Senait Ashenafi (born March 10, 1966 in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia) is an Ethiopian-African American Model, Singer and Actress. She perhaps is best known to TV audiences as Keesha Ward on the ABC Soap Opera General Hospital from 1994-1998. She once appeared as a tryout model on The Price is Right for at least 15-20 episodes in 1990.
Early Life & CareerEdit
Of Ethiopian descent, the daughter of the Ethiopian composer and ethnomusicologist Ashenafi Kebede and the sister of Nina Ashenafi Richardson, a judge in Florida.
In 1984, Senait graduated from High School and later attended Florida State University, where her father taught as a professor. Her sister, Nina, also attended. In 1988, Senait graduated with a degree in Drama and when she was a teenager, she starred in a stage play titled "Mrs. MacThing" playing "The Maid" at Florida State University for 4 weeks.
Audition for The Price is RightEdit
After graduating from College, Ashenafi was then in searching for other career opportunities.
In April of 1990, The Price is Right began a nationwide search to feature their very first permanent African-Amercian model (although a woman named Harriet actually holds the distinction of being the very first African-American model as she appeared occasionally on the syndicated nighttime version with Dennis James in 1972 and a woman named Pat became the first African-Amercian model to appear on the daytime version during Holly Hallstrom's absence in the 1983-1984 season). Senait jumped at the chance and with her gorgeous looks, she was granted an on-camera audition as she appeared for at least 15-20 episodes.
Other auditioning hopefuls were Playboy centerfold Renee Tenison and Kathleen Bradley, who made her tryout debut at the very end of Season 18 and appeared more frequently afterwards. In December, it was Kathleen who was selected by the show's producers as the first permanent African-American Barker's Beauty (airdate: December 24th).
After her tryout stint on The Price is Right, Senait moved on to appear in a number of guest starring roles on shows which included A Different World, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Mad About You. She was also featured in the late Michael Jackson's music video for Remember the Time.
In 1994, she made the move to Soap Operas and landed her first contract role as Keesha Ward on the ABC daytime drama General Hospital, a role she played until 1998 when she was let go, causing a storm of controversy as some of the fans accused the daytime drama of being possibly racist (due to the limit of African-American actors & actresses on the program). During her time on General Hospital, she was nominated for a NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Daytime Drama Series.
In 2001, Senait starred in a low-budget film titled Honeybee, about a young woman who drops out of college against her father's wishes to pursue a career as a professional boxer.
In November 2012, Senait made headlines after she was arrested at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on charges of Public Intoxication. Airport Police were called to the scene after witnesses on a flight said that Ashenafi pushed a flight attendant during a verbal outburst that had her seated in coach instead of first class and police had determined that she was "a danger to herself and others." Sources also included that Ashenafi wasn't pleased that her carry-on luggage had to be stowed far from her seat. Senait was thrown off the airplane as the cops met her on the jetway and immediately deeming that she was drunk as they noticed the smell of alcohol on her breath.
Senait as a Tryout Model on The Price is Right in 1990