Mary Nzula Munyao is an award-winning Kenyan actress popularly known for her role as Kamene on the ‘Classmates’ TV show.
Ms Nzula speaks about how she stumbled on her acting talent and why she’s not a typical Kamba girl.
Who is Kamene?
My name is Mary Nzula Munyao. Most people think I don’t have an English name. Well, I do. It’s just that I prefer to use my two last names. To someone who doesn’t know me offscreen, Nzula is a beautiful, God-fearing, confident, very talented lady, ambitious. I am also a lover of life.
Due to your Kamba accent and role as a typical village girl, some people would underrate you. How do you deal with that?
Most people think I am a typical village girl due to my accent. Many don’t know that I am the CEO of Lodes Safaris, a local and international tour and travel agency in Kenya. Besides that, I am a trained journalist and public relations practitioner. I studied Mass Communication at JKUAT and majored in broadcast journalism. I am currently studying for my Master’s.
You currently feature on ‘Classmates’ TV show. Tell us about your journey in the acting industry.
I have been l featured on the KBC Classmates show as Kamene. I also featured in Nganya, Fatal Crush and other online adverts for both TV and YouTube. I also played a role in the short film My Ndia Nduku.
You have won some acting awards. Tell us more about that.
The film My Ndia Nduku scooped an award at the Machawood Film Awards. In 2016, I was nominated for best female actor in Machawood. The Classmates show gave me the opportunity to be nominated for the 2021 Kalasha Awards for best performance in TV comedy.
Did you always want to be an actress?
Since I was a little girl, I always pictured myself on the screen although not necessarily acting. Back in high school, I was a member of the journalism club so that I could get a chance to be on TV.
However, I discovered my acting talent while I was in campus doing my undergraduate degree. There was a unit on Film Making and each student was required to create a movie. I remember my acting was so real that I even cried. I didn’t know I had it in me until then. From then on, I started going for auditions.
As a graduate journalist and PR professional, will you eventually pursue a career in the media industry?
I am already in the media industry and I believe I am fully exploiting the knowledge and skills gained in journalism to better my acting career.
Having background knowledge on filmmaking has helped me in my acting career. Technical jargon used in film is not new to me. Being a content creator, I can operate cameras, edit, film, direct, write scripts, as well as produce. I am basically applying what I learned in class in the field.
From your experience, can you say that full-time acting can really sort one’s bills?
From my experience, I can confidently say acting is a well-paying job despite it being seasonal. Like any other job, you are paid depending on your role. For instance, main actors’ pay won’t be the same as a supporting actor. Another thing that determines how well you are paid is the production company you work for. Personally, I am lucky to say I have worked with the best so far.
You are also a passionate vlogger, what are your motivations?
My love for travelling drove me into vlogging. It is fun since you get to document and share your memories. Hoping to make a living out of it soon. Apart from travelling during my free time, I love cooking; I just go to YouTube and try on a new recipe. I also hang out with friends and family. If I am not doing any of these, I am reading a novel.
What core challenges have you faced in your growth as an actor?
In this industry, challenges are always there, but the greatest is exposure. As a comedian, you get limited to certain roles. I want any producer out there to understand that Kamene can play any role effectively.
Your most memorable time in your acting career?
Getting that nomination message for both Kalasha and Machawood. Just getting on that list meant so much. I was grateful to my producer Jeremih Muli and Assigment Studios and the entire Kalasha Awards team. My nomination category was full of great actors.
Always be humble, smart, and put God first.