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All About Mary Oyaya, the Renowned Kenyan Actress And Model

Mary Oyaya is one of the few Kenyans to be the first to grace Hollywood screen.

Though she started out as a model, her first appearance on the screens was in the science fictional series ‘Farscape’ in 1999.

But her fame rose when she made an appearance in ‘Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones’ as Jedi Master Luminara Unduli in 2002.

From a model to actress, philanthropist, author, many are left to wonder, who is Mary Oyaya, really?

Let’s look at her background and career. I will also discuss her notable works and awards.

Mary Oyaya’s Profile Summary
Full NameMary Oyaya
Birth PlaceMombasa, Kenya
Date Of BirthJuly 18 ( Year Unknown )
GenderFemale
NationalityKenyan, Australian
Country of ResidenceAustralia
EthnicityBlack
Marital StatusUnknown
OccupationModel, Actress, Author
Known ForStar Wars: Episode II − Attack of the Clones

Early Life

Mary was born in Mombasa Kenya. She’s the eldest of four siblings.

With her father being a diplomat working for the UN, their family life involved traveling a lot.

That aspired her to want to travel the world, in other words, she wanted to become a globetrotter.

She has lived in Africa, Australia, Canada and Sweden.

Education

Mary’s thirst for knowledge is unmatched. She went to Loreto Girls High School, Limuru.

After graduating, she went on to pursue a Master of Art in International Relations back in the ’90s at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

While pursuing International Relations, she took modeling classes in screen acting.

She later set out to seek a second Master’s Degree in International Social Development at the same institution. These three courses would later see her reach high heights in her career.

In 2020, she enrolled to Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) at University of New South Wales (UNSW) for a Learn to Lead Badge in Leadership and Management.

Personal Life

Mary has managed to separate her personal life from her professional life. There is no information as to whether she is married, or have kids.

However, on one of her Instagram posts, she poses for a photo during the COVID-19 lockdown tightly embracing a young boy.

There is no relationship mentioned in the comment box but it could be her son or nephew.

Career

Mary has worked in different fields throughout her career. She joined the UN at an early age, where she worked for NGOs in Australia supporting refugees.

In 1998, she worked as an Assistant Researcher for an organization called ANCORW for a year, before working in refugee resettlement at ANCORW and Mercy Refugee Service in Australia between 1999 and April of 2000.

She was working on her modelling and acting jobs at the same time, appearing in fashion magazines CAT and S.

She was a model for Salvatore Ferragamo and Gucci sunglasses, Chanel and Jan Logan jewelry, and Sergio Rossi footwear.

In Television, she first appeared in commercials for Telstra Communications, Hewlett Packard Bell, and she was also featured in several sports adverts.

Her manager at the time later booked an audition for her, and the next thing she knew, she was casting in the 1999 science fictional series Farscape.

After that she featured in more films, including Down & Under (2000) and Lost Souls (2000), before casting in a film that would make her known across the globe.

When she was called in for casting at Fox Studios, pictures of her along with those of all the people who had come in for the audition were taken and sent to an agent.

Knowing the physique they wanted for the Jedi character, casting ended the moment she walked in. She was given the role of Jedi Master Luminara Unduli, who was leading an army to war.

Since her appearance, even though her character was later killed off, she has been featured in other Star Wars films as a voice actor, hologram, visions and flashbacks of Luminara.

Her character has even been featured in the game ‘Star Wars: Jedi Academy; KOFT Mod’ and in comic books.

In 2013, she worked as a Breast Care Navigator at Imaging the World for two years.

After leaving, she started working on her book, and later joined Mindshadow Entertainment as the Chief Officer International Business Development in March 2016. She holds this position till date.

As an alumni at the UNSW business school, she has been mentoring the institution’s students into personal and professional growth via the Career Accelerator Mentor Connect Program since July 2018 to date.

Personal Achievements

In 2016, Mary started working on her book, ‘Instinct, Time & Space. My Encounter with the Other Galaxy’, which was published on December 27, 2020.

The book gives the story of Mary Oyaya, how she moved from being a mere college student and model, to becoming one of the most beloved Jedi character in the Star Wars saga.

She tells of what inspired her to relocate to Australia, and how her modeling journey started.

Recognitions

Mary’s role as Jedi in the Star Wars saga has earned her several recognitions.

The role saw her declared as an Honorary Member of the 501st Legion, which is a worldwide Star Wars fan club.

She is also an honorary Member of Rebel Legion, Star Wars Club Portugal, Rebel Legion Mexico among many more.

Mary continues to model and feature in commercials.

Kenyalogue Contributor

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