Victoria Gichora is a force to reckon acting as the passionate yet tough Susan on Susan’s Diary. She’s also a musician and producer.
“She breaks all the walls like when she’s in love.”
Can you tell us more about your role?
Susan is a very passionate lady. I think the audience will know why I’m laughing once they watch it. She’s in her 30s. She loves love. If there could be an ambassador of love, she’d probably be it, she’d get the job.
She loves her work but not as much as she wants to be loved. So she’s in search of this perfect man and she makes a lot of mistakes on the way and when she meets a guy, she gets a guy, it’s like all the walls break down.
She could end up doing a lot of stupid stuff though I don’t want to diminish her character but she makes… She breaks all the walls like when she’s in love and she doesn’t really care. It’s all about this guy and love…
She has all this pressure from her family to get married and find a guy but when you cross her. She’s bad and cold. She’s beautiful and many men want her.
To her everything is love, from family, that’s why she’s pleasing her family, she’s pleasing all these men. Trying to please herself. So she’s torn in between trying to find a perfect life.
What was it like working with your director? The highs and the lows…
The first thing that I loved was the fact that we started with the workshop and there was this freedom to develop the story, from my perspective. So I loved that she incorporated that in the process of making this series.
She called me and told me that she had a story and she’d like us to see what we can make out of it. I had the opportunity to be a part of developing Susan’s character and all these scenarios, so I loved that we were all a part of developing the story.
I loved that she incorporated that. I loved working with the Director of Photography Scooby because he made it easy for me to get comfortable with the awkward, intimate scenes.
He allowed me to be a part of directing it and I think that’s a good thing because you see how a woman feels when she’s trying to get comfortable in her body on screen, which most DOPs don’t do. They’re always like ‘I want you to stand this way…to do that.’
So he made it easy for me to get comfortable in my scenes and just by checking up on us, during shooting and if we’re comfortable. That was something that most productions don’t do.
So I loved that about working with a DOP and it also had its lows. Lots of them. I’d say we had moments where we clash because we’re trying to rush the time… we’re trying to get something specific out of a scene. Then, there would be, you know, that strain for lack of a better word. So yeah, there were a lot of lows and clashing but it came out perfect though. I guess I got through the process.
So with the steamy/intimate scenes, how did you prepare for them?
I remember being mostly scared with the fact that I didn’t want to make Susan look like, you know… when there are intimate scenes people kind of veer off track.
My fear was trying to bring out Susan in her true character but not get overwhelmed and look like I’m selling sex. I loved doing them…I prepared for them.
I loved working with the DOP. He made it comfortable for me especially for the intimate sex scenes because he was checking up on us…on me.
He was like ‘Are you comfortable with this?…’Are you comfortable in this position? Do you want to stand up? Do you want to sit down? What would you like to make your process… more at ease.
I guess that’s how I prepared because he was there the whole time and I loved that and even the director. She made sure that we got what we wanted from the story of Susan but also the process being comfortable for the actor.
I’d say that I just prepared with them actually I remember, it was during the rehearsal when he was there. So he was like ‘you can stand?’… cause we’re very cautious of our bodies (giggle).
So maybe if I stand like this, the camera will get this angle…this is my best side. So there were a lot of those rehearsals for us to create something beautiful.
“It’s those little things, from the big things to the little things about relationships, that, we forget to talk about or to share with your partner.“
So what attracted you to this script? What made you fall in love with Susan’s character?
What made me fall in love with the script and the story… First because I was a part of developing it. I got to… there was a part of me, there in the script and in the story. When we all met and sat down, we went through the stories.
How is Susan? Is she like this? You know, we fought and we went through it, we loved it. In the end, I was like, now, this is the story that I want to tell. So, the fact that I was a part of development cause we all developed it. I love that the story is as real as it can get.
You know we like telling stories about relationships but tunapenda kuiga. We like imitating relationships that are out there and how they look like but with Susan.
It’s real because, I mean without giving a spoiler alert, it’s those little things, from the big things to the little things about relationships, that, we forget to talk about or to share with your partner.
