Fast rising actress in the Yoruba movie genre, Princess Ganiya Owoseni, also known as Arewa, is one of the toasts of movie producers right now. Her good looks and talent are actually working for her. Despite having been sexually harassed, the pretty thespian refused to succumb. Instead, her career keeps waxing stronger and stronger.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Saturday, May 17, 2014, the Epe, Lagos born film maker narrated her journey so far as an entertainer, where she is headed and much more.
You’re among the fast rising actresses who are the toasts of producers right now, how does that make you feel?
Honestly, it makes me feel great, happy and extremely joyous. But at the same time, it poses a great deal of challenge because I must not disappoint those who have picked interest in me.
When did the journey start as an actress?
It started long ago. That’s about 16 years but as an apprentice under Karounwi Group at Lagos Island, before I joined another caucus in 2008, led by Ade Ajiboye a.k.a Big Abass. I graduated that same year. Since then, I have been on my own.
How would you describe the experience since you started?
It has been rough and tough. It couldn’t be said to be easy. But at the same time, I always find it interesting. To be honest, nothing has been achieved with ease. You just have to be very hard working and dedicated. Then, be focused, if not you will just call it quits prematurely.
What were the challenges coming this far?
All professions have challenges. So, acting is no exception. If I decide to be mentioning everything, we won’t discuss any other thing again. But what’s important is that I am enjoying what I chose to do.
You read Marketing at Lagos State University (LASU), what actually informed acting?
Acting has always been my first love. Although, my parents were against it, now I have become the toast of everybody. Each time I had a dream, I would always see myself acting. Every moment, what I used to think of was acting. I now decided that I had to live my dream.
That was how I ventured into the profession. But along the line, I was also in school on part time. I finished from LASU in 2008.
You featured in quite a number of movies, which one shot you to limelight?
That’s Asewere loko mi by Kattoye. It was indeed very challenging but I loved it.
We learnt you have just completed a movie of your own, what’s the title?
Yes, I have finished shooting my movie, Majemu Ife. It’s a movie that every young and single, either man or woman should watch. I believe it will raise the bar in the Nigerian movie industry.
Who are the stars paraded in the movie?
The movie parades quite a number of stars, including Odunlade Adekola, Ade Aderele, Bimbo Thomas, Alabi Yellow, myself and many others.
Would you say it’s a low or high budget movie?
I won’t say it’s either a low or high budget flick but all I know is that I spent a lot of money on it.
Do you intend launching it?
No, I don’t have anything like that in mind. I am not a big girl in the industry. I am only hoping to get there one day. The cost of premiering or launching a movie is much, and for now, that can’t be afforded. But one day, I will get to that level. Although, if you’re ready to sponsor me, I won’t mind o (laughs).
What else are you still working on at the moment?
I am working on yet another movie, Afin Arewa. When I complete it, I will keep you posted. It’s also going to be a bang.
What do you think is your unique selling point?
Nothing but God.
What of your beautiful face?
That doesn’t really matter. What really matters is to get something upstairs. There are many beautiful faces in the industry that are not really talented. And at the same time, some are also talented but maybe it’s not yet their time to shine, it will seem as if it’s their fault, no.
Anybody that is lucky to be on top today shouldn’t think it’s by his or her power. I believe everything is God. Although, a lot of people prefer featuring beautiful faces, which to some that’s what entertainment needs, it’s not necessary that it’s a criterion to succeed in the industry.
But the tale is that you are one of the actresses that have warmed the beds of some producers before coming this far?
(Laugh) That’s rubbish. How far have I gone that people have started insinuating rubbish? If you want to know more about me, you’re free to find out from my boss, Big Abbas. He will tell you everything you may want to know about me.
I believe in God. And I also believe in slow and steady which eventually wins the race. If I have been doing that, you too can imagine how far I should have gone. My belief is that, no one can make another person a star except it has been destined. I am very decent and easy going.
What about sexual harassment, haven’t you fallen victim of that at least once?
If you’re talking of sexual harassment, you cannot rule that out in the industry. And it’s not only in the movie industry that it happens. It happens elsewhere. The reason people are talking about ours is that we’re in the public eye.
To be honest, I have suffered sexual harassment but I never gave up. Everybody who sees that you’re a pretty girl will try to make an advance at you but it depends on who you are. I don’t need to mention names. A lot of people will put you on a strict condition before they will even feature you not to talk of giving you a lead role. But so far you’re sure of yourself, and you believe in God, you won’t fall.
You’re a beautiful girl, no doubt about that, how do you cope with male admirers?
Just as I said, people will definitely make one or two advances, it now depends on you. Left to me, I reject men’s offers politely. That doesn’t mean if I see you the following day, I won’t great you.
Tell us about your love life?
There is nothing to talk about that. It’s a private affair, please.
Are you not in a relationship?
No, I am in a relationship, very strong one.
That means you’re not searching any longer?
Not at all.
Can you unveil the identity of the lucky man?
Not now because he doesn’t enjoy publicity.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am from Epe, Lagos State. A graduate of Marketing, Lagos State University (LASU). I am in my early 30s.
But when you’re this old, why haven’t you married?
Everything depends on the plan God has for you. You can’t rush in and rush out. Marriage is a thing of joy but it deserves proper plan. Everybody has his or her time. It’s not as if I am still searching. I am only trying to take my time and my man understands me very well. I also understand him. We’re good friends.
Where do you want to be in five years, career wise?
I am just starting. Even, I have not started yet. I am planning to shake the industry very soon. Not as a Yoruba actress but a Nigerian actress. I want to be celebrated across the world. I want to shoot a movie that will be acceptable in every home in Nigeria and beyond. I know with God, all things are possible.
– TADE ASIFAT