Vanessa Okeyo, a promising newcomer, is delighting in her portrayal of Sinde Lang’at, the central character in Showmax’s telenovela “Second Family.”
Sinde, the illegitimate daughter of Leo (played by Ian Mbugua), unexpectedly inherits her father’s lucrative milling company upon his untimely demise.
This pits her against Leo’s ruthless widow (Dora Nyaboke) and others vying for a stake in the company. Despite being out of her element, Sinde possesses the tenacity required to navigate the cutthroat world she finds herself in.
Vanessa shares her thoughts on playing Sinde, her first leading role, and her experience working alongside esteemed Kenyan actors.
Second Family is your first lead role; how does that feel?
It is a very big jump as an actress. I didn’t know I was auditioning for a lead; I just knew it was a role like any other. So funny story, when I got the call, I didn’t pick up, not intentionally though. I had a very rough day and I didn’t know if it was good news or bad news. My head was all over the place but when I called back and got the news, I was over the moon. I could not believe it. Till now I am just like, ‘Slap me, please; this cannot be real.”
Part of me was like, ‘Am I going to meet people’s expectations? Are viewers going to love me?’ Because Showmax is huge, and the fact that so many people would be watching the show made me so nervous, especially being a new face in the industry. But so far so good; I can see people love it and it makes me happy”.
Your experience working with esteemed actors like Mumbi Maina, Brian Ogola, Dora Nyaboke, Ian Mbugua, and Helen Keli, who are also part of the “Second Family” cast❓
I’ve learnt a lot from them, and I usually study how they do their craft, watch their performances whenever we are together on set, and pick up a few things”.
What do you like most about playing Sinde?
What I love about her is that she doesn’t give up; she is a fighter and she is not scared to fail because she will stand up and do it again”.
Sinde has been pretty naïve and Evangeline has succeeded in using her to do her bidding. Would you say Sinde is way in over her head in such a cut-throat world?
I don’t think my character Sinde is way over her head. I believe she knows what she’s doing most of the time. The problem is she trusts the wrong people.
Dealing with Character Frustrations;
Does it ever get frustrating for you to see her so easily manipulated and used by Evangeline?
It does get frustrating because I’m like, ‘For a 24-year-old girl with a Master’s degree, you are this gullible? What is going on?’ Sometimes I just laugh and I get through it. Sometimes I get mad but I have come to accept Sinde for who she is”
Message for Young Women❓
Sinde’s character has something to teach all the young ladies out there, she says.
So far so good; I can see people love it and it makes me happy”.