It is sheer grit; people sacrifice their blood to have stage performances happen. Any visit to the theater will confirm that there’s sweat and determination written on their faces. They have to keep the logic, the lines and verses in place and even with the hunger pangs they wear smiles to keep their shoulders square.
They are the heroes and heroines of theater. Some walk on foot to performing sites they borrow attire just to make it happen; they invest their bodies and their souls – literally.
Mpasho Investigates Backstage Shenanigans Part 1: Exploitation Of Women In The Kenyan Acting Industry
They always entertain us leaving us glued to the screen, but most of us don’t know what they go through to get that gig.
At the Kenya National Theatre I was able to talk to several actors; the actresses were however not keen to speak on record. Most of them admit that indeed sometimes they have to offer sexual favors to the top producers for them to secure roles in productions.
“It happens. If a producer asks me to sleep with him so that I get the job sitakataa, hii ni Nairobi na nilikuja kutafta,” one of the ladies who seemed to be the youngest of the four that I spoke to said.
It was the same story from all the actresses. When I probed whether or not allegations that they throw themselves on to the producers for fame are true, they all denied it. They however confess that before you make it to the final stage; you have to “please” the producer. Nancy (Not real name), who seemed to be the most talkative opened up a bit more about sex for fame in the acting industry.
“I don’t care what people say, as long as I give him, and he offers me a job, sina shida. Mbona watu wanawashwa na p**** ni yangu? Even those famous actors you see on TV have gone through this. Let no one cheat you that it’s because of their hard work, sex in the industry is common, and we are used to it.”
I was shocked that this was the order of the day. I talked to one of the male actors (Moses) who has been in the industry for the past 5 years. He says some of the ladies are the ones who offer sex to the producers and it helps them get better roles. According to Moses, sex in the industry is common especially between actresses and producers. For male actors, he says, they usually have to part with some cash to secure roles and sometimes even that doesn’t work. He feels that the ladies in the industry have an easier time as they have something extra to offer.
Watch the interview below.