It’s another Wednesday and it’s time to meet one of the men who light up this Nairobi with their smiles – literally because you have probably seen him on TV or in a magazine. Edward Nyanaro is our Man Around Nairobi this Wednesday. He is an actor who has acted in series including SHUGA, Lies that Bind, Sumu La Penzi, Simuyu Samurai and Mali. He is the Marketing Manager of Fiesta Milele. Edward Nyanaro is also a model and he runs 254 Talent Management Ltd.
1. Did you grow up in Nairobi? If you did where and how was it growing up here?
I grew up in Kericho. It was a nice town to grow up in. I got a strong spiritual foundation in Church at ST Mary’s Motobo. I had great teachers as well. My teachers identified my love for art early and it motivated me to do more in music and drama. The passion lives on and has brought me to where I am today. My parents left Kericho for Kisii leaving my sister and me under the care of an aunt.
I moved to Nairobi in 2006. The culture shock and the haste at which people moved at first freaked me out. But the beauty around me made me fall in love with Nairobi as I familiarized myself with this city where I started working at the tender age of 17.
Nairobi offered me an opportunity that no other place did as far as art is concerned. I got my first acting job with MTV SHUGA 2, as well as got into a performing group in 2008 called Kayamba Fiesta. After a while, we formed our own group Fiesta Milele which I am privileged to be the Marketing Manager. I have managed to perform in various places within the country and I am hoping to perform internationally someday…Nairobi opened up opportunities for me in commercial modelling. This is an area I didn’t know about, there were a few pitfalls at the beginning but I got a couple of corporate gigs. I am proud to say that my brand has stood the test of time.
2. What do you love about Nairobi?
I love the Fashion scene in Nairobi. It’s absolutely incredible.
I love the architectural designs that make the city stand out from all the cities and towns in Kenya.
The weather on this side is very friendly too until it rains and when it does it pours.
The diversity of the people here makes me appreciate other tribes, races, religions and different cultures.
3. What would you change about Nairobi?
The traffic situation is one of the things I would like to change by diversifying modes of transport as we waste so much valuable time in traffic that would have been used for productive work.
The security situation in some areas that have seen people lose lives and valuables. We need better security.
I would make more recreational facilities in various interior places in Nairobi i.e theatres and sports centres for the youth. This would facilitate personal development in their art and talents.
Medical attention in emergency wings in public hospitals especially Kenyatta Hospital is something I would like to change. I think we need another referral hospital to manage the traffic of people as I lost an uncle (may he rest in peace) and it was a sad affair for the family. I remember the experience of being kept waiting. Negligence has led to a lot of avoidable deaths.
4. As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Working in Nairobi is indeed challenging based on the cost of running a business here. I should mention that I run 254 Talent Management Ltd which is a talent management company that casts different talents i.e. models, voice artists, actors, performance artists etc. However, the market here is open and competition indeed makes it even better as people have choices so quality service is the least people expect and competitive prices make it easier for them to select what is within their budget.
As an Actor working in Nairobi, it is the best place as most if not all productions in Kenya are based in Nairobi making it easier for the aggressive actors here to secure a slot in one or more productions that would hire their services.
As a commercial model and Voice artist, Nairobi is the central hub and all Advertising Agencies in Kenya are based in Nairobi therefore most if not all castings and auditions are done in Nairobi. This gives the talents here a great opportunity to get job bookings as models brand ambassadors, voice artists etc.
Nairobi is open to what I do as an artist in Fiesta Milele as corporates hire our entertainment services as well as the government, NGOs, hotels and individuals.
We should have advertising agencies stick to the rate card provided so as to ensure proper fair payment to talent especially in commercials & voice-over work. Talent should be made aware of rate cards by the agencies representing them so as to avoid underpayment which is caused by ignorance.
5. If you had a tourist friend coming in from outside the country what three things would you say to sell them the idea that Nairobi is worth visiting?
PAWA 254 is a go-to place. It is a creative space that hosts an array of performances usually themed on social issues located on State House, Road Nairobi.
The Kenya National Archives which has preserved a lot of Kenyan Heritage is a go-to place for anyone who would like to learn about Kenya’s history.
I highly recommend the Kenya National Theatre Located close to the University of Nairobi as one creative space that has provided a platform for many industry players whom I now look up to.
Mamba village is an animal sanctuary best known for its crocodiles situated off Langata Road.
You can interact with Edward on his Twitter handle