ONE ON ONE WITH BRENDA WAIRIMU
Brenda Wairimu: I am Just Getting Started
BUZZ: Who is Brenda Wairimu?
I am a 21-year-old, third year student at the United States International University pursuing a bachelors degree in International Business Administration.
I’m a free spirit and outgoing. I love trying out new things, which is probably why I got into acting in the first place because it’s something I’d never really done before.
What are your interests or hobbies?
Acting is one of them, now that I’ve started. I love reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends, watching documentaries and nature shows.
What was your role in “Changing Times”?
My character was Shariffa, a poor girl trying to fit in with the rich kids. I’m in the university on scholarship but I don’t really want anyone to know that or know my background so I have to live a lie.
Does the role depict you in real life?
I think it kind of relates to everyone. Everyone feels they need to be somebody else for fear of being judged or rejected.
So I think it relates to everyone, and not necessarily in monetary terms. You need to be loved for who you really are because we are all original in our own ways.
Is this your first time acting?
You can say that. I have done pilots before that never really took off, but “Changing Times” is the first serious acting job I have had.
How did you get the role?
I used to be a fan of the show and used to follow it on Facebook. Then one day they posted on their fanpage that they were having auditions and I thought why not, let me go and try my luck.
I was informed the other day that they auditioned over 800 people and I feel nice that I’m the one who got it. I feel proud of myself.
What do you think the judges saw in you?
I really don’t know what exactly they were looking for, but I’m glad I got it. They had introduced the Sharrifa character a while before I joined and were looking for someone to play the role but every time they auditioned people, they didn’t get what they were looking for. So I don’t know what they saw in me.
What’s the show’s objective?
It’s trying to target the youth. It’s a show about social issues, that’s why they have characters like Sharifa, who’s getting married if you follow the show.
We have Edna who plays someone who has cancer and so on. Each character portrays a part of society that we all can identify with. It’s a show for everyone.
Is it a Kenyan version of the 90210 TV series?
Not really. It’s its own show created by someone who had such a vision but for a Kenyan audience. We’re not trying to copy anyone, just trying to be original and unique and it is a really good Kenyan production.
If people wanna associate that with us copying another show, too bad. It’s just us being better than most.
Critics say the show hires only good-looking people and light-skinned girls
That’s very wrong. If you happen to have the talent and you’re the one they are looking for to play that role and you’re light-skinned then I don’t think there’s a problem.
Maybe for me, they had to be specific because I’m supposed to play a girl from an Arab family; that’s why I might have been picked – because of my skin colour. But it’s not based on complexion or looks, it’s just talent.
What’s with the accents?
There are no fake accents on the show. The way people talk on the show is how they talk in real life. We try to be as real as possible in order to connect with our audiences.
What’s your background?
My mother is half British and half Kikuyu, while my dad is a pure Kikuyu.
Do you plan to continue acting in future?
Yeah, I really like it and it makes me push myself in ways I didn’t really know I could. It is a lot of fun.
Have you always wanted to be an actor?
You know, I always knew I wanted to be a performer of some sort, I just wasn’t really sure exactly what. But now that I have started acting, I think it’s something that I’ve always had in me. I just hadn’t got the right outlet.
Apart from acting, would you like to get further involved in media?
I can’t sing, so I doubt I will try music. I want to get into things like newscasting.
In your view, how is the acting industry in Kenya?
I definitely think we’re getting there. If we have shows like “Changing Times” right now, then we’re definitely going somewhere. The productions we have now can’t really be compared to what we used to have a long time ago. People never used to watch Kenyan shows but now they watch them more than the others.
We are really trying and I think that we’re going get somewhere because we have come a long way.
Are you dating?
Pass. Haha! Could you pass on that? Let me keep that part private for now till I’m sure what’s going on here.
But is there someone?
Yes, there is someone.
No. No way. No.
Tell us more about your interest in modelling.
Modelling is just something I do on the side. It actually started out as a joke. I accompanied my then boyfriend for a photo shoot.
I took him and the people really liked me and wanted to work with me. It happened just like that. I took the photos there and from then on joined an agency.
But it’s not really something major I’m doing though I’d like to but for now it hasn’t really picked up so much but I like seeing myself up on billboards.