saidaVictoria Muthigi, better known by her stage name Saida, plays a leading role in one of Citizen Television’s local drama ‘Saida.’

She is a Mombasa Aviation College journalism graduate and an acclaimed actress who has worked her way up the ladder to make a name for herself in Kenya’s film industry.

Last week, she opened up to Citizen Digital about her story.

Born and raised in Mombasa

“I am the second born in a family of six (three girls, three boys). I was born and raised in Mombasa. I attended Kwashe Primary School and Mama Ngina Girls’ High School.

“I was brought up by my aunt; she took me in when I was 11-years-old. My mum and dad are separated. My mum took care of my elder sister and youngest brother after she remarried. She thereafter got three more children with my stepfather.

Victoria realised her talent in acting while she was in high school

Her acting legendary would start at Mama Ngina Girls’ High School.

“I used to be in every club and society.  I joined drama club in Form One and became active since. I did it as a hobby, and loved the experience of interacting with students from other schools. I did not think I would pursue acting as a career; my dream was to become a lawyer.

“I have however locked out that ambition. I am happy as an actress.”

‘Saida’ character landed her nomination for Best Lead Actress in Kalasha Awards 2014

“Being nominated in Kalasha Awards was a dream come true. I was super excited about it. In however much I did not win, I am glad I made a statement about my acting capability.”

She is a good quality cook

“I know how to cook…everything; just name it: Biriani, Pilau, Chapati… I have actually considered starting a hotel business. However, it is not a venture I would put in a hundred percent of my time since I am planning to venture fully into the entertainment industry.”

What makes Victoria tick?

“Knowing that I am doing something that I love so much (acting). Acting in Kenya pays, probably not more than Hollywood because we have not yet reached that echelon. Nonetheless, it is something that one can live on.”

Does she have Hollywood ambitions?

“Yes, I do. I think it is the dream of every actor who is not in Hollywood to get to that level.”

Her take on Nollywood (Nigerian movies)

“They are interesting, but a lot of the movies do not have content. They have the quantity, but not quality. However, the industry does well because Nigerians are supportive of their own. Tanzanians too are. In Kenya we have amazing actors, but the audience and acting talents seemingly does not embrace our own. The only way we would beat Nigerians and Tanzanians in the film industry is by uniting; Kenyan artists should support each other by promoting content and production of fellow artists.”

About her new role in Moyo that is to première on Citizen Television on April

“In the local drama series my name is Asha Shikue. I am a humble girl from a village; my mum died. My dad struggles to make ends meet. However, he is also greedy. He later meets a wealthy businessman and they strike a deal – he sells a plot to the tycoon who in return marries me.

“All through, I remain passionate about education. Though due to the situation at home, I am forced to drop out of school and get married to the tycoon as a second wife. At that time my dad is seriously ill.

“I moved to the businessman’s house. As a second wife, I fail to strike a rapport with the first wife hence constant wrangles in the house. Later on, a lot of secrets will emerge about why my father married me off, secrets about my co-wife that I will use as an arsenal to blackmail her… The series has its twists and turns.”

“I believe I have given my A-game.”

Has she experienced sexual harassment from a male film producer or director – a practice that is rapidly gaining prominence in the film spheres in Kenya, regionally and worldwide?

“No, I am grateful for that. I know of people who have gone through sexual harassment to land a film role. It is challenging to know that there’s a role you are fully qualified for, but a male producer chooses to suppress you so that you give in to his sexual demands.

“Sexual harassment in the film industry is serious and a bit rampant; I have heard of cases where a director sleeps with an artist; along the way they fall out, and the director chooses to use his powers to kill a character in the drama. When you use your body to get a role on set, the woman will have to continue using her body to maintain her character in the program; it’s not a one-time event.

“It annoys me. If I am talented, kindly give me that role to exhibit my skill; don’t use me. If you use me, a lot of people will think that I got the role because I slept around.

Then what would be her spontaneous effect to a sex pest disguising as a producer?

“I will not give in. God has blessed me with talent; someone somewhere will genuinely see it.”

Three key pillars that guide her career

“Humility, friendship and discipline.”

Would Victoria forgive a first time cheater?

“Never! I don’t believe you stumbled over. Choices have consequences. Cheating is something that one pursues for a long time. If I happen to know about it, it means it has been happening for a while; I don’t believe one can be sorry for a wrong he or she has been doing for a long time and knowingly. You would only say sorry when I find out.”

“For me cheating is: showing the same feelings and emotions in the same way you do to your partner. If you tell me you love me, you miss me and all that… and you say the same to another woman that is cheating! I will leave you; no debate!”

Is she dating?

“Yes. I am very happy. When wedding bells will ring, I will let you know. I will want two kids.”