From the Congo to South Africa to Hollywood. It doesn’t sound like the normal route to establish one’s self in the entertainment industry, but is there really a normal route? There were a few other stops along the way for Gioya Tuma-Waku, but she didn’t let much get in her way on her journey to be what she always knew she would be: an actress. And not just any actress, but one who can do anything asked of her and one who can don any role that she is given and turn it into a real living, breathing person. Gioya doesn’t just pretend to be a character; she becomes that character inside and out for as long as she is needed in the film or play, or web series or music video. She is a consummate actress who grasps the importance of knowing her role and her lines and when to hit her mark on the stage. She has worked on scores of movies, theatrical plays, series and music videos and has been on countless shooting locations, studio sets and wherever her director at the time chooses to set up a camera and make his or her film.
Gioya was born in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of The Congo and then moved to South Africa with her parents. She grew up watching movies and studied ballet at five. At ten she auditioned and got a part in the play Aladdin and that was when she realized that the only thing she wanted to be in life was an actor. Interestingly, when she told her parents what she had in mind they simply told her that all little girls want to be actors and that she would grow out of it. But, Gioya never did grow out of it. She did make a deal with her parents, though, since they felt the arts was not a way to make a good living. She promised them that she would get a “proper” degree if they would support her dream of pursuing an acting career in the United States. They shook on it. She earned a degree in Marketing and Finance and they helped her go to America where she was accepted into the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She has studied with some of the best acting teachers and coaches in the world and once she started working professionally she has never stopped. The jobs continue to roll in and Gioya has found that when you behave as a professional and treat others respectfully, then they want to work with you over and over again, which is what has happened in her life. She has been in too many films, both short films and feature-length motion pictures along with web series to name them all here. We can mention that besides being cast in two upcoming feature films she will also be producing them.