Meryem Sarah Uzerli ([mæɾˈjæm uzæɾˈli]; born 12 August 1983) is a Turkish-German actress and model who rose to prominence by playing Hürrem Sultan in the Turkish TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl (2011–2013), for which she received critical acclaim and won numerous accolades, including a Golden Butterfly Award.
Uzerli was born and raised in Kassel. She made her acting debut with minor parts in German productions. She later made minor appearances in the television series Notruf Hafenkante (2010) and Ein Fall für zwei (2010). Uzerli is also known for her roles in German films like Journey of No Return (2010) and Jetzt aber Ballett (2010). At the end of 2010, she was chosen by Meral Okay for her first leading role in the Turkish TV series Muhteşem Yüzyıl (2011–2013). In addition to her acting career, Uzerli has appeared in many advertising films and is the face of numerous brands. In 2012, she was chosen as the Woman of the Year by GQ Turkey.
Meryem Uzerli was born on 12 August 1983 in Kassel, West Germany. Her father, Hüseyin, is Turkish and her mother Ursula, who is also an actress, is German, so she has joint Turkish-German nationality. Her great-grandmother is from Croatia. She embraces and unites both diverse cultures, demonstrated by her two residences in Istanbul and Berlin. Her native language is German, but she is also fluent in Turkish and English. She has two elder brothers and an elder sister, Canan, who is a jazz musician. At the Freie Waldorf School in Kassel, her artistic potential was supported by numerous theater projects. From 2000 until 2003, she studied acting at the Schauspiel Studio Frese in Hamburg. After graduating, she took minor parts in several German productions.
2011–13: Muhteşem Yüzyıl
Uzerli's best-known part is as Hürrem Sultan in the historical television drama series Muhteşem Yüzyıl, directed by the Taylan Brothers. In 2010, after an eight-month search to find the best actress for this role, she was chosen by Meral Okay, the series' screenwriter, and Timur Savcı, the series' producer. About her selection, she said: “Until one day the phone rang, I was invited for a casting in Turkey, and then immediately I started living in Istanbul almost full time.” She lived in a hotel for two years during the shooting of Muhteşem Yüzyıl. She shared the leading role with Halit Ergenç, Okan Yalabık and Nebahat Çehre. Uzerli reached more than 400 million fans weekly through her starring role in Muhteşem Yüzyıl, which was broadcast in more than 60 countries. Within just two years, she received many awards for her exceptional acting performance. She won the Golden Butterfly Award for Best Actress for this part in 2012. In 2013, she left the series due to health reasons, a burnout. From episode 103, Vahide Perçin took her part as Hürrem Sultan.
2014–present: Gecenin Kraliçesi and Annemin Yarası
At the end of 2014, it was announced that Uzerli would return after a one-year hiatus with new management and a TV project, after signing a contract with O3, the Turkish production company of MBC Group, one of the biggest TV centers of the Arab world. To mark Uzerli's comeback, Louis Vuitton and the Turkish edition of Elle magazine dedicated a 12-page fashion spread to the actress, photographed at historic German landmarks including the Berliner Dom and Siegessäule. A big press conference with Uzerli was planned in Dubai, where she would present her new project, but rather than organizing a signing ceremony for the contract in Dubai, Uzerli went to Istanbul with a small group of press members. As of December 2014, she was still living in Berlin, but planning to move to Istanbul. In December 2014, Star TV released a video and a photo of Uzerli introducing her as one of its stars in 2015. In October 2015, she was again introduced among the TV's stars for 2016. About her future, she says: “I am trying to build on my international success within any industry where actors are respected as artists, and where I can find great scripts that allow me to delve into a story that leaves the here and now behind.” In March 2015, it was finalized that Uzerli would share the leading role with Murat Yıldırım in her new TV series. The series' name was later announced as Gecenin Kraliçesi. It is directed by Muhteşem Yüzyıl directors, the Taylan Brothers. Some of the scenes for this series were filmed in Cannes, France. The shooting later continued in Rize, Turkey. It premiered on Star TV in January 2016.
In addition to her career in television, Uzerli also appeared in a cinema movie in 2016, titled Annemin Yarası. The film was released in March 2016. Her co-stars include Ozan Güven, Okan Yalabık, and Belçim Bilgin. In 2017, she continued her movie career by appearing in Cingöz Recai opposite Kenan İmirzalıoğlu, although the film was not a box office success. Later in the same year, she shared the leading role with Özcan Deniz and Aslı Enver in the movie Öteki Taraf. In 2019, Uzerli auditioned for a role in the third season of the Netflix original series Dark. She also appeared as the lead role in the movie Kovan, the proceeds of which were donated to Haluk Levent's AHBAP foundation.
Uzerli is also a model and has appeared in many of Elle, Marie Claire, InStyle and Sunsilk's advertisements.
After leaving Turkey, Uzerli announced that she had broken up with her boyfriend, Can Ateş, after learning that he had cheated on her. She said that she was pregnant and wanted to give birth to her child, whose father was Ateş. On 10 February 2014, she gave birth to a girl named Lara Jemine.
At the end of 2014, Uzerli received an invitation from a rich family to an event in the Middle East, offering her 500,000 euros to attend a special dinner. She replied to them: “I don’t usually accept such invitations, but if you donate the money to three Turkish associations working for children in need, I will come.” The event's hosts replied: “Then we will pay more money.” She attended this dinner in December 2014.
Awards and nominations
|2010||47th International Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival||Special Jury Prize||Journey of No Return||Won|
|2011||24th Tüketici Academy Award||Best Female Lead||Muhteşem Yüzyıl||Won|
|2011||Silver Horse Award||Best Actress||Won|
|2011||TV Stars Award||Best Actress||Won|
|2011||38th Golden Butterfly Award||Special Prize||Won|
|2011||Marmara University||Best Actress||Won|
|2011||TV Oscars||Best Actress||Won|
|2011||2nd AyakliGazete.com Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|2011||Turkish Antalya Television Award||Best Drama Actress||Nominated|
|2012||Turkey GQ Awards||Woman of the Year||Won|
|2012||39th Golden Butterfly Award||Best Actress||Muhteşem Yüzyıl||Won|
|2012||Galatasaray University||Best Film and Serial Actress||Won|
|2012||Istanbul Kültür University||Best Drama Series Actress||Won|
|2012||Golden MDG Award||Best Drama Lead Turkey||Won|
|2012||Magazinci.com Honorary Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|2012||Magazine Journalists Association: Golden Objective Awards||Best Actress of the Year||Won|
|2012||Yıldız Technical University||Most Popular Series Actress||Won|
|2012||3rd AyakliGazete.com Awards||Best Actress||Nominated|
|2012||Turkish Antalya Television Award||Best Drama Actress||Nominated|
|2012||Aydın University Istanbul||Most Popular Series Actress||Won|
|2012||Radikal Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|2012||Andy-Ar Awards||Best Actress of the Year||Won|
|2012||Esenler 2012 Most Successful People Names||Best Actress of the Year||Won|
|2013||11th Stars Award Ceremony||Most admired TV series Actress of 2012||Won|
|2013||20th İtü Emös Achievement Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|2013||Turkish Antalya Television Award||Best Drama Actress||Won|
|2013||Yıldız Technical University||Most Popular Series Actress||Won|
|2013||4th AyakliGazete.com Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|2013||Crystal Mouse Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|2016||7th Beirut International Awards Festival||Best International Actress||Eşkıya Dünyaya Hükümdar Olmaz||Won|
|2020||Cana Dorada Film Festival||Best International Actress||Kovan||Won|