Naomi Wairimu’s upbringing was marked by a challenging environment, including a period in the ghetto and time spent in an orphanage. She shared with the Nairobian her journey of overcoming adversity to achieve success as an actor and businesswoman in Kenya.
Briefly introduce yourself
I am 26 years old, and I am a self-taught actress with a passion for dancing and singing. I have been in the industry for a few years now trying to work towards my big break in the Kenyan film and TV industry. My true passion lies in acting.
You grew up in an orphanage….how was the experience?
I, like so many others in Kenya, had a rough childhood, growing up in the ghettos of Nairobi and at an orphanage. I always dreamt of more. I was staying at the orphanage when I was between seven and 12 years old. My mom was not able to provide for all my siblings.
My two brothers and I were sent to an orphanage where we fed, schooled, and kept well in Kayole.
Despite the bleak circumstances, I was able to find some joy in singing and the charity of others. At the orphanage, I met a Lebanese woman who volunteered there and she took me to an actual school and provided me with a backpack, uniforms, and books. After a few years, my sibling and I were able to move fully back with my mom. But I’ll never forget that Lebanese woman. She really changed my life and I bless her every day for what she did.
Despite growing up in an orphanage, you went on to become a successful artist, and entrepreneur.. tell us more…
Yes, I sing as well and do content creation together with a group of collectives called the PetsShow. I just opened a clothing store together with my best friend, called PriNaModa where we dress the everyday Kenyan.
My dream is to express myself through the arts and be the creative role model I lacked for all the young girls who have few means but big dreams. My art is inspired by strong women like Viola Davis, Lupita Nyong’o, Beyonce, and my mom who single-handedly raised five kids. I recently married the love of my life Edwin and together we have started doing content on social media and YouTube. And together we spend a lot of time going on adventures.
When and how did you exactly discover acting?
Ever since I was just a young girl, I have found an escape in the creative arts.
At the orphanage, I remember wanting to be a singer and when I sang I could escape into a different world, free from sorrows. To this day, I still use the arts as an outlet for my emotions and a break from the stress of big-city life.
While a childhood of poverty is not exactly unique in Kenya, I have used those experiences every day in my art as an adult. I use it to find strength and motivation and as a method actor, I apply some of the experiences I have had to bring out certain emotions.
I first truly opened my eyes to the world of acting in early secondary school when a group of students were doing a play for a talent show. While they were rehearsing, I started giving them some suggestions on how they could improve and suddenly I was in the play. From there, I just started doing more and more school plays and won a lot of awards during that time. I quickly fell in love with it and the empowerment I get from being on a stage.
Which major shows have you done so far?
I only recently moved to the film and TV scene, otherwise, I have always been mostly engaged with theatre performances such as The Wizard and Maxwell Christmas and most recently Drums of War at the Kenya.
I have done a number of series for YouTube, such as TheMaid and Dangerous Petite which I created, wrote, and directed. Recently I acted alongside Sammy Kioko in ‘Men Can Lie’ and I just did an independent feature film titled ‘It is All in Your Head’, set to come out in the near future.