Four years ago when he was 32, Toni Makau was handling guard dogs at a security firm. A friend told him to go and audition for a commercial and the rest as they say is history. The father of three girls talked to ActScene about his journey to the small screen and how he hopes he can change the entertainment industry in Kenya.
Who is Toni Makau?
Toni is a father of three who was born and raised and schooled in Mombasa.
Why acting and how did it start?
I was a G4S city guard handling dogs when one of my colleagues dared me to go for an audition for a commercial that was being shot in Nairobi.
That was back in 2013. I eventually did several commercials in that year and one of the directors introduced me to television.
Growing up did you think you would be an actor?
It had never crossed my mind. I never went to college and acting never crossed my mind so when I was kicked out of KWS training after a scandal which saw all the recruits kicked out and a fresh recruit drive initiated, I was stuck in the city and had to make a living.
Which was your first show?
The first show I did was Sumu La Penzi, then I did Auntie Boss, Moyo and now I play a lawyer in Maza.
Which of the characters you have played do you think you can relate to?
I would say playing a lawyer in Maza. But people say I look like a player and I can probably get any woman I want. But when I played a sergeant in Sumu La Penzi, it one way or another hit home because I had the training while at KWS of interrogating people.
How do you feel acting in a show that has been nominated for the Kalasha Awards?
I already feel like a superstar yet I am not one of the main actors. But from the comments on social media and what people are telling me, I thank God for what he has done for me.
Apart from the small screen, have you done any films?
Yes I have. I was a character in a movie called Karen Blixen. Apart from that I was also in Sense 8 which was partly shot in Kenya.
Is the government helping to grow local talent?
I think they are not. We need a law that protects local talent. We also need laws that will make our wages better and not to be treated like casual labourers. I would like to advocate for a standard wage for all the actors.