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I was naive at the 2014 Big Brother Africa house – Lilian Afegbai

Lilian Afegba
Lilian Afegbai

Nollywood actress, Lilian Afegbai has opened up on her challenges in the movie industry and also in her lingerie brand.

The Big Brother Africa reality TV star made this known in an interview with Yetunde Oladeinde.

WHAT are you working on at the moment?

Right now, I am working on a lot of projects but considering the pandemic that is happening this year, there is a limit to what we can do. I am working on a couple of movies and some other projects which I am yet to unveil. But pretty soon, everything would come to limelight.

How has COVID-19 affected some of your plans?

Though the pandemic has really affected me in terms of the things that I wanted to do. I had my movie premier, private screening for my new film titled, “Double strings’ that was meant for release just before coronavirus started. Everything now is on hold because we couldn’t do all of those. And we obviously cannot do any of that anytime soon. So, we just have to find other ways, other means of releasing it. Also, I was working on a production that I had to hold which is gradually picking up now. Also, my business; my lingerie line was stocked but the sales have been a little slow for a bit, it is picking up now. So, yes, it affected my business and life. But yet, we have to realize that once there is life, there is hope. So, you can only be grateful.

Do you consider this a time to rest and take a break from work?

To be honest, I would say that we have had a lot of rest, enough. It was just a long break that wasn’t needed, First week, second week and then third week and more. So, I won’t consider this a time to rest because I have rested enough. Resting for months that I don’t appreciate at all. I am actually a workaholic, I like to work. I am happy when I work

Tell us about your experience as Big Brother Africa housemate?

My experience in Big Brother was awesome. That was 2014. That was a long time ago and so many things have happened since then. Then, I was naïve and I was young. I would say that at the time, it was worth it. At the end of the day, everything that you go through in life is a stepping stone to where you are headed.

So, that was a phase in my life that I really appreciated. It started my journey thus far and helped me to have the foundation required. It was amazing being in the house, but then also it had its ups and downs. You know, Nigerians have this issue routing for ladies. I am glad that is changing now with Big Brother Nigeria considering the fact that Mercy won this year. That was a major challenge that I had then.

How did participating in the show affect your career?

I participated in the show in 2014 but before I went to the Big Brother house, I had tendered my resignation letter to Lagos State Internal Revenue. So, when I came out, I knew I wasn’t going back to work. I was going to focus more on my acting, production and everything I had for this next phase in my life. I would say that it didn’t affect my career in anyway. Instead, it helped my career in many ways.

What inspires the things that you do?

To be honest, what inspires me is the drive, the drive to achieve my dreams. The drive to achieve my goals in life and to get to a certain point where, I could genuinely give back to people, without limit. This is because I feel like one of my purposes in life is to help people. And to give back to people in any way that I can. So, the fact that I have these goals that I want to achieve in life is my driving force. So, every day when I wake up, I just want to keep working. So, I keep working and becoming a better version of myself.

What are some of the other things that occupy your time?

I watch movies, I read and I try to go for courses when I can. Yes, basically those are some of the things that occupy my time. I also try to be a creative mind. Sometimes, I just travel to re-evaluate myself, go back to the drawing board and think about what next.

What are some of the challenges? Did you feel like quitting at any point?

To be honest, yes there were times that I felt like quitting. But this was because at some point, my career was stagnant and I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. People underestimated me, they just assumed things that they didn’t really know anything about. They just thought, she is a reality star and that is that. So, I had to work hard to prove myself in the industry. Also, when I came out of big brother’s house, I had depression; it was hard trying to make a name for myself with everything going on, with the backlash and all the internet throws. It was really hard, it was just hard trying to prove yourself to people who don’t really know who you are.

They just assumed a lot of things and you just have to keep trying, working twice as hard. There were a couple of times that I felt like quitting but I kept telling myself, you are not a quitter.

You can do whatever it is that you want to do. You can achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve, and so I just get back up, keep pushing and striving. And then I pray to God, at the end of the day, God is my major source of strength. I would say that, HE has really been there for me in my worst moments. HE has actually brought me out of everything I never thought, I could overcome. Of course, there were times, I thought of quitting but I just didn’t let that weigh me down.

Tell us about the people you admire in the sector?

To be honest, I admire a lot of people. So, it is hard for me to pick or call names because they are a lot. You don’t want to call names and end up calling everyone. At the end of the day, in the industry now, we have a lot of women doing so many huge things. Look at Mo Abudu, Omoni Oboli, Kate Henshaw, Genevieve, and Funke Akindele. All these people, you find that they keep trying and trying to do great things. So, I admire a lot of people in the industry, young, old and even my friends. These are the people that you see, they have been there, they have been consistent and even working hard to achieve their goals. And they are still going at it and are still achieving it.

What are some of the changes that you would like to see in the sector?

I would like to see actors more respected, actors paid well and I would also like to see the crew members, the people behind the camera celebrated more. This is because they put in so much work and feel that they are not celebrated as much as they should. I would also like the government to involve themselves more in the industry because it needs a lot of attention now. Look at the whole coronavirus situation and everyone was stuck on Netflix, movies and everything. I would say that entertainment is the next big thing in the world right now. The movie industry, entertainment, arts and everything. So, having the government invest more in everything in our industry would go a long way in terms of financial stability, revenues for producers and all that. And also quality which I think that we are already doing, people are already taking their time to produce nice movies. So, for as much as I would like to see changes, I would like to say that people are already impacting , they are already making this changes gradually and we can only hope for the best at the end of the day.

What is your definition of style?

My definition of style would be whatever you are comfortable with. At the end of the day, the truth is that if you wear something that you are not comfortable with, you lose it. Style is whatever you are comfortable with, but being classy, has a bit of everything, sexy but still comfortable. If you are not comfortable, that is not style. If you are wearing something and you cannot walk properly, then it isn’t it. So, style for me would be simplicity. Here you can be effortlessly simple and still look classy and killing it.

What are the things that you won’t do in the name of fashion?

The things I wouldn’t do in the name of fashion would be to outdo myself and be uncomfortable. I would not wear certain things because they are in trend or in vogue if I am not comfortable in them.

What would you consider as the turning point in your career?

What I would consider as the turning point in my career was when I won the AMVCA for my movie, my first movie production. For me, that just made me realize that people are always watching and so in life you just have to stand out. That just gave me a certain kind of motivation to just keep working harder. That motivated me to my next film and the next film. It just kept pushing me to just do it, it could work and then my lingerie line just happened. That was a huge motivation for me, which was a turning point in my career. That also made me realise that it is not how far, but how well.

Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your career?

First of all, it is my family. My mum is a huge influence on my career; Multi Choice, Africa Magic and DSTV all have added to my career in so many ways, that I cannot begin to mention to be honest. I keep telling people that they are a huge part of my success story. And they have added value to me in so many ways. Dr Chukwu Eluka, my friends and everyone has paid their price in influencing my career.

Tell us about your beauty regimen. What is the secret of looking good?

I am one person that realised that the minute I stop using a lot of things on my skin, I started having this glow, started bouncing. So, I do more of oils, I scrub my face and go the Spa at least twice a month. I do like my scrubs and do rub a lot of oils on my skin.

What items do you cherish the most in your wardrobe?

I cherish my clothes. I have to wear clothes, I love clothes.

How do you relax?

I watch movies, I love to go to the beach and just clear my head. And I love to travel and relax.

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