Entertainment and Lifestyle

All eyes on…

Aisha Wanjiku is a TEDx speaker, entertainment TV and red carpet host, digital influencer, voice-over artiste, emcee and commercial model all rolled up in one. She talks with Elly Gitau about her incredible brand

You have such a bubbly personality; tell us a bit about your childhood.

Laughs. I’ve been told that I’m loud and excitable. I can’t deny that. I was born and bred in Mombasa county and generally, guys from the Coast are bubbly. It’s due to my mother? Hahaa… She’s the most fun, bubbly person ever and I am definitely my mother’s daughter.

Did you always desire to be on radio or TV?

Yes, and it’s amazing how the universe works. You attract what you desire. It’s God’s plan.

Who or what inspired you towards that direction?

Well, it has always been a dream of mine to work in media, so I studied journalism in university and majored in broadcast media.

How did you cut your teeth into media?

By tirelessly attending all auditions that I came across and getting zero callbacks. This used to kill my morale, but also motivated me to keep working on my craft.

Between radio and TV, which do you find easier to work in and why?

It’s amazing you asked this. Despite having started out as a radio presenter I now find TV much easier. I was in a recording studio a few weeks back and I fumbled with the mic for a few minutes. Give me a camera though and watch me reign.

How has the overall experience been?

A huge learning experience. As a presenter, you have to stay fresh and that requires a lot of self-growth and discovery. There’s always something new to learn every day on or off set or just by watching other shows. Personal growth is vital and I’ve had the chance to go through this experience.

Tell us about your Gani Kali show on Maisha Magic.

Just by talking about it makes me so excited. It’s an East African Swahili entertainment show that plays back-to-back hits and fuses it with the culture.

Which challenges have you faced in your career and how have you tackled them?

Time discipline mostly. I never used to be keen on time until I got a TV show, then I realised that every minute, nay, every second counts. From make-up, outfits, content preparation and such. Starting off with a live show taught me a valuable lesson on time management.

Generally people expect celebrities to live a jet set life. How do you deal with this challenge on a personal level?

This kind of pressure is what makes people put up a front and live a faux life. I don’t subscribe to societal standards. I just live my own life.

What would you say your strengths are?

My Kiswahili, delivery, wit, confidence and lively personality.

I know you have future aspirations…

Yes of course I do, but as they say, more moves, fewer announcements.

Your profile reads like a novel. How do you manage to work around all that?

My son Lamar, aged six years, is my first and most important employer. With him sorted out, then the rest falls in place. I am a mother first.

How has motherhood influenced your career path?

It made me become more aggressive and bold in terms of chasing the jobs I wanted and with life in general. Always block the noise and go after what you want.

I know you are a role model to many, what’s your advice to young women aspiring to work as radio or TV hosts?

Shut down all negative advice about how you can’t make it in the media industry if you don’t have a godfather or proper connections. Consistently work on improving your talent or skills and be your own cheerleader.

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