We recently caught up with actress and entertainer Gioya Tuma-Waku about her endeavors in the acting world and some of her favorite moments so far. Here is what she had to say:
Please introduce yourself to the readers and how you first got into this field of work?
I’m Gioya Tuma-Waku -an actress currently based in Los Angeles. I started performing at a super young age for my family, my mom put me in ballet at the age of 4 which I did for about 10 years. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be an actress and it’s a passion that has been unwavered. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.
Who or what were some of your influences growing up?
Both Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic inspired me as well as Denzel Washington. My mom is a huge fan of his and so his movies were a staple in my household. The idea of being transported to a world that could give you an escape for two hours and this world being wholly created by the crew and especially the actors- inspired me to want to create characters that can transport people for a moment in their day.
What kind of training have you had, if any?
I did Speech and drama throughout high school as a subject and elective and also was part of the drama club as an extracurricular activity. I did some training in South Africa for a year with Hayley Roberts before moving to LA. Here I got an associates in acting from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and then continued on to get my advanced actor training certificate from there too. Since then I’ve taken auditioning classes and I am currently taking a voice over class.
As an artist, what has been your favorite projects to work on so far?
My favrite projects to work on thus far have been Shifter: Canary in a Coal Mine; and Pink Lemonade.
Shifter was a great project because I got to play a Congolese bad ass with a moral compass and it was the first time I’ve been able to do a project that ties into my roots. I also got to meet some amazing actors and went through stunt training and fight choreography.
Pink Lemonade was amazing because I had complete control over the character I was creating and it was a story purely about the plight of a woman in a relationship and going through all the emotions women go through when they first get into a relationship, all the way until that relationship ends.
What has been one of the biggest highlights/achievements of your career?
The positive feedback I’ve been getting back from Pink Lemonade. It has been selected to be part of the Indie Short Fest, the Indie Night Film Festival as well as the Aphrodite Film Festival and pre-selected for the World Fair Film Festival. I am also a Best Actress Semi-finalist for the Olympus film Festival and a Best Actor/Actress Finalist for the Actor Awards.
If you had a chance to work alongside anybody who would that be?
There are so many powerhouses right now that it’s hard to choose one. I would love to work with Ava DuVernay, Lena Waithe, Shona Rhimes, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Viola Davis, Denzel Washington and Lee Daniels to name a few -just because they are currently changing the game and building a legacy and providing opportunity for future artists of color.
What have you learned most about this business?
It’s a slow and steady climb and you have to have thick skin and the passion and desire to do this and nothing else because that is what will get you through the tough times and the rejections.
What projects do you have coming up?
I currently have two films that I have been offered a role in, by people that I have worked with before. The first film is called When Words Don’t Work by Gus Eid and I will play the lead role. The second is called Cherry Chapstick where I will play a supporting role. I also have another project currently called State of Grace where I will play the title character Grace which is currently still in the script phase.
What is your best piece of advice for an aspiring artist?
Perseverance and conviction is important. But most importantly, believe in yourself and put in the work. Talent and hard-work is the key to success. Also have a support system to get you through the tough times