Gerald Langiri
August 02 / 2011

“I am enjoying this more than I imagined”

She acted as a bad girl, so bad that she made the students of Tahidi High’s life a living hell. She was a snitch that was very selfish and celebrates when people are in trouble. As we settle for this interview am pleasantly surprised as I see a contrast of the girl we saw on Tahidi High.

Its obvious that the Shish I know is not the lady seated right opposite me in our board room. This lady is warm hearted and very jovial and even appears slightly shy. From our conversation, it is evident that she is a real good actress who is able to powerfully bring out a totally opposing side of her. “Shish is just a character. In real life I am a very simple, down to earth lady who is sometimes shy depending on the people around me,” Shirleen who will celebrate her 25th birthday in October opens up. “I am a fun loving, very easy going person who likes leading a simple life.”

“I am a loyal friend and I like to treat my friends right and special,” says the young petite lady who was born in Jericho, Nairobi. Shirleen shares that she loves acting insanely. Her family is full of dramatic people and she notes that they like hanging out together as a way of winding up. “I am an all time actor and I can handle all roles, acting is my heartbeat. I am hopeful that in a few years, I will be acting in a Holly wood movie,” she shares. “I started acting while in Mary Hill Girls high school where I sat for my O levels. It was always fun and refreshing. When I was in Form Four, I wrote a play for the Inter house Competition which was a great success as I was voted the best actress in high school. Since then I have never looked back,” she explains.

Currently, Shirleen is a third year student at the Catholic University of East Africa majoring in Economics while taking Psychology as a minor course. “I always wanted to study Law in the University but I did not qualify for the course, I was admitted for a course in Political Science in the first semester but later changed to Economics. I believe that with this course, I will be able to streamline my financial life. It is a very enlightening course and I enjoy it as it guides in understanding how to invest money. I have a very supportive family and this helps me strike a balance in my studies and my acting career. ”

“ My mum is my stronghold. I would vote her as the best mother in the whole world. She works in the tours and travel industry. Although they separated with my father, she has ensured that our life is comfortable. My two brothers are fun to be with. They are my greatest supporters in my role at Tahidi High. They offer me constructive criticism when I do something embarrassing on stage and they also give me ideas on how to enhance my acting skills. My family is a small, lovely world. One of my brothers is in high school while our last born is in Standard One. I also love my uncles and aunts greatly.”

Shirleen Wangare


How did she get her role in the Tahidi High TV Drama?
“ After I sat for my KCSE, I went for auditions at Phoenix players. I was 19 years and my aunt accompanied me. Ian Mbugua a reknowned thespian conducted the auditions. I was very nervous and my aunt spoke on my behalf. I also got to know about the Tahidi high auditions through a friend. He encouraged me to try it out which I did. I got a short role which was about two lines. After sometime the character who acted as Shish, the ‘bad girl’ flew to South Africa and I was given her role and from then on, I have never looked back. Every time I watch Tahidi High, I always think that Shish was insane, she makes everyones life very miserable and she was very miserable too.”

“ She was a lady who never likes to see others succeed, a dare devil who is always on the wrong side of the rules of the school. Shish was a bored character who loved drama, she was happy when people wer fighting. She does not keep friends and uses people to get something done for her. She is not interested in learning and would rather copy than read for an exam, in reality Shish is all that Shirleen is not,” she chuckles. The only thing Shish and Shirleen have in common is that they both love fun.

“ It was not realistic to be Shish because you cannot survive with such behavior,” she says. Shirleen says that she has the best cast crew at Tahidi High who are all down to earth and despite being in the public eye; they are humble and really fun to hang out with.“Tahidi High is one of the best in terms of rewarding their staff,” she says excitedly. On matters religion, Shirleen says that she is a firm believer and a staunch catholic. She was an altar girl while in primary school. She cherishes her Bible.

Is there anyone special in Shirleen’s life?
“ Yes, I am in a serious relationship. At the appropriate time, you will hear the wedding bells ringing. My fiancé is an advocate and a real nice guy. I love him greatly. He is very supportive of my role and he advises me immensely. He is very frank with me and I believe this is a must ingredient for a healthy relationship. We keep our channels of communication open.”

More about Tahidi High TV drama. It is produced by Catherine Wamuyu. It has bagged numerous awards not just for the best tv drama but also individual awards for the best actor and actress. Tahidi High is a mixed high school where there is mystery, drama and intrigue. The show airs every Tuesday on Citizen Tv.



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