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Foi Wambui’s insights on life, love and embracing authenticity – WATCH

You’ve had an impactful two years; can you tell us how that has been?

I did “Salem” and other projects in between; now I am working on “Shanga” as one of the two lead characters. So, it has been a good couple of years. I can see the results of my hard work.
mencken: During that time, you were featured in “Crime and Justice” and your character went viral, how was that?

When I read the script, I was so excited and nervous at the same time because it was a heavy story. One thing I like to do is to give the character the realness and the truth that the character deserves. I went deep in research. It was a very emotional process because I had to get into the mind of this 19-year-old who had killed her dad; it did a number on me. I’m so grateful that people were able to relate to the character.

Do you audition or do they just bring you the script?

I wish! Auditioning is like three-quarters of the work and I can tell you they are most stressful.
mencken: What does being one of the leads in the latest telenovela show “Shanga” mean to you?

Being a lead is a different dynamic, especially a lead of a long-time series. You have to be on set every day because you are in almost every scene. It has been such a change, even in terms of how much work I have to do to prepare for the day. In the end, you are only as good as the last scene that people have seen you in. It has pushed me every single day to make sure that I have put my best foot forward.

Are there any similarities between you and the character Soilan in your life?

Soilan is a 24-year-old Maasai designer. She is sweet, charming, talented and more selfless than anyone I have ever met. For me, playing the character has been such an interesting journey. We both care about people which is an attribute that I have been reeling towards as I portray the character. But she also has a limit.

How is Charisma? Are you still together?

Charisma and I are great friends. We watched the first show together. But, we are friends.

Do you miss what you used to do before venturing into full-time acting?
I still create content. That hasn’t stopped. I would say yes, the media aspect. I have done radio and television, and to some extent, I do miss it. But I do believe in seasons and I genuinely believe that God has called me to be in this moment. So, I’m putting all my focus on this and I’m enjoying where I’m at now.

Foi Wambui and Luhya Heat
Actress Foi Wambui with Charisma. PHOTO| POOL

Can you tell a story about a friend from your childhood and the impact they had on your life?
I would say my family, specifically my mother. She had a big impact on me while I was growing up. She is very supportive, and has been there for me throughout my career; even during my high school days, when I started acting.

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in maintaining friendships as your career has grown?
mencken: The biggest challenge is spending more time with my friends. The more you grow, the more work you have, the more responsibilities you have. And now, we are dealing with adult friendships where you have to make a schedule on your calendar two months in advance to meet with a certain friend, because they might not be in the country. But my friends are all understanding.

Foi Wambui. PHOTO| POOL

Who are the friends who have been your rock throughout your career?

There are friends that I can name: Esther Kazungu, Kang’ara, Lora, Stacey, and Sandra. I can say they have had my back for a long time.

What are some of the valuable lessons you’ve learned from your friendships over the years?

To show up authentically and to be as empathetic as I can, because my friends show up as they are. They don’t hide, they don’t try to pretend; they call me out. I find peace and safety in my friends.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from your romantic relationships?

I have been learning, not only in my romantic relationships but also generally, that sometimes you expect people to know. There is a certain maturity that comes with verbalising. I had struggled with that a lot, before, but now I can boldly say that the people that I have been with have given me a certain level of safety to just be myself. I’m boldly able to say ‘This is what I want and this is what I like and this is what I don’t want’.

How do you deal with public scrutiny when it comes to your personal relationships?
The moment you get into the limelight, I think you just need to have tough skin. I’m grateful that my growth has been gradual, and I have been able to build the tough skin for some time. So when people say what they say, and depending on what they say, sometimes it is painful because we are human. I have my little moments of ranting to people and after that I just let it go. The only person I’m accountable to is myself, and my God. But truly, you can’t shame the shameless.

Foi Wambui a YouTube content creator, actress and radio and TV show host. PHOTO | COURTESY

How do you decide what aspects of your life to share online and what to keep private?

I ask myself, “What I share now can I handle it?” Even in my relationships, if you know you know. I will never post the love of my life on social media. I try to keep certain things to myself.

Looking back, what would you tell your younger self about friendships and relationships?
I would tell younger Foi about friendships.; you will find your type and you will find a safe space. There was a time I felt so alone, and betrayed by friends I had during my childhood, and it felt like the end of the world. About relationships; I would tell younger Foi to enjoy them, but to a limit. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to get married; it’s still something I want. To many, that is the goal in every relationship. But some relationships are for learning.

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