Maria Series: Meet Tekno, Engineering Graduate With Street Smarts

  • Anthony Ashioya portraying his character Takno on the Maria Series
    Anthony Ashioya portraying his character Tekno on the Maria Series
    Anthony Ashioya
  • Anthony Ashioya who portrays the role of Tekno an electrical technician in the popular Maria Series on Citizen TV is one of the most recognisable faces on TV.

    The seasoned actor who is also a commercial and print model spoke to where delved into his journey into the arts including how he ditched a career in Engineering to pursue the arts.

    Describing himself as a Kenyan who is full of life, open-minded, a fan of hip-hop music, and a supporter of Manchester United, Ashioya assures that he is that guy, who when you are around, you can’t get bored.

    You studied Engineering in campus, what made you choose to pursue arts instead?

    I did Electrical Engineering at Zetech University, but my heart was not in it. In fact, during my campus days, I'd go for shoots and runway shows. After graduating, I chose to follow my passion so I went into arts and now here I am.

    Anthony Ashioya who plays the role of Tekno in Citizen TV's Maria Series.
    Anthony Ashioya who plays the role of Tekno in Citizen TV's Maria Series.

    In the show, you play an electrical repairman, has your background in Engineering helped you portray the role better?

    Yes, it has, because I'm required to do some electrical work while acting which is things I am familiar with because I am not new to that kind of set up.

    How would you describe Tekno and how do you relate with your character? 

    Tekno is an Electrical technician (fundi wa stima) in the ghetto. He's street smart. Some call him a troublemaker. He's also a friend though unreliable sometimes. Mostly he is always in trouble but since he is smart he always gets himself out of trouble and that makes most people view him as double-sided but hey, "it is what it is."

    How alike and different are you to your character?

    I personally relate with the role because in real life one needs to be a Tekno most of the time where you see trouble from miles away and you duck it. You have to be smart out there.

    What's the most challenging part about playing Tekno?

    The most challenging part about playing Tekno is the misconception people nowadays have about me that I can't be trusted. They often take my character as me, really people?

    Anthony Ashioya as Tekno (right) with Beatrice Dorea Chege (Maggy) in Citizen TV's drama series Maria
    Anthony Ashioya as Tekno (right) with Beatrice Dorea Chege (Maggy) in Citizen TV's drama series Maria

    What should we expect from Tekno as the series progresses?

    Well, Tekno doesn't promise anything to anyone. All I can say is expect more surprises because that's what i'm about to serve you.

    Who’s the funniest person in the cast in real life?

    Pupa. He always has funny stories of how he's had narrow escapes every weekend - It's usually drama galore!

    Which other productions have you appeared in?

    I have featured in shows like Varshita (Moonbeam productions), Sue na Johnny (Phil it productions). In film, I have featured in 18 Hours (rocque pictures), Lockdown (Afroimagination), KIU (blink productions. I have done TV commercials and billboards I have shot for Jambojet, Madison insurance, KCB weka weka, Guinness, Imperial leather just to mention but a few.

    How many years have you been in acting and what motivated you to get into acting?

    I have been acting professionally for five years now roughly, but it is something I have been doing ever since I was young when I was in Sunday school.

    Anthony Ashioya is also a print and commercial model
    Anthony Ashioya is also a print and commercial model

    What’s the greatest lesson you've learned from acting?

    The greatest lesson I have learned so far is that the greatest mistake one can do is think that he/she has mastered the craft. Each day is an opportunity to better your craft.

    How do you prepare for auditions? 

    I first decide the role I want to go for, read through the script, and internalise by myself. I then rehearse at least twice, once by myself, and later with someone else. When I get to the audition room I give my all.

    What do you think should change in Kenya's film industry to grow it?

    I think it is about time we write and produce more of our authentic Kenyan stories. That is the only way the world out there will get to see and know more of our culture. A lot of Kenyan stories haven't been done yet and they are good stories the world would want to watch for example the stories of Wangari Maathai, Tom Mboya, Mekatilili wa Menza, The Kapenguria 6, Our story of independence and so much more. 

    What are some of the misconceptions about acting or modelling that you've had to overcome?

    There have been a lot of misconceptions in the acting industry, most people tend to think that this is an easy way in life. Some think that since you appear on TV that now you are rich. Most think since you've bagged your first modeling gig that you are now a big shot. Lastly, people think it's easy to make it in the industry.

    What is that issue that is hardly ever addressed in conversations about the industry that you'd like to get more prominence?

    The issue of pay is usually sidelined like it is not important to an extent that if you ask for better pay you seem to be overpricing yourself. It's simple, the production houses should pay the actors/models their worth. 

    Poster for the web series Lockdown where Anthony Ashioya stars in.
    Poster for the web series Lockdown in which Anthony Ashioya stars in.

    What else are you into... Hobbies?

    I love traveling. I am an outgoing person, anything that involves fun in it is all game. I dance as well. Plus when idle, together with my friends, we hang out in the studio. You never know, someday I might decide to drop a mixtape as well (laughs).

    Are you dating?

    Take a guess... Yes, I am, but I keep the details private.

    Advice to my younger self?

    Advice to my young self is to never regret what I have done in the past. Focus on yourself, work hard more, play more, love more, risk more in life and make mistakes and live your life since we only got one to live 

    Words you live by…

    The best thing in life is life.

    Anthony also stars as Albo in the Swahili telenovela Kina and he leverages on social media to connect with his fans and update them more on his future projects and plans.