'GIRL' ON THE GO: "I've reached this far by my hard work," says Bowes, now 36.
KENIESHA Bowes is best described as a quiet force and a young veteran. The talented actress has worked with everyone from Lennie Little-White (TV’s Royal Palm Estate) to Ellis International (The Ity & Fancy Cat Show) to Pablo Hoilett and Audrey Reid (When the Cat’s Away), armed with a Theatre Arts degree (with honours) from the Edna Manley College’s School of Drama. But three years ago she made the move to corporate Jamaica to work in life insurance/customer service, putting her showbiz aspirations on pause. Now she’s back, winning all kinds of raves for her portrayal of a cleaning lady who speaks her mind in Patrick Brown’s Right Girl, Wrong Address. TALLAWAH caught up with the 36-year-old to talk about her evolution, being the mother of a 12-year-old high-schooler, and grown folks’ business.
TALLAWAH: You have received Actor Boy and Thespy nominations for your splendid work in Right Girl, Wrong Address. How did you respond to the news?
Keniesha Bowes: I was in disbelief. I am so flattered. As an actress, I consider myself a work-in-progress, still. I’ve been getting some great reviews for this performance, but I’m my biggest critic, and I feel there’s more I can do with the role. I always want to get better, so I make use of all the pointers that Glen and my castmates give me.
TALLAWAH: Looking back, when did you first decide that acing is something you wanted to do professionally?
KB: Growing up I always saw myself in the theatre full time, but now I prefer doing it on the side. Keniesha now is different from Keniesha back then. I was a lot more confident when I just started out. I’m more stage-shy now. I think my move to corporate caused that. I’m extremely reserved. If someone asked me to take on another role now, I would most likely say no. I was very much out there. I was the type that people called crazy because of my energy (Laughs). But that’s not me anymore.
TALLAWAH: You’ve grown up; you’re evolving.
KB: Yeah, it’s about being a lot more mature, being more reserved. I’m a mother now, as well, and that has really humbled me. I no longer yearn for the spotlight. But once I get on stage, the nerves go away.
TALLAWAH: Are you a single mom?
KB: No, his father is very much in his life.
TALLAWAH: How do you feel about single motherhood and the single moms who are doing it all?
KB: I couldn’t do it. There is a reason why God provided both parents. It’s extremely difficult. You have to get him properly fed, properly educated, make sure he is properly socialized. That’s a lot of attention to give, and one person should not have to do it all. My son is a handful. Now I have him on the weekends because of work. His father does the pick-ups and drop-offs.
TALLAWAH: You’ve never been married. Do you want to be?
KB: (Laughs). Oh, gosh. I don’t see myself getting married at this stage. I’m very independent-minded. I love doing everything for myself, by myself. I’m my own best friend.
TALLAWAH: Are you anti-marriage?
KB: No, but I’ve seen a lot of marriages fail – with friends, co-workers, relatives. I’m very cautious. And I don’t have the patience to work with someone who is not sure of what he wants – and doing a nine-to-five at the same time. I am the girl who will get up and leave. So right now I’m very much single and I’m okay with it.
TALLAWAH: You’ve accomplished quite a lot by the age of 36. Are you satisfied?
KB: I am satisfied, knowing what I’ve accomplished and how I accomplished them. My parents have helped me a lot. They taught me how to survive on my own. I have reached this far by my hard work, and now I’m okay moving forward.
> Right Girl, Wrong Address plays at the Centrestage Theatre, New Kingston, until July.