I’d Never Sell My Dignity For Fame – Sandra Okunzuwa Reveals In An Exclusive Interview
Nollywood actress, Sandra Okunzunwa reveals that she will never sell her dignity for fame in an exclusive interview:
My childhood was pretty interesting. As a kid, I participated in different extra curricula activities such as cultural dances, drama and debates. I think that was what stirred my interest in entertainment. The not-so-good times (of my childhood) were being bullied by my peers while in secondary school. This made me struggle with my academics. But, I still tried to make myself happy with those extracurricular activities.
For my elementary education, I attended Tender Kiddies Foundation, in Sapele, Delta State. I went to Federal Government Girls College, Benin, Edo State, for my secondary education. I then went on to study Law at the University of Benin. After attending the Nigerian Law School, I was called to the Bar as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
I am a lawyer and nothing would ever change that. As a child, I had a lot of dreams, goals and aspirations I wanted to achieve in order to live a fulfilled life without regrets. Being in the movie industry was one of them and I feel it’s about time I fulfilled that aspect. I haven’t left law for acting. I have just placed practising as a lawyer on hold temporarily since I can’t do both at the same time.
My parents didn’t disapprove of my acting career because right from the onset, they had known about the entertainment side of me. Their duty is to guide me, so I don’t make mistakes. They are fully in support of my decision.
Acting may not be as rewarding as I want it to be but I still get to inspire and encourage a lot of people through my craft. That alone is a reward for me.
One of my fears is not getting that breakthrough and my craft not being recognised internationally. I believe that I will excel but sometimes, the fear still creeps in.
Another fear I have is failing to achieve all my dreams, goals and aspirations.
My biggest sacrifice was leaving my comfort zone to get what I wanted. I left my family in Benin, paused my career in law and moved to Lagos to squat with a friend because I wanted to pursue a career in the movie industry.
One of the biggest challenges I have faced in Nollywood is going for auditions and not getting picked. Also, being misjudged just because some people are intimidated by my craft, disappointments and low pay are also problematic issues.
The personal qualities that have helped me are consistency, constant learning and self-improvement. I believe that anything one is not consistent with won’t succeed. God’s grace is also very important. I take my relationship with God seriously.
As regards sexual harassment, I haven’t experienced it and I thank God for that. Also, I believe the industry has changed over the years from when it was in the hands of some marketers. Now, there are a lot of independent producers who are more particular about producing good films as against what they would benefit sexually from actors.
It wasn’t easy to get movie roles; I had to start from scratch. I attended Royal Arts Academy and I also went for several auditions. Sometimes, I was picked and sometimes, I wasn’t selected. But still, I didn’t give up. I kept on pushing and giving my best. One of the unforgettable experiences was going for an audition and after giving it my all, they said they would get back to me. I felt really bad because at the end of the day, someone else was used. It led me to ask if I was doing the right thing. However, I still didn’t give up and kept pushing.
My memorable moments include the day I got my first car and the day I got a lead role.
I would never kill someone or sell my dignity to become popular. I would also never accept a role that requires nudity.
My dreams are so big that they scare me sometimes. To mention some of them, I would love to win an Academy Award (Oscars) as an actor and filmmaker. I would also like to work with reputable international film production companies
To stand out, I intend to believe more in myself, be consistent, acquire more knowledge and build myself. I would also like to delve into producing and directing.
I know when to draw the line between my career and my relationship. Once I find out that my career is taking too much time from my family, I take a step back in order to spend more time with my family. I understand that everyone wants to attain greater heights in their careers but I also understand that my relationship matters. If anything goes wrong with the relationship, it would affect the individual. So, the line has to be drawn between the relationship and career.
I am inspires by American actor, Tyler Perry; talkshow host, Oprah Winfrey; and reality star/businesswoman, Kylie Jenner.
I handle my male fans politely and I also know how to set boundaries.
Sex sells but one shouldn’t be defined by that. It is better to be defined by how good and unique one’s craft is.
I love dancing, swimming, reading, travelling and cooking.
I can’t do without my notebook, pen and phone.
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