In an industry that has been male dominant for so many years not just in Rwanda but in the whole world, women have over the years evolved in different roles and stepped up their game to get the recognition they have today. We take a look at some of Rwanda's top female actresses and get a taste of their experiences since joining the male dominated field. Alliah Cool Alliance Isimbi, commonly known in cinema as Alliah Cool is a big name not just in the film industry but also in Rwanda’s entertainment scene. Alliah says that when she first started working in film, she didn't face any obstacles primarily because she was a woman, but it wasn't as simple to get by as it is now. “To young girls looking to join the film industry, it is very possible for them to make it to a global scale because our industry is promising and has grown significantly over the years. If you are passionate about acting go for it and don’t stop until you reach your goals because it is possible,” she said. In February last year, the actress was appointed World Peace Ambassador by a United Nations body, known as the International Association of World Peace Advocates (IAWPA). The renowned actress who owns a RWF 500 million mansion produced her first film ‘Alliah the Movie’ in September 2021 and will soon appear in new film ‘Accidental Vacation’ that features other Nigerian actors. Sandra Ishimwe Many know her for her acting role in the famous series ‘City Maid’ since 2017 as Nadia; however she started her career in 2012. The movie diva is now one of the most celebrated actresses in the country despite being part of only two films. “As a woman of course there were challenges when I started this career, especially those who want to use their positions to hire you; however they do it no out of empathy but expecting something in return,” she said. She advises aspiring actresses to believe in their talent and work hard to achieve greatness. “Along the way to success they will meet many challenges however if they are committed and not give up they will excel and lastly but not the least, they should keep their fame separate from their personal life,” she added. Antoinette Uwamahoro Commonly known as Superansiya, a character she plays in Seburikoko TV series that airs on RTV. She is among actresses who have been in the film industry for a while now, having started acting in 2006; Uwamahoro is one of the actresses who have contributed significantly to promoting Rwanda's film industry. “Embarking in the film industry I had so much passion for it and was driven by the fact that the film industry in Rwanda needed people to put effort on its development. However I was judged by people who had less knowledge about film making. I believed that we could teach Rwandans, through film, good morals while also entertaining them. We got to know about Nigeria because of their films that were trending and Indians as well and wondered why Rwandans don’t brand our country using films by showing the world our beautiful hills and culture. These goals I had joining the film industry is what pushed me regardless of the challenges I went through,” she shared. The actress revealed that she has won at least 30 awards some of which include Best Actress in four consecutive years, Best Female Actress in East Africa, Best Support and Best Film Story in her film ‘Ayubusa’ among others. Some of the films written by her are ‘Ishyari ni Shyano’, ‘Rugamba’, ‘Inkomoko yu muruho’ and 'Ishyari ni Shyano’ among others. Asked what advice she can give to young girls looking to venture into the film industry, she said that they should have a vision, not to just be famous or make money the first priority. “Have a vision and teach Rwandan women through what you do so that they can look up to you as someone who has values,” she said. Eliane Umuhire France-based Rwandan award winning actress Umuhire began performing in 2005 while she was attending university in Butare. After completing her studies at the university, she joined Mashirika in 2009 and experimented with a variety of roles, including main actor, dancer, and theater instructor. Despite the fact that the film industry was dominated by male, she didn’t give up; rather she chased her dream and it is right to say that it paid off based on what she is doing now. She is a huge inspiration to young Rwandan girls and proves that acting can take one place that some people seem to not think that you could. She has received numerous honors over the years from all over the world, including the Urania Award for Best Performance in a Leading Role and Best Actress at the 52nd Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, among many others. She stars in international films like ‘Trees of Peace’, ‘Neptune Frost’, ‘Bazigaga’ and ‘Trees of Peace’ among others.