Iriagbonse Osa is a blend of fun and intelligence. She is a musician, poet, screenwriter, baker, actress and activist. Osa dreams big and aspires high in the media and entertainment space. She speaks with Adedayo Adejobi on her “The Queen Warrior” project, her worst date, obsession for Denzel Washington, and how her debut single titled “Brand New”, explains the story of her life
What was it like growing up?
I was born and brought up in Benin City. I attended Greater Tomorrow Nursery and Primary School and Sacred Heart Girls Model Secondary School, Ubiaja, Edo state and then the University of Benin. I have a Diploma in Food and Brewing Science and then a B.Sc, Environmental Science. Growing up was interesting. It was a case of ‘a village taking care of a child’. I grew up in an extended family, with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and some very distant relatives.
Tell us one memorable experience you hold on to dearly?
The fact that I had so many cousins which helped form a strong family bond is one experience that I find nostalgic.
What values shaped you?
The importance of dignity and not pride.
How did you get into the creative arts?
I’ve always been interested in anything that puts my mind to work. I like to be imaginative and coin things out of those mental pictures. I started by scribbling as a child and I remember when I was in primary four; I wrote a short book, which never saw the light of the day. I was a child, and I guess nobody took interest in it or took it seriously. But I was already interested in creating stories and I also sang in the church as a child doing special numbers and ‘Kingdom dance’. After university, I decided to explore the world of creative arts. I started off as a writer with an online magazine and then I started expressing my distaste for abuse against anyone via writing before I delved into creating stories -screen writing. I read anything and every thing, I’d see a movie and dig out the script if it’s online and read. Then I became the choir co-coordinator in my church and my interest just continued to grow.
Was that what you wanted to do as a child?
Well, I wanted to be so many things as a child. I wanted to be a doctor and then a musician .When I became a teenager, I went on to study science courses and here I am back to creative arts.
You have a passion for advocating against abuse. What spurred that passion?
Looking all around us, we hear about events of domestic violence, even before the internet became what it is now. We always saw them happen around but no one was willing to talk about it and that’s where my interest grew from.
I’ve watched myself evolve as a person while advocating. I’ve been focusing on advocacy, using creative arts (storytelling, poetry and soon film making), and so the milestone for me would be a clear definition of how I intend to go about it, hence, the creation of something called ‘Queen Warriors’ “…We’d advocate and also reach out creatively. Wait for it.
Why do you think there’s such an upsurge in domestic violence?
Many factors are responsible for this. I’d like to think some people don’t know how to express themselves properly and some others don’t know how to receive what’s been expressed. Uncontrolled anger can lead to domestic violence and there’s always a root cause.
If there’s a penalty for the offender, as there are for criminals, especially as it concerns damage to the victim that can help curb domestic violence to a large extent.
Is love enough when considering a spouse?
I’d like to think love isn’t enough! Love is a decision. There are several factors that can make love thrive or the lack of it makes love die. I believe a person’s value and belief system and friendship should also be put into consideration
What were your best and worst subjects in school?
In secondary school, I disliked mathematics so much because for whatever reason, I could never put the formulas together and that was a problem because my best grade ever was a C, while, biology was my best subject; it fascinated me. In university, I disliked calculus and geophysics but loved biochemistry and some others.
What do you do in your spare time?
I enjoy my private time by seeing movies, listening to music and writing. I can do that all day. I also enjoy outdoor activities by hanging out with friends and I love nature.
What was the weirdest thing a fan has done to you?
There’s this guy I met, after saying nice things, he said ‘I like your boobs.’ I was taken aback, unsure how to respond/react and quietly walked away. I didn’t want to push it.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Are you single?
No, I’m not.
How would someone get your attention?
I’m ‘sapiosexual’. I like a good blend of intelligence and fun. That gets my attention anytime.
What’s your favourite movie?
I have so many favourite movies because I love movies but I’d say “Man On Fire” because it never gets old to me.
What’s your biggest fear?
I rarely have fears but what I’m most uncomfortable with has to be heights but I think the canopy walk at the conservation centre would be a good way to deal with that. I should do that very soon.
What has been your best and worst date?
Let me start with my worst date. Someone once hooked me up with this guy and we agreed to have lunch at Protea Hotel. I took a portion I knew would satisfy me and we got talking. When I was done eating, he said, I should have some more and I politely said I was full but he wasn’t having it. He insisted I ate more because he had paid for it and I wasn’t supposed to let his money go to waste. I sat there looking at him till he gave up and that was the last time I saw him.
My best date has to be with this very nice guy who just let things flow naturally, we had fun and called it a day.
Would you date a fan?
Yes I would!
What’s your annoying habit?
Ahh! My most annoying habit! Well I know I’ve been told that I’m good at zoning out of a conversation by being quiet. So I think if my attention isn’t caught in the first five minutes, it doesn’t captivate me and I can actually become quiet and begin to work out other things in my head.
What’s your favourite holiday?
I like going on trips with my sister because we get to act like two mouthy clowns and laugh at almost everything. Every holiday with her is my favourite yet.
Who is your inspiration?
Different people inspire me in different areas of things I’m interested in. When it comes to music, Pink and Asa inspire me greatly. Then writing, Chimamanda Adichie and several others and then film-making, I’m inspired by Kemi Adetiba
If you were of the opposite sex, what would your name have been?
Denzel maybe, I would have definitely adopted that name. I like him that much and it’s not a common name in this part.
What other languages do you speak?
I’m a Benin girl, so the Benin Language and I understand a little bit of French. I’m a French school drop-out, so it’s nothing serious.
What sports do you enjoy doing?
I love all track and field sports. It may interest you to know that I was once an athlete. I always took part in the 100m races as a sprinter of course. I had a knee injury in 2000 and couldn’t do anything with that anymore.
What would be a good theme song for your life?
It’s got to be my debut single titled “Brand New”, it explains how I feel.
What is your favourite song?
I have several of them. I love music so I listen to songs all the time. Too many favourites!
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be up to?
I probably would have been doing one sporting activity somewhere.
What is the picture of your dream man?
Now, my dream man would be someone who is purpose -driven and someone who would also see that my purpose in life is fulfilled. Physical looks are okay but there’s a whole lot more to life now than things that can change.
When are the wedding bells ringing?
Hmm. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.