By Ayo Onikoyi
Budding Nollywood movie star, Stephanie Zibili turned only 22 last month but already has made a name for herself in the tight space of the Nigerian movie industry. She is currently a staple for movie lovers on Africa Magic starring in two series; Tinsel and Riona.
She is also a constant feature on ROKTV, IrokoTV and Africa Magic as her films are being aired from time to time. She speaks with Potpourri on her journey, her triumphs, her hurts and opens the window into her private world.
Career as an actor
I’m a lover of the arts. Everything about art fascinates me. To me, life is art. Growing up I loved watching classical films, cartoons and all. When watching I wished I could be doing what they were doing. I always wished I was the one doing the acting or singing. So for me, acting has always been a passion, something I had always wanted to do. I wouldn’t trade anything for being an actor. Getting to play certain roles and getting to bring some characters to life or getting to touch people in different ways is everything and more to me. Being an actor is the best career there is. Of course, I have other businesses I do but my passion lies in acting. Acting is what I love and I get paid doing what I love. It’s amazing.
Like every other work, one has to make sacrifices. Acting is not an easy job; you have to sacrifice your sleep, your time, and sometimes, you don’t even get personal time for yourself or family. A lot of late nights and early mornings sacrifices. It involves your whole mind, creativity and everything. There are a lot of silent and loud sacrifices everyone can see, depending on the kind of character or shooting you are doing as an actor.
I have a lot of unforgettable memories. When I started going for auditions, early 2018, I remember when I went for this shoot, at that point I just wanted to act regardless of any role I was given. So, I went for this shoot and after the shooting the PM, I actually went for the shooting a day before, a friend of mine recommended me for it, so the PM just said bring this, bring that, this is what we are doing, we would not pay you for transport. I said no worries.
I was living in Satellite at that time and the location was at Ajah on the Island. It was quite a distance. I went on the set very early and when I was done I went to the PM for my fee, he said he had told me there was no money. I said I thought he was joking. I explained the distance I had to come from and he gave me one thousand naira. I told him one thousand naira was not enough even for my transport and he gave me another one thousand, making two thousand. I took a bus from Ajah to Mile 2 for 500 hundred naira and paid another 500 naira from the remaining one thousand five hundred naira, from Mile 2 to Alakija and the remaining money fell out of the bus. God, at that point I just started acting.
My mum at the time wasn’t in support of my acting because I was quite young. She was quite overprotective of me. So, she didn’t know of my going to any audition, so she didn’t give me any transport. God saved me that I had a small change that took me home. When I got home I cried and I told my mum about it. She started shouting at me that she never asked me to go for any audition. I have other unforgettable memories but if I continue I won’t finish today. Most were when I was starting out. All the jobs I was not paid back then, up till today, I have not seen any of them. The journey has been amazing so far. It hasn’t been a smooth one but it has been amazing. When I think about them now I laugh.
Limitations as an actor
As an actor, I don’t think I have a character I dread because every character I have to play has its qualities. Every story is special and different. So, there is no specific character I hate or I especially love. I really love to try challenging roles. I would really love to explore more as an actor, so far the story is good and I love the story and it’s a good production, I’m in for it. I just love to play characters that touch people and they can relate to it and people see it and get inspired.
Attraction to opposite sex
I will say appearance. His appearance, his carriage, cleanliness, . Appearance is the first thing we see. When we have a conversation, his mindset, how he thinks. The first thing first is the physical attributes, how he’s dressed and how he smells matters too. Then we will go ahead to having a conversation where I will get to know his mindset and how he thinks.
Love or money
I’m a sucker for love. I love love and I love money. Yes, love, love conquers all. But money is very important as well. I think for obvious reasons, love and money.
What turns me off is unnecessary drama. I really hate drama or negative controversy. I try my best to run away from all that. I try not to involve myself in anything negative. Sometimes it might seem inevitable but we can do our best to walk away from such dramas.