There is that sassy, “thirsty” girl who is Toni’s confidante on My Two Wives, the programme that runs on KTN every Monday at 8pm. Monique is her name and she is often the person that brings humour to the show, what with her desire to be in the arms of any man she fancies, even if that man is a rascal from the boondocks who does not know the first thing about common decency.
Well, Monique’s role is played by Louisa Akadeli Ekwee. And, guess what? She is a daughter of former Senate speaker Ekwee Ethuro.
When DAVID MWENDA called her for this interview, she was getting ready for her day. She was, in fact, doing her makeup — something she does even on screen!
Are you in any way related to the former Senate Speaker Ekwee Ethuro?
Yes. He is my dad.
Interesting. You are lawyer, right?
No. Actually, I’m still in law school waiting to pass to do the bar test which, if I pass, I will become an advocate of the High Court of Kenya.
You are also in business, right?
Yes, I run a company called Look Good Feel Good.
It is like a beauty company, right?
Yes, it is actually an online company. And I also breed dogs.
I am afraid of dogs (laughter). How do you balance acting, business and law school?
Well, since most of my work is online, I can get a lot of time to do a lot of things at the same time. Business for the beauty company is mostly online, except for the delivery part. For the dogs, I just have to let them grow and it is not a lot of work.
In the My Two Wives, you are kinda like a drama queen. Is it something that you are in real life?
Not really. Most people think you are what you are on television and do not learn to distinguish the two. However, most of my friends liken the character of Monique to me a lot. But I wouldn’t say that that is me entirely. I would say it is like 35% me and not the rest. But the part of chasing men, that is not me (laughter).
What’s the one weird question people keep asking you on the streets?
People keep asking if Toni is the B-word because of her character and the way she is. She is a really nice person and is very considerate and caring.
Another aspect is when people stop me and tell me to greet people on the show. Many people think the show is so real and they tell me to greet the maid. What’s her name? Purity (Sofia Mohammed).
You have a kid you are a married?
Yes, I have one son and four step-children. I recently got engaged in Dubai.
How is being a step-mother?
It is an exciting journey. No one teaches you to be a mother. So, it is something I am growing into and figuring out one day at a time.
A little about your acting career. Was this your first time acting in film?
Yeah. I started acting in 2007 I got into acting in campus and I joined a production company, where I would act in set books, you know, just going to different schools.
However, you see the payment of musicians and actors is peanuts but I am not complaining. However, I think a lot can be done to improve the payment of actors. That is why we need to do more other things on the side.
Being an actress, do you think enough is being done to support actors in Kenya? Because I am speaking to a number of actors and they are telling me that we have gone somewhere. But we can do more?
According to me, nothing is being done. If you happen to depend on acting alone in Kenya, you will even be evicted out of your house because sometimes you are not paid on time and sometimes the payment is delayed.
If you are an extra, you are promised to be paid and sometimes you will never get to see that money. So, it is still a long way to go when it comes to making actors’ lives better and make them depend solely on their craft or endorsements.
There is still a need for transparency in the industry for both music and film bodies. It is high time that things are put out there in the open and contracts are negotiated well and actors got to recognise their rights.
In the next five years how do you envision the acting industry and yourself?
I would want to start my own production company called Nayo Nayo Teke Teke Production (laughter). I would also want to see better remuneration for actors and generally everyone in the industry. I would also want to represent the rights of actors and musicians in court for better terms of payment. Hopefully, I would still be working in the industry I am not into big plans because we can plan. But only God knows what he wants us to do next in our lives.