Stunning actress, Enado Odigie, within a short space of time gained prominence in Nollywood with scores of fascinating movies to her credit. Before delving into Nollywood, she had a spell in the corporate world but her flair for the make-believe industry knocked her off her comfort zone. Enado opens up to Chinedu Ibeabuchi about her journey to stardom and challenges
How did acting start for you and how far have you gone?
I have been acting since I was a child but in Nollywood, I would say between 2012 and 2014. I tested in 2012 and I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue. But in 2014, I finally made up my mind to continue. It has been an interesting journey with a lot of lessons learnt from different directors, producers and even co-actors. I have grown tremendously. I am happy with my growth and where I am. I have a lot of my work that my fans should watch out for.
Before delving into Nollywood, what were you doing?
I was a corporate person. I worked in organisations like Globacom and then also went into the event planning but I have a passion for acting and I decided to give acting a try.
How did you get your first role?
I spoke to a couple of friends that I wanted to act and take acting seriously. Then a friend told me there was an audition coming up and gave me the address. I went for the audition and was accidentally auditioned for the lead role. Someone gave his script to a wrong person and later I was told that one was taken. So I auditioned for supporting role but few days later I was called and told I have been chosen for the lead role. That was how my first movie came about.
Any regret dumping your corporate work for Nollywood so far?
Absolutely no regret. Every day, we want to be bigger but when I sit down and look at where I am, there is so much to be thankful for. There is no bad experience in life; however, there are a lot of lessons to be learnt. I have learnt a lot and I am very happy and looking to the future.
What role did you play in Joba by Biodun Stephen?
I played Ore Oladiyan in the movie. Ore is married to Lami Oladiyan. As a young couple, naturally they are expected to start having children but as time goes on, they are disappointed time and time again and at some point, Ore snaps. Joba is a story about faith. At this point, the faith of the couple is tested, but because we are human, Ore falls into depression. Her trust in God fails but she has a husband like Lami whose faith is unshaken, whose faith is tested on every side. And because Ore is downtrodden, that becomes his biggest trial. Joba is a movie that also touches on lot of social issues like rape and depression because all these affect the society today. I find out that while I am watching the movie, even though I am the one that play the character, I sympathise with Ore a lot. That is also how people who are depressed and dealing with such issues usually behave.
How were you able to immerse yourself to the character as a single lady?
It was difficult but that is my job as an actress. The character involves one who is sad at all time and if you’re not a sadist, sadness can be very tiring. It was emotionally, mentally and physically draining because it requires a lot of scenes back to back. But it also pushes me to know what my limits are. Warming myself to the character started from the moment I read the script and when I go on set, I had a director, Biodun Stephen, who will almost take you by the hand and journey with you to render a real life resemblance of the script.
What would you say is the greatest sacrifice you have made in becoming an actress?
This is one career you sacrifice for every day. A lot of time, you don’t have time to yourself, no weekend, no public holiday and most times, you work very late on set etc. Sometimes, on set production that are very tedious, you have injuries, accident, etc. Another bad side is that you don’t get to participate in the thing you would have loved to be involved in like friends and family weddings, events, family programmes, reunion etc. But I will not change it for anything.
What would you describe as your memorable moment so far?
There have been many. For any actress, having a movie that goes to the cinema, that is seen by an audience paying to see your movie is a high point for every actor and I have had a couple of movies going to the cinemas.
Are you getting support from you loved ones?
It has been a tremendous journey. I have a very supportive family. Of course, naturally they have a reservation but knowing full well they have raised you and done everything to invest me, I receive necessary support. And sometimes, when I make a mistake, my family is there to encourage me. I would just say I have a great support from my family and friends.
What is your passion?
I am passionate about acting. I love food, I love to cook, look good, love traveling and above all I like to laugh. Besides all these that I have mentioned, if I don’t have opportunity to laugh and have a good time, I don’t think I will be okay.
What is your fear in life?
It is getting to the end of life and realising I didn’t touch the things I was meant to achieve. So, I would say this fear is a driving force for ensuring I get to the finish line. I hope to keep growing, improving myself and ensuring that I become a bigger and a better person.
