Actress beats all odds to take lead role

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023 02:05 | By
Caroline Muthoni is the main actor in a yet to be relesead TV show, Kadzo. PD/JASMINE ATIENO

Since she started her professional acting career about five years ago, Caroline Muthoni’s growth game is best described as unmatched. The actress has since featured in Kenyan films including; Ofisi and Earn It on Maisha Magic movies and Baze TV, Nafsi (as an extra), Mpakani, Auntie Boss, Njoro wa Uba, Tujuane X and Tuikaranie TV shows. 

The 27-year-old is also set to appear on a film to be released this year — Kadzo, shot by Bad Flamingo, a Swedish Production house, in partnership with Kenya’s own Zamaradi Productions. In this movie entirely shot at the Coast of Kenya, Caroline appears as the main cast Kadzo. 

The actress, model and digital influencer has through time won the hearts of many, garnering herself nearly 60,000 followers on Instagram and 40,000 on TikTok where she expresses and offers a sharp and witty sense of humour combined with beauty and fashion. 

Her journey to success and fame, as her cousin Penina Wanjiru shares has not been easy, especially since she had to grow in the absence of both parents. 

“Caroline and I are close because we grew up together, under the care of our grandmother, Jane Wanjiru Gitahi. Caroline’s mother passed on when she was only three years old, and her father… well we never got to know him at all. She had an older brother, who from what our grandmother shared, had died not long before Caroline was born. Our grandmother who is a farmer, did her best to raise us and provide us with all our needs,” shares Penina. 

Adventurous village life

Growing up in the small village called Male, Naromoru in Nyeri County came with many thrills. They experienced ups and downs just like any other family, but with their loving grandmother who ensured they were well provided for, life was not so bad. In fact, the two are more than happy that they got to grow up in the village. 

“Growing up in the village meant we learnt to become responsible early enough. All that going to the shamba, running other errands such as fetching water, looking after the cows and fetching firewood. Those are real childhood memories! And my grandmother did her best to raise me. I love her so much,” says Caroline. 

She attended Male Primary School where she sat her Kenya Certificate of Primary Education in 2007 before joining Ngorano Secondary School, both in Nyeri County. Even as a child, her small family could already tell that she had traits of an actress.

“She loved singing when she was young. She also loved playing around a lot and we would call her a cartoon. She would create conversations and act them out with family members. She also participated in church plays. Of course, we did not think it was anything serious at the time. Unfortunately, the school she attended in the village did not offer anything like a drama club— only sports, but if there was, she would have definitely found herself in one early enough. I think she joined the drama club in secondary school, and that’s probably where the acting really began,” shares the actress’ cousin fondly. 

As Caroline shares, the drama club in secondary school wasn’t as functional either. This did not stand in the way of the passion she dearly held to. Together with a close friend, Caroline Thuthi Gichu, they would write scripts and present them to their literature teacher, a Mr Gatambuki (deceased). They had planned  to shoot a video for one of the plays, but when she completed secondary school this became a forgotten venture. Thuthi was in Form Three while Caroline was in forth form, so the two went separate ways.

After secondary school, she joined Amboseli Institute of Hospitality and Technology in 2013, to pursue a Diploma in Hospitality Management, and graduated in 2015. She landed a job as a personal assistant in a company within Nairobi, but her acting dream was still knocking… waiting.

Slowly, she started by acting. She would do short films and post them on YouTube. But she wasn’t consistent enough since she also had to give more time to her 8 to 5 job as a personal assistant.  

In 2018, Caroline got her breakthrough in the film industry when she got a chance with Moonbeam, the production house that produced Auntie Boss, Njoro wa Uba and Varshita; she was to appear on Aunty Boss- as Lilian (the maid). “That was the first time I saw her on TV, and that was also when she started taking acting serious and let go of a lot of the fear that used to hold her back avoiding asking herself questions such as ‘What if it doesn’t work’,” shares Penina, who is also a businesswoman and mother of one.

Overcoming challenges

This opportunity meant a lot for Caroline, she was finally meeting people who were considering her for other roles, and this created grounding for her in the industry and propelled her in the journey.  Like many in her field, there are always challenges…

“As a Kenyan actress, Caroline has had many challenges, but she just keeps pushing because she is passionate about it. The biggest challenge, I think, has been pay —it’s not the best and returns for her efforts are not always good. But she is a businesswoman and has a lot going on online; car sales, AirBnB among others. This is definitely the best thing about her… she keeps on pushing herself no matter how hard it looks,” shares Penina.

Asked about her challenges, Caroline intimated that acting has been a seasonal venture for her.

“You just can’t depend on acting...you have to have other things on the side. Acting feels like gambling to me. You have to invest, say on headshots, getting to auditions, show reels, but it doesn’t mean you’ll get the roles. It also gets to a place I feel emotionally drained because I’m stuck and feel like nothing is happening. Also… rejection. I believe every actress has faced this. It’s also emotionally draining,” she reveals. 

If she hadn’t gone after acting as a career, Penina is sure that her cousin would have been a chef. She loves cooking.

“She loves the kitchen. In fact, one of our favourite moments have been in the kitchen when she cooks and teaches me new recipes,” shares Penina.

While she is yet to win any awards, the future is surely promising. Say with a film such as Kadzo and being a lead actress, featuring actors such as Alexander Karim, who is a Swedish actor and Robert Agengo from Kenya…chances of nominations are high.

More on Features