#Corporate: Cleo Koheirwe on work and work

Cleoptra Koheirwe is an artiste, actress, radio presenter, and public relations specialist. She talked to Matooke Republic about the jobs she has done and the jobs she is doing.

Everyone knows Cleo the performer, the artiste, radio presenter… but what was your first job?

My first job I remember was in my S4 vacation. My guardians had an Agip (fuel) station and I was the canteen attendant so yeah that is what I used to do. My aunt was trying to train me how to manage money and make my own money.

How much were you getting paid?

I was earning Shs100,000.

You have done music, acting, radio, media; did you formally train for all this stuff?

No, I did not. It was something that was part of me from when I was in school. I loved radio, TV, music, performing on stage and I used to do that in school. I was in the school choir… the drama club. I used to like writing my little notes and the older I grew, the more I got interested. I was training for this without knowing it, but later on I did a short course in community journalism at the University of South Africa.

Is there anything else you have done that we don’t know about?

Yea, I worked at Ban Café as a barista. It belonged to a relative but I actually asked for the job and did an interview.

At what stage was this? Were you still in school?

Yes I was still in school; I think I was in my S6 vacation. Oh, I worked at Roofings Limited.

Really? What exactly were you doing there?

I was a trainee and I was the youngest. I was like 18 and everyone was grown and most of them were guys [but] I had a cousin who used to look out for me. The office I was a part of was the factory office and there was an elderly lady who also used to look out for me. I was doing sales and I worked there for two months and left because it was too far and it just wasn’t my thing. After that I went to Ban Café.

At some point you went to work out of Uganda…?

Oh yea, I used to go out to Nairobi to shoot [for a series- Changes]. Then when I had my baby [in 2014] (the dad is Kenyan) I had to travel to Kenya so I started working again. I was Operations Manager at a high-end club called Skylux Lounge. For that one I also had to be interviewed. I was interviewed by all three bosses. I think I am used to getting interviewed because even in film you audition for roles. So I got the job and worked there for a year and left in June 2016 because I was going to Los Angeles for a film workshop.

What was it like working in Kenya?

In Kenya they are quick paced, and also being that you are a foreigner…  they always didn’t think I was Ugandan until someone told them. They always said “You’re so fast” and I also speak Swahili so I easily meshed in and I knew people because of being in the film industry, so it wasn’t such a challenge. It’s just that they are so serious. They are very competitive.

So these Swahili skills; did you pick them up from your Kenyan man or you had them already?

Oh my God! Nooo. When I was a child I used to visit Tanzania a lot. Every long holiday I would go to Tanzania so I had to learn Swahili.

To the present:  what exactly does your PR job at Mestil entail?

When I got to know about the hotel I was like let me approach them and see… I actually came and secured a meeting with the general manager and his team. Then there was an interview and I told them I have seen this hotel and it should be out there and I think I can do this and this and that. So they told me to do a proposal and I did and they liked it and I got the job. I handle the social media and PR.

Basically you talked yourself into this job…

Yea, I came and approached them and that was it (laughs).

How easy is it juggling different jobs?

I do radio (with Radiocity) from 10am to 3pm and after that if I have stuff to do here I will come do it and leave. If I don’t have to be here I will work from wherever.

Apart from what you are doing currently, what would you say has been your best job?

I think the most fun job has been film, but I also loved the times I was performing with Obsessions. The six years I was with Obsessions helped propel me from the stage to WBS, Capital… But I also guess it was because I had the ability to express myself.

Career-wise, is there anyone you would like to be like?

There are many. One of them is my guardian and uncle, Dr Rwekikiga Asiimwe. I admire his work ethic. He is very professional, disciplined and principled. He works with Bank of Uganda. The other person is Oprah Winfrey. I am not like a big fan but I admire how she does everything she does.



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