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I DON’T LIKE TALKING ABOUT MY BOYFRIEND ‘COS—TRICIA

By MARY URANTA

With the aim of acknowledging the bold steps notable celebrities took to get to where they are. This is to inspire those coming behind. Tricia says she has also used it as a medium to reach out to up coming acts who desire to attain success.
She talks to Osamudiame Ifidon and Mercy Michael about her journey so far, challenges and whether or not she intends to continue acting

When did you start acting?
I started acting in 1997 during my youth service days. A lot of people didn't know I was doing my youth service then because I was always in Lagos doing movies until 2004, when I started my programme Bold faces.

It seems you have stopped featuring in movies for a while now, why is it so, is it because of Bold Faces and is it safe to say you have stopped acting?

No! I have not stopped acting. I just had to take a break for a while to put my show in motion. I am still in the movie industry but I had to put a pause on my acting career because it wasn't easy breaking away to do your own thing and spreading your wings to different areas, so I decided to take out time because I did not want to do any wishy-washy kind of programme.

I took out time to research what I wanted to do.I needed to do a lot of research and raise finances and the challenges were just too much for me and then I didn't really have a lot of workers like I have now. I had few people working for me, about two or three, so realising that the movie thing was going to affect me, I said to myself 'why don't I just hold on' ,you know, let it be there for a while, while I achieve what I want to achieve.

I decided to make a statement with my show because, in entertainment, you don't have to be stereotyped. You don't just remain in one place.

I wanted people to know that it's not about movies or drama but complete entertainment.

Entertainment is like a tree having different branches, so I said, 'let me see if I could do something BOLD because I had never presented in my life before, I had never done anything that had to do with presentation and it was a different thing entirely.

Initially, when I started it wasn't too swift; let me use the word swift because it was very different from acting.

It was interesting to me because you need to put up the right expression, the right diction so I had to travel to the UK to study presentation in London Television Training Academy and it wasn't easy at all.

How long were you in the movie industry before the concept of Bold Faces came?

I started acting in 1998 or late 1997, I think. I was doing my youth service then in Port Harcourt. You know when you are doing your youth service, you can just walk out on it and move away and somebody will be covering for you. So, while I was in Lagos then, I was doing my youth service in Port Harcourt so I used the opportunity to get into the movie industry but it was not exactly what I wanted to do because I am from a home where the movie and music industry was seen as an irresponsible career.

They didn't want it but by force, I was able to go into the industry just to make a statement to my family that it is not just everybody that has that kind of notion.

You see, people feel that a lot of actors are irresponsible so I tried to use myself to make a statement to my family that it is not so.

How did the concept of Bold Faces come about?

Yeah, the concept is like a memory verse to me, it started just like a dream. At the time I conceived the concept, I was doing a lot of fasting and praying, during that period I had a dream and I shared with my neighbour who encouraged me to go ahead with my dreams. I put my ideas together but I did not get a name then, the word Bold Faces came out of the need to touch the downtrodden in society. I have seen people suffer; I have seen people who feel they are just on this earth without making headway and they just want to give up. They need a message and they need people to tell them they can make it.

I put myself in their situation-where you are just there and you have got nothing, you are sad and unhappy.

There are a lot of people out there who need to be touched; they need a message to live a life of hope. It's not just giving them money but having to bring them back to life with your message.

So that is why I decided to look for areas in the world not just Nigeria and try to create a form of unity then I said okay if I want to do something, I need to bring personalities that have done so well and distinguished themselves in their various endeavours so I say 'why don't I pick a major footballer, actor or public service-oriented person; people that have excelled and they tell their stories and give hope to the hopeless by talking about the challenges they encountered on their way to the top?' The first three editions was however successful because of the kind of response I got from people on how they were encouraged by the kind of guest I brought to my programme and even some of my colleagues that I featured also gained prominence and popularity through the programme.

I have been able to help people; those that wanted to become footballers have achieved their goals through Bold faces.

There are a lot of people who are making waves now whom I helped by giving them an audience.

You said Bold Faces is a personal concept, so how is it that you are able to go almost everywhere and how do you finance it?

I cannot really say it is a personal concept because God helped me a lot.

I didn't have enough money of my own but I come from a family, that when you have an idea and you communicate to someone they are ready to assist, provided they believe in your ideas. So, my mother and brother were really of great help financially to me, until I got to the level that I am now. There were also individuals who have been supportive like Mrs Mariam Babangida.

She has been of great help morally and financially since I came in contact with her and I also have been helping her in her programme- Better Life for Rural Women.

Another problem I had was meeting the people I wanted to bring on the show. It wasn't easy to just call a footballer and tell him to come on your show. I have to do a lot of travelling and it is not only tasking to track them down, it is also very costly.

Some of our footballers like Julius Aghahowa and others have also contributed financially to the growth of the show.

I also got money from the adverts.

So do you collect money from the people you bring on your show?

No, I do not collect money from celebrities that come on my show, in fact I am supposed to pay them.

The only criteria for anyone to come on Bold Faces are that they must have made impact in one way or the other in the society.

How do you do your production?

I have been doing it on my own. I just got back from Ghana with my crew. I moved from Accra to Sekondi and I was paying $100 a night and that is a lot of money.

I just believe that it is God that is urging me on because the people I bring to my show are not people that can be reached ordinarily

How far and wide do you travel to get these people?

I travel far and wide, let me just use that word, I'm in Milan today with Samuel Kuffor and then I need to meet another footballer. I travel a lot and and it's not been easy.

