Nollywood actress, Princess Lisa Omorodion is the CEO of Platinum Studios, a film production company. She is also on the board of Hensmor Oil and Gas Company, founded by her father. This film maker, just 30, is never scared to express her opinion on any issue. That was exactly what she did in this chat with Azuka Ogujiuba. Princess Lisa shares her opinion on feminism, working at the family company, her elder brother’s death, finding true love, challenges as a film maker, liposuction, her family’s charity organisation and much more
I am Princess Lisa Omorodion
Iam Princess Lisa Omorodion, the fifth child of Prince Dr. H.H Omorodion, the Odunaoba of Benin kingdom, and Barrister Chief Philomena Omorodion. I was born in London on the 27th of April 1990. I am an actress, film maker. I am vivacious, determined, and very resilient. I am living my best life and everyday is joy to experience.
Growing up in the Omorodion family
We are close knit family, growing up in that environment was amazing. I have five siblings, Chief Joy Gbinije, late Prince Terry Omorodion, Princess Helen Igbeneki, Princess Trish Okereke and the youngest, Prince Harry Junior Omorodion. We had a very loving childhood. We did everything together and gave our parents grey hairs occasionally.
Background and career
I attended Corona Primary School where I joined the drama club, which is where my passion for the arts was ignited. I went on to Command Children School and Atlantic Hall School, both in Lagos for my secondary school education. I was also in the drama club in both schools. I studied Economics at the University of Lagos and started working for the family company upon graduation. I founded Platinum Studios at that time and have produced and starred in movies and television productions like Schemes, Karma is Bee, Skinny Girl in transit and so much more.
Juggling oil and gas with film making
I love wearing both hats. In my role as an Executive Director at my family oil and gas industry, I oversee operations, depot logistics, staff performance and revenue. I also develop and direct organisational culture and strategy. My journey as a film maker has not been a walk in the park. It has been of determination, perseverance and sheer hard work. Many people doubt my talent, thinking I would balk at the challenges of the movie industry. I am so happy and fulfilled to prove people wrong. This is my passion and I’m just getting started. Definitely, being in the limelight is like a two-edge sword. It is a blessing for people to see and love your work, it is also hard when your moves are scrutinised and your actions are misconstrued.
Learning the nitty gritty of the family business was very important to my parents. They made me to understand the value of serving and understanding from ground up, before leading others. I worked as a receptionist, later as his personal assistant, and now a director. My father always says ‘leadership is about service’ and stresses the importance of a good name. I grew up with strong family and moral values, and it has shaped me into the woman I am today.
Yes, I am a feminist
Feminism is about equality of genders, advocating for equal social, economic, political, and cultural rights and opportunities for both sexes. It is not about women bashing men or vice versa. It is about creating a world where women and men can equally live and thrive and be the best. Yes, I am a feminist and I want that noted.
Liposuction and my plus size
It’s a free world and people are allowed to make their choices. I do not feel pressured to undergo any surgery because of my size. I love being a voluptuous plus size woman. Being plus size is not shameful. I embrace my curves and stay healthy.
My favourites in Nollywood
I look forward to working with two of my favourites – Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Jolade-Ekeinde.
Losing late Prince Terry Omorodion
My brother’s death is still a shock to my family. I have not spoken about it publicly because it’s still tough. He was an amazing son to our parents, loving brother to his siblings and loving husband to his wife and an affectionate father. He was the strongest person I knew and losing him was a big blow to my family, but God knows best. We miss him daily and our parents are still heartbroken about his demise. We take it and remember the moment and memories. It is still so difficult trying to live without him. Our family is a close-knit one. We are reminded of his absence everyday. It is so heartbreaking to lose a loved one. He is always in our heart and thoughts. Continue to rest in peace brother. My elder sister, Chief Joy Gbinije is now the Managing Director of the family business.
Nollywood is improving and evolving
Nollywood is improving and evolving. The story lines and technical quality are getting better daily with more attention to details and strategic collaborations. There’s a bit more funding now. It’s definitely looking better as a business. However, there are many challenges in Nollywood, and a peculiar one is distribution. It’s a Herculean task to distribute movies the way it should be done and we need to create more structure and channels of distribution so as to maximise profit and create more visibility for our stories and experiences.
