Was acting your childhood dream?
No, it wasn’t. Like a typical Nigerian child, I wanted to be a doctor, engineer or banker.
How did you feel the first time you featured in a movie?
I started as a child actor, so it was normal to see it as something new and interesting. I did not even understand what I was doing, as far as acting was concerned. So, I would say I was indifferent.
What movie propelled you into the limelight?
As a child actor, ‘Save the baby’ was the movie. When I became an adult, I would say ‘Stubborn Beauty’ propelled me into limelight, thanks to the character I played as Mirabel.
What were the challenges you faced on your way to stardom?
My mum being in the movie business as a producer gave me a head start; and that made many people not to see the work I was putting in. They felt it was just my mum’s influence that got me to where I was at the time. So, there was the challenge of having to prove that I deserved a spot in the industry, which made me to put in extra work and pushed me to improve my acting skills.
Another challenge was combining acting with schooling, because I was pursuing a degree at the time. I had to turn down a lot of scripts so my schoolwork wouldn’t suffer.
What inspires your acting?
My major inspiration as an actor is to tell the story, live the character and interpret the role effortlessly in a way the audience would appreciate. I consider it a huge inspiration and a privilege to get to live multiple lives as an actor (laughs) through unique characters that are so different from who I am.
Would you say stardom has deprived you of anything?
Clearly! Stardom has deprived me of having private moments. There are days I would love to do one or two self-care outdoor activities and just be by myself, but then I get approached by people and overwhelmed with love from fans. Other times, I could be having a bad day or just going through some things and want to be left alone to cry, but I still need to wear a smile and be polite to those who come to me for pictures. These are what I signed up for obviously and I do appreciate the love shown to me online and offline, but some days I just wish I could have some privacy.
I still have a cordial relationship with the friends I met during childhood and while I was in school. I think it’s natural not to be so close to everyone you grew up or made friends with because everyone tends to go in different directions and it has nothing to do with whether or not one is in the limelight. Some are focused on their careers, others are focused on their family while some are into other things. Also, it is easier to remain friends with people that I see, those that I interact with frequently and those who show interest in me and understand my job and vice versa.
How do you handle advances from male fans?
I am a firm, honest straight-talker. So, if I don’t fancy a person and I know whatever advances from them will not work, I tell them I am not interested. I try to be extremely firm, but polite. If it’s someone I am friends with and he wants more than friendship, I set healthy boundaries to stop them early on. If you want more than friendship and I am not interested, I let you know it won’t work. It is that simple.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently refuelling and preparing for different projects I will be working on in the coming weeks. I have a couple of movies lined up, so I am trying to read the scripts, internalise and understand my role. Likewise, I think of the best and possible way to interpret my roles properly.
What would be your advice to up-and-coming actors?
First, do not be under pressure to get certain roles. The grace on everyone is different. For some people, as soon as they start, they get a lot of jobs.
For others, it takes a while. It does not mean you are not good or you won’t do well in the industry. Your timing is just different, so don’t be under pressure to compare yourself with others. Appreciate your timing, every step and growth you experience. Second, understand that you will make mistakes on this journey, but these mistakes don’t define you.
Another major thing is that they should listen. Always listen, learn, study and take corrections. You cannot know it all no matter how good you think you have become. Pay attention to the directors, producers and the other crew members; you can learn one or two things from them.
Also, learn on your own. Keep practising and learning how to get better. In conclusion, do not let fame push you to misbehave. Any little mistake can change everything you worked hard for. Be humble and treat people with kindness, because you are not better than anyone. ,,
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