So, I loved that, we expounded on all those things and the fact that it comes from the male perspective and the female perspective. The stories are the same but they come from different perspectives, so, if a guy is watching, they’ll be like that’s the same thing that my girlfriend did, you know, so you can relate.
It’s there to provoke thought. So, when, you watch it and you’re like, that’s something that I went through or something that a friend of mine went through.
Then, it’s like, you know, what would I want to do about it or what would I want to change about it. It’s there to provoke that change about how we perceive relationships and processes that we tell ourselves are perfect… to get the perfect guy.
So, I loved that about the script. I loved that I got to have my music in the show. That was really awesome because I don’t know what to call it, fate or destiny because I write a lot of love music. You know this is a story about love.
So they finally met. Yeah, so we can have music to the show and you know the music speaks to the character of Susan because she loves love and here, she is and the music is there but then also the fact that we rarely have our music in our shows.
So, I loved the fact that we have our own music on our own shows made from our own people. Yaani, everything is just homemade and it’s not what most productions do. You know, you go download music even if you’re downloading for free.
You’d rather do that than have local music in our local shows and I think to a bigger degree, that’s what makes us respect our work. Our music from home, you know because, we get that respect from outside when we do it ourselves.
So, we have our own music and our own shows and everybody else is like, you know, it’s making sense. It’s a standard to where we’d like our production to be.
So, I loved that, you know the producer decided to have all these elements to this script and to this story. So, it was awesome and I really loved the process of making the script and the story itself. It took quite some time and I also loved that because you take time in developing a story or a script.
You all get to be the Susan’s and Martin’s in that workshop. You know, for it to come out… for the end product to be what you feel is ready for the market or for the guys outside there.
So, we fought with it, we laughed about it and then, in the end, we were like, this is the real thing like this is it. This is what you’d watch and be like that’s so real. Somebody else will watch and be like that is so real. I’m hoping people get to see that you.
Why should everyone watch Susan’s Diary?
It’s real. It’s hot. It’s current. It’s in our times. We’re talking about now. People should watch because what other real things would you want to watch. I guess that I would answer you with that question. You’d rather watch soap operas and this is the real soap opera. This is the drama.
You know, it combines elements of…because it’s a diary. We used to do diaries kitambo, you know you write in the books but then, now, you’re writing it on your laptop. It also shows how we’re living in times when people have a problem trusting people with their truth. ‘
I have a problem trusting you with my truth because I don’t think that you’ll protect it.
So, I’d rather go to the laptop and talk about my truth. I’m not saying it’s a good thing because there are so many issues coming out of the woodworks, mental issues.
First of all, it’s an eye opener to current issues but then also to challenge. It’s challenging because what’s going on in our times, the hope is to find solutions to change our lifestyle. Just being better for ourselves and for our partners.
“There were moments I felt really ugly and there were moments that my character clashed with my real self.”
I’m taking you back for a moment in the show. Is there a moment that Susan does something and you’re like, really.
Without giving spoilers, there were moments I found myself feeling diminished. I was like, why, what would make me as Susan get to this point where you almost feel hopeless.
There were points where I felt hopeless like I know people tell me that I’m beautiful. I can see someone beautiful in the mirror but what makes me give this person or this other character that comes out of me due to whatever circumstances by giving up so much power that it makes me feel ugly.
Actually that’s the word, ugly. There were moments I felt really ugly and there were moments that my character clashed with my real self because I won’t get into details…Even when I was shooting this show, at that time, it was a hard time for me.
So, it’s like I could relate to the story but also it brought out Victoria, who was going through whatever. So when I felt ugly, it was really ugly because I could even end up taking it home with me.
So you just leave and you’re like mehn ‘You are ugly… You are so ugly..You are hopeless”, but then, there were moments when I had to find that hope with the character which actually just lifted me up and I could find myself.
It could also bring out that coldness in me. I was like, you know what, please go… I want to slap you though I won’t do it because I’ll probably go out of character. This is one of the most challenging characters that I’ve ever done. Watch it on watch.vumicentral.com.