Being born with a silver spoon
Everyone was born with a spoon in their mouth. Does it really matter what type? All I can say is that I am blessed and I thank God for his grace. My background is that of a loving and hardworking family. Family and moral values were ingrained in us. My parent taught us to love God and seek his face, be hardworking, respectful and make use of opportunities around us. These have shaped how I relate to both business and personal aspects of my life.
Best gift as a child
The best gift I received as a child was my first computer; my parents made good on their promise and I was ecstatic. I can never forget the feeling.
My biggest mistake was producing my first film, ‘First Cut’, in 2013 without having practical experience in production. It was very challenging and emotional for me. The movie focused on the very sensitive issue of rape and domestic violence and the psychological effect on victims. Though, producing the film was difficult, I was very happy at the response of the audience to such a strong message and the fact that people going through those situations know that they are not alone and could seek help. Producing the movie taught me that movie making was about patience, the grace of God and having a great team.
Reaction to my acting journey
I had always wanted to be an actor. On the 27th of February 2013, I told my family that I wanted to be a film maker. They were surprised and not pleased at all. They did not understand why I wanted to chase my dream into another industry and they couldn’t wrap their heads around me wanting to leave a thriving family business to the uncertainty of showbizness. I assured them that I would be fine and make something out of it. They were skeptical at the beginning and also apprehensive because of the way actresses were perceived in Nigeria. They supported me nonetheless, and are proud of my achievements. It is as much theirs as it is mine.
I want to live a happy, joyful life
True love is hard to find nowadays. Everything’s so superficial now and people are more interested in money and good looks. The social media has brought out our narcissistic side and there is no value placed on character, morals and manners. I am more interested in the way a man treats me than the outward trappings, money and good looks. These will come and go but character will stay long after those two things have gone. I want to live a happy and joyful life.
I do not trust easily
Life has taught me that people have their own agenda for being your friend or business partner. I tend to question people’s intention towards me and do not trust easily. You have to earn my trust and loyalty.
Having my film studios (Hollywood standard) would be a dream come true. I am working toward it and hope it will manifest in the nearest future.
I have huge shoes to fill
Failure is a great fear of mine, but the greatest fear would be not trying at all and staying defeated. I have huge shoes to fill and I do not want to disappoint my family or myself.
My personal fashion statement
Style to me is about comfort, and what suits my body type. I am not into trends. I love classic pieces. Elegance, they say, never goes out of style.
Is there sex exploitation in Nollywood?
I have never experienced such. You hear stories but I thank God I was never a victim of that. I came into Nollywood on my terms. My strategy was to produce my own movies and create roles for myself and wanted to be taken serious as a flim maker, and also to tell the world I am here for the long haul. It paid off and the flood gates opened. I am surprised at how far I have come.
Influence of my family’s wealth
My family is loving, supportive and we are blessed. It is very frustrating when people attribute my family wealth and background to my achievements in Nollywood. Yes, my background has opened doors for me as with everyone from affluence but I have walked through the doors and opened many doors and windows. I have worked tirelessly on my craft, honed my skills, paid my dues, still paying and learning on the journey. I am a work in progress and doing so on my own terms.
The ever beautiful Monalisa Chinda is my favourite in Nigeria. She has achieved a lot, yet remained grounded, amiable and amazing. Internationally, I would say Meryl Streep for her acting prowess, dedication to her crafts, longevity and relevance. I hope my career can be like that.
I would never act a nude role. I was not raised like that. No amount of money will be enough.
My nickname is Skelembe, coined by my family members who made a song for me that I would naively dance to when I was young and ironically very skinny. My friends also nick-named me Lisa Black, because I love to wear black. Black is my favourite colour and it is beautiful; looks great against the colour of my skin.
Advice to youth
Borrowing a quote from lupita Nyongo, “Your dreams are valid, no matter how big they seem. Do not ever stop believing in yourself.”