Shirleen Wangari is known to many for her most memorable role on TV, to date. She played a bad girl, Shish.
The role was so memorable that she was always typecast as the mean girl in all the movie and TV auditions she went to.
It was a curse.
Speaking to the Nairobian, Shirley said,
“It was hard because I played the role of Shish for so long, people began to believe that was the only role I could play, that I could only play the bad girl role and nothing else.”
“It reached a point that I stopped going for some auditions, but thankfully I was able to get a role in international films that were being shot in Kenya at the time because they were not familiar with my role as Shish. It took a lot of work but finally, people in the industry began to see that I was a versatile actor.”
Shirley together with most of the cast members like Melody Mercy, Jolene, Sarah Hassan etc joined the show straight from high school.
“I got the role straight out of Mary Hill Girls High School. I loved the experience, I not only got a platform where I could grow as an actress, but it also gave me a great platform to build my brand. I also got to make lots of friends and networks in the industry.”
Adding that being thrust into the limelight at such a young age an ruin talent or build it. It is branded the teen star curse.
“Most of us who acted in Tahidi High were very young, some of us were barely out of high school, while others were in their early twenties, so we were unprepared for fame and what it would cost us,” She told Nairobian.
“It also brought many opportunities, but it was not always easy to remain grounded. Thankfully, my family helped with that. I am glad that many of us from the show overcame the curse and are now very successful in the industry.”
Shirley is currently working on the feature film Captain of Coast. It is a period piece set in the sixteenth century and tells the story of the Portuguese invasion of the African coast in the sixteenth century.
Another film project in the works this year is Dawn, a short film Shirley submitted at the Cannes Film Festival.