You might have caught her in the popular local TV series Mother-in-law as one of the new cast or maybe recognized her as the lady in the Olyset Mosquito net advert. Marion Wambui or ‘Mama Olive’ – Charlie’s first wife in mother in-law is a journalism student at the University of Nairobi whose love for the stage has seen her star in key roles in some of Kenya’s most popular TV programmes today.
“I was always confident since I was a little girl and when my friend told me about an audition I attended and managed to convince the judges that I had an inborn talent and as they say the rest is history,” says Marion.
Marion has starred in over seven TV programmes including Mother In-law, Higher Leaning, Wash and Set and Saints. She has also been featured in several plays which has made her become one of the most sought after actress/thespian today, but all these has not been a walk in the park.
“Making a name for yourself in this industry is really hard since one may be forced to attend over 20 auditions and only get two or sometimes even get none which can be frustrating and time consuming. Most of these auditions are sometimes out of town which can be far and expensive to attend,” says Marion.
Her immense talent coupled with captivating looks has seen her share the stage and screen with Kenyan acclaimed actors/actresses like Lizz Njagah, the entire mother-in-law cast not forgetting Sammy Mwangi, heartstring super-producer who saw her talent when she first came for auditions and helped her nurture her talent.
The unpredictable screening schedule coupled with the school demand is always tricky to juggle, but Marion has managed the two by prioritizing.
“Yeah, it can be hard to balance schoolwork and acting but if you are driven by passion you can achieve anything you have set your mind to accomplish.”
Her acting career has taken-off and she now gets a regular income from her various roles. She earns a comfortable figure per episode on the popular mother in law programme though she is shy to disclose how much.
“I am very comfortable with what I get from my acting career so I can’t complain much coz I get paid according to time spent on screen which is not the case for many actors in this industry,” reveals Marion.
She draws inspiration from American actress Kerry Washington and strength from her family which fully supports her acting careers. In the next five years she hopes to be a household name in Nigerian film industry “Nollywood” where she hopes to give the likes of Genevieve Nnaji and Rita Dominic a run for their money.
However she has also had to deal with various challenges that every celebrity deals with, as with the public perception of believing one must be swimming in money once he/she is on TV.
“The minute people see you on TV they expect you to have lots of money and so calls and SMS’ asking for money start trickling in, which is not normally the case. Actors struggle to pay rent and other expenses in life just like other professionals. Unless you are in Hollywood, life is a hustle.”
Marion says she has remained committed and focussed which has helped her keep unprofessional, dishonest and randy producers at bay. In her free time, Marion likes to swim and visit her favorite restaurant java with friends where she spoils herself with her favorite treat of carrot cake sipped with dawa drink.
She offers advice to aspiring actors/actress to never give up.
“Resilience is the only way to succeed in this industry. So never lose hope and always believe in yourself.”