SNAPPY 7: Blessing Lung’aho – My career began the day my father died
Blessing Lung’aho was born in Uasin Gishu County and attended Kakamega High School before joining Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He has appeared on a few local and international TV commercials.
He has starred in several local television shows in Kenya like Mother in Law and PREM among others. The film, TV and commercial actor spoke to Nairobi News about his journey.
1. When did you start acting? Normally when I tell people the truth, its seems like I lie. But the truth is, I met a guy called Guta on the streets, and he walked up to me and told me that he was casting for a commercial and he thought I would be perfect for the role. (Refused to say which commercial was). At first I thought this guy was one of the many con men on our streets so I brushed him off but he gave me his business card and asked me to think about it and give him a call. I shared the encounter with my friends and colleagues at work, one of them told me he knew who the guy was and encouraged me to call him. So I finally called him and he invites me for an audition and I get picked. I get told of how much I’ll be paid and that changes my life, there and then!
2. When did you have your big breakthrough? I had a coming to Jesus moment. I don’t know how to put it. There was this week when I went to audition for five roles; three commercials and two TV shows, and I was sure I would get picked. During my dry season, I bought books and got myself an acting coach who taught me a lot.
I remember calling my dad to tell him the good news about my auditions. But he was driving at the time and promised to call me back. I remember it was on a Thursday. Come Friday, no calls from the casting guys. No call from my dad. Saturday nothing. Then on Sunday, an aunt calls me and tells me that my dad passed on.
About an hour later my phone starts ringing. It was a casting director asking for my measurements, I had been picked for the role! That day I got all the five jobs. That’s when my career began – on the worst possible day for me. I think my dad got up there and told God “take care of my guy.”
3. What has changed since you got into the acting industry? For the last four years I have been extremely blessed. I have had opportunities to do international jobs and meet big time Hollywood actors. I mean, you are on set with someone you see on IMAX and you are like will I deliver or should I first ask for an autograph. That experience has shown me that anything is possible… if he can do this and he is just flesh and bone, whats so different about me?
4. What have you done internationally? I’ve done two international ads and one international movie in Rome. I cant talk about it yet… I just finished shooting it… but when the embargo is lifted I’ll come back here for a two-hour interview…
5. What has been your most embarrassing moment? My most embarrassing moment is when I went to do my film. You know I’d never been to Europe. I’m working with this guy and he’s like “lets do lunch” and I’m like “there’s free food over there”. And he’s like “No, no, there’s this restaurant that’s really good. Come I take you.” So we ended up in this really posh restaurant and being the ordinary guy that I am, I ordered everything which looked good on the menu.
In Kenya when someone takes you out for lunch they pay. No one told me in Europe when they say “let’s do lunch”, what they mean is, you pay your bill, they pay theirs. So when the bill came, this white guy pushed it over to me to pay for what I’d eaten. I told him that I didn’t have cash on me and that he should pay for me and I would refund him later. I thought he had forgotten, but then the next day he comes asking for his money in front of everyone.
6. What’s the difference between the acting industry in Europe and in Kenya? In Kenya at least I get some space on the set. Over there the director will drill you until he gets what he wants… if it takes the whole day, if it takes a week, if it takes two days, he will wait until you get it right. There was this scene where I spent the entire day opening a door. I really got tired and so pissed off. Its all about perfectionism.
Over here we don’t have the resources. But its made me realise that there is no talent like Kenya talent. Kenyans are extremely talented. I just wish we would be appreciated just a bit.
7. What actor would you like to work with? There is a Kenyan actor called Alan Oyugi. He’s the guy I want to act as. He is the most natural actor I’ve ever seen. If Alan was standing over here acting you wouldn’t know. You’d just think he was having a conversation with people. He is by far my best actor.