Twenty-two-year-old Belle Oceanne Iradukunda will be cast in a new Hollywood comedy series called ‘Sistas’ that will air on US Television BET on October 23.
Sistas is an upcoming American television comedy-drama series created, written and produced by Tyler Perry, one of the leading Hollywood producers.
Iradukunda has previously acted in several films like; Living with the dead, Till death do us part, Shifty business, among others.
In an interview with Sunday Magazine’s Joan Mbabazi, She talked about her rising career, challenges, and much more.
How did you end up working with Tyler Perry?
Well, I must say it was a blessing in disguise. It’s funny how I met him. I had attended an event in the USA, hosted by Tina Knowles, Beyonce’s mother.
After the event, there I was relaxing after a long day, so Perry came close to where I was and greeted me. He kindly introduced himself to me.
Tyler Perry takes a selfie with the cast of Sistas. / Courtesy
Unfortunately, it didn’t ring a bell that it is Tyler Perry since he had only told me only one name, Perry. It’s after him leaving that I noticed that I was talking to the one and only Tyler Perry.
The short conversation I had with him somehow enabled me to go for his auditions.
What did you talk about with him?
We had a chat and he asked me what I did, and I responded that I was an actress. He asked me whether I encountered any challenges as an actress and I said it is tough because I have an accent that I have been trying to mimic but it wasn’t working out.
Meanwhile, I became emotional, and broke down in tears, recalling how tough it has been to get roles in films. I have been rejected, God knows how many times. I told him I was staying focused regardless of the huddles.
Perry encouraged me and told me not to worry because I was yet to taste the positive side of acting and he urged me not to stop pursuing my dreams.
He took my mobile phone number and surprisingly after a few days, I received a call from his casting Director at Tyler Perry Studios and the rest is history.
Which role do you play in the Sistas?
I play as a friendly waitress to the four main casts who are, KJ Smith, Mignon Von, Ebony Obsidian and Novi Brown. Acting with them was a whole new experience of learning.
How will acting in this series boost your career?
This is a breakthrough for my acting career, the series is not yet out but I have already been contacted by different producers to work on other projects. I must say, I have been exposed to the world, and I will never be the same again because I believe, doors to greater opportunities are yet to open.
What is it like for you to act with big actors and actresses?
It’s a great experience as I get to learn how they act so natural and pull off perfectly any role given to them.
Take us through the acting, how often does the team act and for how long?
Oh, you would be surprised but it’s very fast, Tyler Perry works hard. It’s crazy that he shoots a movie in five days. When we were shooting Sistas, he was at the same time shooting another series called the “Oval”, so in a week we would do three days for Sistas, and another three days for the Oval.
He shot both series in three months. Once you are on set, you have to know your lines and what you are supposed to do because we don’t practice on set, we shoot.
We rehearse before coming on set and be ready once in front of the camera. We can be on set for eight to 12 hours a day. Hard work but it pays off.
What challenges do you face as an actress?
Rejection mostly. Whenever I do something to my best and I don’t get a yes, it crashes me. Often, I have been told that I am not good enough or won’t be able to act a certain part, yet I am sure that I can.
If I wasn’t strong, I could have given up a long time ago. I also have issues with my accent as it doesn’t allow me to be able to accentuate the character in a way I feel comfortable.
Did you love acting since childhood or it is something you picked interest in along the way?
I have always been multi-talented since childhood, I loved acting, fashion and music, and everyone near me saw the special talents in me. Being the only child home, I occupied myself through my abilities.
Which person do you look up to?
President Paul Kagame inspires me a lot. The fact that he brought peace and encourages us the youth to work hard and start-up our own companies motivates me. I am endowed to use my talent to employ Rwandans.
Should we expect you to act in local movies too?
Yes, I am planning to come back as soon as I accomplish the projects that I am working on. I have my movies that I will be shooting in Rwanda and would love to be part of any projects structured by the Rwandan movie industry.