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Acting is not easy – Ini Dima-Okojie

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Background

I come from a very close-knit family and I’m the last of four children. I have always gravitated towards the arts since I was a child but I was also quite reserved. I was a little shy and it’s really ironical and funny that I’m acting now. My childhood was really full of fun and I thank God for my family.

Education

I attended Air Force Primary School and Air Force Comprehensive School for my elementary and post-elementary education respectively. I later went to Covenant University where I studied international relations. Upon graduation, I became an investment banker. I have always been good with numbers and finance so I found myself in an investment banking firm called Cardinal Supreme Partners. I worked there for a while.

Acting

I have always nursed fantasies of becoming an actor since I was a child but I never thought that it was a realistic goal. I just wanted to go to school and secure a corporate job. After some time though, I couldn’t resist the passion again so I started looking for film schools that I could attend. It was a very tough decision to make because I was leaving certainty for uncertainty.

Parents’ reaction

I was initially very worried about telling my parents what I wanted to do, because I didn’t know how they would receive the news. The first person I told was my mum and she said that she would support me. My dad was also quite supportive, even though he was a bit sceptical. I later quit my job and went to the New York Film Academy to study. I came back to Nigeria in 2014 and that was how this journey began.

Movies

The first production that I featured in was a TV series titled, Before 30, and I acted as a personal assistant in it. I also acted the leading role in another TV series, called Taste of Love so I had to leave my family on the former series to focus on that. Other productions that I’ve acted in include Skinny Girl in Transit and Battleground. I don’t intend to start writing scripts now as my focus at the moment is solely on being an actor; but never say never.

Challenges

People usually think that acting is a walk in the park but it has been very challenging for me; though fulfilling. Discipline and dedication are very important qualities that an actor must have. I thank God for the upbringing that I had and the training that I got in film school, because they have helped me to reach the level that I am in now. As an actor, hard work and perseverance will take you very far in this industry. You need to start from somewhere and never give up on your dreams. Keep them alive and pursue them to a logical conclusion.

Nollywood

Nollywood is a growing industry and right now, we are in a position where things are changing for good and I’m so excited to be here at this time. I have been part of some projects that have changed the reality for Nollywood. Of course, there are still issues that we have to deal with in terms of building structures, dealing with piracy, distribution channels, and others, but I believe that every other industry goes through this growing phase. My joy is that I’m here now and thrilled that there are minds that are willing to enhance the industry. I’m very excited for what it has become and we’ll keep putting in our best.

Chris Hemsworth

Chris Hemsworth is one of the international actors that I admire, so I made a joke about him being my husband and I never heard the last of it.  The joke is still trending two years on.

Ideal man

My ideal man must be someone that is kind, God-fearing, understanding and most importantly, someone that communicates. These are traits that stand out for me.

Success

Success means being able to inspire people. My ultimate goal is to inspire and entertain people through my work. If I can do that, then I think that I’m very successful.

Personality

I am a happy-go-lucky person, but as an actor, I have my moments where I may be quite emotional. However, I’m playful and I take every day as it comes.

Likes and dislikes

My main dislike is dishonesty and I don’t like people who bully others, because I think it is very unfair. On the other hand, I like people who can persevere because I’m very strong-willed myself. If I determine in my mind to do something, I ensure that I get it done.  I love positive energy; being around good vibes makes me happy.

Embarrassing moments

I don’t dwell on such things. I’m sure that I’ve had such moments but I cannot readily pick out any off the top of my head.

Relaxation

I love watching TV series and talent shows. I’m very critical about my work and when you are watching yourself on television, all you do is closely scrutinise your work. For instance, whenever I watch Battleground, I completely forget that I’m part of the cast. Being critical of my work is the only way to improve my skills as an actor.

Fashion

I do not joke with my style and I always have a strong opinion about whatever I wear. I love to put pieces together and there is no particular look that I would only rather have. I like to try out things and it makes me happy. Sometimes, I may be big on accessories; other times, it may be another thing. I love to experiment a lot when it comes to fashion.

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