Start of a new era? Meet the new socialites in town
For a long time, Vera Sidika was the face of the Kenyan socialite when that segment of lifestyle and entertainment was still foreign to many. Then came Huddah Monroe and Risper Faith who ruled Nairobi with the ‘socialite’ tag before venturing into business.
It would be right to say that this generation of socialites has since ‘retired’. In fact, Vera and Huddah have been focusing so much on their business ventures that stretch across various sectors that it would be hard to revive the talk they thrived on back in the day.
“I am not a socialite. I am an entrepreneur. I run my own businesses across the globe. I run my beauty parlour here in Nairobi and I have also started a music career besides by interior graphics jobs,” Vera told Pulse a few weeks back, arguing that indeed, life has taken a new path.
She had been to the United States of America doing shows in different cities and pulling deals with leading showbiz players. And as it seems, her dream of fame and fortune has come full circle after hanging out with world’s greats, some family members of American reality TV drama show Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s family, her equal that side of the globe.
The other day, she was hanging out with Kendall Jenner, the gorgeous American model and American reality television personality who made her name in Keeping Up with the Kardashians before she begun modelling in a movement dubbed ‘the Instagirl era’ by Vogue, and ‘Social Media Modelling’; by Harper’s Bazaar, where models are chosen for their online presence and social media following.
Vera proved her haters wrong when she attended the exclusive all-stars NBA game in Los Angeles in New Year week where she met all those adored stars.
“The VIP tickets for post-game all access pass were never sold. You have to be given by an NBA player, which was the case with me,” Vera told Pulse.
“This is because unless that happens, all rich people will flock the NBA players and celebrities and make a mess out of it. Whether he is your boyfriend, relative or friend, only NBA player can get you the access I had,” she noted.
“That is how Kylie and I had passes. Her boyfriend was playing so after Game, they hang out there for a while before heading out. And there was a good moment for me to chit-chat with them…You know, it is like a chat with Kardashians’ finest,” the Kenyan socialite, arguably Africa’s most talked-about girl reveals.
“I had a chance to meet many NBA stars whom we had a good hook-up time with. I in particular recall the moment with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. I am not into sports really but it was interesting to watch the game and now I am in love with it,” she told Pulse.
It was after this that she made appearances in London before flying to Houston Texas, Phoenix Arizona…and more cities where she treated her fans till March this year when she returned home.
At the same time, Huddah was touring the world and updating all about the good things she was enjoying during the business and leisure outing. She too returned last month.
Risper on the other hand settled down and is now a wife and mother. She does not like the ‘socialite’ tag, neither does Corazon Kwamboka who also reigned supreme during that era.
With the likes of Pendo, Bridget Achieng, Mishi Dora and Ella Ciiru emerging as the new face of the Kenyan socialite about three years ago when Nairobi Diaries started, no one seemed to look at the older lot any more.
But theirs was a short-lived span and none of them is generating the buzz their predecessors spurred. Apart from the little controversies they spark mostly around boyfriends, there is not much to write home about when it comes to these girls. One can say that if socialites was a talent thing, then there is a vacuum in the Kenyan arena.
“Socialite stories are issues of the past. I am not that person anymore. I have a business and a music career to take care of right now,” Pendo recently told Pulse.
“Kenyans have this notion that when you are called a socialite, you are here to steal people’s husbands and milk men dry. I have heard stories of how socialites make millions. Minus this ‘socialite’ tag, these people have a life and they work as hard as everyone else trying to make ends meet. It’s just wrong how people judge others in this country,” she added.
Besides, it is ironical how many young girls want to occupy this space where they can hobnob with members of the high society and A-list celebrities as they enjoy life on the fast lane. Girls want the quick gains, oversees leisure trips and dream of making the big money – by all means - in the land of milk and honey.
And willing to do whatever it takes to get noticed, they are willing to post their nudes on social media, marketing their ‘CVs’ and announcing to the entire world that they are up for grabs. For some, sex is the trap they know many moneyed men fall for before they get trapped into this ‘slay queen’ web.
It is no wonder that film producer Phil Bresson thought of bringing the drama back to juice up the entertainment scene by creating a new show - Socialites - the new show that made its debut on KTN this week.
The show follows different girls and men in different phases of becoming a socialite in Nairobi. The glamour, and the consequences of these lifestyles qualifies the tagline; Lifestyles of the pretty and desperate
It features three ladies trying to survive the cold streets of Nairobi. Apparently, the three are relatively new faces on TV, with the production company handpicking the actors rather than resorting to work with established faces.
“We had to make the show as fresh as possible,” says Phil Bresson, the producer. “Plus the last time we did an audition for a show, we got over 2,000 people turning up.”
So who are the new socialites in town?
Angie Mlay - ‘Cici’
She is an events’ organiser, actress, communicator and go-getter. She acts as Tina in the show. Angie was a familiar face during the two years that Pambazuka National Lottery ran, as one of the TV hosts. This beauty has horned her acting skill in plays besides doing modelling work where she has appeared in numerous adverts.
Diana Nderitu - ‘Tina’
An advocate of the high court, Diana is enthusiastic about balancing the two loves of her life, law and TV. The articulate and rather calculated beauty who grew up in the United Kingdom was also cast in New Beginnings, a successful drama that’s sold to more than 20 African countries.
“Because in my other life I’ve always wanted to be one,” she tells Pulse with a chuckle.
“Seriously though, I joined because I figured it would be great to actually be in a show that depicts the realities of how young women fall for sponsors, and the lengths women will go to just to survive,” she clarifies.
Ruena Kiarie - ‘Nancy’
She acts the part of a house help who wants more and is forced by circumstances to become a socialite. Ruena is making her TV debut, but the beauty, a trained journalist, is a natural.
“I’ve modelled a few times but I’ve never thought of acting until now,” she tells Pulse. “The experience is amazing, and I’m already getting calls for more TV work.”