Exclusive Chat With Former “Tabasamu” Actress Rosemary Waweru

Rosemary Waweru is famed for her role in the Citizen TV series “Tabasamu” where she played the role of Maya. Her impressive delivery on the show made Rosemary Waweru one of the most sought-after actresses in the late 2000s. She later got roles in popular shows such “Pray and Prey” before taking a hiatus from the screens.

Recently, Rosemary Waweru made a grand return to the screens on Showmax Original “Faithless” where plays the role of Esther – a struggling waitress and staunch church member. “Faithless” unfolds as a ten-episode crime drama series, delving into the aftermath of a botched heist.

Esther is one of the four main characters alongside Deborah (Avril Nyambura) Ruth (Beatrice Mwai), and Hope (Fatma Mohammed). The captivating plot thickens when Esther finds the proceeds of a robbery and discovers that her brother, Benja, was one of the masterminds of the crime.

We caught up with Rosemary Waweru as she shared with us the excitement of her onscreen return.

Was your role in “Faithless” a comeback or have you done other projects in between?

I could say it’s a bit of both. It’s a comeback because Showmax is big. But I have been in the industry. A year ago, I was on “Selina.” Apart from that, I have also been doing a lot of voice-overs and producing my own films. 

How was it acting in this specific role?

It was different from the roles that I am used to. The character was quite demanding but I was really happy to play. I’ve always played mean characters which suit me well. However, with “Esther,” it was a rollercoaster of emotions as I had to dig deeper. While I had worked with the likes of Peter Kamau, it was a great experience to work with Avril and Fatma Muhammad for the first time.

So far, which was your favorite scene to play a part in?

I think I have a few but the most memorable was a scene where I fell in episode one. I was a waitress. It was technically interesting because you’d think falling is going to be easy, but it wasn’t. Also, in the same scene, the boss (played by Bilal Wanjau) calls me to the office and is being inappropriate. I have always admired Bilal and wanted to work with him.

What do you like about your character, “Esther?”

The integrity that she has and her beliefs. She is a little bit rigid but she has standards.

Rosemary Waweru

Looking back, how did you get into film?

It started in high school. I was good at many things but had no sense of direction. So, I got into the Drama Club, and the director, Onesmus Muthuri liked my performance and my voice. After high school, I joined theater at Alliwah David’s Theatrix Arts Ensemble. Soon after, Onesmus Muthuri, called me for an audition for Citizen TV’s “Tabasamu” and I got in. However, before that, I had done an Airtel advert, which was called “Zain” at the time.

What’s your opinion on the current state of the Kenyan film industry?

The growth is tremendous. It can be seen in the volume and variety of shows that we have. There are also many actors and production companies. If you go online right now, people are creating content to satisfy the demand. The viewer has also grown to want more Kenyan content. So, we’re starting to see that our stories actually make sense and tell our stories our own way, in our own languages.

Furthermore, many people are making it a career now with parents taking film and film studies seriously. We are also making noise for the government to listen and make our work easier. I don’t think we’re not where we want to be, but we are definitely in the process.

Which moment would you say solidified your career?

Acting in “Selina.” That happened less than three years ago. From the start, I knew that I loved film, but I had always wanted to try out new things such as real estate. So, three years ago, I made the decision that film is the field that I am going to be in. I still diversify in film as one can wear many hats within this industry.

If you are not in the film business, what else you would be in?

If I wasn’t in film, I’d be in business. I’m not afraid to take risks. You can win or can lose.

Do you watch the films you’ve acted in?

Funny enough, I can watch myself, but I find it difficult. When I watch my acting, I criticize it a lot.

What trait(s) do you think are essential for someone to be successful in the film business, especially in Kenya?

Taking film as a business. If we are to be successful as actors, we have to put in money, time, and research. It is more than passion; it is about creating a legacy.

Rosemary Waweru

What’s your opinion on the current film-related associations?

There is room for growth and improvement. For example, the Actors Guild has come up with the minimum wage but still hasn’t been able to push it to the policymakers. Having a minimum wage that is not in practice is not helpful. There is a need for more measures to be taken to ensure that cast and crew are compensated fairly. We have a long way to go to be quite honest.

What projects are you currently working on?

Several. Currently, I’m a digital content consultant for a couple of companies. I help them come up with concepts that boost their visibility online. There is also a project that I have taken with Za Kikwetu Production which I am really looking forward to. Lastly, there is a project that I have wanted to do for quite a while, but I can’t share more details because I want to have at least one episode out, then I can talk about it. But you will see on mostly on social media soon. I don’t plan to take it to any TV for now.

If you were to have a superpower, what would it be?

It would be to fly. I love nature and travel. Moreover, I read a lot of science about the world and outer space. I would love to see the way we are suspended in space. If I were to fly, that would be really super easy as I’d go anywhere at a very affordable cost.

Email me at agnesopondo@gmail.com