It is always a delight to speak with Bayray. She’s a bright light and there’s a charming side to her that leaves you feeling so good, days after you had contact with her.
In a phone conversation, she warmed my heart with words that made me flourish like petals of flower tended by a loving gardener.
“Oh, my Rose,” she said. “The only rose in my garden,” she tore away my guard. Over a couple of days, we talked about the sort of things passionate and purpose-led women, in their thirties, talk about. Like wine, travel, career and ambition.
In our conversation I found that the kind of wine Bayray likes is a good wine. Her favorites are the ones she stamps as good. Her words painted a picture of a disciplined life, dotted with moderate fun. She had just returned from an amazing vacation and was in the process of taking another one to Dubai, mainly because she saw the media of her sister’s skydiving adventure there, and decided to also visit and experience it.
Bayray told me, travelling is at the top of her bucket list, even though she doesn’t recognize it as that. She said she doesn’t appreciate the concept of bucket lists because she’s of a different species of humans. And I completely understood, because being a Christian, myself, the whole concept of bucket lists is contradictory to the concept of eternal life. Nevertheless, Bayray goes after what she loves and wants, on a daily basis. And travel, like I said, tops that list.
Being in different parts of the world, as often as possible, and meeting different kinds of people from different backgrounds, is so energizing. She told me.
“…I realize that time is passing very quickly, so I’m doing everything I want to do. I’m making lists and reshuffling them; taking risks and enjoying the results, be they positive or negative. Another very important thing to me is being a blessing to my community. I want to help bring to pass, as many dreams as I possibly can…”
That is to be expected, naturally, after stepping into her path to self-fulfillment and garnering valuable experiences along the way.
Not too long ago, she took up advocacy and counseling work, and has been actively working on improving the life of a number of girls, on a private scale. She splits her time between acting and advocacy, and is gradually transitioning into a full-time film director; a position she had been eyeing, doggedly, since she first launched into the movie industry, through a talent show, thirteen years ago. She told me the journey has been an adventure that requires being on your toes, and identified God, hard work, talent, family, fans, humility and patience as the top factors responsible for her advancement.
I wanted to know how rejection has impacted her career and she told me that she has grown in her understanding of what the word means. “Rejection is actually a really good thing. It makes you discover who you really are, deep down….I didn’t always think this way, but a rejection isn’t a permanently closed door. You have to stay humble and hungry, enough to be willing to rise through the ranks, so that life will begin to look like a thoroughly enjoyable game.”
That is where Bayray is right now. She is living and enjoying it. But her scar crept into the conversation as she told me of the blessedness of being a blessing, and how one positive feedback can be a great boost to an actor’s mood. It wasn’t hard to imagine, as she told me of kind fans who have, at different times, been the reason she was a lot more enthusiastic on particular days. It is like this, Bayray is attacked by unpleasant feelings. And she’s doing her very best to stay on top. Then, quite unexpectedly, a stranger walks up to her, or writes, to say how a character she played or how a movie she was in helped them in different ways, especially during a difficult time. They will say this not knowing how much effort Bayray is putting into the smile she’s giving them. Then, they will go on to say pretty nice things to her that will eat up the unpleasant feelings and highlight her worth.
Flatly, she stated, “I’ve not always been a confident person, especially with that scar on my cheek. So I never thought I will be able to inspire someone else, not when I couldn’t even inspire myself. I am always praying, meditating and working to make sure that people get inspired or comforted by a character I have played….but if things go in the opposite direction, or someone decides to act in a mean way, I give myself a good dose of esteem-boosting self-talk, and everything is fine after that.”
Now, let me give you the background of the said scar. There was a domestic accident in Bayray’ home when she was an infant and she got out of it with a mark on her right cheek.
That mark became the reason she wouldn’t look people in the eyes or speak her mind. It stopped her from taking up space or attracting any form of attention to herself. But her talent was resistant to that mark. Her passion for acting was stronger than the grip of an imperfection that confronted her at every glance of the mirror.
As we talked, I sensed her introversion hidden, only a layer away, under upbeat gesticulations. She had it reined in, out of the way of a good conversation.
So how would you describe a great day? I asked, more interested in her humanness.
“It can be anything between a day where I’m working a lot,” she began, “ to a day where I’m sleeping as much as I want, making smoothies all day, taking care of my skin, having conversations with my friends, listening to my favourite speakers and attending church.” She reeled out, non-hesitantly.
Another question came to the tip of my fingers. It was from a set of questions on maleness and the culture of hostility toward women. I took a moment to consider it and did not feel the need to cramp everything into one conversation. I thought Bayray is in my future, therefore, I can pause and breathe and talk to her again tomorrow.