Lilian Afegbai: Our Society Puts So Much Pressure on Women; Marriage is Not for Everyone

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Resilient, charming, smart, goal-getter and hardworking are just few out many words to describe Lilian Afegbai. This actress, model and entrepreneur cum movie producer, has become a force to reckon with as far as Nollywood is concerned. Within five years, the 2014 Big Brother Africa contestant, produced her first film, “Bound”, which stars the likes of Rita Dominic and Eyinna Nwigwe among others, acted in top movies such as “Road to Yesterday, The Wedding, TV Series Tinsel and loads more. This prolific actress is no doubt one face that keeps audience glued to their screen as with her versatility and creativity. Lilian talks to Azuka Ogujiuba about her future and ongoing projects, challenges and lots more

How long have you been acting?

My romance with the world of make believe started about four years ago, when I came out from the big brother Africa house. Call me a drama queen, but I have always loved to be the cynosure of attention, so my entrance into acting was as a child in the school, church, at home and even in front of my mirror.

What was the experience like in your first movie appearance?

The experience was surreal. It was dream come true considering that it was my first year in the university. I acted alongside Jim Iyke.

Have you ever participated in any stage play before?

Stage play was my first love and it was a training ground for my entrance into Nollywood.

How different is it acting in a movie?

With film, you can have a hundred take till you get the perfect shot but with stage, there is no room for take two. With stage, you also see your audience’ reaction, the feedback is immediate.

What has been your biggest achievement as an actress?

My greatest achievement is transiting from being an actor to becoming a producer. Debuting my first movie “Bound” was a dream come true.

What is the hardest part of being a celebrity?

The hardest part of being a celebrity is the fact that no matter how hard I try to keep my private life private, people always want to know and most times they misconstrue everything you put out there especially on the social media.

How do you deal with negative comments?

Shake it off, stomp on it and rise higher. Most importantly stay on winning.

What kind of roles do you prefer?

As an actor, you should be versatile and dynamic. It’s intriguing for me to take on different characters and persona. That’s why I don’t put myself in a box or allow myself to be type cast.

Are you currently working on any project?

I’m like a moving train that cannot be stopped but with time, the project will unfold. Watch this space.

If you had the opportunity to spend a night with a male celebrity, who would that be and why?

I will choose the constantly reinventing Richard Mofe Damijo because I consider him to be an icon in this industry and I will have a lot to learn from him.

What advice do you have for aspiring actors?

Put God first in all you do. Be true to yourself, be passionate about your craft, pursue excellence, be professional and stay humble.

There was a time you talked about marriage and openly said marriage was not for everyone, what were you trying to insinuate?

People get married for the wrong reasons these days, it’s better to marry late and marry right. There’s no age range for marriage. The society puts so much pressure on women that they now feel once you clock 30, it’s hard. The truth is, as much as we all want a family; I still think marriage is not for everyone.

At the moment, a lot of actresses are all going under the Surgeon’s knife, do you have plans to do same?

My opinion about surgery is that everyone has the right to do what they want with their body. The fact that I don’t pray for it, doesn’t make it wrong. I considered it but I later didn’t see the need for it. I feel like God didn’t make a mistake with me. Maybe when I finish giving birth or something, I may consider it. You know the saying, ‘never say never’.

The bleaching of skin has become paramount to some ladies and it has gone to another level. What do you think about this trend?

I tried bleaching when I was much younger and I had to stop because it’s not good for the skin. It had to do with youthful exuberance and people then making you feel if you are dark skinned you can’t make it, that’s a big lie. Most of the very successful women in the industry are dark skinned. I believe we should love our bodies the way God created us and be proud of our complexion.

Would you ever act a nude role if the opportunity arises?

It depends on what the message is about, but for me, it’s important to put into consideration the present and the future.

Who is your favourite actor in Nigeria and why?

There are so many actors I respect for their hard work and talent.

Tell us about your last movie project, the challenges, the premiere and the nomination for AMVCA?

It was my first, so I got a lot of discouragement from people making me feel I couldn’t do it. So I had to prove myself, thanks to Dr. Eloka. It wasn’t easy, because it was my first time producing; the first time in Enugu and also a language film. I had a great team working for me and I was ready to see it through. So at that point, all the challenges I faced have shaped me now to do better. So let’s focus.

What are the qualities you admire in a man? Are you dating right now and when do you think you will walk down the aisle?

Qualities in a man, Firstly, he must be God-fearing, love his family, truthful to himself first before me, hardworking, very supportive of my passion and drive.

Tell us Nigerian actresses that have influenced you in your career and why?

Joke silva, Funke Akindele, Omoni Oboli , Kate Henshaw, Kehinde Bankole, the list is endless.

You worked with Rita Dominic on your movie project, how was the experience like especially working with one of the biggest actresses in Nigeria?

It was quite an experience. We all know the challenges of movie production in the country, but after the whole stress, everything came out fine.