By AYO ONIKOYI
Yvonne Enakhena has all it takes to make it in the movie industry: the height, the figure and the burning desire but that didn’t seem to give her any edge as she had to wait in line like others to even get noticed. According to her she had to do the extraordinary to see her childhood dreams come true. Hear her story. Excerpts:
Please introduce yourself
My name is Yvonne Enakhena. I am a graduate of Theatre and Media Arts. I actually started acting in 2012, precisely October of 2012. Between then and now I have starred in about 10 films, out of which I played four lead roles.
What was the experience like in your first lead role?
The first film I played the lead role is ‘Aaron My Son’. It was a new experience for me because I had to be a different person, a naïve girl that was taken advantage of, and got pregnant. At the end she had nowhere to go to because she was an orphan. The role was a bit difficult because I had to cry a lot.
There was even a part when I was on the road, carrying heavy load, heavily pregnant and crying. A guy passing by, who didn’t know we were on set came to me and he was like ‘Madam, sorry, why are you carrying this heavy load in your condition’. God, it was quite an experience but fun anyway. It was challenging but I beat all the odds to interpret the role.
What were the major obstacles you encountered to make it as an upcoming actress?
I never did live all my life in Lagos. I came all the way from Kaduna to Lagos, all because I wanted to be an actress. At first, I must be honest, it was quite challenging. Then I didn’t even know my way to locations for auditions.
At times when you go for auditions, you would think you have done well enough to be called but for some reasons you were never called. You would be waiting and waiting, praying and praying and sometimes when they did call you it would be for some trivial role or they give you the role and they don’t pay you well.
There is always the issue of people wanting to take advantage of you, calling you up to ask you out, promising to get you a role and all that. For me, I had to tell a lot of people ‘no’ and I got so many disappointments.
That brings me to my next question: have you ever encountered sexual harassment in the course of your career?
Of course, when you refuse them they don’t give you the role. But that doesn’t mean better ones would not come your way. At times those that demanded sex turned around to offer you jobs, if you are really good at what you do, not minding the fact that you refused them what they wanted of you. So, it isn’t good to give up because you meet the bad ones, good ones too also come along.
What is the most desperate thing you have ever done to get a role?
Well, I remember I had to dry fast for seven days to get a particular role. That would be the most desperate thing I have ever done. I really needed the role and I didn’t want anybody to ask me out or get funny before they could offer me the role, so I had to do dry-fasting for seven days to get it. Thankfully, God answered me and I got the role. The movie is not out yet, it will be released this year.
What has been your experience with the opposite sex?
Men are just men (laughing). It is a normal thing for men to go after an attractive woman. I haven’t had any abnormal experience with them. They show their admiration of me and I show them mine.
What is the craziest thing a guy ever did for you?
There was a guy who called me on phone, even when we had hardly met, and threw me a birthday party. To me, that isn’t crazy, it is a normal thing you do when you really admire someone or you thought you are in love with someone.
What would you describe as your unique selling point?
I have a lot of selling points. I am tall, 5ft 9, I have sexy hips but most of the guys I have met say I have beautiful lips. I have good physique generally, to me really, I am a total package (laughing).
Soft porn is slowly creeping into Nollywood movies; what is your idea of soft porn coming into Nollywood movies, some say it makes our movies more real?
This is something that has come from the Ghanaians, right? One thing I know is that Ghanaians are Ghanaians and Nigerians are Nigerians, both of us have different culture, tradition and values. There are ways we can translate sensual or sexual roles without going naked, making the crew members see you naked. I am not comfortable with it when it means your taking off your cloths and going naked in front of the cameras.
They say everyone has their price, how much will it take to make you go nude in a film?
No amount of money in the world can make me go nude. God, I have my principles and beliefs. I can’t just do that. I don’t think money can buy my nudity.
What is your idea of sex; should it be before marriage or after marriage or any time?
Well, I am a traditional person. I believe sex should be reserved for married people but we are all adults, so everybody is entitled to his or her own decision, I am not a judgemental person.
But you are not a virgin either?
No, I am not.
What is your mission in Nollywood, what do you want to be known for?
I have been through a lot to get to where I am now. So if I am given the opportunity, I would want to make sure people coming after me don’t have to go through what I have been through. I had so many friends who also wanted to be in acting but because of the ordeal they went through they had to drop the idea and most of them were actually very good actors.
So if I have the resources I will use it to help the aspiring ones and contribute my quota in building the next generation of actors.
Did you ever have a crush on any actor before you came into Nollywood?
Yeah, of course, everybody had a crush at one time or the other. Mine was Ramsey Nouah. I simply love the guy, I love the way he acts. I have never met him though, I am seriously praying I am on set with him one day. He is just one person I look up to, and I respect him very much.
What was growing up like for you?
First of all, both my parents are disciplinarians; my dad is a grand knight in the Catholic church and my mum is a Lady. Growing up, I was more like an indoor child, though I went to a boarding school.