I am so excited about Odenike. I have known her since High School and I am thrilled that right now she is living her dreams. From being a contestant on The Spirited Actor (the search for Africa’s next Hollywood star) to her starring in Hear Word; a major theatre production in Nigeria alongside Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, Bimbo Akintola, Dakore Akande among others and now on the Ebony Life TV Drama, Deadline.
I recently had a chance to speak to her on her career and her work with the Greenlight Screen and MovieMaking Initiative. Enjoy it
HARRY: First of all, who is Odenike?
ODENIKE: I like to consider myself a gentle person although my close friends would object to that. I am a friendly person, fun and easy going. I was born in Lagos and grew up here as well. I studied Business Administration at the University of Lagos after which I focused fully on my acting career.
HARRY: When did you decide that acting was something you wanted to do full time?
ODENIKE: After secondary school I started modeling; doing TV commercials and the likes. But I really wanted to act. When I finally heard about an audition for a TV series, I went for it. The reaction I got from the panel made me more confident in my acting and so I decided I needed to work on myself and follow it through. Since then I’ve gotten more confident that this is what I want to do. I realised I didn’t feel as much motivation doing anything as I did when it had to do with acting.
HARRY: How has the journey been?
ODENIKE: It’s been challenging. It’s been fun. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication. There’s always something to discourage you but then that’s what makes it challenging and worth doing. Also there’s always something to do and something new to learn.
HARRY: What are the challenges you face as a young actress in Nigeria?
ODENIKE: Well, the first thing is that a lot of scripts are written with older people in mind. So fitting into a role could be challenging especially for movies. But I believe that is gradually changing. Also, as a budding actor, you’ve got to prove yourself which means lots of auditions and castings. (LAUGHS) But then it’s all part of the process.
HARRY: How do you deal with them?
ODENIKE: I deal with them as what they are; challenges. I try to perform at every opportunity and go for as many auditions as I can.
HARRY: What has been your most memorable moment so far?
ODENIKE: It was the moment when I thought I had missed out on the opportunity to be a finalist in The Spirited Actor and then my name was called at the last second!”
HARRY: What is your creative process like?
ODENIKE: I don’t think I have one singular creative process. It depends on what it is I’m preparing for. Sometimes I just see something on the road then and there I am able to understand and develop a character for a role.
HARRY: What do you think is the future for actors in Nigeria?
ODENIKE: I believe actors in Nigeria are taking the art to another level. The industry is growing rapidly, we are seeing more actors that are competent and are willing to take on challenges. Our actors are already winning awards internationally. Our future is global relevance.
HARRY: What non-acting projects are you involved in?
ODENIKE: I am the coordinator for the Greenlight Screen and MovieMaking Initiative, a non-profit organization that funds and equips teenagers to make short films. We bring in professionals in the industry such as actors, directors, script-writers and other stakeholders. These individuals volunteer their time to come coach them for free in the art of film making. After which these teenagers then proceed to produce their own short films with supervision from even more professionals.
HARRY: Wow. That is incredible. What impact do you want to leave in the entertainment industry?
ODENIKE: I just want to be remembered as that actor that always gave her best.
Connect with Odenike
Images by chyder5photography for Odenike