I LEFT BANKING FOR NOLLYWOOD -- BLESSING EFFIOM
Tell us something about your life as a model and how it all started for you?
Life as a model was fast and fun, short-lived but got to a reasonable and fulfilling stage. I started out in Nigeria in 2001 with the Silverbird International Fashion show, shortly after, I was chosen to do the Ghana celebration 2001 and right after that I won the ECOFEST best model competition and things took-off from there.
How did your foray into Nollywood begin?
After graduating from the University of Calabar in 2001, where I studied theater arts, banking was the first job that came calling but I obviously didn't last six months in the industry. Full time modelling took over and then subsequently, a film role here and there, it wasn't until I furthered my studies in film making in South Africa that I decided to indulge fully in the business, writing, producing and starring in my works.
Which movie gave you your break?
As a writer/ producer, it would be Before the Vow, as an actress, I wouldn't really know.
How long have you been in the movie industry?
Off and on, five years.
What are the challenges you have faced since you took to acting?
Switching from modelling to acting may seem easy as they are all interwoven but the reality is different. In modelling, you are kind of robotic. Whereas, in acting, the key word is relaxation and complete involvement, so I would say that has been my major challenge.
What was your first professional fee?
It was N8, 000 in the movie Bleeding Heart, where I did four scenes as a barmaid to Ngozi Nwosu
What separates you from other actresses in the industry?
My ways, my lifestyle, my person, my entire morphology.
What has been the high point of your career as an entertainer?
In modelling, apart from earning the top dollar jobs, it would be me representing Nigeria at the top model competition in Lebanon in 2003 and then working with Tyra Banks for the America next top model competition. Sound cheesy, but at the time, I thought these incidences were the highest points of my career. In the moviedom, I'm yet to get to the peak, but for now, my movie The Rivals winning the Best International Drama at the New York festival will suffice.
What do you look out for when you accepts movie scripts?
As a scriptwriter, I'm taught to always have interesting and inviting things in my story that would make any actor want to play the role. So, for me, that is what I look out for in a script; substance if it's a serious story and if it is not then I'll go for the fun content any day.
You seem to operate on a low profile, why is this so?
I've always been one to operate that way, it's just the way I am, I don't think there's anything to it really, but I have my loud moments and definitely my crazy moments.
What is your unique selling point?
Just being open and plain and telling it like it is, transparent in my business and social dealings and somewhat time perfect.
Outside entertainment, what else does Blessing do that takes most of her time?
Before now, travelling and exploring life took the cake, but in the past year, settling down, pregnancy and now nursing has taken over.
Do you have any regrets going into entertainment?
No, but I do have regrets working with a replicating company called Ecomax Technologies.
They made a silly and unprofessional blunder of running a Yoruba film titled, Taiwo Taiwo over The Rivals, a movie which I produced with Omoni Oboli. Having gone through so much and spent so much money, the company had to ruin it by their mistake. We are in the process of sorting that out now and will make it known to the public what happens. But the good copies are now in circulation so people can buy copies now. Other than this I have no regrets coming into the industry.
Give us a peek into your private life?
I have always and I'm still enjoying a relaxed and happy private life and I am not about to make it chaotic by giving you a peek into it so you can hound me.
What was growing up like for you?
Interesting. I grew up in the barracks in Port Harcourt, enjoyed the simplicity of life where everyone had a close-knit life and family was key. There were no problems of fear and insecurity and uncertainty of the government and economy. Life was good.
Recount some childhood experiences you cherish.
At about four years of age, I used to be the dance champion in all parties so much so that I had a little showcase at the governors' party then.
What informed your decision to do what you are doing at the moment?
Destiny and plenty of brainstorming and planning.
Who is the man in your life?
When did you meet him and what is the latest on your state of health, you know what I mean?
We met, we got married, I got pregnant and now we have a baby.
Informed from your experience in the movie industry, where do you think we are heading?
To the rocks if we are not careful.
What is your philosophy of life?
Plan, plan and more plan.
What does friendship mean to you?
Trust, truth and dependence.
What should a person do to win your trust?
Be truthful and transparent.