31 January 2018
Joyce Maina takes on her toughest role yet in Aisha
She’s home alone but that doesn’t stop him from coming in. After all, he has her father’s blessing. He’s old and rich, a man used to getting his own way. Her defiance irritates him, he doesn’t like the way she refuses to acknowledge his importance or his desire for her. He hits her hard across the face. He’s a big man, you expect her to tumble under his weight, but she fights back. The nerve! She shouldn’t have done that, his eyes seem to say. With his renewed anger, she doesn’t stand a chance. There, in her father’s house, he rapes her without even thinking twice. Did I mention she’s only 17?
This is a scene from the movie Aisha and our young victim is none other than Joyce Maina playing the titular role of Aisha, which earned her a nomination for Best Actress at the 2017 Kalasha Awards. Aisha is available for streaming or downloading on Showmax.
I felt like it was a very real story. A lot of girls are still being forced into marriages and their dreams and ambitions are being pushed aside. They are expected to only be mothers and housewives. But we are capable of so much more. – Joyce Maina
“Everyone should watch this movie, it is heart wrenching. You will really feel for Aisha. You will cry,” says Joyce, who commends Showmax for giving the Kenyan industry a platform to share its work. “Showmax makes our productions more available to a much larger audience.”
1. How did your journey into acting begin?
I started by doing commercials when I was 19 years old. But I didn’t start actively pursuing acting until I was 21. Opportunities were more available then so I started chasing my dream.
2. Tell us more about the movie Aisha.
Aisha is about a girl who has just finished high school and is now aspiring to go to college and be a writer, but her father has other plans for her. He wants her to get married and have children with a suitor he has picked for her.
3. As the main character, why was it important to tell the story of Aisha?
I felt like it was a very real story. A lot of girls are still being forced into marriages and their dreams and ambitions are being pushed aside. They are expected to only be mothers and housewives. But we are capable of so much more.
4. What attracted you to this role in the first place?
I read the script and thought it was a great story that needs to be told more. As much as Aisha is seen as a victim, she is a very strong character.
5. Any challenges to the role?
It was a difficult role to embody because my background is totally different, my parents have always put education first so playing someone who is a complete opposite was a challenge, but I like challenges. It felt really good.
6. What lessons did you learn from the movie?
It’s important to fight for your dreams. Your future shouldn’t be dictated by family or tradition or religion.
7. You’ve also appeared on Wrath as Julia alongside Pascal Tokodi. Tell us more about that.
Wrath is a forbidden love story between these two teenagers who are from different parts of the world. The boy (Frank) is from a rich family while the girl (Julia) comes from a poor family – Julia’s mother is the maid to Frank’s family. Julia is a very smart girl, humble and kind. Her whole life, it’s always been about her and her mother until she meets Frank.
8. Pascal Tokodi, what’s the story there? You guys have always had such good chemistry, should fans expect something between you two?
We’ve been really good friends since we met on the set of Wrath. There’s nothing there. I just look forward to working with him again because I think he’s an amazing actor.
9. Among all your roles, which one are you most proud of?
All of them, I learn something new from each of my roles. Each of them has offered a new and unique challenge
10. Any famous actor that inspires you?
Kerry Washington because she is the first black woman to play a lead role on TV in nearly 40 years.
11. Overall, what’s the secret to pulling off a good role?
Understanding your character – the more you can connect to your character, the easier they are to portray.
If you can’t get enough of Joyce Maina, be sure to catch her on Neophobia (screened at Cannes Film Festival in 2017), which is coming soon to Showmax.
Also find her on the Nigerian hit series This Is It S2, alongside Nick Mutuma, available on Showmax right now.
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