TINA NJAMBI; How to navigate the acting industry

Fun-loving, outstanding actress and a lover of performing arts, Tina Njambi is a household name in East Africa. With spirited excellence, she is also a Producer, Content Creator, MC, Influencer, and Entrepreneur.

Her acting roles include Lona in Maria series, `Sheila’ in Tahidi High and` Jackie’ in Wash & Set. We caught up with her as she shared her journey with us.

How did you get to be where you are today?

It begun at the drama club in school. Getting to the screens was purely by God’s grace. I happened to be at the right place at the right time and was picked for a play “This is Kenya” While at the rehearsals, I was spotted by a former producer at Nation for a role in Wash and Set. Here I am, today. It has been a journey of in and out of the industry.

How best can one identify their character in acting?

Personally, I don’t advise an actor/actress to concentrate on one particular character. I believe it is important to be flexible and versatile. In that way, you grow and also make way for greater opportunities.

How do you balance acting with the other activities, especially entreprenuership?

It depends on what you want in life. Personally, I am not usually on set every day. However, I have to fulfill the projects and contracts I sign and be on set, every time when I am needed. In spite of this, balance has to be reached. Thus, if possible, delegate where needed. I am not yet there, in terms of balance, but I am trying my best.

How do you manage to bring out the Lornah character well, considering it is different from your own personality?

It wasn’t easy in the beginning, I must admit, since I had never done this particular character. However, you grow into it. It has since been an interesting journey of learning. Basically, when you get a character, you must research on it before you start. With the help of the directors and actors on set, I have been able to bring out the role well.

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Who inspires you most in the acting industry?

The list is endless but currently, my favourite is Lynn Whitfield, who plays the character Lady Mae in Greenleaf TV Series.

There are people who look up to you and say they would wish to be where you are today. What should they do to build their brand in the acting industry?

It is humbling, in the first place. My advice would be for them to be willing to learn and unlearn. I am actually still working on my brand. However, some of the things that I have learnt so far include;

Be sure of what you want. Get to understand why you want to be in this entertainment industry. Social media has made it look rosy, which is not the case. Have a learning spirit and consistently seek knowledge.

Do not give up on your passion. Search for mentors and join relevant support groups. At the end of the day, to get better at what you do, work on your craft, daily.

With appearing on TV, comes fame. Many may get caught up with this life of fame and end up deteriorating. How should one handle fame, in your opinion?

I am a firm believer that no one should do anything for fame. You are bound to lose, if you do things for fame. The most empty individual may be the most famous. If you are grounded on principles, then you will not chase fame.

In most cases, if you do not know why you are in the industry, then fame will rule you. This may lead to cases of depression and suicide, since you are lonely and empty. Thus, be grounded on those principles that define you.

Can one survive on acting alone?

Yes and No. Yes, because it is proven in the country, there are actors living off acting proceeds alone. No, because there are also actors struggling for their livelihoods. It depends on the project and the budget.

There has been several online rants on Production houses harassing creatives/actors: non payments, onset bullying, demoralizing words. How do one handle such environments?

My advice would be for you to sign a contract. Do not be desperate to work for anyone without a contract. With a contract, you can chase after your money. And this cuts across all sectors. However, don’t lose hope and be scared.

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How can we, the Kenyan audience, support our actors/actresses?

Kenyan audience can support thespians by buying and watching their work. Encourage actors and producers in the industry. Watch local productions and encourage others to watch too.

What advice can you give to youth out there, who may want to join the industry but for one reason or the other may feel down casted?

Do not allow this feeling to get to you. If you truly want to be in this industry, then join it and be ready to go through the thorns to get to the roses. It is not always that difficult. Just be focused and determined.

Finally, what is your parting shot?

Whatever it is that you feel you want to do, you can. I encourage you to go for anything legal you want. My principle is that if you have your mind and spirit straight with God, He will guide your path. Yes, you will fall. But once you fall, just get up. Force yourself to get up. I have been through the same but they don’t match up on my bright days. I work on my attitude every day, because the power of the mind will be your greatest undoing or doing.

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