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Saturday, 13 July 2013

Interview: "I don't believe exposing your body in a movie will get you to the top" - Mimi Orjiekwe



What’s your childhood story like?
I don’t have a different story, because I grew up like every other girl; it wasn’t bad. Things were good though I didn’t have everything I wanted but it was good. Being the only daughter, I always got attention from my parents and they pampered me a lot too. No matter I’m the third child and the only daughter of my parents, with three brothers.
So, you know what it is being the only daughter? I got it all that I couldn’t have asked for a better family. Being the only daughter doesn’t mean I’m a spoilt child. My parents monitored me, and they are still monitoring me to make sure I get the best in life.

Did you feel bad sometimes when you didn’t get some of the things you wanted?
It wasn’t that I didn’t get what I wanted; being the only girl child, I got much attention especially from my dad and my mum too. I felt like a normal child growing up with her parents.

How about your memorable moment while growing up?
What I can vividly recall was my time at the boarding house. Yes, I had my secondary education at Holy Rosary College. I used to get loads of provisions in school way back then. I was in my teens way back then and that’s a time in my life I memorably recall.
And it does not really mean that I didn’t cope, because I had to go through a process as boarder and when it was time for holidays I always relish the opportunity to be at home. Even when I was in the university, I lived in the campus. I have been living with my mum ever since I graduated from school and I am mostly in Lagos or in the East when I am needed on set.
How about your interest for modeling and what really motivated you for the beauty contests you’ve been part of in the past?
First, I would trace it to my days in the university, I schooled at Caritas University. While I was in school I was always conscious of myself and I emerged the winner of the Miss Business Administration beauty contest back in the university. Already I had the hunch that I would end up being part of one beauty contest or the other while growing up as a young girl.
I also have the height for such contests and that factor is very important when it comes to beauty contests. My passion was further fueled when I was discovered by a certain agent who works for a modeling agency and I took part in the Miss Anambra beauty contest and I emerged the 3rd runner up. At the same time, my venture into beauty contests also opened doors on the movie scene as I got my first movie role after I was discovered at a beauty contest.

How has it been handling overtures from men, even when you had neck deep in partaking in beauty contests?
I never really allowed the attention get into my head because I had someone managing me then. I was just focused on getting the best out of each contest and I took all compliments in good faith. I also tried to treat everyone I came across as a friend with no strings attached.
What really motivated your venturing into the showbiz industry?
I have always had a flair for entertainment and I think it was natural that I gravitated towards that point. I am not in it for the money but I need the money anyway because there is money to be made and I need to pay my bills. I love the world of entertainment and I am open to growth and getting more knowledgeable in the business.
Which movie would you say shot you into limelight?
I have done series of movies and the first major I starred was Royal Madness. I was in that movie with Majid Michelle and Van Vicker. It was the first time I worked with them. They are good people and at a point Van Vicker was acting like a Chinese. Jim Iyke was also on set too and you can imagine the sight on the set of the movie. I got challenging role and it brought out the best in me. The movie is quite popular and most people don’t even know that I was part of the movie. But I think now that I have the face, maybe they will spot me out.
The biggest movie project you were part of, what was it like?
The movie was directed by a different person entirely.
What was it like?
Well, it opened my eyes to so many things as a burgeoning actress.
How did you get the role for the movie?
I was in Ghana to shoot a different film and I ran into the director of the movie and I got to understand that his name is Sallam Bello and he is one of the biggest marketers in Ghana. He invited me over, where he said he wanted me to be part of a movie production and that was it. I didn’t plan to be part of the movie and it turned out to be one of the biggest projects that I have been part of in recent times.
Who are your role models?
I have always admired Angelina Jolie and the role she played in the movie titled Tomb Raider. I love action films; I also love Halle Berry and the sexiness she brings to acting. I also love Genevieve Nnaji and her mode of delivery. I am also in love with the world of beauty pageantry. I have been part of some beauty pageant competitions in the past.
Meaning you would someday get back to the modeling industry?
Of course yes! Modeling I will say it’s part of entertainment.
What can you do on set of a movie?
You have to be specific; like I said I can do so many things. Paramount of which is the ability for me to interpret my roles as an actress. You need to give your best when you are called upon to deliver your lines.
What are your strengths?
Personally, I think my strength as an actress is my ability to deliver and the fact that I have a friendly outlook. I also have the talent and that keeps me going.
Have you noticed any weakness you have as an actress?
I think I need to be more professional in what I do; I also think I need to be more determined and hardworking. I also need to give my very best whenever I am on set.
What other talents do you have?
I think I can do averagely well in every artistic work that I can think of. I can dance; I can sing that I know because I have good vocals. I am stylish and I can tell you what looks good on you.


The issue of sexual harassment, have you experienced it before?
I relate with people the way they should be handled and that to an extent also determines how people relate with you too. I have never been sexually harassed but I hear stories about people being sexually harassed. I have got advances but I have handled them maturely.
It is a give or take affair because no one can force you to do what you don’t want to do. It has never stopped me from giving my best on set and ultimately trying to get more movie roles. The fear of sexual harassment has not diminished my drive. I still have a lot to accomplish and that cannot hold me back.
If you are handed an irresistible offer, would you act nude?
No! I can’t act nude; I can’t do it for any amount because I don’t have any reason to do that. I believe you can pass on your message without necessarily going nude. Besides, I choose to act movie and not porn. I wonder why a professional actor or actress would accept a huge sum of money and sell it out. Common, I can’t expose my selling point for any reason, not for fame or fortune.
How about most actresses who take the hard way to get attention?
I don’t believe exposing all will get me to the top; for me, sex doesn’t sell.
Who is in your life now?
I’d like to keep that part of me private. It is true I’m dating, but it’s not for public discourse.
Dating or don’t you have plans of getting married?
Of course I am going to get married and have kids; I want to have beautiful kids so I intend to marry a cute guy.
When should we expect wedding bells?
I don’t know; in God’s time I think.
Is acting paying your bills now?
First, I will give God the glory. It is worth the trial; it pays my bills. You will reap what you sow in the long run and in everything you do; you need to sacrifice to get the best. I just have to work hard and be determined and with faith I know I will definitely make it to the top in the end.
What is your philosophy to life?
Life is hard; one has to be strong, then you have to eat and pray well to get to your destination point.
You rejected a script a time like that; please what would make you not accept a movie script?
Yes I did! Let’s not get at it again. So, I would reject a script if I do not like the script; I would reject the script if it is not original too. Most movies produced today are fictional and I would not accept a script if is haphazardly done and if it does not pass on a positive message.
What kind of movie production excites you?
I would definitely like to be part of an action movie that’s why I really like Angelina Jolie for the action role she plays in most of her movies, especially Tomb Raider and Mr. and Mrs. I’d like to work with her someday if that is possible. I am going to be part of an action film too and it will be out very soon.
Do you have plans of producing your own movie someday?
Yes I have that in mind; I want to own a production studio and I also hope to learn more about movie making and possibly get a degree in film making in the future. I just don’t want to stop at being an actress I want to learn more and earn more money from the movie industry.
What’s the challenge so far?
You really need to understand that the entertainment industry is growing better and stronger now. Some productions no longer use the old camera, because we want the best. We’ve seen some cases where people want to meet up with the cinema quality. Nollywood is seriously evolving, and also at a fast pace. New and more talented people are coming into the industry, and even our old people are getting better. Yes the competition is tough, but I can’t help it because I have found joy doing it.
In future, would you for any reason quit acting?
What could the reason be? Sorry, no way.