Blogs and entertainment websites have staged a seismic showdown of her photos on their platforms – but what many probably did not know is that beyond the physical beauty, Constable Emma Brenda Wanjiru is a narrative of triumph over adversity.
The smashingly beautiful security officer, who is stationed in Nairobi and not in Nyali as sections of media reported, is personable, charming, graceful, unhesitating, earnest and brilliant.
Below is her story as told exclusively to Citizen Digital:
- Emma was born and raised in Nyahururu
“I am the first born in a family of two (one girl, one boy). I was born and raised in Nyahururu. I used to skip rope and ride the bike a lot; it’s something I do to date.”
“I attended Nyandarua Boarding Primary School, and later Giriambu Girls High School in Kirinyaga County – the former school of prominent politician Martha Karua.”
- She is a resilient single parent
“After completing secondary education, I fell pregnant – my child’s father was my first serious boyfriend. He was living in Ongata Rongai, and I was staying at my aunt’s place in Kiserian, Kajiado County. She was a Bishop, and so she was my godmother. I was born again at that time.”
“Two months into the pregnancy, he said he wasn’t ready to become a father. I told him: ‘I am 19, so where do we move to from here?’ he said: ‘You can always go back to your mum’s place, I don’t mind.’”
She however chose to stick by him; hoping against all odds that he will change for the better. Nonetheless, peace proved to be a pipe dream.
“He became verbally abusive, violent, constantly absent… I was traumatised. I had just completed high school. All I had was a KCSE certificate; I wondered where I would go to next. After the people around me knew I was pregnant, they abandoned me – even some members of my family deserted me.”
With so many deserting her, did she find solace in the arms of her mum – how did she (mum) react?
“My mum was very disappointed at first – she had a lot of plans for me. She strained a lot to educate my brother and I.”
After the storm blew over, the small-town beauty went back home.
“After leaving the guy, I took a bus back to Nyahururu where I stayed for a whole year raising my baby. I was confused and I had lost hope. I did not have friends; I did not have anyone to talk to. Boys at the estate laughed at me – ‘ulitukataa, ona sasa umerudi ushago na mtoi (you rejected our advances, now you’ve returned to this rural setting with a kid),’ they would say.”
Summing up the experience in three words, Emma said: “Life was hard!”
- Emma’s dad was also a police officer
Emma was brought up by a single mother, after her police officer dad left the family in the early 90’s.
“My dad separated from my mum in 1993. He was a cop. One day I had come from school and found he dad had left – my mum was pregnant with my brother then. Mum, a civil servant, was forced to go back to school to further her studies so that she could support us.”
With her mum back at school and a younger sibling in the home, Emma had to step up.
“When she was away, I would take care of my younger sibling. I started being responsible at a tender age.”
- She quit a sales managerial job
“After a year in Kirinyaga, I told mum I was ready to come back to Nairobi and she agreed. Mum stays at Buruburu. She rented a single room for me in Jericho.”
Upon returning to the bustling city, Emma soon got to work on building her career.
“Mum enrolled me in college where I studied social work and community development. After completing the course, I landed a job with a Nairobi firm as the region’s sales manager. I was very industrious, but I still felt something was amiss with the job. After much introspection, I realised I had always wanted to be a cop.”
- Her dad inspired her to the career
Like most young women, Emma looked up to her dad. This admiration drove her to pursue a career in Kenya’s security sector.
“I learnt quite a lot from my dad, and saw the areas I could improve on. I wanted to become a better cop if there’s anything like a better cop. I wanted people to see that a police officer’s job is as respectable as any other.”
After coming to this realisation, Emma resigned from her management job.
“I quit my sales managerial job in August, 2012 after failing to report to work for a whole week. I told mum that during the next police recruitment, I would go home (Nyahururu) to try my luck.”
Luckily, the police recruitment exercise would come up in September, 2012 – a month after her resignation from her previous job. She went through the recruitment exercise hopeful she would be successful – which she was. But the success did not come easy.
