The fact that she never earned anything when she was acting in various Nairobi theatres did not make her lose hope. This week, 26-year-old Grace Wacuka Njoroge featured in a film produced in the US titled A New Christmas film.
In an interview with NTV, Grace revealed how, at the age of 14, she acted for free in various theatres but 12 years later, she is living her dream and following the path to stardom.
Her childhood was not a smooth one, especially after she lost her father to alcoholism at the age of 10, leaving her mother as the sole breadwinner.
“As a family, we have always struggled especially after my dad died. I was raised by a single mother and while in secondary school, I had to figure out how to afford my fees,” the Precious Blood Riruta Secondary School alumna said.
The New York-based actress who doubles up as a singer confessed that she fought with her mother on many occasions whenever she opened up about the path she wished to follow.
But when she persisted and Lupita Nyong’o made it big in Hollywood, her mother decided to support her dream.
“I am really appreciative of Lupita because without her, my dream wouldn’t have been validated.
For long I said I wanted to be an actor and a musician but my family would ask why? But when Lupita succeeded, people started saying, ‘you can do it’”, said Grace.
She advised that parents should support their children’s dreams even if it’s in the arts.
“Parents should support their children. African households look down on arts, which is a big mistake. Most parents squash the dreams of their children,” the actress said.
Grace said she always had a passion for the arts, but her family was against it and wanted her to study engineering; based on how she used to perform in school.
Just after completing her secondary school education, she got a scholarship and went to study in India. Here, she confessed that she did not do so well in the arts because her studies involved a lot of writing.
“I didn’t actually do well in theatre while in India because there was a lot of writing, so I didn’t think that I could be an actress,” she said.
Asked how she landed the deal to act in the movie, Grace said the directors wanted to feature a Kenyan woman who has gone through a lot of challenges in life.
“That is how they ended up picking me and once we started the shooting, I never disappointed,” she said.
The actress boasts of a lot of training in the arts sector, which involves acting and music from various institutions – American Theatre Wing, Eugene O’ Neil Theatre Centre, Smith College and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.
Speaking of her plans in the new year, she said she would be releasing a song every month.
“I will be releasing songs monthly and my first song is Drift, a hip-hop song that’s an invitation for people to join me in the journey I have started,” she said. In her biography, Grace says she has studied in various parts of the world through scholarships and grants. Her other previous works include short films titled ‘Say Anything’ and ‘Before and After’.
By Amina Wako