Range Rover girl: You have most likely seen a clip or more of her making rounds on social media. Martha Kay got her limelight breakout when her Range Rover video clip went viral. The attention she got thereafter seems to have shocked her too as Andrew Kaggwa writes.
Martha Kay! That is her acting name. Much as her other name is Kagimba, it is Martha Kay that many Ugandans on social media know.
You cannot call her just Martha or Kay, the names have to be said together to make an impact, and that is the brand she has created.
Yet for this particular story, we are going to insist on calling her Martha.
Martha did not prepare herself for fame, neither did she rehearse. In fact the only thing she rehearsed were the skits she uploaded online.
“I used to live in Haiti and their Internet services were so good that people would keep posting videos online,” she says, adding that then, she would post but only a few people noticed.
When she came back to Uganda, she did not stop posting videos, and while at it, she got her break.
This was the skit that would later be known as the Range Rover Girl. In the skit, she talks about a group that almost run over her with their Range Rover. The irony, though, is her apparent excitement that she had been in an accident involving an expensive car.
“I even had plans of buying a rolex, but I changed my mind. You do not eat a rolex after getting hit by a Range Rover,” she says in the video.
At that time, Martha believed it was one of the many videos that would go unnoticed, but she was wrong. It went viral.
But, she says, she did not start making skits for fame, but rather for company.
“I am an introvert, I do not talk as much as people believe, so I used to record videos to release anger and be myself,” she says.
My form of comedy
Today, Martha says the skits are her form of comedy that she is not even considering stand up in the near future.
Besides the comedy though, skits have given Martha a following, thus turning her into an influencer. Even with the underlying jokes embedded, most of her material is always creating brand or event awareness.
She has since been an influencer for Infinix, Aromat, alongside events and concerts.
“I think people like what I do, which is encouraging, but of course there are those that don’t,” she says.
Since her Range Rover video, she has been praised by people, some have even proposed marriage in order to buy her that desired car. “But I am saving for my Range Rover. In fact, I have been saving for it for the past two years, I opened a fixed account for it specifically.”
She has also been attacked on different online platforms by people who think she is not good enough, funny and some have even called her an Anne Kansiime copycat.
“I do not find this girl funny, I don’t know why she keeps trying,” she reads out a post that someone had put on Mama Tendo, a Facebook group, referring to one of the videos she had put up.
She says when she had just started, such comments would get her questioning her decisions and most of the times discourage her. “Today, I can never let negativity get to me.”
But there was a time negativity got to her. This was in 2017 when she had uploaded a number of viral videos, and all seemed right until a rumour that she was on drugs started making rounds.
“The rumours got to my family and as you can imagine, they started asking questions,” she says, adding that many of the things people have said about her are wrong, “for instance, I am not even a party girl.”
She resolved to give up on the acting, skits and went as far as getting a regular office job. At this time, fame had already had a strain on her photography business.
“My studio was called Martha Kay Photography and after the fame, working as a photographer became hard,” she says.
She gives an example of a job to shoot a wedding. “The MC forgot I was there to take pictures, he kept referring to me and asking me to make jokes.”
Martha noticed that running a business with her name was going to be troublesome. “People thought Martha Kay was only one person and thus when we got a job, they expected me there physically, which meant I could only do photography, a gig at a time.”
She decided to rebrand Martha Kay Photography to Tingle Media: “When someone hires Tingle Media, they will not care if it is Martha Kay behind the camera or not.”
Bed of Thorns
After a year in employment, last year, Martha was at it again, but this time, she was testing her acting skills beyond the skits. She was cast in a TV series project that was bankrolled by Reach a Hand Uganda.
One day, while at Kansiime’s bar, she met Eleanor Nabwiso, who was working on a film project meant to be written, produced, directed and fully handled by women.
The result is Bed of Thorns, a film Martha will be starring in as Quinn Wandera, a brave woman in an emotionally-draining relationship but will do anything to keep up appearances.
To get into character, she kept some things such as a marital ring throughout the time they were shooting: “It is the first role that I had to get deep into character. I had to work on my body posture and voice because Quinn is a woman of control.”
Did the role have an effect on her?
She says in one way, she learnt something from Quinn and it is mostly about being more assertive and covering up, which she says are important values in the industry.