Gioya Tuma-Waku talks importance of diversity in film Bloggers

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Gioya Tuma-Waku says being African is important to her.

Gioya Tuma-Waku was born in the Congo and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, something that she is proud of. During her career as an actress, not many roles have allowed her to explore this side of her. However, that changed when she was cast in the film Bloggers.

Bloggers tells the story of six young multinational blogging entrepreneurs who come together in Los Angeles to launch a blogging business. The main cast are all from different countries, including from Sweden, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Peru, America, South Africa and the Congo.

“It was such a diverse and multi-cultured group. And that was one of the best parts of Bloggers, was the ability to show how diversity is possible we can all work together and create art,” said Tuma-Waku. “Which was cemented with the use of different languages spoken in the film. Especially with the issues of diversity that Hollywood is facing right now, I knew that this was a project that could break down those barriers and provide a template for where this industry could go in terms of casting and opportunities provided.”

Tuma-Waku plays the role of Destiny, a strong woman but sweet woman who dislikes confrontation and who always tried to see the good in people. She is a lover of life but is going through something major that has dimmed her light. She blogs about health and that often helps as a distraction from her personal life.

“I liked playing her because of her layers and vulnerability. And although she is facing something that frightens her, she also a strong person being able to carry this burden but at the same time, no matter is going on in her life, she is still there to comfort and be there for her friends. At the end of the day she is a reliable person because she does what needs to be done with a smile on her face despite what she is going through,” described Tuma-Waku.

The role of Destiny was written specifically for Tuma-Waku by the writer and producer Anele Morris. Morris has seen Tuma-Waku’s work and knew instantly that she wanted her to be involved in the project.

“Gioya is one of the most talented actresses I have ever met. She knows when to be centered and focused on the story being told, which is what I find sometimes lacks in young actors. Gioya is an exception, she is not easily distracted and delivers when she has to. She really knows how to execute her job as an actress because she asks questions, important questions and she takes the time to get to know the character. Her performances are always from the heart of who she believes the character is, but she is always open to direction and respects the individual roles of the production crew,” said Morris.

Morris also acts in the production, as many of the stories revolve around the female characters, something that Tuma-Waku thinks is a vital part of the production.

“This is a piece of filmmaking written by a woman telling a story about women, but without diminishing the importance of the male sex. And it’s always great to be part of a project that allows women and minorities to tell a story. Especially when it’s a story that’s not clichéd. It’s just a simple story about daily struggles that people go through while highlighting the strength in women,” said Tuma-Waku.

The film still features male leads, including Tony Beguez, who plays Destiny’s boyfriend Fred. Beguez and Tuma-Waku worked alongside each other throughout the film. Destiny’s storyline involves heartbreak and vulnerability, and Fred is a big part of that.

“I believe that in order to get better in any profession you need to surround yourself with people better than yourself, and I was given that opportunity in working with Gioya,” said Beguez. Her work ethic is incomparable.”

Bloggers is currently set to be screened at a variety of film festivals. However, for Tuma-Waku, that is not what is important, it is sharing the story that she thinks needs to be told.

“I want to tell stories that don’t always get told or manage to get told in a different way and have it mean something to someone, even if it’s in the smallest way possible. If even one person finds meaning, inspiration or gets affected by any story I’m in, then I know I’m on the right path,” she concluded. “And I feel like this could be one of those stories.”

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