Celebrated media personality Janet Mbugua exited the media industry at the helm of career back in April 2017, but guess what, she is making a grand comeback to our screens.
Yes, I said that! The former Citizen TV news anchor has made a comeback on our screens via Kenyan drama series Monica Season 3, which airs on Showmax.
In 2014, Janet Mbugua, one of Kenya’s most sought-after news anchors, burst into the acting scene with a lead role in Rush, the AMVCA-nominated Kenyan drama billed as Kenya’s Sex and the City. Just as abruptly as she’d entered it, Janet disappeared from acting when Rush came to an end just after one season.
This absence wasn’t for lack of roles or opportunities. For six years, Janet says, she turned down numerous acting projects that came her way but luckily, when Monica producers knocked on her door, she said Yes to her new role Jesse - a woman so fierce and so powerful.
“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 cognisant about not stretching myself,”
“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,” said Janet Mbugua.
Making her debut in Monica S3, episode 5, Janet plays Jesse, a woman so fierce and so powerful that she likens her to “Olivia Pope without the marital scandals”.
“What I admire about Jesse is that she doesn’t really put her cards on the table. She’s fierce but she wouldn’t necessarily show you that she’s trying to take control. Nothing fazes her, she’s perfected the art of looking together even when she’s not and it’s kind of hard not to be drawn to her. But she also has her own skeletons,” noted Ms Mbugua.
Jesse comes in as the new Deputy Governor, a position that was being eyed by Monica, who until now has been on top of her scheming game. And if her (Jesse) first day in office is anything to go by (“handling” a very bully-ish Ken Ambani), then it seems that Brenda’s Monica has finally met her match in Janet’s Jesse.
Video from episode 5:
Of course, Monica won’t take this lying down but Janet says Jesse is ready to make some big power moves.
“She feels very bold and unstoppable. She can make changes that suit her on her journey to full power. I think that if she had a chance, she’d run for president.”
She received a lot of support and motivation from her Monica co-stars, she says.
In this latest season, Monica has seen a few new characters but Janet’s, by far, is the most intriguing.
Monica is a Kalasha-nominated Kenyan drama on Showmax, about a young woman (played by Brenda Wairimu) who schemes her way to the top.
Outside of their TV rivalry and their character’s obvious distrust for one another, Janet praises Brenda, whose impressive slate includes Kenya’s 2019 Oscar contender Subira, AMVCA winner 18 Hours, Kalasha winner Disconnect, MTV’s Shuga and more.
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.
And 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.
Get the 3-for-1 deal and enjoy Monica on Showmax here
Some good news to all my Showmax lovers and Monica fans; When you pay for one month of Showmax, you’ll get two more months extra. That’s 12 whole weeks of streaming. Prices start at KSh 380.