By BENJAMIN NJOKU
At what point did you realise you have flair for acting?
While I was in secondary school, I was involved in school drama. That was when I realised I have flair for acting. Then, I said to myself, if I take this path, I would not regret it in life. That was it.
That was in 2012, and the movie was called”Kingdom of Blood.” I played the role of a maiden in the movie. It wasn’t a challenging role, even though I felt a bit intimidated starring alongside some big names in the industry like Ngozi Ezeonu, Frank Actus, Charity Eke among others.
How come after two years in the industry, you are already making waves?
When I joined the industry, it wasn’t easy for me to have my break. I had to struggle like every other up and coming actress. I met a producer/director called Nonso Ekene Okonkwo while I was still honing my talent in school. He told me that I have what it takes to become an actress, but I didn’t believe him, because I have heard stories concerning how producers and directors sexually harrass desperate actresses. However, when I completed my secondary education, I came looking for him. As a result, I signed a contract with him. Today, he is my manager as well as my mentor in the industry. With him, I didn’t have any ugly experience since I joined the industry. In fact, things have been working out well for me.
You talked of sexual harassment, is it real in Asaba?
Yes, this is because there are a lot of desperate actresses who sleep their way to the top. Some of them would go as far as paying to get movie roles. Those who are talented are not given the needful opportunity to express themselves. That’s what we are experiencing here, in Asaba.
Are you saying that not having a mentor exposes these young actresses to all kinds of treatment in the industry?
It’s not really the issue of having a manager or a mentor because the idea of signing a contact is not yet popular in Asaba. But I consider it as the wisest thing any young actress should do, if she must make it in the industry. It will not only help such actress to be focused, and appreciated, rather it will also help her to stay away from all kinds of sexual advances by the producers. I didn’t experience any form of intimidation or harassment because I got signed to an agency that grooms actors.
If you didn’t sign the contact, what would you have done?
I wouldn’t have continued my career in acting based on the fact that the pressure was getting unbearable for me.
The pressure from producers and directors who want to sleep with these up and coming actresses. Sometimes, they compel them to pay before getting roles in their new productions.
How much do they pay per movie role?
It depends on the individual actress, I can’t put a figure to it now. But that’s the tradition in Asaba.
It means that sexual harassment is real
in the industry?
Yes, it’s Nreal. I have been sexually harassed by both producers and directors. Sometimes, when you refuse their sexual advances, they would start to antognise you. Some of them would start seeing you as a very proud person.
With all of these challenges, have you ever felt like abandoning acting?
Life itself is full of challenges. The challenges in this industry will not stop me from achieving my ambition.
How many films have you featured in so far?
I have featured in about ten movies. They include “Amaka, the Village Girl”, “The Book of Magic”, “The Spirit Girl”, “Mary, the Magic Girl” which is yet to hit the market as well as “The Village Boy” and “Kingdom of Blood”. I’m getting ready to shoot a new movie any moment from this month.
Which of these films challenged you most?
The village Boy, because I have to portray that local girl who emanated from one timid area. It was so challenging for me to portray that local girl in the film.
Being a rising actress, what is it that you cannot do in the name of acting?
I won’t have issues with my manager as well as my senior colleagues in the industry. Also, I wouldn’t play any role that will require to expose my body. I can kiss on set and play romantic scenes, but I won’t go nude or have sex while on set.