Who is Khaleed off-screen?
Khaleed is a father, pastoralist and businessman all rolled up in one. I am a focused and hardworking man who believes in determination and hard work as the key to success.
How has it been for you to be the actor that you are today?
The journey has been characterised by putting in hours of work, sacrifice and research to be where I am today. I was working as a production assistant and at a certain film production company. Managing the balance of being both on-screen and off the screen at the same time was not an easy task. I would have a short night’s sleep to help work on editing so that I to catch up with the team during the daytime when we used to do the acting. Sometimes, I would make moves that others considered crazy or absurd, but it is part of the many sacrifices that I had to make that have pushed me to achieve my goals. Leaving my home town Maralal in Samburu county after becoming a renowned entrepreneur in the livestock trade sounded like a crazy move to people, especially my village mates who had already lived in the city before. They thought that they will soon see me back in the village after being frustrated by life in Nairobi, but I proved them wrong. This was a big move for me for I was chasing my dreams. Sharing with my friends that I wanted to contest for the Kalasha award sounded like a joke to them until they saw me get a nomination.
What do you believe makes you stand out as an actor?
The fact that I have imitated the Borana accent for years without people noticing that I am actually Samburu sets me apart. I got this inspiration while growing up, as I used to interact with many people from the North-Eastern region. Also, the fact that my consistency in providing innovative content is a unique thing for my brand. Furthermore, I am a creative person who most of the time thinks outside the box.
In which manner did your Kalasha win affect your life and career?
I describe the win as a major turn of events in my career because it was after that eventful evening in 2015 that I went ahead to land various endorsements and brand ambassador
You sold five camels to facilitate your travel to Nairobi and upkeep to attend your first auditions. What was the reaction you got from your family for trading such priceless livestock?
They were not happy and they didn’t take it lightly, as from where I come from, camels are deemed as important and high-valued assets. People rarely trade in them. I did it anyway because I believe in taking risks. Nonetheless, they knew that being an entertainer is something I desired to do from my childhood, so seeing me soaring in my acting venture has since made them proud.
How are you leveraging the internet for your career?
The shift from mainstream to online platforms is what has drawn the line between the legendary entertainers who are the oldies in the industry and the new blood. Most ‘old school’ actors have been forced to retire since adapting to online platforms such as YouTube has been a real hassle. These platforms depend on consistency in content, and a large number of followers and viewers who will dictate what you will generate as revenue. The consistency in content requires more energy that is only found with the youth. I set up a YouTube channel to hope that if all goes well, I would also start reaping a fortune.
Off the screen, you have always shown support for marginalised communities. What inspires your interest in community work?
I get my inspiration majorly from my late father. He always told us that when you help, Allah always rewards you with a double.
Do you have one memorable experience in your acting career?
Yes, I do. Winning the Kalasha International Award as the Best Performance in a TV Show remains the most memorable event in my life-to-date.
What are your plans going forward?
I am working on several projects, and hopefully, by December everything will be ready Insha Allah.
In your opinion, how best should creatives manage their income for financial security?
Just invest in meaningful ventures and always have it in mind that you will never be an actor forever. The fresh talents with new energy will come and your style will be considered old fashioned.