I do not believe in love at first sight —Benita Nzeribe
Pretty Benita Nzeribe is a head turner any day. Ten years ago, when she made her unannounced entrant into the Nigerian movie industry; Nollywood, as a teenager, one thing held out to her advantage. Her carriage and unmistakable good looks. No wonder men then, knocked their heads together to identify with her. Ten years down the line, she has not only grown to be a full fledged woman, but also has been able to maintain her image, beauty with a lot of income from over one hundred movies done. This interview was specifically tailored to deal with issues as they affect her love life. She spoke to your nfc; AZUKA MORDY. Enjoy.
LET'S start this chat on a lighter mood. Tell us the secret of this infectious glow I see in your face?
(Chuckles...Laughs) Well… I am happy because I am alive. Things are going well with me. I am healthy, why would I not radiate beauty? Why would I not glow? I thank God Almighty who has given me life and good health. In my own way as a human being, I do things moderately in order to keep fit and look good.
We take it that the lull in Nollywood presently does not affect you?
Life is a stage. It would not always be rosy. You are bound to encounter a storm somehow. Even our Lord Jesus Christ was once confronted by a storm, but be calmed it.
We have to be patient with the storm raging in Nollywood presently. I have decided not to carry it on my head, lest it weighs me down. The lull in the movie industry is a passing phase.
Would it be correct to say that you are selective, or that men become blind when they meet you being the reason why they have not noticed that you are very eligible for marriage?
(Prolonged laughter)No they are not blind and I am not selective either. But you don't expect me to jump at any body that comes prophesying love for me. Maybe because he has a fat bank account. Marriage to me goes beyond material things. It is an understanding. It a chemistry at its highest peak that must evolve on its own. I lack words to fully explain what marriage should be, unfortunately it is not how most people take it. I would not jump into marriage with any man because he is rich.
What do you look out for in a man?
I go for the heart. A man is his heart. If a man loves you, he will respect you. If a man loves you he will take care of you and he will not hurt you. So I look at the man's heart.
How do you discern a man's heart to know the kind of person he is?
You will be shocked if I tell you.
I am very prayerful. I love God passionately. That's me, no apologies. That is what works for me. God might take time to answer, but eventually he will answer. I am also a very patient person.
Would it not be more accurate to size up a man by his words?
I would not go by everybody's style. I am being real. This is my method.
What kind of man appeals to you? Physically speaking.
I don't look for looks, because looks are deceptive. Beauty is in mind of the beholder. My feelings come from how you threat me. It does not just hit me once I see the man. Like people say, they see a man from a distance and they are just loving him. No, it does not work for Benita that way. What works for me is the way we relate. I do not believe at love at first sight.
What do you think is best way to start a relationship once you find someone you love?
Let me put it this way. If a man finds the love of his life he knows. But it is wrong for him to introduce himself and make his intentions known immediately. He should keep his feelings to himself and try to find out the kind of person the girl is. The lady on her part needs to take more time to find out the kind of man proposing to her.. Unfortunately, we womenfolk we are very funny.
In what sense?
We have this complex thing. In one moment, you could win a woman's heart and she would be so loving, but in the next minute something goes wrong, she switches off. She would even wish you go to hell. The men have more strength to absorb pressure. That is why when relationships broke up; a man gets over it quicker than the women.
Are you sure of that submission? I know a man who is still trying to brace up after two years of experiencing a failed relationship
That is news to me.
I want you to react to this. I once recommended a book to a lady because it contained a passage that encouraged ladies not to waste their time looking for Mr. Right, but rather spend time preparing herself to be Miss Right, as the right approach to getting a life partner.
I share that sentiment. On my own part, I have shelved a lot of things. If you would be honest, you will admit that the Benita you used to know then is not the same person sitting here with you now.
Describe your relationship with your family. How do they relate to you as a star?
My parents love me dearly and they've always been their for me. It has not always been easy, as a lady and in the acting industry, with the whole sex talks about Nollywood. But I try to live a straight life so that I don't bring shame to them.
How did they relate to you before you became a star?
I was just a little over 17 years when I made my entry into Nollywood. They were not so disposed to having me act. But we have this attitude in my family that some degree of freedom is granted whereby you go ahead and fulfill your heart's desire. My parents would watch the person and see what he or she makes of such ambitions.
So you had their support from the beginning?
I would not call it support. They were clearly skeptical, but when I started making positive impact, they gave me their full support.
Describe the ideal African housewife?
The typical African housewife is a cultured person. When you think Africa. You think tradition, you think culture and respect. We have rules and regulations we live by. I also believe that the African housewife ought to listen and respect her husband, especially when he is making sense on issues.
What if he becomes unapproachable?
She has to find a way to approach him. In finding a way, you shouldn't tamper with a man's ego. No matter how small a man is, he has his ego and you do not touch it. You have to find a way to get him to see your point whenever he proves to be unapproachable.
What would you do if the husband you marry ask you to quit acting?
I love what I do passionately, but if my man says he wants me to stop acting. If he gives me good reasons for suggesting that. As an African housewife, it is my duty to listen to him first. Then we do the argument later. I will pamper him and try to get him to know that I love what I do. I get him involved in my job.
Give us a small background of Benita Nzeribe.
I hail from Ihiala in Ihiala local government area of Anambra State. I am from a family of four. I am a graduate of English language from Abia state university.
When did you join Nollywood?
I would say I joined Nollywood officially in in 1998. However I hit limelight in 2000 in the movie “Gold diggers” by Infinity Merchants. Before this time, I had played lead in an NTA drama series titled, “Beyond Our Dreams”.
How many movies have you starred in so far?
Close to one hundred movies.
How do you relax when you are not working?
I am a movie freak. If you ask me the movies that came out this week (last week) in Hollywood, I can tell you.