Born in 1989, IRENE MILKA SOBYA started acting at the age of 7 while in Sunday School and then went on to take part in stage plays which her school presented whenever there was an occasion at her school such as Parents’ Day. The seed for her love of the silver screen had been sown. In 2009, she joined a stage acting group called Theatre Factor headed by Philip Luswata. She also plays the Role of Monica in the drama series DECEPTION which airs on NTV Uganda. As an actor, Milka names this drama series as the turning point in her career because through it, she was recognized to be one of Uganda’s ambassadors to the Arusha African Film Festival in 2014. She has also acted in THE RUNGU GIRLS directed by Akpor Otebele, CHRISTMAS IN KAMPALA and her latest film, HONEYMOON IS SO EXAGGERATED was shot on location in Ghana and will be coming out soon. She studied Procurement and Logistics Management at Kyambogo University, Uganda.
Ladies and gentlemen, here is the talented IRENE MILKA:
WRITINGISFIGHTING: What do you like most about being an actor?
IRENE MILKA: It has to be when I am given a role that I have never imagined being in my real life such as playing the role of a prostitute or a mad person. This means that I have to go on extensive research so as to be able to bring out this character properly. It is always an exciting journey of discovery that sees me grow and become better. Travelling to different countries to act as well as being a mentor to people I hardly know and who strongly believe in what I do are some of the key highlights of my job.
WRITINGISFIGHTING: Please describe your typical day to me?
IRENE MILKA: When I have a project going, my typical day would be on set acting. When I do not have an ongoing project, I spend my days researching about open auditions. Apart from this, I also look for random scripts online and use them to practice; I record myself and then playback and give myself marks. I also watch movies but that is far from the aesthetic or entertainment functions; I watch movies that I think have been done well and I try to learn from them by getting those scripts online and trying out the different roles.
WRITINGISFIGHTING: What do you think are some of the key means by which to remain relevant as an actor in East Africa?
IRENE MILKA: I think one of the reasons why people tend to lose faith is when they unsuccessfully try out. It is important to not give up even when things take long to turn up. Remember, every time you go for an audition, you get a free live audience and that counts a lot because acting is like a muscle which grows stronger and better each time you use it. Do auditions as often as you can, if possible, audition even in neighbouring countries so that your work can be seen allover. Make connections while on these auditions and begin to grow your network. Then do not forget to do proper research about production houses and their needs, read about what the successful actor that have gone before you have done, find a mentor if you can and be committed to grow.
WRITINGISFIGHTING: What inspires you to continue being an actor?
IRENE MILKA: Every time I can reach out and touch someone’s life and I hear a “Well done Milka, you give me hope through your acting” that is enough to set me off for another day of hard work. Achieving my two aims of acting: entertaining and educating people keeps me looking forward to my next experience. Actors are also generally very magical to me and have inspired ever since I was in Sunday School where my acting started. Then because of my big voice, I played the role of a father or a king in school plays. There has always been something exciting to look forward to.
WRITINGISFIGHTING: What do you think explains why going into careers such as acting is mostly considered part time in a region such as ours?
IRENE MILKA: It is quite true because I have spoken to some people down here in Uganda who I can say got into acting professionally way before I did and most of them say, “there is no money in acting” because they cannot comfortably sort out their bills using acting as their only source of income. The acting industry is still fledgling in East Africa but from where I stand, I think that this complacent attitude is wrong and instead of falling into business as usual, we should come up with firm ways of making it work.
WRITINGISFIGHTING: If the hands of time were reversed, would you do anything differently?
IRENE MILKA: I think acting and I chose each other so I would not want it any other way. Acting all the way.
WRITINGISFIGHTING: Have you always wanted to be an actor or did you have other dreams when you were growing up?
IRENE MILKA: Not really, the stage has always been my space. I also wanted to be a singer while growing up…
WRITINGISFIGHTING: Where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
IRENE MILKA: God willing, I want to be involved in all aspects of film production by then…acting, directing, production and I also hope to use all the experience that I have gained over the past plus what I will gain by the end of the 10 years to run a successful film industry in East Africa as well as open a big theatre