How Prisca went from runway modelling to acting

Prisca Lyimo

What you need to know:

  • The former Miss Tanzania 2nd runner-up, is now exploring the limelight in front of the big screen

Tanzania is today witnessing a wave of new talents whose projects are redefining the country’s entertainment industry in its entirety. These people are raw, hungry, and passionate about making an impact in an industry that has been dormant for a long time.

One of them is Prisca Lyimo, who recently starred in a short film called "Love Transfusion." In this movie, she plays a character named "Hellen," a desperate wife who seeks superstition to nurture her marriage, only to end up making her husband fall in love with her best friend.

Most people would identify Prisca as the 2nd runner-up in Miss Tanzania 2020/2021

Her journey began in the modeling industry in 2015, and it started when Prisca admired people who walked on runways on television and later decided to join the field.

"I loved how the models walked on the stage. It felt as if they gave life to the clothes that were present on the runway, and I wanted that kind of power too," she expresses.

Prisca began to practice catwalks at home during the first long-term holiday and later took the practices to school in a fashion show that was curated by fellow students. However, her first official runway was at Maisha Club when she was a first-year student at the Institute of Financial Management (IFM) in 2017.

"I did an audition at Sinza for this show; unfortunately, I can't remember what it was called. When it was my turn to brace the stage, I felt nervous, and this caused me to fall shortly after I stepped out of backstage onto the stage. There were loud gasps across the room, and I had to hold myself and walk as if nothing happened," she narrates.

Prisca and her fellow models were not paid a penny after the show ended, and this made her resent the industry.

"I had bigger expectations because of the way this industry presents itself on social media. After that show, I made a promise to myself that I would never take any modeling gigs unless it was the Miss Tanzania competition. Fast forward to 2020, when I was a third-year student, I decided to take part in Miss Tanzania competitions."

One of the requirements that Prisca came across was that she must at least have experience walking on a runway, and her participation in the fashion show at Maisha Club ticked this box.

"It was such a great experience. During my time in that competition, I learned that Miss Tanzania would only help me if I used the platform and my title well because time does not wait for anyone. After it came to an end, I developed a societal campaign called ‘Usipime nguvu ya maji’ that was about educating society on preventing fire disasters. This campaign was conducted alongside a marathon in Dar es Salaam. Everything was going well, but I had to postpone it because it demanded a lot of money that I did not have," she explains.

She began looking for a job that would help her save money to fund the campaign that had already started getting attention on social media and in society.

"I took a job at Grand Restaurant as a waitress. After some time, I was promoted to the position of hostess, and it was during that time that I met a person who was interested in the way I communicated with him. He was impressed with my educational background and decided to recruit me as a human resources consultant at a firm he is managing," Prisca details.

Being a model who has had first-hand experience with the industry, Prisca says that there has to be an intervention from individuals who have succeeded in making names for themselves on local and international runways.

"I believe that if the likes of Flaviana Matata and Miriam Odemba were given a chance to lead this industry, we could be speaking a different language at the moment. They have far more experience and have seen this industry's ups and downs. That alone makes them the best people to give this entire industry a whole new image," she explains.

Around January 2021, one of the producers of the movie Love Transfusion spotted her on TikTok, and he was certain that Prisca would be a great fit between the two characters in his film because of the short clips that she had shared on the platform. In these videos, Prisca lip-synched to different audio tracks.

"I had never acted in my entire life, and when the opportunity came up, I was in a dilemma; a part of me was excited about trying something new and another part of me was nervous. I sided with the former and did my audition for two roles. When the producers saw them, they believed that I would fit in with Hellen’s character, who is witty, talkative, and short-tempered but also the villain in the entire film," she says.

During the time the movie was being shot, Prisca got to truly understand the entertainment industry from a closer point of view.

"It took 10 days to shoot every scene in the film script, and those days were exciting; however, they also unveiled an unspoken side of entertainment: exhaustion. There was a time when a scene was shot for about 25 hours. Nothing could have prepared me for the weariness that it came with," she says.

Prisca expresses her admiration for the way the movie was realized.

"When the movie was wrapped up, I saw the hard work every cast member put in on the set and how it paid off in the movie. From the repetitive camera takes to different incidents that happened when it was being shot," she says.

With “Love Transfusion” being her debut movie, Prisca plans to explore entertainment further in and out of Tanzania as she grows her talent.

"When the time is right, I will revive my campaign because I am still passionate about serving society and making changes," she says.