Linda Francis, founder and CEO of ‘Red Roses Event’ outfit, has her hands full. Apart from her records in Nollywood as an actress, she is showing great talents in guidance and couselling for younger ones who are passionate about reaching their potentials; as well as exhibiting professional dexterity in events management especially for couples. In this interview, she shares her reasons for targeting youths and married couples; her childhood and future plans. Enjoy!
The push from acting to event management
I left the University in 2008, but before then, I went into acting. l was involved in movie-making and TV dramas. I read Theatre Arts and it made it easy for me to cope with acting, in the midst of doing one or two jobs to help pay my school fees. I was a part-time student at University of Lagos. I had to work and school because it wasn’t easy for my mother. At a time, I left the scene for a long while and when I returned after graduation in 2008, I wasn’t getting enough roles as I had stayed off the movie scene for a long while.
Out of frustration, I decided to travel abroad but my visa application was rejected. There was nothing much to do since I didn’t want to be tied down with a white collar job which I consider time wasting. I had to register my own company.
Before then, a friend and I registered an event company, but when the visa application didn’t work out, l didn’t go back to work with my friend. I registered my own company. I wanted to be creative and at the same time, to be very free. The first event I did was in 2011. It was targeted at select people – the married couples. This is because I realized that when someone gets married, the burden of taking care of the home falls on the woman while the man is sometimes gallivanting somewhere.
A lot of things dampen romance in marriage, so I created the valentine special which is an avenue for marital romance to be rekindled once more. In many cases, you’d notice that the woman is no more attractive enough, hence the cheating. It is also an avenue to know how well you know and understand your spouse, play games together and also dance with their mates in a relaxed atmosphere.
My childhood was quite a lonely one. I grew up with my mum and my brother. I never saw my dad. Mum was both dad and mum to my brother and I. It was a terrible experience. I am not saying that mum didn’t do her best. Of course, she is the best mum in the whole world but l am saying that I missed a dad’s influence.
I wish l lived with my both parents. It even gave me a complex problem as a child. Each time l was opportuned to visit my friends’ homes and meet their parents together, I wished I also had a dad. My dad didn’t die of course; he walked away from my mum when l was a child and I don’t ever want that to happen to any one else.
That was the genesis of my romance event for couples. I have seen my mum cry in the secret and in our presence and in such occasions, I knew and prayed that God would give me a husband who would not ever leave me.
Mum became everything to me; she became my dad, my sister, my best friend. In fact, we could pass for sisters today because she is very young! I stole her sense of dressing; she dresses very well- a fashionista super mum. She took us through school alone, but it wouldn’t have been so if my dad was present. I decided on time to learn to know everything about marriage in order not to make any mistake in my time.
When I registered this company, it was nothing apart from the fact that I have a background in acting and filming. I didn’t have the finance to do anything about the company, but God brought people who eventually taught me all the things I know today. I am getting better by the day in the trade and more. I learnt from directors of companies and entertainment people. Ayo Makun of the AY Comedy Show is my friend and brother in the same Church. He gave me tips about organizing shows and l learnt a lot. Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) was the first person I ever acted with, so he trained me. He was like an elder brother, an uncle and a friend all in one. He found out when l was studying Theatre Arts . Then, I was still in youth class and he made it a point of duty to take me along to every audition until I could do well enough to get a role that I eventually got.
I have always loved to help people perhaps because l grew up needing a father’s love. And in the same manner; I organized events for the youths in the little way that I could. Secondary school boys and girls with dreams are my target. Most of our young children these days want to read certain courses while their parents want them to read certain other courses. So, the forum is to invite experts in different fields of endeavours to advise them on career choices. The last one l did, I got the likes of Chidi Mokeme, RMD, Segun Arinze and some speakers to come and talk to these young boys and girls.
We had an interactive section with them on how they can follow their dreams in school.
It feel it is very important because I got my own dreams in school; it’s very important as much as studies; they are encouraged to put interest in a certain field and follow their dreams on time while schooling or doing one thing or the other.
Nigeria is a country where many talents are wasting and dying away because of lack of sponsorship and helpers, but if you start working on your dream early enough, then you would get to your goals on time.
Plans in future
After every event; any good business person sits and counts where he or she had made a mistake and where he or she got it right. We discovered after the last event which was Valentine’s special that there wasn’t enough time for the couples to re-awaken their fondness and passion for one another because this attitude of theirs didn’t happen in a day and therefore, a day together cannot undo the havoc that has been done over the years.
We have had some cases where couples still went ahead to break up their marriages even after attending our Valentines’ Special Treat. So, we have decided to make the next event a longer one; perhaps a weekend of special Valentine’s awakening for the married couples.
I have a lot of friends saying that it’s not fair making the event for only married couples. But this event is for a purpose; to bring the married couples back together, that is, bringing the families back together. I don’t want to deviate from the original purpose because without the family, there is no future of any nation. Marriage is an important institution for every nation and it is important we take care of the issues rising up daily to help the future.
So, in the light of these; we are planning that come next year, we shall get a bigger venue, more couples, more time together, games to be played, issues to be discussed and all that. We have some couples who have been together for 25 years in the last concluded event and some who just got married. We plan to have more in future.