While pursuing a career as an actress, Wanda Monye works at helping the younger generation stand a better chance at achieving their dreams through pet projects, Demola Ojo writes
Wanda Monye comes across as one who is not easily deterred in pursuing a dream. She contested in a few pageants including Miss Nigeria. These ended with varying degrees of success. There was a challenge:
“I’ve always wanted to be a beauty queen. Growing up, I used to say I would be Miss World. I have friends who still call me Miss World. But as I began to grow, I realized I wasn’t tall enough and I sort of dropped the aspiration.”
But she took a chance: “When I got into school, there was a student contest for Miss Sotech and I entered. I was 2nd runner up and that was it. Since then it has been one pageant to another.”
Now her resume reads; Face of Ika Tourism 2015/2016; Miss Ambassador for Peace Advocate Nigeria 2016/2017; Most Beautiful Girl Nollywood 2018.
She is also fulfilling another childhood dream: “When I was younger, the only things I watched were movies and models cat walking and I wanted to be on TV for doing those things. But after I realized I wasn’t tall enough for modeling, I was left with only one option; I became a collector. I collected every phone number I saw on every movie I watched and called them up saying I wanted to work with them. Of course, they didn’t take me seriously.”
Then once again, she took advantage of an opportunity: “..until one day I was in Lagos to see a friend. She said she wanted to go see a friend on location and I went with her and they needed an extra and gave me the role and that was my first movie,” she recounts. The 2012 movie was titled 100 Percent Secret.
From there, she has acted in other movies: Secondary School Girls; Please Marry Me; Shadow in the Dark; Queen of Queens and more.
The Benin Film Academy graduate currently wears the crown for Most Beautiful Girl Nollywood 2018.
“I just featured in Local League, produced by Michael Osikpan and directed by Amen Imasuen,” she says.
“At the moment, I have two scripts I’m working on; Bobby’s Ransom and Wide Awake.”
Besides her acting career, Monye is founder of Candle Lighters Foundation, a non-governmental non-profit organization dedicated to youths aspire to their dreams.
“We are passionate about the development and empowerment of youths, especially girls, and other charity work that reaches out to the less privileged in the society,” she says of the foundation.
Some of the projects include helping internally displaced persons in Edo state, where she went with a team of medical personnel and assisted children in the IDP camp.
She has also earned plaudits from Governor Okowa of Delta for a successful peace education campaign in the state.
However, Monye has her eyes set on new projects. “I’m set to kick start my pet project as Most Beautiful Girl Nollywood. It’s a talent hunt for the youths. I’m going to be auditioning upcoming actors and make a movie after.”
However, she needs support to see the plan through. “I need sponsors and investors. I already have a crew of professionals working with me, we are all experienced and competent, i just need the money to finish implementation.”
A graduate of Edo State School of Health Technology, Monye believes studying environmental health has helped her to adapt to different roles.
“While I was in school, we did practicals in different locations; meeting, adapting and learning from different people and environments, and I believe it prepared me in some ways, because I can easily adapt to the different locations and crews when I’m on set.”
Being able to adapt is helping her advocacy and empowerment role even at what you might consider a young age.
In her mid-twenties, he revels in darting between shooting scenes at different locations and youth advocacy.
There’s a particularly emphasis on young girls in rural communities. Some of the Candle Light Foundation’s objectives include, “discouraging indulgence in activities that could lead to unwanted pregnancy, abortion and early motherhood”.
There’s also a specific objective to inspire youths “to dream, be purposeful and set specific goals”. These are tenets that have helped Monye thus far.