An exclusive interview with Mumbi Maina, Sense8

I was honored to be able to ask Mumbi Maina, or Zakia in #Sense8, questions about her experience working on the series.  Here is a clip of her in the series as Zakia.


Here’s what she had to say about her experience working on #Sense8.

  How did you get involved in acting?

I was taking my sister for an audition when the casting director insisted I try out for a role.  After much resistance gave in and later got the lead part!

What was your first job?
My first job was working as an office assistance at a publishing company called Kwani Trust.

 What is your favorite thing about acting?

For me it’s therapeutic! I get to explore different parts of myself I ordinarily wouldn’t get to explore on my everyday life. It’s challenging and exhilarating! Least favorite thing? Hurry up and wait game on set haha.

How did you get involved in Sense8?

I was emailed to go for an audition by the Nairobi casting director.  After being shortlisted I was auditioned by Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer.  The final audition was in Berlin between me and another Kenyan actress. That’s where I found out I got the role and the ride began.

Did you watch the original season?
Yes

What was your acting background before Sense8?

I’ve been involved in multiple local and panafrican productions in Kenya and Nigeria. Film and television for the past 6 years.

What drew you to this role?

Zakia is a phenomenal woman. I loved that she is so beautifully open minded, I love that she portrays a different side to the African woman compared to how African women are typically portrayed in international shows.

Were  any of the scenes past your comfort zone? 

Yes

If so, how do you move past that?

In every Actors life there comes a time you have to make a decision to have the courage to move past you as an individual and simply be the actor that is honoring the character being played.  I chose to honor her.

Are you like Zakia at all or is she completely different?
In a number of ways yes, we are similar.

Did joining this show intimidate or make you nervous?
I was certainly nervous at first, but as we started shooting it faded and I felt more confident by the day. It helped having great directors (Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer)

 How did you feel about the show being cancelled so abruptly?
Heart broken. It’s such a beautifully diverse show. It deserves more.

What did you think when you heard about the new special?
I was ecstatic!

Are you in the special?
Yes

 Do you think it’s possible that there will be a third season for Sense8?
With the amazing fans this show has, anything is possible!

Did you get to meet Lana Wachoski and the rest of the cast?
Yes Lana directed most of my scenes. Yes I’ve met the entire cast!

What was your first impressions of them?
Everyone was extremely warm, kind and accommodating. I felt like I was welcomed into a wonderful family.

 Have you ever been in a show that’s as culturally diverse before?
No, never.

Did you get to travel to any of the other countries the show filmed in?
Yes, in the season special.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on a new project in London. I will share details when I am able to.

Who would you want to work for/with if you could work with anyone?
Meryl Streep. She can do no wrong!

 Do you have any messages to the fans?

I love the sense 8 fans to tiny little bits!

Tell me one thing about yourself that would surprise fans.
I can be extraordinarily shy! Like wanting to hide under a table kind of shy…I am not always in that space but when it hits me it’s quite comical for most people to witness.