From Umoja to Hollywood: Edi Gathegi’s Inspiring Rise


Edi Gathegi has been in Kenya this week, with the Hollywood star spotted meeting various creatives and officials in Nairobi. Gathegi has had key roles in acclaimed US movies and TV shows including Startup, X-Men: First Class, Into The Badlands, Twilight, House, and The Blacklist.

He met Acting Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) Managing Director John Chirchir. According to KTB, “The two discussed on possible areas of partnership in promoting and marketing Kenya’s tourism globally.”

Edi Gathegi in Kenya

Gathegi has since 2022 played Dev Ayesa, an engineer and entrepreneur, in the Apple TV+ original sci-fi space drama series For All Mankind.

Gathegi was born in Nairobi’s Umoja estate on March 10, 1979. He would spend the first three years of his life in Kenya before moving to the United States with his family. His father is Dr. John Gathegi, who graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and is a professor at the University of South Florida.

Gathegi was a student-athlete up to the college level at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and hoped to go pro, but this dream was shattered by a career-threatening injury – sending him into depression. He however, grew fascinated by the performing arts and eventually started attending New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts for an acting program –  graduating in 2005.

Gathegi was determined to get into professional acting and sought out every opportunity he could find. His career began in theatre, as he featured in plays including Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Two Trains Running, and the Twelfth night.

“No matter who you are, what you are made out of or where you come from, this industry respects hard work, so if you’re willing to put in the hard work you are going to get somewhere. And how far you go or get is just a matter of fate, chance, luck, and God,” he stated in a past interview, encouraging young people to chase their dreams.

He got his first professional acting role in 2006, at the age of 27, in the 2006 film Crank. He played a Haitian cab driver. He was initially skeptical of the role as it would require him to adopt a Haitian accent, but he decided to get a friend to coach him.

From then, he would go on to appear in countless more successful movies and shows. Some of his TV roles, in Startup and Blacklist for example, have also earned him widespread acclaim for his acting prowess. He has been featured in over 35 films and television shows since 2006.



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