Rita Edward is an actress who has featured in soap operas and movies like From Within; The Arrangement; Misfit; Isoken; 93 minutes; Tinsel; The Johnsons; Karma; Gidi Up and so on. In this interview with TAYO GESINDE, she speaks on how she was dragged into doing an audition by someone who believes she could make a living from acting, the challenges she faced and the journey so far.
It wasn’t as eventful as my adult life is because I used to be a very timid and conscious child. Though I did know how to express myself around my family, but with strangers, it was a different game entirely. I would just keep quiet and be observing them. I loved reading a lot and my older siblings always gave me books as birthday gifts.
Foray into acting
My younger sister was one strong motivating factor. She was acting long before I did. She would always say to me “sis, you have got what it takes to be a good actress”. But I was more conscious of myself so I did not want to venture into it until 2010 when she literally dragged me to my first audition. Amazingly I did get a part and feature in my first movie “Aina”. After that, I thought it was easy to get roles but after two or three auditions, I went back to my former job as a food and beverage staff in a hotel. a very good friend who is also an actress, Ijeoma Agu, was on my case for almost three years before I finally decided to face the “uncertainty” I now call a profession. When I decided I was going to be a professional actress, I went to the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) School and learnt the art of presentation and public speaking. I also did one year training with Open Eye production run by my acting coach and mentor, Ifeoma Fafunwa. I was later certified through the British Council Master class workshop. The journey so far has not been an easy one, but it has been a great one.
The challenges differ but the major one was overcoming self-doubt in the profession I’ve chosen. That was a big hurdle I needed to cross which I did eventually. As I said earlier, it has not been an easy road but when passion is a driving force, one’s focus is as strong as one’s determination to excel. Three years down the line, it has made me more determined and focused on being better at my craft.
Movies I have featured in
I’ve had the opportunity to feature in several movies and theatre plays of repute. The latest being the soon to be premiered 93days. Others are From Within, The arrangement, The Johnsons, Tinsel, Karma and Gidi Up. For theater, I’ve featured in the world class plays like Hear Word, The V Monologues, Baba Segi’s Wives, What men want, Okonkwo’s Inquest and several voice over.
My most challenging role
The most challenging role for me was in the movie Misfit when I had to depict the role of a retarded woman who had a lisp. There was nothing in my path to prepare me for that role. But my instincts kept pointing to the character as a retarded person. So I had to take my time and study how someone of such a nature would behave and be able to pull it off believably.
How I have been coping with competition in the industry
I wouldn’t use the word competition at all because I see none. If there’s any at all, it is being better than what I was a year, a month or even a week ago. One can only be in competition with oneself better than he or she was before.
Most embarrassing thing a fan has ever done to me
I have never had any such moments yet.
The pains and gains of being a celebrity
I don’t know what to say here. Still getting used to the term “celebrity.” I’m just an actress who loves her job.
Description of self
Well, I’d like to say I’m an easygoing person who believes in doing the best I can at every point in time. But I know where boundaries are and respect them whether they are mine or others
Philosophy of life
My philosophy of life is to take each day at a time and always be thankful no matter what.
Definition of style
I just go with the mood actually. I have never been a power dresser as they would say and I am too lazy to follow fashion trends.
Choice of accessories
Every other thing can be basic but shoes have to top my list. Heels and wedges are my thing.
I love a clean face because I don’t like wearing make-up often. So, nature-made exfoliation is my thing.
I am a designer though I am not doing it commercially for now.
I indulge myself a lot. I like to go to the spa for a massage, pedicure/manicure. Then off to see a movie with some nice delicious ice cream. It’s a whole day I dedicate to such outside my hectic routine. Then I come back home in the evening and listen to either classical music or soft collection of songs
What I will you like to change about myself
My take on provocative dressing
Well, I’ve always been conscious of how I’m perceived by my dressing. Besides, the term “provocative dressing” is relative.
What I won’t be caught dead wearing
I have no idea. Maybe fishnets and tight in public.
How I handle advances from male admirers
I handle them with courtesy and diplomacy.
Qualities I want in a man
He’s got to be an intelligent, compassionate and kind person.
My role models
Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Bimbo Akintola, Joke Silva and my mom.
Other things I do aside acting
I do radio dramas/jingles or radio advertisements (jingles) and resource management.
My likes and dislikes
I like books, movies, learning and making friends. I dislike gossip, unkind and lousy people.
My greatest physical assets
My voice. It commands attention.
Assessment of Nollywood
I must give kudos to Nollywood. We are breaking barriers and excelling despite what the industry is facing.
Parting word to my fans
Be thankful for each single day you get to show the world what you have. No road is ever easy but stay determined and focused and watch doors open for you eventually.