There is an unapologetic streak to Doreen Gatwiri’s demeanor; she would prefer you see the professional in her rather than her obvious physical attributes that ‘Team Mafisi’ have come to idolise.
“I was raised to be a strong-willed woman who was always taught to be confident and that beauty is nothing without character,” she says.
With a ‘killer’ body, flawless beauty and a poise that could only be imported from the Victorian ages, it is easy to see why she has gotten so much attention.
This leader by example has a degree in law from Catholic University of East Africa where her journey all began.
Like it happened yesterday, she remembers the opportunity she took to run for Miss Catholic University. That was in 2013.
“I went to Miss CUEA pageant with an open mind but prepared to prove myself. I wanted the platform to enable me to continue with my charity work and reach out to more people for which I am thankful because it gave me a voice to do so,” she recalls.
Whether the judges knew that or not, it worked. Using that forum, Doreen – who is in her mid-20s – knew she had a passion for charity from a young age.
“I grew up seeing my mum donate some of my clothes to children in church and whenever we went visiting upcountry. Being a beauty queen gave me the platform to reach out to people for which I’m humbled to have been CUEA’s 2013 ambassador.”
The Ebru TV anchor is also a member of Young Single Mother’s Empowerment Group (YSMEG) located in Kibera slums and sees capability in each person if only they are given the chance.
“YSMEG is a non-profit organization meant to support the young single mothers and their children in Kibera community centre. I’m not yet a mother but most of my charity work involves youths and women empowerment. Some of us lack the opportunity to fly our wings but through enlightening we all rise,” she says.
For her, helping is about the satisfaction she gets whenever she reaches out and were it not for someone who did the same for her, she would not be where she is.
“I always dreamt about being on TV because I wanted to know what’s happening before others. Since childhood I was curious how an anchor knows so much and if so, how does she or he do it? I decided to pursue it,” she explains.
However, it was not easy especially with the prevalent perception that turns off many young people who say “media ina wenyewe” (the media has its owners),’ a notion that she hopes to change.
After failing several TV auditions she never gave up but decided to go to Ebru TV offices with her application papers one afternoon. Luckily, she managed to get a screen test for the following day and by chance, the General Director, Nadir Kilic, who was the news manager then, was present and saw something in her.
”I was told I have something and I was given the platform to go for training which I did for ten months. I did field work, script-writing, reporting and screen training.” She says. All the while she was a student at the Kenya School of Law but she managed to train on weekends before getting the job.
Married and very taken as she puts it, for her it is not about the number of years but what they share that matters most. Known by many titles, she drives around town in a sleek 2016 Range Rover, a gift given to her by her husband mid-last year.
“I am now focusing on my career and looking forward to acquire my practicing license. But I admire the recent path taken by our beauty queens who are practicing beauty with a purpose,” she concludes.