specialist at the local city administration.[citation needed]

After successful completion of the training program, she continued to work as an administrative assistant for another two years at Heilbronn city hall, then moved to Essen, where she worked various jobs as a bouncer, cleaner, waitress, nightclub manager, saleswoman, and pornographic film actress.[3][4]


In 2001–2002, over a period of six months,[5] Kekilli appeared in a number of pornographic films for various directors including Josef Baumberger[6] and Harry S. Morgan.[7][8][9] Her stage name was Dilara.[10]

In 2002, while at a shopping mall in Cologne, she was noticed by a casting director, who invited her to audition for a role in a film.[11] She won the leading part in 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, and she underwent an appendectomy during filming in Turkey.[12]

Shortly after the release of Head-On, the German tabloid newspaper Bild made public Kekilli's earlier work in pornography.[3][13] This led to a public sensation, 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. During the televised acceptance speech, she tearfully complained that she was being subject to a "dreckige Hetzkampagne" ("dirty smear campaign") and "Medienvergewaltigung" ("media rape").[14] Bild-Zeitung was later reprimanded by the Deutscher Presserat (German Press Council) for the manner in which it covered the story.[15]

Kekilli starred in the Turkish coup d'état film Home Coming (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 film The Last Train (German: Der letzte Zug). In 2009, she played Umay, a young Turkish woman who leaves Istanbul to return to her family in Berlin, in When We Leave (Die Fremde). She was awarded the Lola for Best Actress in 2010 for her role.[16] 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.[17]

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 new investigator Sarah Brandt, working alongside chief investigator Klaus Borowski.[18] 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.[19] In 2017 she left the Tatort franchise, after 14 feature-length episodes, citing a need for change.[20]

Personal life

Kekilli lives in Hamburg.[2]

Since citizenship in Germany is primarily established by Jus sanguinis rather than Jus soli,[21] she originally held Turkish rather than German citizenship, and had to apply to the Turkish government when she sought a marriage license (for a planned marriage that ultimately did not take place).[2]

In 2017, she blocked her Instagram account from being accessed in Turkey, saying that users from that country had sent a multitude of abusive and threatening messages. Kekilli denounced the senders as "bigoted, hypocrites and full of hate".[22]

Political activism

Kekilli supports the organization Terre des Femmes in its work against violence against women.

In December 2006, at an anti-domestic violence event run by the Turkish newspaper Hürriyet in Berlin, she stated, in German, the equivalent of "I have experienced for myself that both physical and psychological abuse are regarded as normal in a Muslim family. Sadly, violence is part of the cultural heritage in Islam." In response, the Turkish consul general left the room.[23]

In March 2015 at an International Women's Day event at the President of Germany's residence at Schloss Bellevue, Kekilli gave a speech on violence against women in the name of honour. The speech drew wide attention and praise in Germany for its empathic message.[24][25][26][27] In May 2015, Friedrich Naumann Foundation named Kekilli "Author of Freedom" for the speech.[28]



Year Title Role Notes
2002 Amateure intim (episode eleven) Adult film[6]
2004 Head-On (German: Gegen die Wand, Turkish: Duvara Karşı) Sibel Güner
2004 Kebab Connection Italienerin
2006 Winter Journey (German: Winterreise) Leyla
2006 Fay Grim Concierge First Istanbul Hotel
2006 The Last Train (German: Der letzte Zug) Ruth Zilbermann
2006 Home Coming (Turkish: Eve Dönüş) Esma
2009 Pihalla Laura
2010 When We Leave (German: Die Fremde, Turkish: Ayrılık) Umay
2011 What a Man Nele
2012 Die Männer der Emden Salima Bey
2019 Berlin, I Love You Yasil Segment: "Embassy"
2019 Deutschland ist... Heim [29]
TBD Shutdown Sarah Post-production[30]
TBD Rostocken Sibel Announced[31]


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Gier Nadja Hartmann 2 episodes
2010 Homicide Unit Istanbul Fatma Benli 1 episode
2010–2017 Tatort Sarah Brandt 14 episodes
2011–2014 Game of Thrones Shae 20 episodes
2015-2017 Paare Patientin 4 episodes
2016 Inspector Borowski Sarah Brandt 9 episodes
2017 Bruder: Schwarze Macht Sibel 4 episodes
2017 Sesamstraße Sibel 1 episode
2018 Bullets Madina Taburova/Zamira Hoxha 10 episodes



