Fame in Kenya comes with a lot of misconceptions including one where the general population have grown to disregard the stars' sheer hard work opting to believe that success is handed to them on a silver platter.
Contrary to popular opinion, some established media celebrities have a long list of struggles to get to the top and some included working menial jobs just to keep their lights on.
In other special instances, the subjects are still carrying own with the odd jobs alongside their current ones due to a deep passion they developed for the jobs at the time they ventured out.
Below are some eight media personalities who have previously worked odd jobs.
Mark Masai - Tout
Judging by his physique, dressing style and looks, it is very difficult to believe that this television sweetheart once worked as a matatu tout but it is true.
For him, it was a family business and so he ventured into it, not as a necessity but a chance to gain more skills to propel him in life after he finished high school between 2002 and 2004.
"My first job I was a makanga, (tout) Industrial Area, Hillocks. I finished high school in 2002, so between that time and 2004, I did a bit of it because it was a business for our family, I was one of the conductors.
"It was before Michuki so we had a few conductors and my bro was the driver. So beba beba, industrial area Hillocks. It wasn’t fun but taught me good life lessons," narrated the presenter at the time.
He was also part of a choir, African Children’s Choir, that toured the US and performed for masses.
Dan Mule - NCPB Sweeper
Life has thrown some pretty bitter lemon at NTV anchor Dan Mule including a time he was forced to waork as a sweeper at a government agency in an attempt to raise Ksh1.8 million.
Mule explained that he took up the job, while he was 18 years, in an attempt to settle a debt that had been left by his late father.
“I was an exemplary sweeper, and this was not lost on the supervisor who not only picked me consistently for six months but also put me in charge of other sweepers and earned me a cool Kshs230 per day,” he told the nation.
While he was still in high school, his father passed away leaving the huge debt to him and his mother. Auctioneers arrived shortly after demanding to possess their property.
That is when he went out in search of a job to salvage their home from the auctioneers.
Yvonne Okwara - Waitress
The famed news anchor has created her brand as a no-nonsense but poised interviewer who, in most cases than not, pins down her subjects to get the answers that the public is looking for.
What is unknown to many is the fact that Citizen TV anchor Yvonne Okwara had to put up with menial job along her way to the top.
In 2018, the anchor came clean about her pay disclosing that he pocketed Ksh150 a day during her first job as a waitress at Walker's Restaurant at Reinsurance Plaza.
"The restaurant opened at 9 a.m. We had to be in at 7 a.m. Closed at 8 p.m. Stayed till 10 p.m. to clean up. All for 150bob. But I learned a lot. To respect wait staff and dealing with people!
"A smile goes a long way. Earned more in tips this way!" she advised.
Eric Njoka - Mortician
For K24 TV anchor Eric Njoka his side job is a special one as he still partakes in it.
In October 2018, the anchor came out and revealed that he works as a mortuary attendant behind the TV screens.
On a normal day Njoka goes through the morgue’s registry and ensures appointments for future clients are in order at his family's business.
“My dad trained me to be a mortician so to speak. His family objective was to make me work here and learn skills to start my own hospital and mortuary in future.
“My dream was not to work here. My dream was to become a journalist but my dad did not appreciate that career. He never saw any talent in that," he recounted.
The mortuary was put up 15 years ago.
Willy M Tuva - Painter
For more than a decade, Citizen TV show host Willy M. Tuva has connected with fans on a deeper level by serving them sensational tunes both on-screen and through his radio show.
So long has Tuva been in the airwaves that it is so easy to assume that he was naturally born into it. Unknown to many, the host suffered through life including carrying out a job that only paid him Ksh350.
Tuva disclosed that he was a published cartoonist, a painter, and a signwriter and from that, he made his first money.
"I began drawing back in nursery school and on noticing my talent, my father bought me drawing books. While in high school, customers would call me to do logos, paintings for their business premises. I earned Ksh 350 and trust, that was good money then," he stated.
He was later sought by the Standard where he had a column for his cartoons.
Johnson Mwakazi - Carrying Water for Sale
Former Citizen TV anchor Johnson Mwakazi's from grass to grace story is one that many of his fans are familiar with.
The leading media celebrity has never shied away to address how his fortunes were turned around since living in Kibera in his childhood to addressing millions on TV.
In a 2016 interview with The Standard, Mwakazi revealed that growing up without parents in Kibera, he was forced to partake in menial jobs in an attempt to make ends meet.
"From pushing mkokoteni (cart) to carrying water for sale, to working at construction sites... I learnt to survive and earn honourably. I later on graduated to selling hot-pots and other wares in the city.
"I did not last for long since my desire was in the arts. This led me to the entertainment world where I started out as an actor on stage and later on had a short stint in film," stated the former anchor.
Maina Kageni - Chinese Delivery Boy
Classic 105 radio presenter Maina Kageni has dazzled millions with his golden voice every morning but not many people know that he once worked as a delivery boy for a Chinese firm.
He was also disowned by his mother after flying to UK for college but not actually enrolling.
Instead, Kageni is said to have switched his purpose and began working as a truck driver and fish distributor for some Chinese firm.child
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