BY FLORENCE AMAGIYA
Princess Nnenna Orji rise to stardom was at a time when her age mates where still learning to walk.
Favour brought her into the industry when she was less than fifteen years of age and she is not about to leave any time soon. In this interview, she talks about her further studies in the University, sexual harassment in the industry and her beautiful, bright future. Enjoy!
How did you become an actress at that very tender age?
Actually, I started acting when l was only thirteen years of age and l would attribute it to God’s favour in my life. I didn’t go for any audition to become an actress; l only accompanied my sister to the National theatre for an audition.
We were together and l was just gesticulating as though l was acting, unknown to me a director by name Dickson Iroegbu was sitting at a distance observing me. He walked to us and asked if l wanted to act.
I told him l wanted to and l went through an audition that same day and earned myself a role in a movie.
How did you know you could act at that age?
I knew already that l could at that time because l grew up seeing my dad act on stage. And because of it l fell in love with acting at an early age. Getting a role in a movie, becoming an actress was a dream come true.
Which movie and what role has been the most challenging in your career?
Well, the movie titled ‘In Jesus name is the most challenging to me, although l have done other challenging roles. In Jesus name was directed by Alex Mouth.
What movie was most rewarding to you financially and how much were you paid in the job?
Well l cannot say l understand all the intricacies of been paid after shooting because l had someone managing my affairs, but l was told by my manager that the movie titled ‘The Ghost’ was financially rewarding.
How did you know it was rewarding if you didn’t see the money?
The movie was shot in 2008 in Portharcourt. l was only fourteen years old at that time, hence I didn’t even see the money. All l remembered was that my manager told me that we are travelling for a movie and my needs as a young girl were met and that’s what matters at that tender age.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Princess Nnenna Orji. I am from Abia state
What have you done for yourself outside acting?
Well l started acting as a child, but l have being able to get into the higher institution to add value to myself. At the moment l am attending Nnamdi Azikiwe University Okwa. I am in my second year studying Sociology and Anthropology in the Faculty of Social science.
l have also become a model; I have done some jobs for Mr. Biggs and a few others, but l havent’t done anything lately because of my acting career and education.
Acting is difficult, but that’s all l can take on until after school.
Tell us a little about Princess Orji before she became famous?
Princess is not an ordinary girl. I was born into a family of seven. We are five girls and two guys. I am the fourth girl.
I started my primary education at Premier Day Nursery and Primary School in Palm Avenue, Lagos state. My secondary school was at Suzan Martins Comprehensive High School in Apapa. The rest is history as you can see.
Have you ever been sexually harassed in the industry?
I have never been sexually harassed at all in the industry. Perhaps it is because l started acting as a child. And maybe my colleagues still see me as a child. Actually maybe because I am much younger than they are. And as it is l play lead children characters in most of my movies. So it would only take someone with a wicked mind to want to have anything to do with me especially when it comes to sexual pressures.
You started acting as a child, have you had full support from your parents?
My parents are in full support of my acting career, especially my mum! If they were not, l wouldn’t have started acting in the first place. Like l said before now my dad was also an actor. It is just that his type of acting was done on the stage.
What are the names of the movies you have featured in and the people you have acted alongside with?
My first movie is Unfaithful, my second movie is Little angel, Sins of my mother, the ghost, Bank manager, Last wedding, Peace of mind, In Jesus name, strange affection, the empire and lots of movies I cannot even remember their names. I have featured in a lot of soap operas, the Victims, Dear mother and many more yet to come out. I have featured with the likes of Zack Orji, Hilda Dokubo, Hanks Anuku, Sharon Ezeamaka and so many more.
You seem to be related to Zack Orji bearing in mind that both of you share the same surname?
Zack Orji is like my dad or l could call him an uncle, but he is not biologically related to me. I call him my god- father because that’s what he is to me and l am proud I share the same surname with him.
What don’t you do again since you started acting?
I have always been a shy person, hence l don’t get to be in public view even before stardom. But these days l don’t even enter commercial buses, but l still board motorcycles what we Nigerians call ‘okadas’.