It’s a new beginning for Hellen Lukoma
With only a few days left to the highly anticipated premiere of ‘Beneath The Lies’, Hellen Lukoma is still oblivious of where this new show is going to place her on the actors’ grid. Here she talks to us about this new phase in her life and why ‘it’s not that serious!
It is a hot Saturday afternoon and I’m already at House of Lukoma on Mabiizi Complex. It is not the first time I’m at this shop but the little fashion store looks and feels new every time I drop by. Hellen Lukoma who is the brain child of this store is seated at the edge of a couch munching away on ‘nsenene’ (grasshoppers) with her assistants. I ask her if she needs to freshen up for the interview and she replies with the negative. “We can do it here, it is okay,” she responds hastily with rare excitement jumping from her seat and welcoming me with a huge warm hug.
Hellen is one of those few celebrities who have grown in our eyes. Her breakthrough was with The Obsessions, the dance – acting outfit that took the entertainment industry by storm during the early 2000s. She later broke away and formed HB-Toxic with another former Obsessions star Brenda Nambi. The duo managed to have a ground breaking career with chart topping hits and music videos. The group however later disbanded and she went on to pursue her first love which is acting. After trying out a number of movie roles, her big break was playing Patra on The Hostel.
“The Hostel changed my life. Patra still lives within me and I’m grateful that the character touched many people’s lives.” she talks fondly about her role on the hit TV show The Hostel. She played Patra a spoilt rich campus student who always got what she wanted even if it meant putting those she loved at risk. The character received rave reviews with critics lauding her impeccable execution.
Not afraid to push her boundaries and always ready to get criticised, Hellen is taking on a more complex role in the new TV show ‘Beneath The Lies’. “I got a phone call from the producers of the show that they had a role for me.” “I read the script and immediately fell in love with the character.” she talks about the new role as she swings her petite body all over like a little child.
“I take work seriously. I’m the most hard working woman I know but then it’s not that serious. I would not be looking the way I do if I was fussing about things pertaining to life. I let it all come naturally! ” Just like she put it, she plays Hellen Mutungi a a girl who desires physical perfection yet she is a maelstrom of volatile emotions. She’s sexy fashion forward but with a very sketchy past and a boss she has to sleep with to patch these pieces of her life together.
“This is the most interesting yet challenging role I’ve ever taken on. I play a totally different Hellen, ” her tantalizing eyes brighten as she talks about the role. “You are going to dislike but also empathize with her simultaneously” “The beauty of acting is that you get to tell a story in the most believable of ways whilst learning a few things about yourself which you barely knew you could do.”
Beneath The Lies is a thriller with an intriguing story line. The series is a cocktail of the many things that are always forgotten by Ugandan TV scriptwriters and these include blackmail, drug trafficking, child prostitution and human trafficking. Hellen is not the only star on the show as the cast includes A-list celebrities such as Cedric Babu, Salvador Idringi, Deedan Muyira of Radiocity, RabaDaba, Natasha Sinayobye, Daniel Omara, Flavia Tumusiime and Gaetano Kagwa among others. It is written and directed by Nana Kagga another hugely successful actress with tons of experience.
She does not deny that she was overly star struck by this line up of stars. “Nana is a great actress. That alone left me awestruck that she wanted me on board. The came the cast – I’m human I was star struck right away. I’ve learnt a lot from them and we’ve made great family,” she muses as she checks her oil stained paper bag of ‘nsenene’ only to find none.
Is she excited about this phase in her career? “I’m really excited. You have to come for the premiere. I have officially invited you,” she nods.
The lithe body, warm bubbly personality and a high-flying career are some of the many things we know Hellen for. She however is not fazed by the pressure from her fans to deliver on this new job. ” I got the role because I could slay it and so expect only that.” As we chat, she is coordinating a fashion show slated for 19th December at Club Venom. The show dubbed ‘Genesis Night’ is now an annual fashion showcase of her work as a fashion designer.
When asked if she is fashion designer or collector, her response is a shocking one. “I’m both!” “I own this store which retails clothes from all over the world. I also put my unique fashion sense to use by making clothes for clients on order. I came up with this fashion show concept to show the rest of the world what I can do which has helped me grow my clientele.” Her assistant immediately hands me two invites to the event.
With such a work schedule it wouldn’t make sense talking ‘marriage and kids’ but I go ahead and ask. Hellen got engaged two years ago at a pompous event and her love life contributes a lot to news stories in local tabloids . “I would like to get married and have kids. I think about it every single day. It is a surreal feeling to have a family. But the timing has to be right too. I believe my time is coming and it’s not so far too,” “Just ask anyone here, we already know what each one of us is going to wear at the wedding!” her face brightens again.
With her long faux hair sweeping over her neck, a pair of washed out damaged denim pants, a white vest and a lip necklace sitting on her little chest, Hellen walks me out of her store as she taps away on her incessantly bleeping phone. She vehemently reminds me to attend the premiere of ‘Beneath The Lies’ as we bid each other farewell.
Beneath The Lies premieres December 17th on Urban TV
Photo Credit: Savannah Moon Production