The name Daisy Netia might not ring a bell. However, the "Naliaka" will bring a smile to the faces of fans of Papa Shirandula, a popular comedy show that airs on Citizen TV.
In the show, Daisy aptly brings out the character of Naliaka, the polite daughter of the rogue watchman, Shirandula, played by Charles Bukeko. In the show, Naliaka is the peacemaker between her parents, Wilbroda (played by Jacquie Nyaminde) and Papa Shirandula. ?
Life has not always been rosy for Daisy who grew up hoping to be a teacher one day. Most of her early days were spent in Nairobi's Eastlands where she attended Ofafa Jericho Primary School until Standard Six.
At around that time, her parents moved to Funguo Estate on Mbagathi Road and moved her to Malezi School. "This was a culture shock for me as I could not express myself in English," confesses Daisy. The fourth born in a family of five remembers how her classmates would laugh at her and call her names. "Naturally, I switched off and was a very quiet girl," she says.
After her primary education, Daisy joined Ngara Girls High School and purposed to improve on her English. "I was so determined to speak good English, I started reading every book I came across," she says. "Today I can even 'tweng'," Daisy says laughing.
Unfortunately, she could not continue to college immediately after high school since her parents could not afford it. Her dad had by then retired and her parents had to move back to Migori.
"My dad worked for an airline company and travelled a lot while mum was doing business," says Daisy. "We had our share of ups and downs and life wasn't easy," she says.
With her parents back to the village and freshly out of high school, Daisy landed a sales job. She started saving and was able to take herself through college and rent a small single-room in Imara Daima estate off Mombasa Road.
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"I studied Mass Communication at the East Africa School of Media Studies," she says. "When not working at the Sales Company, I would go to the theatre, she says. One thing led to another and after some time I met Victor Ber, one of the best directors we have in this country, she says. "This guy really believed in me and was my destiny helper. He pushed me into acting," explains Daisy.
Later she acted in stage plays with Heart Strings Kenya and Fanaka Arts among others. She says that acting is an interesting field but does not always put food on the table.
Daisy's TV role as a naive college girl is a far cry from her life in reality.
In real life, Daisy is married. Her wedding to her sweetheart Justus Netia took place exactly a year ago on June 17 at House of Grace in Rongai. The ceremony, a hushed private function ended up being highly publicised, with entertainment bloggers scrambling to be the first to break the news.
She is also a career woman. "I am being trained to be a pastor," she reveals during her interview with Eve. "I attend the 'Pastors from the Pews' class every Sunday," says the determined girl. It's not an easy class by any standards but I love the challenges that come with it, she confesses. Daisy reveals that she is also one of the leaders of the youth church and is the Head of Missions in the Youth Ministry.
"I am also a journalist, I give people a voice," she says. "When people have a voice, they are able to put words and feelings to their joys, hurts, struggles and fears," says Daisy.
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Daisy says that journalism also allows her to enrich human conversations by bringing up perspectives that would have either been poorly told or not seen the light of day.
"My husband is very supportive," she says. "He has international media experience and trains me to be an all-rounded TV presenter," says Daisy about Justus who once worked at Royal Media Services, the parent company of Citizen TV.
"He also buys me books and tape messages and criticizes me when wrong. He is my boss and I thank God for his authority upon my life," says Daisy.
Daisy says she first met Justus when they worked together at Royal Media.
"We'd gone for a work trip to Malindi back in 2011 and treated each other as work mates, as I was training her on TV reporting," confirms Justus. He says they started out as friends and he secretly hoped for an opportunity to talk to her.
"He happened to sit behind me in the car we used to travel to Malindi," says Daisy. "Nothing really crossed my mind, it was just like any other trip, colleagues at work," she says. That encounter though was the beginning of a lifetime friendship.
"I had previously watched her on TV and never did I think that she'd be my wife someday," says Justus. He says that her role as a young girl did not interfere with his judgment of her.
"I was deeply in love with Daisy and overlooked the young girl called Naliaka on the show," confesses Justus.
"I appreciate the fact that he saw Daisy and not Naliaka of Papa Shirandula," she says.
So, was either of them looking for a life partner? "I had been praying for a virtuous wife for a period of four years," confesses Justus. "At that moment, I was still working on myself trying to discover who I was. I was really not expecting to meet a husband or rather being found," says Daisy.
In the period of praying and waiting, my spirit kept on shifting towards her and in many occasions I made several moves of which some turned out to be a wild goose chase. It was after several attempts in the four-year period that she said 'Yes' to courtship," says Justus.
Daisy, however, needed the time to be sure of her move. "He made the first move but I was not into him at all. But after pursuing me for four years, I changed my mind after getting to know him better," says Daisy of her husband.
"With time, I realised he was different from any other man I had met," confesses Daisy.
"We started out as friends then after several years is when we started to date," says Daisy of their dating life. "The fact that I was able to be myself when we were together also helped," she says.
"He loves God and he always pushes me towards the things of God," says Daisy adding that this sealed the deal for her. "In our endeavours of friendship I was also praying and trusting God for a Godly husband and at one point God spoke to him," she says.
"My wife has changed the way I used to view life and helped me to becoming a better man," says Justus who proposed to Daisy while out on a dinner date.
"He took me for dinner little did I know that He had organised a surprise engagement party together with my friend and the hotel manager. "Oh my! He got me right there; I was so excited, I said 'Yes'," says Daisy.
"Marriage has taught me to laugh at everything including myself and love God more," says Justus who is looking forward to their one year anniversary.
"Marriage has made me a better woman and has pushed me closer to God. My circle of friends had to change too and now most of the friends that I have are married couples," says Daisy.
Justus says he too has grown since tying the knot. "I have changed in financial matters; from a spender to a saver and I have stopped worrying about things," he says. "My dressing has changed for the better since I got married," he confesses giving credit to his wife.
When challenges arise, the couple says, they encourage and pray for each other. "When frustrated and angry, we remove ourselves from the situation and wait for it to calm down," says Justus.
"We keep the fire burning in our marriage by being open and honest in our communication. We forgive each other in our fights and arguments, as we focus on just being romantic," he says.
For a marriage to work, Daisy says it is important to realise that it is God's plan and God's intention for a man and a wife to live together in order for the family, society and nation to be strengthened. It's very hard to submit to one another if you are not submitted to God, she says.
"To ensure we are always in tune with each other, we ensure that we make decisions together and make each other feeling valued and wanted," says Justus.
"Marriage works but both of you have to put in effort daily," she says. "But above all, put God first," advises Daisy. Life has thrown a few lemons in Daisy's direction. She remembers struggling with severe asthma and had to be admitted at Kenyatta National Hospital.
"The asthmatic attacks were so severe and I would occasionally get fainting episodes," she says. "Doctors put me on medication but it wasn't helping. The attacks got worse and I had trouble breathing," says Daisy. "For a very long time I struggled with my health," says Daisy.
"I used all sorts of drugs and I was in and out of hospital, and could not keep food down, she says. "One day I decided enough is enough," continues Daisy. "I stopped taking medicine and started praying and believing God for my healing," she says.
One day while in church, I remember the praise team singing, "You are the Lord that we praise you bring healing and grace." I received my instant miracle of healing, she says.
When she is not acting or training to be a pastor, Daisy loves to read, design jewellery and travel.
Daisy says that indeed she has figured out what she was created to do, "My assignment is to reach out to the lost as I use my gift in the mountain of media arts and entertainment."
"God is also working on my speech," says Daisy. "Sometimes, words just disappear when given a chance to speak," she confesses. "I am not yet there but I'm glad I am not where I used to be," she says.