Madam Vicky or Victoria whose real name is Sheila Ndanu plays the role of a lenient mother on the local telenovela, Maria TV series on Citizen TV.
Her house is the epicenter of the drama and houses teenage sensation who is also the lead actor, Maria, whose real name is Yasmin Said and other characters such as Tina Njambi who acts as Lona, a very noisy house help.
One on One with Madam Vicky of Maria Citizen
Ndanu spoke exclusively with Kenyans, sharing her life’s journey, her film debut, and how the Maria series was shaping Kenya’s film industry.
Who is Sheila Ndanu as a person and who is Madam Victoria the character?
Sheila Ndanu is a daughter, a mother, and a friend. I would describe myself as quite reserved but I can be chatty with those that I am familiar with.
On the other hand, Madam Victoria alias Vicky is a mixture of many characters in one. She is a stern, overly protective, status-conscious, and loving motherly figure.
There is a relation between the two personalities, considering that both onscreen and off-screen I am a mother and despite the contexts being different, I remain as a nurturer and protector of my family.
How did you land the role in Maria Series?
In May 2019, I went for an audition for a TV commercial. Someone noticed my skills during the presentations and approached me after. He said I was the perfect fit for an upcoming TV series and went ahead to encourage me to audition for the role of Madam Vicky.
I was quite skeptical, however, I did go ahead and was pleasantly surprised when I got a call informing me of the success of the audition.
Have you ever been a cast in any other film and for how long have you been in the industry?
This is my first time working in a film. However, I have been a commercial model for the past six years. I have worked with brands such as Crown Berger, Zusha Road Safety, NIC Bank, DTB bank, and Visa South Africa.
How have the fans embraced your role? Do they think that at times you are so lenient to Luwi?
Initially, when the show began, they considered me to be a bit too lenient with Luwi but as the show progressed they came to appreciate me as a mother who would do anything for her family’s wellbeing.
The love the fans are showing towards the show is unending, how do you feel about that? And what changes do you think you all brought to the industry?
I am humbled beyond words, and so grateful to see the efforts put in by Team Maria bearing fruits. It is amazing and encouraging! We brought along new talent into the industry considering it is the first acting experience for most of the cast. As for the show, we have managed to capture the audience of all Kenyans across the board.
Any memorable parts of the series that you will always remember acting in?
Hmmm, it is quite difficult to pinpoint one particular scene as every scene demands something different from Madam Vicky.
Who is your favorite cast in Maria?
(Laughs) I love all of them dearly. However, I have a soft spot for Tina Njambi (Lona) who has held my hand from day one to date.
Lulu Haasan and Rashid Abdalla are the producers of the show. What about them stands out?
Lulu and Rashid are godsent indeed. They are both very calm in spirit, patient, and kind, giving everyone willing, a chance to better themselves. They are my destiny helpers and I continually thank God for them.
Are you married, do you have a family and how do they view your career?
I am a mother of two beautiful girls and the support I have received from both family and friends has been overwhelming, to say the least. I am truly grateful.
Do you have any side hustles?
I am a beauty therapist by profession and as I mentioned earlier, I am a commercial model too. I have never studied theatre works or acting. I am learning and getting better every day while at work! (laughs).
Any other life achievements and dreams you would like to pursue?
As of now being, part of Maria is my biggest achievement, and I do hope to make it to Holywood, God willing.
Any advice to upcoming artists and your perspective on what it takes to succeed?
Keep at it, put yourself out there, go for auditions, and be prepared so that when opportunities come your way you do not miss out. Hone your talent and don’t give up.
To succeed it takes discipline, diligence, a teachable spirit, focus, and above all the fear of God, for with Him all things are possible.
During this Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, what advice would you give to your fans?
I urge them to take self-responsibility especially the youth should stay home and take the necessary precautions as directed by the government. It is for our good. Also, take this time indoors to better yourself, meditate, reflect, plan, and rest.