There have been a lot of stories about sexual harassment in the film industry, what is your experience?
I can tell you categorically that I have never been sexually harassed. Nobody has ever said to me, ‘come and do these in other to get this.’ Of course, people would always make passes at you as a woman. That’s interesting as I feel people want to know you by doing that. But, sexual advances as an exchange for a role, absolutely no.
How do your love ones feel seeing you kiss in movies?
Naturally, the first response would be discomfort from family and loved ones. However, when they also realise that, for instance, you have a gynecologist whose responsibility is to search the body part of a person not related to him, then they understand better. It is part of the job knowing well that it’s acting. However, we try as much as possible to create a balance based on the society that we live in.
Has this cost you relationship?
No, I am not going to lose my family because I am acting (laugh)
Are you married?
Describe your dream man
A man who has admirable character, who is understanding, who is reasonable, patient and, as a lady, a man who shows respect and is generous. A man who is God fearing. If he doesn’t have fear of God, he will not have respect for you.
Aside the movie world, what is your relationship with Blossom?
He is one of my oldest friends. I have known him since 2007. We grew up in Benin together and attended the same church and University of Benin. We are good friends and he is a great actor. It is always easy to act with him.
When you are not on set, how do you spend your time?
I spend a lot of time reading, planning and attending to personal things and also spend time with my family.
Who is your crush in the film industry?
A couple of years ago, I used to like Sean Connery and Chris Hemsworth.
Do you like your man fair or dark?
I like a fine man, either fair or dark I don’t care, preferably taller than me. .
I See Every Mistake as an Opportunity to Learn Something New
My Parents Wanted Me to Be an Engineer But I Ran Away
Onye Ubanatu is a producer, director, content creator and creative facilitator. He has worked in a diverse range of television shows, produced documentaries, local and international events, corporate videos, international news features, award winning short, feature films and many more. Onye talks to Tosin Clegg about how his journey started in Warri, climbing the ladder of greatness, his numerous works, being a creative entrepreneur and a lot more
’m a Multi-disciplinary Creative Entrepreneur
I am an inquisitive collaborator with a lot of content creation and strategic event production experience on some of the finest brands and projects that are part of our daily life. My trademarks and customer experience are wrapped in the following words, excellence, going the extra mile, passion, and the ability to communicate the value of every brand I work on. Some would describe me as the creative beast and seer with an Octopus skill, who is constantly searching for an opportunity to inspire many with his story and process.
From Nothing, I Can Build Anything
I grew up in the historic city called Warri and that was where I got my predestined creative and fiery vibe all wrapped in a cool dude’s appeal form. We all seem to have a common idea of what a Wafferian is and yes, you are looking at one who from nothing can build anything. I have always dreamt of creating things, I have always dreamt of inspiring people with content. As a child in primary school, the girls would gather around me just to hear the lyrics to the latest songs and in exchange, I get to have lunch packs. Other kids used to come to me to help them communicate their heart to their crush using sketches. I did all of these things naturally and the joy comes from how good and fulfilled it made people feel. In my primary school then called Ogbe Primary School, other kids used to think of me as slightly disturbed mentally because while others used their books for study purposes, me, I spend more time outside with my exercise book using it to chase birds in the sky. Little did I know I was already training myself to be a fantastic shooter (videographer) with a fantastic speed when following a fast moving object.
Classroom was tough for me. That’s because my way of learning was different from the others. My way of retaining things had to be more visually driven and also, I had a thing for questioning the norm. Like, why is 1 + 1 = 2, why not 2.0. Oh my teachers never liked that. So, literally I devised a way of learning things myself, and invested more in studying things around me using characterisation and visual illustrations. My parents wanted me to be an engineer but the first time I got into the petroleum training institute in Effurun, I knew it wasn’t my thing. I ran away and never looked back. I created and chased the dream and vision of what I saw in me tenaciously and here we are today.
