Janet’s role in Monica is by far, is the most intriguing.
2014, Janet Mbugua was the first year that Janet Mbugua burst into the acting scene with a lead role in Rush. But just as abruptly as she’d entered it, Janet disappeared from acting when Rush came to an end just after one season. Now she’s back in the Kalasha-nominated Kenyan drama, Monica.
When asked about her absence from the screens, Janet reiterates that it wasn’t for lack of roles or opportunities, but rather for the prioritizing of family. For six years, Janet says, she turned down numerous acting projects that came her way. “I’ve been offered roles over the years but I had to say no for various reasons. I didn’t have my own family when I starred in Rush so at the time, I didn’t mind the crazy filming hours. But when I started growing my family, I was very cognizant about not stretching myself,” Janet says. “Suddenly, I was a new mum, an anchor, a brand ambassador, a moderator, a wife. That’s a lot. And while some people can do it and I admire them, some of us just feel like we need to take a backseat and focus on certain things.”
Janet’s comeback was inevitable when an opportunity came to appear in Monica season 3. The timing for Monica was right, she says, and the support and motivation she received from her co-stars helped a lot. Making her debut in this week’s episode (Thursday, February 11, 2021), Janet plays Jesse, a woman so fierce and so powerful that she likens her to Olivia Pope without the marital scandals.
For an actor who is only on her second role, it feels so right that Janet gets to play a monumental role such as Jesse, a female deputy governor in a country that is yet to actualize the two-thirds gender rule. Even though Monica’s world is fictional, for Janet, it’s important that people see women like her character Jesse actively take up leadership roles. “The timing of this role couldn’t be more important. I thought, wow, it’s a leadership position being played by a woman, and a deputy governor for that matter,” she says.
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Catch Janet Mbugua as she makes her debut on the fifth episode of Monica S3.
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