MOVIE MAKERS WANT TO LAY ME, I REFUSE
If anyone was in doubt about the ignoble role that Nollywood movie producers and directors play, here is a confirmation. It is nothing but sex-for-role, says this struggling actress, Princes Adaeze Edwin.
Those that are willing to play the game by their rule get juicy roles while those that rebuff their sex demands are relegated to the background, she further alleges.
But if indeed some girls “play ball” to become celebrities, why not Adaeze?
“For me, I have decided not to mess up, no matter how long it takes me to grow. I would have been famous if I had succumbed to the demands of some people,” she told us in an interview in Lagos.
Stories are told of Nollywood as an industry where the producers, mostly males, seek to first sleep with the female greenhorns before they are given movie roles.
And as a bait, the salacious ones are first cast in fleeting roles, derisively called “waka pass”, to whet their appetite.
The catch, as the story further goes, is for her to begin to imagine that “ah, so I could in no time be as famous as…” That way, she is well persuaded to “come and submit”, to get major roles.
However, the flip side of the story, which is less trumpeted, is that some desperate wannabes actually offer themselves to the producer(s) in a manner of 'use what you have to get what you want' in exchange for movie roles. Where they don't out rightly ask, their body language suggests.
Whichever way, no one has to date boldly named names.
Yet, in local parlance, the saying: “There is no smoke without fire”, is quite familiar.
Unlike Adaeze, not all wannabes are bold enough to call the bluff of the industry “sexplioters”.
For example, Adaeze's friend (names withheld) could not. According to Adaeze, the girl in question had a terrible experience in the hands of some producers who promised to hand her movie roles.
Pity, rather than assign her movie roles, they allegedly took the poor girl to bed, and shuffled her among themselves.
“I have friends who left the profession in frustration and they has sworn not to come back. One of my friends called me recently and told me she was no longer interested in acting. Do you know why? It is because many people have slept with her and she has nothing to show for it. Worst still, she has not featured in any movie after hanging around for about two years.”
In fairness, however, Adaeze said some producers are not to blame. Rather, she said, the girls should take a fair share.
“Most people put the blame at the doorpost of the producers. But I tell them it should not be so. To be fair to them, I have never heard of any producer who forced or raped a girl. What it means is that, you as a girl, can say no to his demand. But the truth is that these girls come out to shout blue murder because they didn't get what they wanted.”
Sex for sundry favours
The issue of sex-for-role, Adaeze said, is not peculiar to Nollywood.
Elsewhere, she insists, some men in position of authority are known to have requested to sleep with either their female subordinates or other girls in need, to guarantee some favour in return.
It was for the same reason that Adaeze quit her job at four different places in frustration. “The experience is funny indeed. I have worked with four different big companies in Lagos. But I left because each of the ogas wanted to sleep with me.”
Producer as lover
Adaeze's position is however not to demonise movie producers. Would she date a movie producer? Adaeze answers in the affirmative.
“Sure, I would date a producer if he is the type that I like. If I decide to date him, it would be because I have a feeling for him, not that he wants to give me a role.”
Though Adaeze is barely one year old in Nollywood, she already has about eight movies and one soap to her credit. For her, that is just the beginning of a cruise to stardom, like her role model, Stella Damasus.
I have gone through a lot in the industry. Even right now, I'm having some unsavoury experience. However, I don't give a damn about what happens because I know that God is with me and when it is time I will grow. To be sincere with you, girls go through a lot in the industry. For instance, you could be called up for an audition, the next moment you are told that you won't get it if you don't 'play ball'.
These things exist for real. Unfortunately, most times, they sleep with the girl and she ends up without the role. I have friends who left the profession in frustration and they have sworn not to come back.
One of my friends called me recently and said she was no longer interested in acting. Do you know why? It is because many people slept with her and she has nothing to show for it because she has not featured in any movie after about two years. For me, I have chosen not to mess up no matter how long it takes me to grow. I would have grown more than this if I had given in to the demands of some people.
Am I not pretty?
I believe I have all it takes to be an actress. Yes, you could say I am not the most beautiful girl around. But I equally know that I am not the ugliest girl in Nollywood. I am pretty, and I am willing to flaunt it to the world.
I am crazy about Stella Damasus in Nollywood. She is my role model and I want to be like her. On the international scene, I love Beyonce.
Every girl wants to be with a God-fearing man. So, my kind of man must be God-fearing and understanding. He must be tall because I don't like short men. Above all, I cannot live with a wife beater.
My love life has been very interesting. I truly love my man and I hope to settle down with him someday. But I also love my career and I know that once I am married, that may be the end. That is the only reason I am not married yet.