Your top celebrities are usually footballers, is Bold Faces all about footballers?

Certainly not! Bold Faces Is about celebrities and celebrities cut across all walks of life and so I bring achievers from far and wide but Bold Faces is the only programme that showcases top football celebrities and that's why you think it is about football. As a matter of fact, I have been bringing celebrities from the movie industry since the past two months, I have not featured any footballer. Infact, STV had to start complaining because bringing footballers on my show is kind of my selling point because it actually gives my show an edge over others.

You seem to like football?

Yes! I love football a lot and I used to play when I was in secondary school then and this passion has grown over time. I actually cried when we lost in the just concluded nations cup.

It really pained me and before the match Drogba told me that 'we are going to win the match' and after the match, while I was crying, he sent me a text to say sorry.

What is the relationship between Bold Faces and STV?

When I was starting Bold Faces people suggested different TV stations to me but I chose STV despite the fact they were just starting and had not been known because I respected them. So we have come a long way together and now we are just like a family and they give concessions to me when necessary. As a matter of fact, I don't pay air time in STV till date despite the fact that they have since changed the policy where they shared profit on adverts. We have a very good relationship.

Do you have anything new coming up that you would like to tell us about ?

Yes, I have a show coming up called Celebrity Rumours.

I am the executive producer but I am not the one presenting it. Mercy Johnson is the presenter.

In a situation where there are a lot of write ups, rumours, and stories about celebrities and you don't have an avenue where they come to redeem their names, this show is designed to give these celebrities an avenue and a voice to clear their name and vindicate themselves from false rumours flying around about them.

Celebrities are role models and to that effect it is very important that they have an avenue through which they can clear their names from any scandal they are associated with.

We will also have a Celebrity Star Check segment where the audience will choose the best dressed actor, footballer, and what have you. I am doing this because I believe that celebrities should be able to use their dress sense to appeal to people as a lot of people look up to us. We will also invite fashion professionals to access those chosen by the majority.

Every great production has challenges, can you tell us some of the challenges you faced when you started and those you are still dealing with now?

When I just started, like I said earlier, it was quite difficult and I was afraid of failure. And having to meet these unique selling points I have outside the country has not been easy.

Between acting and producing Bold Faces which one pays you more?

Of course, producing and presenting BoldFaces! I can't dispute that fact. Any time any day! Let me not lie so God won't be angry.

Does that mean you won't act again?

I will definitely, because now I have enough staff so I can get away and do some movies but now, I will not just act anything. I will look at the script before I act because I am not any younger and I intend to do my own movies pretty soon.

I am not acting for the money at all, I am doing it because I love acting and I am passionate about it.

How is the relationship between you and Obi?

She said she is not my friend so there is no relationship. She is not remorseful about what she did. She said so in a newspaper so let it be that way.

I don't want to talk about Obi now, if I wanted to do that I would have done that long ago but I don't want to disgrace her because it won't pay me.

I still have a recording of her voice and all that happened, but I'll let it die down.

I have just learnt a lesson that your biggest enemy is your best friend so I am careful about the friends I keep.

So do we expect to see you on your celebrity rumour segment to clear your grouse with Obi?

My celebrity rumours will not start with me because if I come on I will reveal things that will rubbish her image and it's not right.

Let it be that she is the one narrating herself.

I had forgotten about it, I was actually surprised when I saw the interview she did when she said she was still a virgin at 29.

Any man in your life right now?

I don't want to talk about men now. I really don't want to say anything about a relationship.

Tell us about your most embarrassing moment

It was in Warri when I did Sammadora and we went for a show with some actors

I went to the market to buy weavon and some old women poured water on me in the market because they said I was a fish and they wanted me to turn into one because of the movie they saw me in.

They had to take me away on an okada. I was very embarrassed because I was nearly mobbed.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Generally, I think it is from God. He gives me ideas.

Any role models or people who inspire you both in the industry and outside?

I could say Dr Mrs. Mariam Babangida, she inspires me a lot and I do a lot of coverage for her because I think she is doing a great job. Up till now she still runs her Better Life for Rural Women NGO

As for movies outside Nigeria I like Angelina Jolie, Angela Basset. I like Genevieve Nnaji. Stella Damasus is also good, Ramsey Nouah, Desmond Elliot. One person I like now is Mercy Johnson,Uche Jumbo is also coming up very good.

Was it 2006 JT Tom West died, and I saw you on television, you cried like a baby, like you lost someone really dear to you.

JT was very close to me. We were already apart for seven years before he died but we were very good friends. He was not just a friend he was more like a brother to me.

I think he died out of neglect because I feel they did not take care of him in the hospital and then if not for the fact that the guy who was driving was drunk, he wouldn't have had the accident, If not for the…….(Breaks down and cries)

(Sobs) they didn't call me, they just called me to say he was dead. If they had called me when he was sick, I would have been able to help. They just neglected him and after then, I lost my brother but they didn't tell me.

I was in Italy then that was after JT's burial and people did not know. It was a hard time for me.

How do you start your day?

I pray first thing in the morning. I gather everyone in my house and we pray to God then I do one or two joggings around my sitting room, take my tea because I don't take breakfast and that's it.

Any beauty rituals?

Before I sleep I just wipe off my face, I take my bath. I used to use Makary products but I stopped and now I am using Visible difference.

I cleanse my face once a week and that's it.

Beauty accessories you can't do without

I love to wear gold a lot especially the simple ones, then perfumes, I work with time so I use perfumes that are in vogue. Right now I use Bugari