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Kevin Maina: How I got to play ‘Ritchie’ in Showmax’s ‘Single Kiasi’

If you’re to look back at the movies and series you have watched all your life, you can bear me witness when I say that there are characters that leave a lasting impact, and deeply resonate with you.

In this regard, popular digital content creator Kevin Maina is one such character, and in this article we get to look into why his portrayal of “Ritchie” in Showmax’s hit series “Single Kiasi” is undeniably one of greatest TV characters to look out for in 2024.

Single Kiasi follows three women as they navigate friendships, romance and careers in Nairobi. The show has appeared in the top 10 most-watched titles of the year on Showmax in Kenya for two years in a row, and was nominated for Best TV Series at the 2023 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCAs) and Best Viewers’ Choice and Lead Actress (for Gathoni Mutua) at the Kalasha Awards in 2022.

Kevin Maina acts as ‘Ritchie’, a character that was initially only meant to be a supporting cast. With his infectious energy and undeniable talent, Maina has brought to life a character that challenges stereotypes and keeps viewers hooked with his charisma and humor.

I had the opportunity to sit down with him, to delve into his journey of becoming Ritchie and how he navigated the complexities of portraying such a multifaceted character.

“How did you prepare for portraying such a complex and controversial character?” I asked him. Maina’s response highlighted his dedication to his craft. “When shooting scenes, I usually separate my personality as Maina from Ritchie,” he explained. “At first, I had a bit of a challenge trying to portray the character, but with time I learned that even something as simple as changing my wardrobe helps. When I get on set, I take off everything that represents Kevin Maina and don attire that represents Ritchie. Automatically, my personality changes, and I stick to the act.”

But how did Maina get to play Ritchie in the first place? “It wasn’t something I went looking for actually,” he revealed. “I was DM’d by one of the producers, a lady, who had watched my content for quite some time on my Instagram and got impressed by my performance.” It was a serendipitous opportunity that Maina seized with enthusiasm. “I read through the script, recorded, and submitted my video. After a while, I was offered the role.”

Ritchie was initially meant to be a supporting character for only five episodes of the first season, but Maina’s portrayal impressed the creators so much that the character has endured into the third season. “What actually made the character gain reputation was the comic aspect that was portrayed,” Maina explained. “When we experimented on how to best portray Ritchie, the directors and producers were impressed, and that’s how Ritchie became a staple in the show.”

Portraying a character with morally ambiguous traits can be challenging, but Maina found a balance through humor. “Ritchie is a fun-loving, goofy guy,” he said. “He connects with the audience through his jokes and goofiness, which makes his questionable choices and controversial lifestyle look funny and entertaining.”

However, embodying Ritchie did present its challenges, particularly in scenes involving dating older women. “That was particularly challenging because Ritchie and I are polar opposites,” Maina admitted. “But I knew that in order for me to do justice to the character, I had to constantly remind myself that this is not me, it’s Ritchie.”

Through Ritchie, Maina has not only entertained audiences but also gained new perspectives. “Previously, I had very stringent opinions about things like sugar mummies,” he confessed. “But after experiencing the same through Ritchie, I am less judgmental.”

As for feedback, Maina embraces both praise and criticism. “Most of the critics I get are from X, where many people criticize the character and how his life turns out in the end,” he shared. “The criticism helps because I get to see the impact that Ritchie has on people and basically how people connect with him.”

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