  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 d "Sibel Kekilli Biografie", Yahoo Movies (in German), archived from the original on 22 February 2010, retrieved 5 December 2009
  3. ^ a b "Culture & Lifestyle: From Bare to Bear for Ex-Porn Queen", Deutsche Welle, 18 February 2004, retrieved 20 October 2007
  4. ^ "At least six current or former porn stars have appeared in Game of Thrones". 9 April 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  5. ^ Benyahia Kouider, Odile (19 July 2004). "Islam au diable" (in French). Libération. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  6. ^ a b Schaaf, Julia. "Porno-Industrie: Der Dreh mit dem Sex". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). ISSN 0174-4909. Retrieved 5 March 2021.
  7. ^ Sundermeyer, Olaf (2009). Der Pott (in German). C.H. Beck. pp. 92–93. ISBN 978-3-406-59134-1.
  8. ^ Straßer, Christoph (2010). Harry S. Morgan: Der Meister der Pornografie (in German). UBooks. p. 154. ISBN 978-3-86608-125-3.
  9. ^ ""Game of Thrones" Star Sibel Kekilli's Anal Porn Past". Celeb Jihad. 12 October 2019. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  10. ^ "Not 1 Or 2, But 6 P*rn Stars Were A Part Of The Show! How Many Of Them Did You Recognise?". ToysMatrix. 21 September 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  11. ^ "Man erkennt sich", Welt am Sonntag (in German), 7 March 2004
  12. ^ Gegen die Wand-Presseheft Archived 29 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine, page 6.(in German)
  13. ^ Dilara at the Internet Adult Film Database
  14. ^ "Goldene Rehkitze für Hanks, Kekilli und Elton John", Der Spiegel (in German), 19 November 2004
  15. ^ "Deutscher Presserat rügt 'Bild'-Zeitung". Der Spiegel (in German). 20 November 2004. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  16. ^ Vogel, Elke (23 April 2010). ""Das weiße Band" räumt bei Gala zehn Lolas ab". Die Welt (in German). Retrieved 24 April 2010.
  17. ^ Martin, George R. R. (21 July 2011). "You Guys Are Scary Good, the Sequel". Not A Blog. Retrieved 23 June 2012 – via LiveJournal.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ "Sibel Kekilli: 'Tatort'-Rolle ist Ritterschlag". Focus (in German). 12 August 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  20. ^ "Sibel Kekilli verlässt den Kieler 'Tatort'". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 2 February 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  21. ^ Wagstyl, Stefan (23 May 2014). "Germany: the immigrant influence". FT Magazine. Archived from the original on 10 December 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  22. ^ "Game of Thrones actress Kekilli blocks Instagram profile to Turkish users after 'sexual harassments'". Hürriyet Daily News. 13 September 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
  23. ^ "Eklat um Sibel Kekilli in Berlin". Der Tagesspiegel (in German). 4 December 2006.
  24. ^ "Sibel Kekilli über individuelle Freiheit und kollektiven Druck". Düsseldorfer Aufklärungsdienst – via YouTube.
  25. ^ "Was macht euch Angst, ihr Väter, Brüder, Ehemänner?". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). 10 March 2015.
  26. ^ Rothenberg, Michele (12 March 2015). "Sibel Kekilli rührt mit ihrer Rede zu Tränen". Brigitte (in German).
  27. ^ "Sibel Kekilli über die muslimische Kultur: 'Sie kann gnadenlos sein'". Focus (in German). 16 March 2015.
  28. ^ "Sibel Kekilli ist Autorin der Freiheit im April" (in German). Friedrich Naumann Foundation. 4 May 2015. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 9 December 2016.
  29. ^ "Die meisten, die sie hassen, sind Türken: Sibel Kekilli schmeißt auf Instagram hin". TAG24 (in German). Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  30. ^ "Sibel Kekilli'den pandemi filmi: 'Shutdown'". (in Turkish). Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  31. ^ "Sibel Kekilli, Rostock filminde başrol oynayacak". Tele1 (in Turkish). 7 February 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  32. ^ Duboff, Josh (29 April 2010). "When We Leave Scores Top Honors at Tribeca Film Festival". Vulture – New York. Retrieved 15 May 2010.

External links