ONE ON ONE WITH LIES THAT BIND ACTRESS AND MODEL OLYMPIA OWIRA AKA MAMA BOI
Many may/wont remember her from Changing Times where she played Betty, but her character, Mama Boi, on the Soap Opera Lies that Bind is unimissable. Olympia Owira or Double O as her friends and collegues call her, is a stage and screen actress and also doubles up as an assistant director in Lies that Bind.
She also featured in the "Mamili Chap Chap" NTV promotion where she played mama Cindy. If you are a lover of Kenyan Music, look closely at the "I'm a Gentleman" music video by Sauti Sol and if you are lucky, you will spot this sexy all rounded actress...and when I say all rounded, I do not mean talent wise alone. Olympia has a body that would make me break my piggy bank just to have her appear on my show...yawa!
Pulse reporter Austin Okande managed to get a one on one with Olympia and the story follows:
Pulse: Why would a young person take on acting, a career that earns little respect and for that matter, fetches little income in an entertainment scene so uncelebrated?
Passion is the inner force that drives anyone in reaching out for their dreams, regardless the underlying opposition. I personally have such great love for acting and film production, and all I am doing right now is what satisfies my inner being.
P: How do you react to critics who think acting has a short lifespan and is not a career worth pursing?
O: Acting is a profession like any other. It pays my rent and other bills and I believe that as the industry opens up, people will realise the many gains one can make from the industry. In a nutshell, I think Kenyans are still on that ‘lets wait and see season’ when it comes to the film industry.
P: I understand that acting is so in your bloodline. Can we say your celebrated acting talent is hereditary?
O: My aunt is a thespian and I draw a lot of inspiration from her. She used to play the Jessica Brown role in Tausi, the 90s KBC pioneer drama series we all grew up watching. I joined professional acting in 2002 and since then, I have never looked back.
P: Looking at your runway success, fame and fortune, one would say your journey to stardom has been a walk on the park…
O: Success hasn’t come easy. Besides, I am still finding my way to the top. I recall days when I would go for auditions and fail to get a place in any role. I would say God’s grace, patience and to an extent tolerance has brought me this far. My humble beginnings at Kenya Polytechnic’s Theatre Holics and current role at Spielworks Media make a good seal in my acting history.
P: Besides your current role in Lies That Bind and Block D, many fans are not aware of your other prominent roles in other areas. Can you bring us to speed, all the way from where it all started?
O: In 2009, I landed a role in Changing Times where I acted George Moka’s sister. I then started hosting an online radio show 2gm5radio, in 2011, the same year landed several TV commercials among them Darling Hair and Mamili Chap Chap. I was an extra in the local Demi Gods production and also made an appearance in the Sauti Sol an P Unit’s Gentleman video, a thing I just did to enhance my modeling career. It has been such a journey.
P: You are a first assistant director in the Spielworks Media produced Lies That Bind as well as Block D both in which you also have an acting role. Isn’t that ambition rather overburdening?
O: I love acting and my ultimate goal is to be a leading producer, owning a production house. The two roles do complement each other. It takes a lot of focus and discipline to meet those demands every week. Block D, that airs on Africa Magic and Lies That Bind that airs on KTN have different plots that one has to separate, and that is where the balancing act lies. Acting is an art.
P: How do you separate Olympia, the young laid back girl, from the two sort of ‘lousy’ woman roles you play as Mama Boi and Paulina in the two drama shows?
O: Olympia and the roles I play are worlds apart. I just don’t let my personal emotions get invested in my professional life. It is that simple.
P: Why would a young sassy girl enjoy an old mother’s role in a drama series?
O: That is where professionalism comes in. Acting is all about bringing out a given character to suite a given role and plot. Many times, it has nothing to do with the real you.
P: As a young assistant producer in an award-winning show, does this give us signs of things to come?
O: I was overjoyed after Lies That Bind won the Best TV Drama Series in Kalasha and when Maureen Koech aka Patricia won the Best Supporting Female Actress in Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards, which were hosted in Nigeria earlier this year — for the same series. This motivates me. Steady and sure, I am getting there.