As we move into work territory, she becomes fully animated. If we were in a board room, this would be the time she would pull her chair in, elbows on the table; particularly when the topic of women and money comes up. We observe that there is a class of young women who work hard for their money, but there is still a section that wants to just be taken care of and treated as they ‘deserve’. At this, her face changes, a slight tightening. She is passionate about this.
“I’m going to use a word that most people don’t use in interviews-that is stupid. That’s very very stupid. You see, ‘taking care of you’ doesn’t mean you do not work for yourself. Yes I believe every woman deserves to be taken care of but the issue is you saying that you want the other person to take care of you 100%. You’re just waiting…you’re like a hole just waiting for someone to throw stuff inside it and that’s not how life is. When someone knows they have this power over you, they will do anything, say anything to you. Then later you will say you feel disrespected. But you fuel the disrespect by not doing anything for yourself. Even if you do something that brings you 500shs per day, do it. If there’s one thing I’d advise young girls [on this.] Trust me money is sweet, money is sweet. In this generation we live in, you want to buy this, you want to have this, you want to do this. But money is sweeter when it’s made by you.”
She should know, she has been earning money for a while now. Her first job, before she got into modelling was selling phones in Kampala’s city center. An elder cousin was on hand to supervise.
“I have really worked, this is why people sometimes say ‘I think that chic is like 50 years old.’ It’s just that you have seen me in the limelight and I’ve been hustling, been working from one job to another.” After a breath to take a sip of her coffee, she continues.
“You needed to have seen me on my first big paycheck. I was so excited. I went home, gave it to my mum and told her lets go to Shoprite and shop for the house.” A very responsible move given that it was 5million shillings.
“Earning that money gave me wings or horns or whatever you want to call it. And then I was like you know what, this is the feeling I want to get all the time. I always want to make my own money, I love the feeling. I could get someone to give me money, it would be so easy. But I love the hustle, I love the hustle I’m not going to lie. I love the challenge.”
Without knowing how long and hard she has been working…her current job; aside from modelling and 2 film projects in the works, will seem totally out of left field. Sinayobye is a farmer.
Not an arm chair, office farmer either. She is not dabbling. She has been doing this since 2012. “I had to get into the soil”. She says this while showing me her acrylics, barring them like claws. “The fact that people underestimated me, made me so aggressive.”
“It wasn’t like dancing which is mostly creative. Farming is very practical. You have to know what you’re doing. I went in green. I only knew how to grow tomatoes because my mum used to deal in them. I didn’t know things like; if you have planted your maize and the dudus (pests) attack one side, how do you prevent them from crossing to the other? Sooo many things that I had no idea about. Farming looks like the easiest thing to do but it’s so hard.”
This is partly because the challenges of farming are extreme.
“Of course I have bad seasons just like all the farmers in Uganda. It’s not like it only rains or shines on Tasha’s farm. No there’s no exception, it affects everyone and all of us. We all go through it. I went through a whole other thing and I almost gave up but I said NO, this is the plan. I farm maize and watermelon.” She doesn’t elaborate on that potentially derailing occurrence.
She continues with some advice on how she is making farming work for her. “You have to have a plan. Have the market from the beginning. I looked for people, looked for middle men, looked for everyone. Many young people under look farming-we live in a generation where we must look cool; farming is not Instagram cool. But you have to get down and dirty if you want to prosper. In the economy of Uganda, you can’t survive on one job. You have to do something. You have do somethings!”
But how come we have not seen a picture of her farm? How come she hasn’t posted anything on her social media? Herself in a chic overall? Come to think of it, where is the fodder of her personal life for the media to write about and analyze? There seems to be nothing. This is no accident.
“You decide to separate your life from your job. You don’t have to do things just because…just cos I’m a celeb, I must do things that celebs do. You forget that you are who you are not what you do. My name is Natasha Sinayobye, once in a while I’m a celebrity. It’s not my life. As much as the media can find you even if you have not called them, you pull them to you. You have to have a method to this chaos that is our world.”
Still, social media has given celebrities more power. They can be in charge of their narratives. She agrees but says. “But it still goes back to what content you are putting up. Why would you share your whole day on Snapchat? There is also a safety issue. You need to look at it from the other angle-don’t only look at the advantages. Yes you’re getting followers but among these followers, the ones you call ‘my followers’ who looks out for you? Most people just can’t wait to see you fail. When, when? When is she failing?” She puts her hands up, mimicking a begging gesture.