Fast-rising actress and former Miss Big World, Abuja, Rosabelle Iyafokhai Jeanne who left the modeling industry to explore the make-believe world is rapidly becoming a force to reckon with in Nollywood. In this interview, the Auchi-born, Ambrose Ali University English and Literary Studies graduate talks on her journey in Nollywood, relationships and reason for dumping her modeling career.
BY ADETUTU ADESOJI
You started off as a beauty queen, what prompted you to go into acting?
I have always loved to be in the spotlight and being a beauty queen made me realize I wanted something bigger, so, I opted for Nollywood.
Would you be going back into modeling?
No, I won’t be going back to modeling. When we were growing up, we had so many ambitions and things we were passionate about but with time we tend to prioritized what we really want, it’s the same for me and acting is what I love and I’m passionate about, so, I will stick with it.
Can you sum up your experience in the Nollywood industry?
I will say it has not been rosy, Nollywood is just like life, it is full of ups and downs, filled with pains and joy. Generally, it’s an adventure, the farther you go the more you unravel different things.
The industry seems saturated as it is, how do you plan to keep afloat?
I believe that when you have a goal and know what you are doing, and have a purpose you will go about fulfilling your purpose and leave the rest to God and the people. The sky is wide enough for so many stars to shine and we are all unique in ours own ways. The good thing is that there is space for everyone and I just have to keep doing my thing and hope that God does the rest.
What do you think are the pressing challenges facing the Nollywood industry?
First, I think Nollywood will do well with more investors in the industry, I think that is the basic thing. We also need lots of support from our people because if you look at it we are supported more outside the country than within the country.
How do you think these challenges can be surmounted?
We need people to pay more attention to us as an industry, not just the Nollywood industry now but the entertainment industry as a whole. We are doing so much by putting our country on the map and people are relating more with us. I think with this other things can follow.
As an actress, what are the challenges you face?
Time is my greatest challenge as an actress; I don’t have enough time for myself. It is not very easy because as an actress you have to travel from time to time and your personal life tends to be on a halt, when I say personal life I mean business, family and many other things. Balancing all these could be very challenging, so, time is a challenge for every actor.
What is the most challenging role you have played?
That would be playing the role of a blind girl, it wasn’t very easy because I was seeing everyone and yet acting like I couldn’t, I think that is quite challenging. Pretending I couldn’t see was really funny, it meant blocking my mind, although I could see physically but my mind was blocked so it was like I couldn’t see.
What did you do to get into this character?
When I read the script it was beautiful and interesting, while preparing for the role I had to put on the character of Chisom (the blind girl), and said to myself, what will a blind girl do? At first I thought it was going to be easy but when I started filming I realized it wasn’t easy at all. I had to go the extra mile, even in my hotel room I would stand before the mirror and block my image in my mind and imagine that I’m not there, this helped me a lot. Also on set, whenever my co stars stood in front of me I gradually dull out their images from my mind and imagine a black space.
What would you attribute your success in the industry to?
I would attribute my success to God because he gave me this talent that I’m harnessing. I would also say my family, they have been very supportive of me, they understand what I want and they encourage me in every way that they can. Third, I would say a director of mine, Obinna Okeije, he has been very good to me and he supports me a lot, he is more like a father to me in the industry.
Where is the most interesting location you have visited?
The location at the top of my list right now is Zanzibar. It is a beautiful and exciting place to visit. While I was there it felt like I was in paradise, it was a fulfilling experience for me.
Who is your ideal man?
I know most women will say tall, dark and all of that but I will say my ideal man is someone who really loves God and the things of God, every other thing can follow.
Have you met him yet?
Well, I’m still waiting on God to send him my way.
Can you date someone in the entertainment industry?
That is a very tough question, if God says I should date someone within the entertainment industry then so be it. Although dating someone in the industry could be difficult because both of you are in the spotlight and everybody gets to know about your relationship. I’m a low-key kind of person, I really do not like my relationship to be out in the public eye. I think that is why I’ve stayed away from entertainment industry romance, it is scary but then if I find someone interesting that wants something with me, I could give it a trial.
Are you ready for marriage?
As a woman, I think we are always ready to get married. There is a certain age we get to and we want to get married. I’m ready to get married if I find someone that shares the same views and goals with me.
Some people think it is wrong to flaunt one’s relationship on social media, what is your take on this?
They say different strokes for different folks, it works for some people. I feel everyone should do whatever works for them and makes them happy, if you think flaunting your relationship on social media is cool then so be it and if you don’t want to then that is fine too.