Citizen TV's sign language interpreter Youla Nzale has made it big in the media industry without even uttering a word.
Nzale has successfully built her brand from the ground to become the most sought-after sign language interpreter in the country.
Her career has blossomed in such a significant way that she has become the face of Citizen TV Prime Time news in the sign language interpretation segment, dominating a small portion of the screen's bottom right corner.
Her major breakthrough came during the 2019 Devolution Conference that was held in Kirinyaga county. She won the hearts of many Kenyans by the manner in which she knit an emotional speech by President Uhuru Kenyatta into sign language piece. She moved the crowd without even opening her mouth.
Her desire to pursue sign language was triggered by a case back at home where she used to interact with a neighbour's kid who was isolated.
She advanced the passion by taking a certificate course at the University of Nairobi. At that time, she only wanted to help her local church with their interpretations during their sermons.
But eventually she found herself in the newsroom.
Her Side Hustle
Youla spent most of her time outside studio learning new skills in fashion design. She spent hours going through YouTube tutorials and she became a professional.
In 2018, she decided to expand her venture by launching Rafiki Vaa, a cloth-making and selling merchandise. She went ahead to establish different social media platforms to market her clothesline. She also opened a physical store in Nairobi.
Youla's mostly designs wedding gowns and outfits for events and ceremonies. In a past interview, she revealed that her handmade wedding gowns are sold at a market price of Ksh35,000 while others go for as much as Ksh60,000 depending with design and client.
In most cases,she dresses herself and other top celebrities and public figures. Other than gowns, Rafiki Vaa makes a variety of clothes including dresses and some men's suits.
She has dressed Citizen TV anchors like Mwanahamisi Hamadi among others.