You know her as Awinja but her real name is Jacky Vike. She is a household name thanks to her ribcracking character on Papa Shirandula.
When she is not on screen, Jacky Vike is the complete opposite of Awinja. Here are some amazing stuff about her you may or may not know.
1. She grew up in Eastleigh, Nairobi
Awinja is the third born in a family of five kids – three sisters and two brothers. She has three siblings now as she lost one of her brothers.
The actress grew up in Kanuku and Madiwa areas in Eastleigh, Nairobi. She attended Heshima Road Primary School and Kegoye High School in Western.
Unfortunately, she also lost her dad while she was in high school.
“My dad and brother are the people I wish were alive to see my success today,” she told.
2. She used to perform literature set books
After completing her secondary education, Jacky came back to Nairobi where she started acting literature set books.
“I first got into acting professionally back in 2008 with Theatrix Arts Ensemble, a travelling theatre that re-enacted high school set books. After a stint with the group, I joined Heartstrings Kenya and did different stage plays before joining Theatre Company in 2012.”
3. She is a professional dancer, Yoga instructor
Many might not know this – the petit screen star is a yoga instructor, and a very good dancer.
“I am a professional dancer, but I think saa hii nimerust. I used to juggle between acting and dancing after finishing high school. I did ballet, contemporary dance, Hip-hop, traditional; basically all type of dances.”
4. Her mum wanted her to be an air hostess
In another life, Jacky would have been an air hostess: “Mum really wanted me to be an air hostess. So I enrolled in a college, but would skip classes. The hustle was real.”
Afraid of disappointing her mother, Jackie went to great lengths to hide her budding acting career from her mum.
“One day, she got wind that I had joined a travelling theatre. I told my director to call her and tell her that it was a side hustle. After that first semester, I forged accounts so that I could show her the school fees receipts. However, I could not live a lie any longer and later opened up to her.”
Vike’s mother is now very supportive of her career.
5. She’s acted as a prostitute
Jacky has acted different roles in various projects in her career. The one that stands out the most is her role in the award-winning film, Nairobi Half Life. Jacky acts as a hooker who is very cheap in the acclaimed Kenyan production.
The gravity of the role hit her when the film finally aired: “When I was on set acting the call girl, it wasn’t a big deal. But during the launch I was like wooo! That’s me?”
She has had to deal with criticism for playing the hooker: “For those who have watched Nairobi Half Life, especially the elderly women, they are like: “Eh, Awinja haki nakupenda lakini ile ‘Nairobi Half Life’ ya kahaba…’
Often, she tries to explain to her fans that the roles she plays are different from the person that she is.
6. She landed ‘Awinja’ role after her acting skills impressed ‘Papa Shirandula’
Narrating how she ended being Awinja, Jacky said: “I had once gone to an audition, and Charles Bukeko alias Papa Shirandula was one of the judges. He loved my work, but unfortunately I did not land the role. A year later the Papa Shirandula team created the Awinja character which I got selected for.”
Initially, Jacky was skeptical about the role because she had never before acted a character with an accent.
7. Her hobbies are: cooking, travelling, sleeping and making new friends
Jacky would give up everything to cook. Her favourite meal is ugali, kuku ya kienyeji and mrenda.
When she is not cooking, on set, or travelling, she’s probably catching 40 winks.
8. She is sensitive about fashion
Meet Jacky on a random day when she is off the set, and you will fail to recognise her. Why? She wouldn’t be caught dead in themshamba attire her character wears-Jacky is extremely fashion conscious.
Expressing her fashion versatility, she said: “When I am dressing up, I can do vintage and modern at the same time. I also love colours, and have none as my favourite since all are.”
9. She loves BIG cars
Her tiny frame should not deceive you she prefers small packages, Jacky loves big machines.
Her dream car being the Jeep Wrangler, she disclosed: “Even if you happen to visit my Instagram page, most photos you’d see are the Jeep Wrangler. That car is not so manly, it’s an off-road, and it’s powerful!”
10. She doesn’t mind Kenyan men
Though many Kenyan women prefer foreign men saying that they are more ‘romantic’, Jacky differs.
“I would date a Kenyan man every time of day or night. You know our women are like ‘Kenyan men are not romantic, they are players…’ but no! What they (women) should not do is generalise – men are very different.”
She added, “Just because a lady has dated two Kenyan men consecutively and she was disappointed, does not mean they are all bad!”
Awinja concluded the interview by saying she doesn’t work on a five-year plan scheme, but lives each day as it comes.
However, she revealed her key future plans are getting married, raising a family and opening up a production company.