Posted on Posted in Articles, Events, Movies, Nairobi Experiences

Filmically speaking…

We have two upcoming red carpet events right here in Nairobi. If you don’t know this you are obviously not keeping up with the Kenyan film industry, or more possibly, the event marketers have done a crappy job at shouting about it. One is here and the other is here (these people should pay me for this!)

Now that you know, you also probably know the red carpets are all about being flashy. And while I have been disappointed by past Kenyan red carpet events, I am hopeful that people have styled up and that we will get to see real red carpet action- read “HIGH FASHION” -in those events.

We don’t have Christian Dior or Prada to lend out gowns for lay people- or even star actors. Don’t get me wrong; we do have great Kenyan designers but I hardly see them mentioned in Kenyan film premieres as having dressed an actor or someone. Something about Kenyan marketing sucks big time.

Anyhow, this is a guide for those people who will probably not be approached by Kikoromeo or John Kaveke. Just because you aren’t wearing an expensive designer suit/ gown (which makes no sense since every gown is made by some designer) doesn’t mean you shouldn’t look smashing at a red carpet event.

Here’s one important thing to keep in mind when attending a film premiere or a red carpet event.

Film premieres and red carpet events are not just a celebration of a job well done- they are a filmmaker’s market and networking arena. Maybe you are an actress looking to land your next big role; or maybe you’re a director seeking that star actor- or even better, you’re a producer looking to fund a film. If you don’t mingle here, where the heck do you mingle? Forget that modesty crap ati “kizuri chajiuza”. If you don’t look interesting, no one will be interested. Film is visual and if you don’t put yourself out there (and I don’t mean socialite style- unless that’s your dream job) you won’t get noticed by a potential director, casting agent, or film producer.

Gracing the red carpets is all about being fashionable, stylish, funky, edgy and still be able to look elegant. The key word is elegant; so when I say get, noticed forget trashy, super-short things or too showy. You want to be comfortable to move around and mingle.

Now, what are you wearing that will make you stand out?

While fashion gives you fabulous new clothes, it is your style that will make you really stand out. Wear that cliché LBD with black pumps and a glittery purse from some shop and you’ll end up looking like every other chic going out clubbing on a Friday night. No one pays attention to a cliché- not in the film industry.

So here is some advice for those who want to be all glam and noticed on the red carpet.

1. THE FACE– light make up is great. I love heavy eye make-up especially if it’s black, and if it’s your thing, you can look super edgy and stylish. The event will probably have many cameras and lights. These tend to make heavy facial make-up look shiny and ghastly, so keep it simple on the rest of your face- especially the cheeks and forehead. Go slow on the cake foundation, the silvery eye-shadow, and glossy lips or you’ll end up looking fried on the camera. That will make a fun picture for us who love to see the worst dressed, though:-D

2. YOUR HAIR– if you have a weave, and it’s a few weeks old, kill it. People are quite touchy-feely at red carpet events. A kiss here during an introduction, a little hug there for someone you haven’t seen in a while e.t.c. There is nothing awesome about kissing a woman’s cheek then catching a whiff of sweaty hair product. Argh!Freshly made hair smells good though even if it’s a weave so you’d do well to just go to the salon really.

If you are either bald or have a cropped hair style, you have an advantage because it is easier to stand out in a well made Mohawk or punk hairdo than in any weave. Even more, film premiers and most red carpets are artsy too so, if you can pull off your weird hair style and still look elegant, you definitely have a few photographers on hand and who knows, maybe a director to the next big film.

3. THE DRESS– I favor plain colors for the red carpet dress mostly because plain colors are easier to accessorize. A plain black dress for example makes that huge metallic necklace of yours stand out even more. However, an African print dress almost always looks great i.e. if it’s a beautiful print. I have seen dull boring ones that I think need burning, so choose well here!

Don’t be shy about showing some cleavage or some thigh too. Key word is OR. Remember that rule about showing either the top or the bottom? (Cleavage= No thigh / Thigh = No Cleavage/ Cleavage + Leg= Trashy !)

When it comes to the length, for me there are two ways to rock a red carpet dress and rock it well. It’s either very long or reasonably short. Long gowns usually look more elegant if the butt is not wobbling under the dress but I am short and I favor short dresses over long flowing ones. I think they look great on taller ladies though.

Knee-length and shin-length dresses are understated and if you want to not stand out too much, you can rock these. I find them a little boring and too safe for the red carpet though.

On shopping, there are many places you can get a fabulous red carpet dress and yes I will say GIKOMBA. If you think all clothes from flea markets look cheap, you have no idea how wrong you are. I know expensive clothes that look like crap and I know very cheap clothes that are designer standard. Shopaholics from Gikomba, Ngara and Toi markets will back me on this.

If you have the money, by all means get yourself a costly and fabulous looking dress. If however, you spent your money getting the ticket to the event (like some people I know:-D) set a day and go to Gikomba. Seriously! People underestimate that market and it’s so wrong.

4. THE SHOES- I have a thing against fashion being branded by high heels but really, you can’t escape high heels on the red carpet. Do not… DO NOT wear flat shoes (open or doll shoes) PLEASE! You can do a low heel or if you want the high heels but aren’t very stable on your feet, get a gladiator pair of heels that hug you foot in a good way.

These are better than struggling in slinky stilettos.

Also, don’t do 6 inch heels if you aren’t used to them. There is something pitiful about a chic wobbling in heels- and it’s not pretty. However, if you can stand in them just fine, go right ahead and wear them- heaven knows how great they look. Only problem is that you will have limited movement.

5.THE BAG– everyone knows a clutch is in order on the red carpet. Leave those sling bags and huge handbags at home. You aren’t going to take-away the snacks at the event!

6. THE ACCESSORIES– keep it simple but not boring. You might not be able to afford diamonds or gold but you sure can choose earrings/ necklaces/ bracelets that are not everyday things. You might have to spend a handsome sum to get something unique- but take it as an investment in your career.


Now you have no excuse for not being high fashion on the red carpet. Dare to be the person we talk about on twitter or in the papers.

I am looking forward to seeing you guys at the two events.


P.S- I really wish Kenyan designers dressed the film stars so that they didn’t go buy those boring off-the-shelf dresses that I see in town all the time.

P.P.S. Dudes, sorry again but red carpet affairs are easier for you with tuxedoes and all. I only feel sorry that you have to spend more than 3k for one!

P.P.P.S- We will do a best/ worst dressed of the two events next week. So snap a pic of someone and send it to us. Don’t snap a pic of me if you see me- I don’t count! Unless of course it’s best dressed:-D

@Hellen Masido



  1. This is what the Kenyan film scene has been missing for ages!

    great article Masido. Wachanuange hivi!

    1. Hehe! Thanks Biko! Its about time we took ourselves seriously, that’s the only way the film industry has a chance at survival! See you at Wrong Number premiere!

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