Reeva Steenkamp was a South African model and paralegal. On Valentine’s Day 2013, Steenkamp was killed by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, who said that he believed she was an intruder hiding in the bathroom. Her story is the subject of the new Lifetime movie Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer that is set to premiere on Lifetime at 8 p.m. EST on November 11.
Throughout the murder trial, Steenkamp’s family could be seen, giving statements to reporters and enduring horrific images and portrayals of what happened the night of Steenkamp’s murder. The movie is set to be told through both June and Reeva’s point of view.
Steenkamp’s family has spoken out against the Lifetime film, saying that they had no input in the film and were not sought out for comments or insights. Pistorius and his family have the same concerns, causing Pistorius to pursue a lawsuit against Lifetime. Pistorius’ family still maintain that the events of the night of Steenkamp’s murder were a tragic accident. Predictably, a movie that dubs Pistorius the “Blade Runner Killer” is not endorsed by his family.
Here’s what you need to know about Reeva Steenkamp:
1. She Was Killed By Her Boyfriend
Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp was born in 1983 in South Africa. On Valentine’s Day in 2013, Steenkamp was killed by her boyfriend, Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius. Pistorius said he believed that she was an intruder hiding in the bathroom.
Pistorius was later found guilty of culpable homicide, which is comparable to manslaughter. He was sentenced to 5 years in jail and served a 1-year prison sentence.
The Supreme Court of South Africa eventually overturned the conviction for culpable homicide and changed it to one for murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison in South Africa.
Steenkamp was 29 years old when she died.
2. She Was a Model in South Africa
Steenkamp was a striking model with platinum hair getting ready for her debut in reality television when she died. She had experience being a presenter for FashionTV in South Africa, an FHM cover girl and she was the face of the cosmetics company Avon.
She was described by her employers as a beautiful, intelligent and warm-hearted woman with a wicked sense of humor.
A pre-recorded reality show aired 2 days after Steenkamp’s death. During the show “Tropika Island of Treasure,” which is something of a mix between the show “Big Brother” and “Survivor,” Steenkamp discussed the fact that she was going home with no regrets and no bitterness.
3. She Was a Paralegal Hoping to Become a Licensed Attorney
Reeva Steenkamp graduated law school in South Africa, hoping to become an attorney and be practicing law by the age of 30.
Steenkamp worked as a model while also pursuing her dream of going into law. She graduated from the Nelson Mandela University and had applied to take the bar exam in 2011.
Steenkamp’s family said she was following 2 dreams at once: she was living her dream as a model while also pursuing her goal of helping people that needed it while working as an attorney.
4. She Was Supposed to Give a Speech on Domestic Violence the Day She Died
On the day that she died, Steenkamp was scheduled to deliver a speech about domestic violence at a high school in her hometown. Steenkamp had dealt with domestic violence before, even having to get a restraining order against an ex-boyfriend.
After she died, Steenkamp’s mother delivered the speech that Steenkamp herself had written. Her mother took sections of the speech word-by-word and delivered it at her old high school. The speech touched on domestic abuse, family relationships and Reeva’s struggles to break into the modeling industry.
She delivered the end of the speech word for word event though it was no longer Valentine’s day:
I hope that you all had an amazing Valentine’s Day and you were spoiled with love and roses and chocolates. Go home and tell your parents, your siblings and your neighbors that they are appreciated and you will go to bed with a happy heart and an open mind for the future.
5. Steenkamp’s Family Doesn’t Believe Pistorius’ Account
Because of some text messages and Whatsapp chats, it’s hard to tell exactly what happened the night of Steenkamp’s death. Steenkamp’s mother said that it was obvious Pistorius wasn’t treating her the way she should have been treated. She said that Pistorius was always irritable with her and snapped quickly.
Steenkamp’s father said that even though he has accepted the court’s decision to charge Pistorius with culpable homicide, he has his own feelings about the whole thing. He said in an interview that only Pistorius can really know whether the sentence is acceptable because he’s the only one that knows what really happened that night.
Steenkamp’s mother also wrote a book about her life, titled “Reeva: A Mother’s Story” that was published in 2014. The description on Amazon states that the book is a painfully honest and unflinching account of Reeva’s life.