Two years ago, Millicent Mugadi was another struggling actress in Kenya trying to find her big break on the big screen.
Last year, a different chance all-together came knocking in the form of Big Brother Africa (BBA), she threw her hat in the ring, got the opportunity and today she is headed where she has always wanted to be thanks to the biggest reality TV show on the continent.
Many Kenyans were surprised when BBA scouts picked her to fly the Kenyan flag alongside Nick Wang'ondu.
Kenyans were even more shocked when Millicent gave that big kiss to Sammy, the housemate from Ghana, on Day One of the Big Brother Amplified show.
It was an act of boldness that could have easily backfired on her, but it didn’t and she wasn’t branded ‘loose’ and kicked out of the show as Kenyan viewers had feared. Instead, she went on to be the first Kenyan to be in the house on the final day since the show started.
Upon returning to Kenya, Millicent won Best Supporting Actress at last year’s Kalasha Awards for her role in the film Me, My Wife and Her Guru.
The Kalasha Awards is the biggest awards initiative recognising talent in the film industry.
The gala night was held at the Carnivore in Nairobi last September. It was Millicent’s first such award and it meant a lot to her for other reasons too.
“Winning the Kalasha award was a very big boost for me considering that it was the first film that I co-produced. Being in the limelight with BBA definitely helped,” she said.
A month later, Millicent delivered on the promise she had made to fellow housemates in the BBA house: inviting them all to Nairobi.
Ten housemates, including joint-winner Wendall Parson, came to Nairobi for a charity trip to raise awareness about the anti-jiggers campaign.
Sponsored by Samsung and Ahadi Trust, the trip was Millicent’s brainchild.
“I am a very staunch anti-jigger campaigner because I was also infected by jiggers when I was growing up. I am just very glad that we brought the BBA stars to Kenya to help create awareness,” she explained.
Millicent also runs football programmes for boys and girls in the slums of Nairobi.
From the beginning of this year, Millicent has been in Nigeria where she is working with Nollywood film producer Chris Onyeso in a number of films.
The producer contacted her after the BBA show ended. Despite reports in the Nigerian blogs suggesting that she may have fallen out with the film producer in recent weeks, Millicent would like to assure her fans all is well and that one of these films will be launched soon.
She has four films to her name, including a Nollywood one she featured in prior to going in to the Big Brother house .
“Big Brother gave me wings to fly and I am doing just that. Being exposed to a continental audience is a huge boost to my acting career,” she said, concluding our telephonic interview from Nigeria.
She added that she hopes that a Kenyan will win the Big Brother fortune soon and go one better than she did.
The highly anticipated seventh season of Big Brother Africa, Big Brother Stargame, starts on Sunday 6 May. Don't forget to diarise the biggest date of the year.