By Ogova Ondego
Published December 18, 2014
“I am Queeny Wambui Mwangi and I am passionate about art. I am an actress who is driven by the love of showcasing Kenyan talent to the world,” the woman in her late teens who plays the lead role in a Kenyan television series called Almasi, introduces herself.
“When I started acting in Mbaraki Girls Secondary School, little did I know that art would become my life and my life art. In fact, it actually went on to fill the void in my life that I hadn’t realised existed.”
Mwangi, who says she was crowned best female artist during Kenya Schools and Colleges Drama Festival in 2009, says she joined a theatre company immediately after completing her secondary education and that it was from here that she continued to hone her acting prowess that would, a year later, in November 2013, land her the main role in the Kiswahili soap opera that airs on K24 TV at 7.30PM, Monday-Friday.
Mwangi says clinching this role from Ashiner Pictures was a dream come true as it gave her the platform on which she could enhance her skills and exploit her talent fully.
She starres in Almasi, that she describes as ‘the first telenovela ever produced in Mombasa to be aired on national TV’, as identical twins Lina and Nina.
“Nina and Lina may be identical twins, but they are as different as the sky is from the earth,” Mwangi says. “Whereas Nina is outspoken yet humble and loving, Lina is rude, evil and obsessed with the kind of life Nina leads.”
Mwangi says she has had to learn a many things in order to bring the characters of Nina and Lina to TV viewers across Kenya over the past year. That she has achieved this through attending various workshops for actors in Mombasa on the Kenyan coast.
Queeny Mwangi was one of the actors drawn from across the width and breadth of the East African Community Partner States of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania who participated in a regional workshop for screen actors in September 2014. The workshop, sponsored by East African Film Network, East African Community and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), was held in the framework of 3rd Arusha African Film Festival in Tanzania.
But when did Queeny Wambui Mwangi who says she is a born again Christian realize that she was destined for an acting career?
“My love for acting started at a tender age. I enjoyed watching TV and would be carried away by the characters in the various programmes I saw on the small screen. Upon joining primary school I started thinking of myself as a detective investigating crimes like the characters I saw on a TV series known as Crime Scene Investigation. Then l moved into wanting to be a lawyer from simply watching ‘Judging Amy,” Mwangi says. “What I am driving at is that I simply admired how well the TV actors played their roles and wanted to emulate them.”
She describes this experience as being confirmation that she was being called to be an actress.
“I took to acting by taking up small roles, learning from others through observation and picking up acting techniques here and there that built me up for what the Lord had in store for me,” she says.
So what advice does the 1995-born Mwangi has for aspiring actors?
“Acting calls for passion without which you end up hating what you do,” she volunteers. “Discipline, commitment and hard work are required for you to realize any satisfactory results.”
Among the plans the 19-year-old actress who says her hobbies are reading, travelling, cooking and watching stage plays is to own her own production company to create TV series, documentary, and fiction movies by 2016.
“I am also dreaming of going international in the ranks of Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Ed Kimathi and Lupita Nyong’o,” she says
To crown it all, Queeny Wambui Mwangi says she plans to set up an orphanage for the less privileged in society. “I’d like the home to provide shelter, food and education to those not as privileged as many of us are.”