by crossriverwatch admin
A woman in a man’s world, Blessing Effiom Egbe is a Nollywood producer and Director. From Yakurr Local Government Area in Cross River State, she is strong willed and determined. Blessing is a woman who knows what she wants and goes for it. The producer cum director of the series, Lekki Wives, speaks with Doyin Adeoye, in this interview about her passion and career, among other things.
What were your childhood dreams?
I can’t recall if I really had a childhood dream but as I blossomed into the teenage years, I started getting drawn to modeling. I remember I would watch runway shows and emulate the models. So as time went on, I had the flare to organise things, I became the one to call on if anyone wanted to arrange anything or clear a clutter.
I couldn’t find a name for the passion and my sisters would tease me then that maybe I would become a secretary or someone’s personal assistant someday. But now I see where all that is playing out in my productions and home front.
How did you develop the passion for acting?
Well, I studied Theatre Arts in the university majored in acting. It is something I’ve always loved, but because the stage is very different from film, making the switch was a little difficult initially, but with time, one gets to perfect the craft.
You started off as a model, what influenced your foray into modelling?
While in camp during my youth service, I was advised to participate in the ECOWAS top model competition and fortunately I won. So, that was how my foray into modeling began.
You dropped a banking job for the film industry, do you have any regret for doing that?
I don’t have any regrets whatsoever. I would have dropped that job to sell beans cake on the streets because the circumstances that surrounded it were ones to run away from. So, I’m glad I made the choice and it paid off.
How was your first experience on set as an actress?
Nervous, unsure and stiff would be the words to describe me when I started and it carried through to a few other outings. But I think now I have shed that skin off and I am doing very well.
As a screenwriter, what inspires your writing?
I get inspired mainly by things that happen around me; my reasoning, questions, news and just life generally.
Lekki Wives has been a huge success. What brought about the concept and is the reception what you imagined originally?
The concept came to me as I was chatting with a friend. We talked quite a lot that day about the things that goes on in Lekki and I said to her that I was going to make a series off it. The success is more than I imagined to be honest, but I give God the glory for it is not by might nor by power.
The Nigerian audience initially, didn’t seem to believe that Nollywood was ready to make series films, but Lekki Wives seems to have changed that. What was done differently that boosted the reception?
I guess the final product came through as a believable and presentable production and people enjoyed the stories. So it is really encouraging the way it was accepted.
Some are also of the opinion that Lekki Wives is modelled after Desperate Housewives and the likes. What is your reaction to this?
Whether it trailed along Desperate Housewives’ path or that it copied the format of The Real Housewives, or it looked too foreign to our society, whatever it is, Lekki Wives was written from the soul and that is why it is reaching out to people the way it is. People always tend to try to put down a successful thing. There is no creation in this world that will not be similar to what someone has done before. So why don’t we enjoy the content and stop looking for comma and full stops where there is none.
Also the casts are predominantly Igbo, when obviously not only Igbos live in Lekki. Why is this so?
I sincerely didn’t even pay attentionto that. The role of Uju is an Igbo girl and we see people like her everyday here. Lovette is also an Igbo girl to the core and they are just more than other tribes in my count. Miranda and Cleopatra are also Igbo, except for Peace who is a Bendel girl, married to an Igbo man. Well, I guess now I’m seeing what you are seeing, so it looks like I must love Igbo people. But then, I totally forgot my own Calabar people, as well as the Benue people whom I’m related to through marriage. So, for the over use of Igbo ladies as the Lekki wives, if people complaining though, make them nor vex. Season two had Aisha and season three has Ima who will be married to a Benue/Yoruba man. So I guess I have covered all.
You have set a standard with Lekki Wives, how do you intend to maintain this?
It was done from the soul and the first two seasons have been successful. I am currently scripting the third season which will be the final one. It usually takes me about six months to complete because I wait until I am moved to write.
You co-produced the movie, The Rivals with Omoni Oboli, and there was an issue that Ecomax Technologies did a Yoruba version of it, titled, Taiwo Taiwo. Has the issue been resolved?
The matter is still in court, so I can’t talk about it.
How do you bridge the gap between your career and roles as a mother and wife?
Well, being a mother has been tedious but great. I try to balance it through planning. I only work when the children are on holiday and when I have a family member around.
You worked with Tyra Banks for the America next top model competition, how was the experience?
The experience was fun as was most of the runway jobs I did. It was really a good platform for me.
What has been your achievement so far over the years?
I have a few awards to show for it, but I don’t consider those achievements because we will one day die and leave all that statuettes behind. What I want to achieve is to touch plenty lives positively through my work.
How do you improve your craft?
I love to read books, watch great directors’ works and movies generally. Through those, I add to my knowledge.
What are the memorable moments in your career?
That will have to be the moment I finished my first film and held it in my hands after the master was handed to me. I felt so good and I told everyone that cared to listen that I was a film producer.
What thrills you most about what you do?
The whole process of putting together different parts and making it into a whole, as well as the adrenalin rush during the principle photography, topped with the joys of merging and fine-tuning during the editing process. All that makes it an interesting job.
As someone who has been able to make a statement in the industry, would you say the industry is at its best?
No, it is not. It is not even near being best. We are growing no doubt, and we hope to see more growth.
I attended the Edgerley Girls Secondary School Calabar, before I proceeded to the University of Calabar and the City Varsity Film School, Cape Town.
I am the seventh of eight children. I am from Yakurr Local Government Area in Cross River State. I am married to Michael Egbe from Benue State and we are blessed with three children.
What next should your fans expect from you soon?
I’m working on a short film titled Keboti, it has to do with social issue of name change.
I bathe twice a day, scrub my face and body at least twice a month. I drink lots of water when I remember, I wear make up only when I have a function and go to the spa once a year. Honestly, for the past six years, I have only been to the spa like seven times. I had to learn how to do everything at home.
Favourite holiday spot?
If I’m going with the children, then the trip would be to Dubai. If alone, I prefer Europe.
Philosophy of life?
My philosophy of life has been changing with every new year that comes, but I now have a deeper sense of the truth and the truth is life and all its struggles is really nothing at the end of the day, why not invest in eternity.
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