Sizzling Nollywood actress, Benita Nzeribe, is an interviewer’s delight any day. She doesn’t take chances when the matter is acting, a career she has perfected and nurtured for many years. She is simply ever ready to satisfy you on issues of the industry, her private life, among other issues. She shares her thoughts on these with the staff writer, OLAITAN MATTI, penultimate weekend when he met her at a cozy location in Lagos. Excerpt…
What would you say worked for your success as an actress?
I would say it’s the Grace of God; without Him, I won’t be anywhere. I am very principled because my yes is my yes and my no is my no. I don’t compromise about things I indulge in. When it’s time for work, I always take it seriously. I have learnt over the years to be punctual to appointments. All these, I will say worked for me and made me concentrate on what I do.
As a child actor, what inspired you into acting?
What inspired me was the Hollywood movie I used to see as a little child, I have also been a movie addict, then I loved movies like “Coming to America”, then I could say that after watching Juliet Robert role in the the movie, you still play it in your mind and remember vividly all the moves and lines in it, that was how I started acting. I was really into movies as a child, watching them and I wanted to engage in acting.
When and how did you get into mainstream acting?
I got into the mainstream acting in 1998 in a soap opera titled “Beyond Our Dream”. There, I played the lead female role of the daughter of Uncle Alex Osifo, and prior to then, I had done nothing. An old friend took me to a family friend’s office where an audition was going on, I was anxious to know what they were doing. When I got there, I decided to join them and they asked me to read a piece of text. I read it very well and they said I should come back the next day, I told them I am not coming back since I didn’t come for that. After deliberation, they were looking for who would fit into the role of the daughter of Unlce Alex Osifo, which is a lead role. For me, it’s just God’s time and His grace and mercies brought me this far, it’s not something I planned or someone promised me.
Which role do you think you can perform most?
I am a professional to the core, I can do any role I am called to do, it’s my job. Whatever role I am playing, I just have to put in all my effort and that makes you a professional. It’s just to adopt a particular character and drop it immediately when the camera says Cut. It’s not a big deal for me, considering the experience over the years, I can play the role of a teenager and an elder person. This is my work and I put in my best and leave the rest for God.
Did you go through any special training for acting?
Yes (laugh), the training was watching movies as a kid. We watched movies a lot and we really wanted to be like actors. I got admission to Abia State University and studied English Language. I didn’t have any professional training, once you have it, you have it, acting is an in-born thing for me.
Which was the last movie you featured in?
The last movie I featured in is the one I am working on, it’s a very sensitive title and the producer decided to keep the name. It is about a particular menace going on in our society.
What else has been taking up your time for the past years?
Work has been taking my time and the ambassadorial duties. Besides, I have a project coming up soon with the football legend, Kanu Nwankwo. I have been travelling a lot and have also dedicated my time for God and charity.
Tell us about your background and growing up years
I grew up in Uhmaya, where I attended a missionary primary school, I think that was the foundation. I had very strict parents that inculcated discipline in me.
What do you do for leisure?
I watch great movies. That has been part of me since I was a child.
How do you handle male admirers?
I have been nice to them; I try not to insult any man that walks towards me. As much as I am trying to say no, I still earn my respect as a female, that’s what I do. I believe I know how to deal with men; I maneuver them and I’m still nice to them. You don’t play with a man’s temper; I have that at the back of my mind. Without admirers, I won’t be where I am today. So they made me what I am and I appreciate them.
Did you miss anything while growing up?
The normal outing that teenagers do. As a teenager, I got into the movie scene and since then, it’s been education and acting. If I have my way, I rather stay at home and enjoy myself instead of going out. Perhaps, if I had done all that then, it could have been a different story entirely. My parents were also very strict, they made me focus on the main thing. I don’t think I missed anything. I’m always grateful to God for all He has provided for me.
Would you prefer body surgery?
Let me tell you one thing, as human beings, we are not perfect, only God is perfect. Everybody in life will think of one thing in his/her body that he or she wishes could be adjusted. God has made us to know that everything He created is good and balanced. I won’t in anyway alter my body for anything.