Larissa Tejiri: Why I Sacrificed My Relationship for Career
From self-doubt to bubbling Nollywood actress, Larissa Tejiri Onomuaborigho has established a presence in Nollywood. Beyond enthralling her fans on screen, Larissa is widely travelled, and from her travelling lenses, she entertains her audience with scenic beauty worldwide. In this interview with Chinedu Ibeabuchi, she opens on her craft and love for travelling
A career in Acting. Why?
I love the idea of bringing to life a completely different personality of oneself and making it believable. I love the act of filmmaking and the versatility of being an actor. Cliché, but I think I have so much passion for art.
Can you share some of the movies you have featured in?
Life happened, Amanda’s clock, private matters, May 27th, Girls Hustle, When Love Comes Calling, Seducing Mr Perfect, etc.
Nollywood is fast growing, not just in quantity of production, but quality. What gaps do you think we still need to fill to complete more favourably globally?
As you know, we’re doing so well already. Still, I would suggest originality in our craft, culture, and language and a well-regulated befitting payment plan for actors and crew members. Lastly, we should learn to appreciate talent over popular demand by embracing new talents. It gives room for untapped talent to showcase themselves.
What yardstick do you use to judge a good movie?
The story, interpretation of the character and good post-production work (imaging/sound) Stories with educative moral lessons.
Can we get a hint about your aspirations?
To become a universal Actor. Meaning I get to do what I love the most (travelling) whilst following my passion (movies)
You are widely travelled. What memorable experience can you share as a Nigerian in a foreign land? Any cultural shock?
Yes. The versatility of the world amazes me. Cultural differences, language beliefs, food, music (it’s how I can enjoy this music without even knowing what they mean). I can go on and on but travelling made me realise that I have never seen anything yet, and one can’t know everything.
What do you enjoy most each time you travel?
Learning a new culture, seeing places I never thought existed, and making memories. Life is beautiful. God made a masterpiece called earth.
What memories of your childhood days do you love the most?
Christmas, being provided for (adulthood no easy), children’s church on Sundays and all my childhood friends, it is safe to say I made better friends then than now.
Is acting paying your bills?
Partly yes. Mostly my side hustle (business) and my parent.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a good person. Secondly, is to be remembered for telling beautiful stories, whether as an actor or producer. I want to make movies that will still impact people’s lives years after I’m gone. That’s why from my productions, I tackle sensitive topics like rape stories, domestic violence against men, women and children, paedophiles like ‘The D Day’ on YouTube, trafficking, history, and culture to help others navigate life better and hopefully, to make the world a better place. I still have a long way to go, but I will surely leave a mark on this world.
Could you tell us about your social and love life?
My social life is great. I love being outdoors and socialising with people. My love life is great. I have loved, and I have lost. In all, love is Beautiful.
How would you describe your style?
I am an elegantly razz girl.
How did your acting career start?
I attended a film school, Royal Art Academy, in 2018 and got my first lead role in a series and other roles and boom! It went on and on.
How did you get your first role?
It was a dream come through. I was in directing class at a film school, and I was called upon by one of the staff that they’d need a student for a minor role in a movie called ‘Seducing Mr Perfect’, and I had been picked. I knew little or nothing about acting. I was super excited and nervous, but I got it done.
And what kind of actress would you love to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered as a fierce actor who embodied all her roles, and I’ll like my passion for the craft to speak for me through my movies.
Before delving into Nollywood, what were you doing?
Nothing. I had just graduated from university, jumped into film school, and kicked in.
What would you say is your greatest sacrifice to become an actress?
My relationship at that time. I saw that he wouldn’t be by my side if I had decided not to let go of that career choice, so I made a choice and picked my career.
What would you describe as your memorable moment so far?
It was the early stages of my career. I constantly had cold feet on set, unable to hold in my lines because I doubted myself.
Tell us about your challenges in Amanda’s Clock.
I had to lose weight, practice harder, research actors who played similar characters, etc.
Are there plans to explore stage performance?
I am open to that. I love stage performances.
Any support from your loved ones, mostly your parents?
They are very supportive. I was motivated to become an actress by my mom. First, her reactions to when I do drama activities in the church, end-of-year parties and when I told her I wanted to be an actress, she supported me all the way and lastly, she’s a Nollywood lover.
What is your biggest fear in life?
Not being successful.
There have been many stories about sexual harassment in the film industry. What is your experience?
I can tell you that I have never in my five years experienced any harassment. Neither from producers, actors nor directors never.
Describe your dream man
He should be God-fearing, kind, and rich
When you are not on set, how do you spend your time?
Travelling the world and attending to my minor businesses, and producing content for YouTube
Is there any project you are working on now?
Yes. I plan on doing my masters in Canada and working on fifteen short films for my YouTube Channel.
Take us into your growing-up days, pranks as a child, and how pranks landed you into trouble.
I never liked pranks, And I punched a friend who pranked me in primary school. I was that sensitive, but now I am the best prankster among my friends.
Do you think it is possible to find love in the movie industry?
Falling in love is never planned, they say. But I can categorically say I’m in love with someone not in the industry.
What is your assessment of the entertainment industry?
I’ll say we’ve evolved. I am proud of our industry. We are still growing, and for that, I am proud to be a thespian.