Sarah Hassan is an award winning Kenyan actress, producer, model and former TV host who made her debut on TV in 2009. She has appeared in several films and TV series, she is best known for Plan B, Reflections and How to find a husband and she is featured on Crime and Justice streaming now on Showmax Online and another project Just in Time which premieres on Netflix on the 12th of March 2021. Sarah Hassan is an African gem who is making accolades in her path. In the craze of the world right now, we took a moment to catch up with Kenyan Actor and Producer over a Coffee Break.
Actor Spaces | The pandemic that we are in has impacted business as usual and for our industry haulted productions but we have eased into a new normal, how has the Kenyan Acting scene adapted to this?
Sarah Hassan | With time I think we’ve learned how to take the necessary steps to ensure cast and crew are safe while filming, be it getting tested regularly, wearing masks and sanitizing as often as possible. Quite a number of auditions and interviews are being done online as well. Of course this is to a certain extent because when the cameras start rolling, we have to take off our masks but we try to keep as safe as humanly possible.
You are a true testiment of Young, Gifted and Black, how did you take your power and get recognised?
Thank you very much. That’s very kind of you to say. I would say consistency, hard work, determination, discpline and never giving up. Being willing to invest in myself and trying to be the best version of me both on a personal level and on a professional level as well.
You are bridging the gap as a black female Actor featuring on two productions on big platforms, Showmax and Netflix, what would be your advice to aspiring storytellers who want to create their own stories and put them out to the world?
Thank you. My advice would be, go on and do it. It’s a lot of work and takes up a lot of time but it’s definitely worth it. I absolutely love what I do so it doesn’t even feel like work, lol. For example, we filmed ‘Just In Time’ towards the end of 2019 so it’s something that my production partner on the project, Lowladee, and I had been working on for almost two years now.
On the Showmax orginal Crime and Justice you play Makena a detective, what process of preperation did you undergo to play this law official?
At the time I got the audition call and made it through to the last round and finally landing the role, we were still at home quite a lot and other than doing a bit of work out to keep in shape, I did a lot of character work to prepare for the role. To be able to make Makena whole and fully understand her, her motivation, her upbringing, why she reacts a certain way, why she is invested in certain cases etc in order to to be able to do the role justice. It’s also amazing to have an incredible director, Adam Neutzsky-Wulffdirector for Crime And Justice, who concentrates on both our performances and technical aspect of production and pushes us to grow and be authentic in the potrayal our characters.
From a crime-thriller to a comedy-drama on Netflix, Just in time allows viewers some sort of relief, how do you release a fun light-hearted side as an Actor so easily?
You’re too kind. As an actor it’s important to be able to be diverse and challenge ourselves in the roles we do. Character preparation is essential, even the light hearted roles have depth and as an actor I have to understand them to be able to give them the authenticity they deserve. And, I would definitely have to credit my amazing director,Lowladee, who was also my director in the RomCom ‘Plan B’. She is absolutely amazing and helped make sure each one of us potrayed our characters as honestly as possible.
Why should fellow African Actors and film-makers collaborate?
Fellow African actors and film-makers should collaborate because not only does it bridge a gap in terms of audience, it allows us to learn from each other and as well as grow. It allows us to appreciate each others techniques, cultures, promote each other and ultimately continue to grow the African film/TV industry.
You are an Actor and Producer, why is it so important for the Actor to do other things besides performance?
I would say that is a personal choice. Personally, other than acting and hosting, I love being able to bring together a pool of talented crew & cast and actually creating magic from an idea. That’s why I got into producing. It was something I always wanted to do but did not know how to until I attended The New York Film Academy, where I had the opportunity to study acting, film and to understand every crew role.
What is the role of award shows such as Kalasha awards, why are they so important?
Award shows appreciate the efforts cast and crew have put in to the different projects they do. It’s icing on the cake to be nominated or to win an award because I believe we love what we do and would do it regardless of the accolades.
Complete this sentence: I love being an Actor because…
It enables me to embody different personalities and bring them to life. It allows me to entertain, tell stories that evoke different emotions from those watching as well as making them have conversations around certain topics and also, to be able to inspire.