I Served in Church for Years As a Camera Assistant
My mother introduced me to the TV department of Church of God Mission after she got tired of me destroying TV sets just to find out how people appeared on our TV set without our permission, or how I would spend more time alone drawing imaginary subjects on my school books. That singular act opened my eyes to the world of TV production basics and to think that it happened in church was a blessing. I served in church for years as a camera assistant and was fondly mentored by someone called Julius Idowu, who was like a big brother to me. From there I moved to Lagos to increase my learning capacity. I gained my first corporate working experience at AV.COM and PREX advertising where I started as a production assistant, and moved up the rank to a lead camera operator and production executive. I later became a freelancer after building capacity and serving for more than eight years.
Over the years I have been blessed to bring value to people as well as collaborate with great people on diverse range of television shows, produced documentaries, features and award winning short and feature films. Projects such as the 24hr Emergency medical series on maternal and child mortality (ABIYE); the first ever Nigeria Football Federation Awards (Night of Legends); the prestigious ‘Warri Again; BUA Group’s $350m 1.5 metric tonnes cement factory construction documentary, Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency’s intervention projects; Akwa Ibom State Government’s development stride; the Brazil 2014 World Cup; TedX Youth at Maitama; Video Biography of HRM Oba Yekini Elegushi (Kunsela II) and lots more.
I was given the opportunity to work as technical director and led a technical team of over 20 Nigeria creative personnel across the desert alongside Dr. Newton Jibunor on a project on climate change and desertification.
I Do What I Do from My Heart
Truthfully, I love what I do and there is always a sense of purpose to every working opportunity. I do what I do from my heart because I feel a sense of purpose and that in itself translates to every visual product created. From photography projects to video projects and to every event I get the chance to produce, there is a strong sense of purpose. I am very passionate and very detailed oriented, which forces me to look in the direction many will ignore or overlook.
Producing the First Ever NFF Awards
Producing the first ever Nigerian Football Federation awards is a privilege. I will forever be grateful for such an honour. I must say a big thank you to the forward thinking leading team at NFF led by Amaju Pinnick. I am very pro-Nigeria and her amazing attributes the world is yet to discover. Last year my team and I made a decision to focus on the overall goal which was to celebrate the legends. The 2nd edition was a good one. Every aspect that came with planning the event was a beautiful one including the sleepless nights, harmonising vendors, managing expectations and also factoring how to express the essence and beauty of what makes a night designed to celebrate the legends of Nigerian football a night to remember.
My goal and purpose is to constantly tell the Nigerian and African story and that’s from a place of strength to inspire greatness. The African narrative is an inspiring one and this is what is reflected in my visual products, projects and also my working process.
There is Nothing Compared to Finding Purpose in Life
I believe my work and my job is an opportunity to serve in creating value for humanity. Doing this gives me great joy. What I do is very critical to human existence. Without communicating, we can’t coexist, so being part of an eco-system that brings solution through the power content creation and event experience is blissful. Creating products that drive our narrative from a place of strength and beauty is something my team and I are committed to. We do have a couple of concerts lined up for the year and commissioned projects as well and these projects will be unveiled as we deliver.
I Was Once on Wheelchair and Clutches
I was involved in a work related accident two years ago where I fractured my bones in two places while trying to film a story. The process was tough for me to handle at that time because I had to go through the recovery process of using a wheelchair and clutches but it didn’t stop me, while going through recovery on wheelchair and clutches, I still was working. I even got on a plane to Katsina State to work. That process taught me the reason why we must daily train our minds to be resilient.
I Am a Very Positive Guy
I like to see every mistake as an opportunity to learn something new. So at the moment, I am quick to tell every upcoming creative entrepreneur to master the art of discipline on time, master the art of financial management on time. It is helping me a great deal right now but I wished I knew this way earlier in my teenage years.
Being Recognised as Hennessy Ambassador
I am relatively strange when it comes to identifying high points because every opportunity for me, I treat them with equal enthusiasm and expectations. But I will say being recognised as one of the top seven creative entrepreneurs in Africa by Hennessy international to become a Hennessy Never Stop Never Settle campaign Ambassador was a big one for me.