By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | October 10, 2023 In the nine years since she left the shores of India, to be back in her country, Eden Genet Teshome has […]
By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | October 10, 2023
In the nine years since she left the shores of India, to be back in her country, Eden Genet Teshome has fulfilled some of her dreams to be on the silver screen. Dreams she nurtured when, as a 12-year-old, she landed in the city of dreams, as the daughter of the Ethiopian Ambassador to India.
The four years she spent in Mumbai held her spellbound with the glamour and glitz of Bollywood. She participated in various pageants to get a feel of the stage and knew then what she wanted to pursue, apart from her studies.
Eden Genet Teshome: Ethiopian Star of the Silver Screen
Nine years later, Eden Genet Teshome is the Ethiopian Star of the Silver Screen. She has been featured in eight feature films in Ethiopia and has been the face of over 15 brands. Reflecting on her journey in the Ethiopian entertainment industry, the 27-year-old Bachelor of Science: Civil Engineering (Addis Ababa University, AAiT) is thankful for the Blessings from above.
“In reflecting on my journey as an actress and a model in Ethiopia, my accomplishments extend beyond accolades and financial rewards; they reside in the meaningful connections I’ve forged and the love and support I’ve received from the people of Ethiopia. One of the most profound and gratifying aspects of my career has been the overwhelming warmth and love from my fans and the community. Every smile, every word of appreciation, every gesture of support is a testament to the incredible bond I share with them,” reveals Eden in a long-distance interview from Cuba.
Opening Doorz to Eden Genet Teshome, who once studied at Auxilium Convent, Wadala, Mumbai, and forged memories and friendships for a lifetime.
Eden Genet Teshome, who turns 27 tomorrow, reflects on the past as she navigates through the future.
Tell us about your time growing up in India as the daughter of the Ethiopian Ambassador. What was it like to live in a different culture for so long?
Growing up as the daughter of the Ethiopian Consul General in India was an enriching and enlightening experience. My father’s role provided a unique backdrop to my childhood, blending diplomatic nuances with the dynamic and all-encompassing Indian culture. India was the first country I had the opportunity to explore, and I spent four transformative years in the bustling city of Mumbai.
Being raised in a diplomatic family brought a unique perspective on cultural assimilation and respect. The essence of my upbringing was interwoven with the threads of understanding, acceptance, and appreciation of differing viewpoints and ways of life.
The multifaceted exposure to diverse traditions has been pivotal in shaping my worldview and fostering a deep appreciation for diverse human cultures, enabling me to navigate and embrace the spectrum of cultural landscapes with open-mindedness and respect.
What are some of your favorite memories from India?
Some of my most cherished memories from my time in India revolve around my school days. Those days were filled with laughter, learning, and the forging of lifelong friendships. My friends in India were incredible; we shared a bond that transcended geographical and cultural boundaries, fostering a sense of unity and mutual respect. The time spent with them, the shared experiences, the jokes, the challenges we overcame together… these are memories forever etched in my mind.
Were there any challenges, as a 12-year-old, you had to face when in India?
Adapting to a new country and culture brought its unique set of challenges, among which homesickness was the most pervasive. The initial phase of my stay in India was marked by a profound longing for the familiar sights, sounds, and faces of home. The unfamiliar environment and the distinct cultural landscape were overwhelming at times, creating a sense of isolation and vulnerability.
How did you overcome these challenges?
It was a strenuous journey, navigating through the labyrinth of emotions and adjustments, and it took almost a year to alleviate the weight of these challenges. However, the bonds I forged with my friends played a pivotal role in overcoming this period of struggle. Their support, understanding, and companionship were the pillars that anchored me through the storm of emotions, helping me emerge stronger and more resilient.
What inspired you to pursue a career in acting and modeling?
My inspiration to pursue a career in acting and modeling stemmed from a deep-seated passion for the expressive arts. Ever since my early years, I found myself drawn to the world of cinema, fascinated by the myriad of emotions, narratives, and characters portrayed on the silver screen. The ability to immerse oneself into diverse characters and bring stories to life resonated with me profoundly. Watching movies was not just entertainment; it was an exploration of human experiences, a journey through diverse lives and worlds, sparking a desire to partake in the creation of such compelling narratives.
What are some of your favorite roles you’ve played in Ethipioan cinema? What are your goals for the future?
I have had the privilege to portray a myriad of roles, each bringing its unique essence and narrative. One of my most impactful roles was in a ‘Jegnit’ (meaning, Heroine), a film released in 2021. In this film, I played a woman who endured an acid attack by her boyfriend. This role was not merely about depicting pain and struggle; it was a portrayal of resilience, empowerment, and the transcendent spirit of women. The journey of the character, from victimhood to empowerment, was profoundly moving and highlighted the strength inherent in every woman.
It was an honor to bring such a powerful and inspiring story to the screen, contributing to the broader discourse on women’s rights and empowerment. Additionally, I’ve also cherished my roles in romantic movies, exploring the multifaceted nature of love, relationships, and human connections.
What are your thoughts on the future of the Ethiopian entertainment industry? What are some of the trends you’re seeing, and what are you excited about?
The Ethiopian entertainment industry is at a transformative juncture, characterized by innovation, diversification, and a resurgence of cultural narratives. It’s exciting to witness the rejuvenation and evolution of our rich storytelling traditions, adapted to contemporary mediums and expressions.
I am eager to see more collaborations between Ethiopian artists and international counterparts, fostering cross-cultural exchanges and enriching the global creative discourse. The future of the Ethiopian entertainment industry is promising, with the potential to become a beacon of cultural expression and creativity.
You have been around for nine years now. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing women in the Ethiopian entertainment industry?
The challenges that women, particularly those who are just starting their careers in the Ethiopian entertainment industry, face are indeed multifaceted. A glaring issue is the abuse and exploitation by some directors, producers, and fellow actors. This can manifest as emotional, financial, or, sadly, even sexual abuse. Thankfully, I personally haven’t experienced any form of abuse, and I staunchly oppose such reprehensible acts. It’s essential to foster an environment where women feel safe, respected, and valued for their talents and contributions, not demeaned and exploited. Aside from abuse, there are also other substantial challenges like unequal pay and limited opportunities for women.
Keeping what you have said in mind, and combined with your experience, what advice would you give to young Ethiopian women who are interested in pursuing a career in this field?
To the aspiring young Ethiopian women who wish to explore a career in the entertainment industry, my foremost piece of advice is to prioritize education. Acquiring knowledge is an empowering journey, one that bestows upon you the tools, resilience, and understanding necessary to navigate the multifaceted landscapes of life, including the world of entertainment.
Is there anything you are looking to accomplish apart from your presence in the Entertainment industry?
Looking ahead, my aspirations extend beyond the realms of acting and modeling. I envision contributing to the educational development in rural Ethiopia, where access to quality education is often scarce. The disparities in the education system, especially in remote areas, motivate me to work towards creating avenues for learning and knowledge dissemination for children in these regions.
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