The sultry thespian and many times Face of Delta Soap/Orange Drugs recently sealed a deal with leading liquid detergent brand, Mama Lemon. In this interview exclusive interview, she revealed how acting started for her, the state of the movie industry, life as a super model and many more
What was the attraction to acting?
I fell in love with the make- believe world. It's amazing how you can play so many characters that you are not and still be you.
So, would you say you are in the right place?
Yes, I am in the right place. I love my job. The feed back is amazing. A lot of people have said Tonto Dikeh should be scared of me. That's their own opinion. I've come to create a ME, to carve a niche for myself not to take anyone's spot/place. In fact, I'm the next big thing in Nollywood. The sky is my starting point even as I want to be a Hollywood star.
What movies have you done so far?
" Fazebook Babes/lovers". Before that, I did "I broke my heart", "The kings and the Maidens". I've just finished "Jafar's House", an Oak-field movie shot on celluloid production. There are also "Babee", "Cross of Royalty", "Last Three Digits" and scores of others.
Who are the notable names you have worked with in the industry?
I worked with Majid Michel, Chigozie Atuanya on the set of Jafars house; Mike Ezuruonye, Yvonne Nelson, Yvonne Okoro, on the set of "I Broke My Heart"; I've also worked with Mercy Johnson, Oge Okoye on the set of "Fazebook Babes"; Nonso Diobi, Dr. Sid on the set of "Last Three Digits"; Tonto Dikeh, Ruth kadiri on the set of "Cross of Royalty".
There's this insinuation that Nollywood is slow right now; are you affected?
Is Nollywood slow right now? Movies are going to cinemas every week. Premiers here and there, is that slow?
So what is your advice to your colleagues who are fast losing hope?
Keep your hope and aspiration alive. Pray! Be very prayerful. Nothing in life is easy. You have to work have to earn hard. Bankers too work hard if not harder. So, it's everywhere. Nollywood is going places take "Dr Bello" for an example. Don't give up now. No, you can't do that.
How did you click the Delta/Orange drugs advert back then and how far did it projects your career?
I went for an audition and was chosen.That's it. And it did a lot for me. In fact, it got me the limelight which I'm enjoying till date.
How about the rumour that Tony Ezenwa, the CEO of the company dates all the beautiful models before giving them contracts?
Never! There is nothing like that, he's a respected man and his company is reputable, he won't indulge in a thing like that.
Can you share other modelling jobs?
I did a couple of them back then. Sky Bank, Multi-Links Communication, Oceanic Bank, Wedding Planner Magazine, there are so many that I can't even remember. I'm currently on MAMA Lemon advert.
In between acting/modelling. which pays you more?
I've passion for both.
You are ravishingly beautiful, how do you cope with male attention?
Really, it's not easy. I try to be polite and straightforward.
When would you be ready for marriage?
I'm single and ready for marriage.
Has the right man come?
If you're the right man, make your intention known! (Laughs)
Can you tell us about your recent deal with Mama Lemon; how were you contacted?
The deal is for a year and can be extended though. They were looking for a fresh face. Sandra Ikeji (Black Dove Models) contacted me. I went and was chosen.
How much is the contract?
How much is your salary? (Laughter). If you tell me, I will gladly tell you how much the contract is for (laughs).
We learnt you are shooting your own movie; how soon?
Yes, my movie is coming up soon. I won't rush it, I want it to come out top so I won't rush it at all.
Can you please share your beauty secrets with us?
I make sure I don't sleep with my make up on, no matter how tired I am.
What's fashion to you and what determines what you wear?
Fashion is expression. How you want to express yourself. How you want to flatter your body shape. I wear what I'm comfortable in and the kind of outing/event also determines what I wear.
What's that fashion item you spend most on?
I spent on everything. Every item is important and has to be on point.
Who is your best dressed Nigerian actor/actress?
A couple of us actually dress well so it's pretty difficult to pick the best.
Can you please tell us about Shirley, schools attended, where you hail from?
I've a great personality. I'm very private, God fearing, down to earth and promising. I attended Federal Government Girls College, Owerri and Imo State University, Owerri where i studied Mass Communication and I hail from Imo state.