How many times have you thought of finally following your heart’s desires, but stopped the thought-trail because of the challenges you imagine you will face, or have already faced in that quest?
As young as 10, she already knew what she wanted to do with herself, had a plan, a vision, a dream to pursue. Ten years later, after walking a different path, she is finally trying to get back on track, working everyday to feed the hunger in her soul.
We talk to Wacera Kieha of www.cerakieha.com 🙂
‘Even at a young age, my role models were women in media, from Julie Gichuru to Tyra Banks to Oprah to Catherine Kasavuli and Sophie Ikenye. And every time I watched these phenomenal women do their job, I could feel that the media is exactly where I wanted to be. I wanted to host a show, speak in front of the cameras, write stories, something along those lines.’
Doubts about her dream career however set in when she joined high school.
‘I didn’t attend a prestigious high school. We didn’t have clubs that nurtured ‘fancy’ careers like journalism. So I kept my little dream close to my heart until one day the teacher asked us in class what we would like to be when we grow up’
More than half the class wanted to be journalists.
‘My first reaction was, ‘why do all these people want the same thing as me? We don’t even have a journalism club or extracurricular activities that support this! I felt we were just a bunch of girls in a district school with an impossible dream. Girls in better schools stood more chance at realizing this dream than we did. So I put the dream aside.’
In addition to the feeling that her school really did not ‘qualify’ for such ‘glamorous’ careers, Cera felt the field was too crowded, seeing as so many girls wanted to pursue journalism.
‘How many media houses did I know then? Very few. How many of us want to be pursue journalism? Too many. I wasn’t ready for that kind of hassle.’
However, when time came for college courses application, Cera went for her dream, and applied for Media Science at the Moi Univeristy.
‘I qualified for government sponsorship, but then the setback sometimes is you probably end up studying what the government thinks is best for you. So I ended up with Political Science and Economics at the University of Nairobi.’
Another sign that she should give up the dream?
‘I was a little disappointed, but then got consolation from the fact that University of Nairobi has always been my dream university, haha, and also I liked business studies, a little math here and there, and politics. So it wasn’t so much a tragedy.’
Off she went!
The first year was great, but at the end of her second year, Cera’s childhood dreams started haunting her.
‘It is impossible to cheat on your heart’s deepest desires. Your dreams will always come back asking questions, demanding answers. Whether it’s at night when the world is dark and still, or in a flash moment in class. At different times it would come back to me.’
Cera felt stuck. There she was, already pursuing economics, what options did she really have?
‘I figured I was never going to get a job at a media house, not with what I was studying. With that thought noted and set aside, I started looking for ways to feed the dream, in my own little way.’
The first thing she set her mind to do was start a YouTube talk show.
‘Because of watching a lot of Tyra Banks I guess, ha-ha. I set out to get a videographer who would help me out in this, but the prices they quoted were way above what I had in mind. This was definitely not an idea I could afford.’
Yet another obstacle? Should she just let this go, she thought to herself.
‘I was not going to give up this time, not that easily. I was tired of giving in to the excuses. The field is crowded, fine! I chose a different career path, fine! I cannot afford a videographer, fine! But I am not stopping this time. If I don’t do something now, then I will never do anything about it. ‘
It is said that when you finally hunger for something, you find a way, not excuses. Cera did just that.
‘I love writing as well, that’s solution one. I love fashion, solution two. Combined together, I could start my own fashion blog or online fashion store.’
She did both.
‘I Googled ‘how to start a blog’, opened an account with blogspot. Later on I bought a domain and designed Cerakieha.com myself. However, my other venture, the store closed last year, but very grateful for the lessons I acquired in running that kind of business, and very proud that I finally put aside my fears and self doubt and DID SOMETHING. Very important.’
Running her blog however, hasn’t been so much of a walk in the park.
‘It is easy to give up or be a little lazy when running a blog, and this is dangerous. This kills the blog. Consistency is key. It is not just about your readers staying with you, but also to see that you grow. You get better at something if you are constantly doing it, day in day out. Otherwise you might not realize the end goal.’
Away from school and her love, the blog, Cera is currently on an internship at Couture Africa magazine.
‘I am so glad to have this opportunity. Truly my dreams are valid. I am looking forward to learning everything there is about fashion, content creation and marketing.’
What next for the blog?
‘We are moving onto a totally new platform. I want the blog to be an online magazine. So I will be expanding the contents, starting from the categories we currently have to new interesting segments that will keep my readers glued, and new ones interested.’
Cera is more than glad that finally, she made the choice.
‘This is my own little way of living my dream. I had to do it at some point, glad I finally am.’