Gerald Langiri
September 10 / 2012

Neville Misati at only 21 years of age has become one of the most sought out actors in Kenya. He has starred in local shows plus internationally recognized screen and stage plays. His is a face that is hard to miss in the acting circles in Kenya, be it at auditions as he chases after his next big role or while hosting basketball events as he also tries to establish himself as an event organizer.

 Adverts, series, plays, movies and even directing a short film “the naked truth” that won third place in an MTV staying alive competition, this somewhat shy pretty boy, like every actor, has a story to what makes them who they are. Below is his story which he was very much obliged and honored to share as he humbly states that this is the 1st public interview he has ever had about him and his acting career.

His early childhood had a lot of travels. He was born and raised in Mombasa but later moved to Kisii which is also his ethnic home. He later moved to Nairobi and finished his O-level studies in Dagoretti High school with a mean grade of C plain. An average student he may seem when it came to his studies but all that is explained by the fact that he was very much into the arts from an early age.

Dance groups, drama clubs, singing, writing songs, funkies you name it all. You know that rebellious boy that had his dreams set from a very young age and education seemed like something blocking him from his dream? That is exactly what Neville is. Add an expulsion from high school to the list and you have your typical bad boy and that is where the nick name “The beast” sprung from.

His hobbies include travelling, going out, swimming even though he admits he is not a Jason Dunford. A fashion fanatic as well, Neville claims he likes window shopping and choosing clothes for people and advising them on the latest trends in fashion. Ironically, he finds it hard to choose clothes for him and leaves that department to his girlfriend to do so who is also his stylist.

He started his acting when way back in primary school where he actively participated in drama festivals and he states that the roles he did then are not at all different from the role he gets to date. Roles like being a daddy figure, the thug, the evil guy and even a gay guy in the play the “Merry wives of Windsor’ which took him and his team to London early this year and was received very well as he played the character “slender”.

“Having to perform on the same stage where Shakespeare performed and to cap it all to receive a standing ovation for almost 10minutes from the audience, was nothing but mind-blowing and the highest achievement of my career so far” He says. Asked what his take is on gays, he had this to say “I have nothing against gay people. If that is how you were born, fine. I cannot criticize a person because of how people want life to be. But once you are gay and do bad things then we will have a problem. But if you are gay and respect your boundaries, good for you.”

Neville Misati


His first commercial project was in the series “Be the judge” where he played the role of a thug. He is however most commonly known from “Higher learning” where he describes his role as a “hard headed lover boy guy with a rich father and everything is handed to him on a silver spoon and has no respect for authority but on the flip side, he was soft with the ladies and respects his mum but the relationship with the dad was stiff.“ Coincidentally he also got expelled from one university in the program which reflects his high school days. He admits the character he played on higher learning can largely sum up how his real life is and made the role easy to pull out…after all, he was enacting most of his life.

He got to know of the auditions for higher learning through a friend while he was at a gym. Working out is also something he highly regards and attributes getting the roles he get because of his well maintained body.

He has also featured in “Mali” with a minor role as Mr. Tobiko.

 Asked which is the hardest character he has ever played and he does not hesitate to state “MTV Shuga” Season 2. “I was used to small production sets, working on Shuga was a big achievement for me. A big set, the big lights, high-tech cameras. Working with other big actors was quite humbling.”

With the right research and directing, Neville believes he can play any role thrown at him. Jacks of all trades, Neville can also sing, dance, do stunts like leaping from roof tops and he also trains on archery. He treats every set hen is on as a school and learning experience to learn new stuff especially since he also has an interest in directing.  

As a full time actor, he states that the biggest challenge facing the acting industry in Kenya can be summarized with one word, Greed. “Not everyone is nice. People want to use cheap cast, cheap equipment and make good programs and yet there are avenues to make money!! How? I don’t believe that there is no money to make films in Kenya” he says.

What change would you like to see in the acting industry? “Less pride and more humility. Pride always comes before a fall. I am not blaming anyone but most actors in Kenya carry themselves with a lot of “air” and when the public sees that, they take it negatively. I believe I am a down-to-earth guy and you will always see me associating with the people. Producers know this and also will not want to work with an actor who is hard to handle. Be simple but have a class of your own. We also are not paid well enough as actors and that kind of kills our spirits therefore better payment for actors would boost our morals.”

Five years from now? “I will be having my own production company and making content that is good and not play it safe. I also want to manage models and actors.”

Partying shot? “Chase your dream. Don’t give up. Always pray. Be humble especially as an actor. Actors also need to know how to market themselves. I always post stuff of what I am doing with my acting career on facebook. It is not to brag but I understand as a brand, people need to see this brand working so that when I tell people I am an actor, they see what I am doing. Actors are a commodity, if you don’t market you, you won’t get jobs. I don’t know everything and no one does, we therefore also need to unite and work together for the betterment of this industry and let us be role models to the upcoming actors and the public audience as who watch our shows. It is our responsibility”

View Neville acting resume and show reel here.

Interview by Gerald Langiri.

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