Today on Pearls and Heels we feature Eudiah Kamonjo. Eudiah Kamonjo is a poet, media consultant and sex guide based in Nairobi. She hosts the Indulgence Erotica Open Mic, a monthly event that has so far been held in Nairobi, Mombasa and Malindi. She previously worked for a child-focused NGO as a Managing Editor. Today, she uses her skills to contribute to websites such as News Deeply’s Women’s Advancement section and serves as a Digital Media Consultant for various companies.
Describe your typical day.
I am a night owl so I work late into the night. My day doesn’t start until 7 a.m. Routine isn’t my cup of tea so sometimes I will start my day at the gym, read or do a meeting. Then I will embark on research or online content updates for my clients’ brands. I do my creative writing later in the night when all is quiet. Most of my weekends are taken up by therapy sessions or events.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer. This is still what takes up a lot of my time. As a young girl from the age of nine, I wrote poetry and stories and I also loved performing. So my mother always knew I would be an artist of some kind. I studied Mass Communication (Radio & T.V Production) at the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication. I then got into print and online media immediately after school.
As for sexology, I started off as an assistant to a therapist here in Kenya and pretty much learnt on the job on a part-time basis. That was over seven years ago. My poetry has always had a touch of sensuality for as long as I can remember (I guess I am a romantic at heart) so hosting the erotica open mic comes easy for me. I will be publishing my first erotica poetry collection this year.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
There is a saying that goes ‘there are no guarantees in life, only opportunities.’ I believe that every opportunity or challenge that comes our way is meant to be for a reason. So even if things were different for me, I would probably have ended up on the same exact path I was meant to be on. Everything that has happened serves as a stepping stone or lesson to the next stage in our lives. I would not do anything any differently.
What would you say are the top three skills needed to succeed at your job?
Fearlessness to take on new challenges.
Creativity and innovation to imagine and execute ideas.
Persistence to keep doing what you are passionate about no matter what.
As a professional how is it working in Nairobi? Is Nairobi open to what you do or what could be better?
Nairobi is one of the best places to be. People here are very liberal (albeit in a very undercover way). However, it could be better. One sure way is to have more locals investing in the arts. Nairobi has great potential. But first, we need to work on our values (especially honesty and integrity).
There are challenges in terms of media and the arts like everyone else in business the instability that the political situation brings every few years. We all feel the effects long before and long after as many people tend to hold out on executing and spending.
Another challenge is the fact that there aren’t many people investing long-term in the arts because it’s still not considered a serious enough career.
In terms of sex matters, all this moral policing is hurting our families, youngsters and artists.
There is a myriad of opportunities, the main one being that there is a growing demand for African stories and films. We should be producing and investing our time and money in this right now.
What motivates you?
The need to build a better life for my family and to fulfil my purpose in this life.
How do you define success?
Success means doing what you love, achieving what you set out to do and giving back to the community the best way you know how. Success is achieved when all areas of your life are in order.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
I have derived inspiration from different places at different times of my life. My family, my friends, mentors over the years, fellow writers and even people I barely know have inspired me in some way.
What is your favourite aspect of your job?
I love when I share my work or myself to a point where my audience or my clients are comfortable enough to share their truth with me. I also love when I hear that my work has inspired or encouraged others
What would you say are the key elements to being successful?
Success is achieved when all aspects of your life are in good order; when your mental, financial, health, spiritual and family are at the comfortable place you wanted. I believe this is achieved by having a positive attitude, a tenacious spirit and surrounding yourself with things and people you love.
What advice would you give somebody just starting out in your line of work?
Be courageous and consistently go after what you love no matter how many nos you get. In time, you will get a yes. Never stop learning or educating yourself and keep challenging yourself by regularly doing things outside your comfort zone.
What has been your most satisfying moment in terms of career?
I have had many such moments. One of these is when I get people to actually listen to my spoken word poetry piece and then later come to me to thank me or encourage me. Working on the choreopoem ‘For coloured girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf’ with Mumbi Kaigwa in 2013 was one of my career highlights. Working with children in order to help build a better generation is also very satisfying for me and I always find ways of doing that.
What makes you happy?
Spending time doing stuff with my daughter makes me incredibly happy. Making time to indulge in a good book or film makes my world go round. I also love intimacy and love and having money.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
I love to exercise, swim, travel, exercise, reading a good book, watch a captivating film, comedy and intimacy.
Where do you see yourself in around 10 years?
I see my consulting and production companies having grown into market leaders. I look forward to publishing more inspiring works. As a sex guide, I foresee even more interesting opportunities for people in the field and more exciting ways of doing sessions.
You can interact with Eudiah Kamonjo on Twitter @EudiahKamonjo, Instagram @eudiahk and Facebook. To stay up to date with the Indulgence Erotica Open Mic like the event’s Facebook Page. You can also check out her performance of my hottest poem here.