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Acting is a great adventure for me – Linda Osifo

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Quiet but fierce Benin-born Nollywood screen diva, Linda Osifo, is one actress who keeps her game close to her chest almost all the time even when she didn’t get enough credit and opportunity. With a number of blockbuster movies in her kitty, Osifo in this interview with Per Seconds News David Adebayo, said the movie industry is yet to see the best of her craft.

At what point in life did you pick an interest in acting?
Growing up, I had always been an active child and an individual that loves speaking in the presence of people. So, I was always very comfortable. At a point, I auditioned for a Christmas role. I was about 13 years when I did this. I got the lead role and that was my first ever form of acting. I played the role of Mary which was so symbolic and seeing the crowd clap and seeing light shining on me as the talent on the stage and the audience dazzled at that present moment, I felt comfortable in the zone, and from then, everything started for me. Ever since then, I started going out to perform plays for events that took place in church. Just anything that helped me to be out there for the performance.

What do you think is the best and toughest part of your job as an actress?
The toughest part is how much time it takes from me. The best part is that acting is a great adventure with vast opportunities that come with it. I’ve been on a journey where I just want to portray my gift and talent. The results I then got out from it such as stardom and being a dynamic woman is an additional blessing that feels amazing. I relocated back to Nigeria from Canada only to pursue my career in acting and Nollywood is filled with diverse talents and to be recognized as a vital part of this great industry is an honor. I believe in hard work, tenacity and dedication. I also work at my own speed, so I am not comparing my journey with others.

How did you land your first acting role?
I got my first major acting gig in 2014, and it was launched in 2015. This was one year after my stay in Nigeria. I was at a stage where I was sort of getting tired because nothing was really coming through. It was a project I had with Ebony Life and it was for a franchise TV show called “Desperate Housewives’’. It was a big deal for me and I had said to myself that if I get this, I was going to stay in Nigeria forever.

 

 

Why did you think it was a deal breaker for you?
It was like a negotiation between God and I, but if it doesn’t, I would go back and figure something out because Nigeria was already getting stressful. So I went on the last day of the audition, and the first thing that discouraged me was the number tag that they gave me. I was number 606. So I was discouraged. But, I went into the audition and decided to audition for a character that was minor because I knew so many people would go for the major character. My performance made one of the people conducting the audition cry and I had to beg her to stop. At that moment I knew something had happened, subsequently, I got a call back.

How has auditioning and getting roles been for you?
The journey was extremely stressful and I had moments where I felt when I didn’t get callbacks, it would definitely give me sad moments. When the calls never came, how do you manage to muster courage for another audition? Most times, when I got callbacks, I would think it was something major but it was extra. I was just an extra in the background of the commercial but I was excited.

What would you have done if the call-back had not happened?
So, I thought to myself that I would still stay around and as time kept going, I kept auditioning. But you have got to find a way to learn how to get around those things. I believe my experiences as a teenager and the things I was doing in communities helped me a lot. So, I have had a background in activities that involved competitions.

 

 

Your industry is considered a competitive one. You have been around for some time but it gets even tougher by the day. How do you feel?
The industry we are in is considered competitive; we are all trying to get something and everybody can’t do it at the same time, but it’s who best fits it. Now, things are getting better. I now have private auctioning.

Who are your biggest influences and inspirations in life?
My parents are my biggest influences and inspirations in life.

You have acted in many blockbusters. What has been the most challenging role you have played?
The most challenging role for me would be the role I played in ‘Devil in Agbada’ because it is an action film. So there were moments we had to learn some stunts and do some physical activities than we would do in regular film or average drama. Another film is one titled ‘Cities of Bastards’, it was the most challenging production, with the most challenging character. We shot it in Makoko for almost three weeks. We stayed within the environment, we adapted to it, and we all got sick. We all got another side of living; we became part of the people living there. After the project, we left with a different mindset. It was a project that taught us such an experience we didn’t know was going on in our everyday life.

 

 

Tell us a bit about your character in the new film, WOKE, that you starred in?
My character is called “Ejura”, in the movie WOKE, and released in late 2022. I play an intelligent and passionate member of the Police trying to prove herself in a male-dominated occupation. Filming it was quite effortless because I had been waiting for roles like this. Playing an intelligent woman determined to make a mark and a name for herself in her chosen career. I can relate to that. When the opportunity came, it was an opportunity that meets preparation.

 

If you could change two things in the Nigerian film industry, what would they be and why?
If I could change anything in the Nigerian film industry, I would definitely ensure there is the regulation of piracy and circulation of funds to create better movie productions.

 

Do you have other interests apart from acting?
Yes, acting is my first love; but I am also passionate about fashion, and philanthropy through my foundation, the LAO foundation, and youth mentorship. I am currently working on a project to bring this together. I’ve always believed in giving back to my community. I grew up and acted with that mindset. These are the things that impact my life positively just knowing I am doing my part in building and developing my community.

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