Ejiro Okurame has definitely carved a place for herself as a force to reckon with in Nollywood. In this interview with CHRISTIAN AGADIBE, she opens up on her career, lesbianism experience and her dreams among other issues. Excerpts:
What’s the secret to your success?
It’s been challenging but I give the glory to God because He has been faithful. It’s not been easy trying to climb the ladder of success. You encounter all kinds of challenges. A lot of people will love you and a lot would hate you. But so far I give Glory to God; I thank God for being there. He has always been my strength. I always run to Him when I have challenges.
What’s been your most challenging role?
All the movies I have done are very challenging. Basically, I could say that movies like Warri Girl and Tough Wife were the most challenging.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a very big project, which I don’t want to talk about just yet. That’s why I have refused to grant interviews for the past two years. I am working on something very serious; it should be ready by the end of the year.
Outside of acting, who is Ejiro?
Ejiro is just a normal girl from Delta State. I am the last from a family of seven. My parents are in Lagos.
How do you unwind?
I derive a lot of joy from sleeping at home when I am not working. It is not that I don’t club or go to events but I try to be selective. My kind of work involves a lot and is very challenging. Sometimes when I am not working I cook; I love food a lot.
How was your growing up like?
Growing up was normal. I had a very healthy relationship with my siblings. When we were in primary school, we always competed against each other on who would make first or second, though my elder sister was a class ahead of me. My father encouraged us and helped to direct us on what to do and what not to do. He used the Bible to teach us about life.
Were you born with a silver spoon?
I am an average child; it’s a combination of both worlds. I am from a comfortable home; we are not too rich and not poor.
Did your parents support you when you opted for acting?
Funny enough they didn’t know I was coming into the industry and I did not study Theater Arts. All I have is a Diploma in Public Relations from Ogun State University and a BSC in Theology from Lagos State University. I graduated in 2000. When I finished, I started a little business around my house. From there, I met a friend and the rest is history. I didn’t tell my parents until they started seeing me in movies and when they did, they encouraged me; they were happy with me. Nobody tried to discourage me; even neighbours were supportive.
What was your experience the first time you faced the camera?
I give kudos to Rita Dominic because she was there for me. I never knew her but the first time I got on set, I was missing my lines and the director wanted to throw me out, I was anxious and nervous. The set was intimidating. We had Rita Dominic, Nobert Young and a lot of big stars. Little wonder I was missing my lines. An actress got pissed off because of my delivery but Rita didn’t take it like that. She was actually showing me so much love and kindness. Till tomorrow, I respect her for that so I try to encourage the younger ones around me any way I could.
What was your motivation in spite of those challenges?
What motivated me was passion because when I was in the university studying Public Relations, I really wanted to go into Mass Communication but there was no opportunity for me.
What’s your assessment of Nollywood?
It has created jobs and provided food for many families. Nollywood has taking a lot of people to many places and opened a lot of doors. It has built many career men and women. Although, we still have some challenges here and there but we are doing our best.
Were you sexually harassed as an upcoming actress?
I didn’t set myself up to be sexually harassed. However, the issue of sexual harassment is in every organization not just Nollywood. It happens everywhere.
What’s the craziest thing a fan did to you?
I think it’s when I acted a movie called, My Love & Sorrow in which I was cheating on my husband. A while later, I was shooting a movie at Abule Ado in Lagos, I had scarcely parked my car when I saw children gathered around me shouting, ‘why did you kill your husband and why did you cheat on him?’ Before I knew it, they were throwing stones at me! I was really embarrassed!
Aside that, some fans would want to call you in the night maybe around 11pm when you are with your partner and it could cause confusion. But thank God I have someone who is very understanding.
So, you are in a relationship now?
Yes, I am seeing my boyfriend.
What attracted you to him?
His composure and understanding makes him different. Generally, he is that kind of a man that understands the nature of my work. If I want to go anywhere, all he needs is for me to tell him where I am going to work.
You are not getting younger. When is he taking you down the aisle?
You will get the invite soon; I am old enough to get married and have children.
What kept you long from getting married?
What kept me long was that I had not found the right man.
Was it in Nollywood that you lost your virginity?
(Laughter) No comment bros, no comment. When did you lose your own?
What is your view about lesbianism in the industry?
I think it is demonic. I won’t say much about it because a lot of people are involved. The industry needs divine intervention so God can erase such people from the industry. It has eaten deep and it is affecting us. That’s why we need to seek the presence of God. Lesbianism is a sign of the end of time.
Have you been a victim before?
No, not really. I think it is when you give room for these things that they occur. I was in Abuja for a particular event when a lady asked me to sit on her laps. I was like ‘what, sit on your laps! For what?’ I left and got my own chair.
In the next five years, where would we see Ejiro?
In the next five years, I should be in my husband’s house with my kids. I should have my own production outfit too.
What is your regret so far?
I could say that my regret is that I didn’t start early in the industry. If I had started early when Nollywood was established, I would have achieved a lot more and impacted a lot more on the younger generation.
What’s your advice for youths looking up to you?
A lot of people have come to me asking for advice on how to join Nollywood and I tell them, ‘don’t because the industry is terrible now.’ I won’t advise anybody to come in right now. But if you insist, you should be prepared to train. It is sad that they take advantage of all these young girls including extorting money from them, sleeping with them and even molesting them. It is terrible so I won’t advise anyone to come in now.
Source: Sun Newspapers