“I would wake up every morning at 5am to jog; mum would even call and remind me to exercise. On the recruitment day, I ran on the field several laps (5kms) and the ground was sweltering hot! My daughter was among those cheering me on, telling people around her: ‘Mama yangu atakuwa polisi! (My mum will become a police officer!), so when I made it in the recruitment exercise, I was ecstatic!”
- Like other officers, Emma went through training at Kiganjo
Her glowing feminine beauty might deceive you that she did not endure gruesome training at the famous Kiganjo Police Training College – but no, Emma is as tough as they come. She successfully went through months of rigorous preparation to be a certified police officer.
“I felt being a police officer is my calling, and it would get me to the next step. I eventually graduated. Everyone was happy for me.”
- She is multitalented, auditioned for TPF Season 4
“In my family, I am one of the most gifted: I can sing and play the piano. In high school, I was very popular! Friends on Facebook ask me: ‘Do you still sing?’”
Just like she did for the police recruitment, Emma jumped on the opportunity to explore her musical talent on Citizen TV’s Tusker Project Fame.
“In 2010, I auditioned for Tusker Project Fame nikachujwa na judge Ian. I made it on the first day of auditions; but come the second day, I was eliminated due to stage fright – which is very true; I was struggling!”
It was not lack of talent that held her back, but the aftermath of the personal issues she was struggling with that affected her performance.
“It was that time I had just given birth and I was still suffering from low self-esteem. My mum was proud of me nonetheless.”
- She doesn’t stomach negative energy
“I am easygoing, but very principled. If I get to know you are the kind of a person who will bring me down, I would detach from you – and that’s it. I have been hurt before, and I know how it feels like. I don’t need that energy now. I thank God though for every experience that has happened to me.”
So what does she do with her free time?
“90 per cent of my time is occupied by two things: my job and my daughter. I am a bit laid back. I like having fun, but it should be reasonable, worthy and mature.”
- Her mum is her best friend
“My mum is very conservative and strict. When she calls and asks me to see her, I show up at her office almost immediately. She then tells me: ‘You are doing this wrong, I don’t like it. Can you change it!’ Mpaka wa leo, na sikai kwake.”
Respecting her mum and heeding to her instructions has paid off for Emma.
“Listening to what she says has made me reach where I am today. She is mentor to me. We are best friends. When we even cut communication for a while, she asks me: ‘Who do you think is my best friend? My friends are my children, and you are my girlfriend.’ She has taught me parenting. I have also made my daughter my best friend.”
Of her daughter, Emma says: “Lanisha is 7, but is mature for her age. I have a close relationship with her.”
- She is cautious on matters marriage
The experience of teenage pregnancy, being deserted by the father of her child and violence in her then relationship has made Emma to develop some sort of ‘marriage phobia’.
“My experience with Lanisha’s dad has made me fear venturing into marriage; he was violent. My dad was also violent towards my mum – that makes the institution of marriage doubly intimidating. Which other experience am I waiting for – those were good enough!
Does this mean that it would take long before she considers marriage?
It seems so, but “…in the future I might change on my perception – but for now, no thank you.”
- Emma is a certified karateka
“It’s often hard to convince a citizen that you are a nice cop. I however believe in doing what is right; if you are wrong, then you are wrong. I would do what I was taught to do.”
Emma, a certified karateka (karate martial artist), says she only uses the skill when needs be.
The fashionista who is a strong admirer of Cristiano Ronaldo, Tameka “Tiny” Harris and Kim Kardashian’s sense of style says she will serve in the police force until she retires.
- She is single
Emma is single. However, when she will be ready to date, she prioritizes the following attributes in a man:
“I need a family man – a guy who values me and my daughter. I have never had a ‘complete’ family. I would appreciate a God-fearing man; a guy who is responsible, easy, emotionally secure and understanding. I would need someone who is not violent. Above all, I would want a man who will win the heart of my daughter; that is the one who will marry me – even if he is a street urchin, bar man or waiter. We would work it out – as long as Lanisha calls him ‘daddy’, I am done – wedding, asap!”