When you meet Caroline Njeri for the first time, what strikes you most is her silver-coated teeth. Because of the bling and her polished demeanour, Njeri could easily pass for an artiste or socialite.
But that’s far from the truth. Njeri has been in the limelight, but not as a socialite. She was a contender for season seven of Slimposssible, the weight loss competition aired on Citizen TV.
The 12-week reality show ended on December 18 and Njeri emerged first runner-up.
Njeri shed more than 10 kilos, but still saw the Sh1 million reward slip through her fingers.
But that’s beside the point. Njeri is a self-confessed former commercial sex worker, a trade she claims a friend introduced her to.
She even met her German boyfriend ‘in the line of duty’ and the two got engaged. But on the eve of their wedding, all hell broke loose.
“I was born and raised in Banana, Kiambu County, but dropped out of school in class three,” she said, adding that she started accompanying teenage girls to Nairobi in 1993.
“I ended up in a popular joint on Moi Avenue where I also broke my virginity as commercial sex worker,” she told The Nairobian.
After working in Nairobi for close to a year, she relocated to Mombasa after another friend promised her greener pastures in the coastal town.
“Life was not that bad in Mombasa because it was around that time that I also met an elderly German called Steve, who loved me and we started a relationship as I continued with my commercial sex work,” Njeri said.
That same year, Njeri claims they made travel arrangements to Germany to plan their future after Steve had visited her family with a small token.
“If I’m not wrong he used Sh15,000 to lure me,” she said. Steve was in his 60s and she was in her early 20s, but she says she accepted his proposal and they left for his home country to plan their wedding.
“We had agreed that a day to the wedding, we were to relax and so we visited the salon and later a club for a few drinks before going home,” Njeri told The Nairobian.
“After a few drinks, I asked Steve if we could drop the wedding plans for a while. I felt he was too old for me.”
Njeri claims that he became angry and attempted to beat her in front of other revellers.
“Luckily, a Ghanaian man who witnessed the drama intervened and rescued me. Steve was furious at me for dumping him after spending on me,” she said.
Njeri claims that the Ghanaian hosted her for a while until she sneaked back to pick her passport.
“That’s how I came back to Kenya,” she said.
Back in the country, Njeri pulled herself by the bootstraps until 1998 when she delivered her first born daughter.
After giving birth, Njeri ‘resumed work’ until 2004, when she gave birth to her second daughter.
“I had to quit commercial sex work in 2004 to feed and educate my daughters. None of them has ever missed school due to lack of fees,” she said, adding that the final straw was the thought of sharing men with her daughters.
She lost her teeth while fighting with sex workers at a club in Westlands.
“They are pure silver teeth going for Sh45,000. I had to replace them in 2009 after I lost three teeth following a fight with fellow sex workers at club in Westlands,” she says.
After turning her life around, Njeri is now a businesswoman dealing in second-hand Asian household items and giving out loans.
“It has been a long journey of sleeping with hundreds of men. Similarly, I’ve learnt a lot along the way,” she told The Nairobian.
“Given a chance and support, I’m willing to enrol for part-time adult classes and even start motivating teenage girls,” she said.