Interviews | 9 July 2011 14:18 CET


By Shaibu Husseini

Popular Nollywood actress Benita Nnenna Adaeze Nzeribe showed up at the premiere of Tricia Esiegbe Kerry's Pradah held recently at the Silverbird Galleria looking vivacious as ever. Needless to say, nosy entertainment journalists swarmed on the Ihiala-Anambra State-born actress who is popular as Bennie and wanted to know why the A-list actress has been out of action for some time now. “I have been around,” she says. Outside the red carpet area, the third child in a family of four spoke about her rumored pregnancy and reacted to the insinuation that at a point in her career, she took to playing notorious and strip-teasing roles so as to gain prominence.

TRUE where have you been?

I have been around. I have been shooting and have done some works that are not out yet. And outside acting, I have done some modeling jobs and outside that too, I am Coordinator for Anambra State for the Center of International Intelligence Peace and Development in Nigeria. It is an internationally recognized Non Governmental Organization (NGO). Right now, we are promoting peace in the Niger Delta area and we are going to come out with an event shortly. It is one of the ways that we are assisting Mr. President (Goodluck Jonathan) to stretch out his hand of peace to the youth. But I have also created time while handling that brief to keep up with my work as an actress.

So we will be seeing more of you now in movies?

Yes please. I have always been there and will continue to be there as long as I breathe.

Okay, of all the movies you have done so far which can you consider as your most memorable?

I don't think it will be fair for me to name just one. I have many of them and that is because each movie comes with everything in it. But I like my input in Land of Dwarfs as directed by Andy Amenechi. It is an epic film and we had the challenge of shooting it all through several nights. We shot it in a thick forest. It was tasking. There are some, about four or five that I have done so far that I consider challenging but it is just that they are not out yet.

But will you agree that it was Beyond Our Dreams that shot you up?

Yes, it did. It was what shot me up and made quite a number of people reckon with me. Till date people still call me by the name of the role I played in that soap. They still stop me to make good and sometimes very silly comments about how I played the role. I mean some say I over played it while some said I was too wicked and whether I was wicked in real life as I was in the soap. You know stuffs like that. But that's how it started for me. It was from there that I switched on to the movie.

So it all started for you on the set of Beyond our Dreams?

On television yes but in the movies, I think it was when I visited a film location with a friend. It was after then that I began to develop passion for acting. I got home, walked straight to my mother's dressing mirror, and said to myself “girl you can do it”. Since then I never looked back.

And there is this whole talk about you being bitchy for a purpose?

Yes I have heard people make such comments, that I want to get noticed and that I am even bitchy in real life. But you see people don't understand me. I live my roles. Once a camera is on, I am that character until the camera goes off. Once it is off, I am back to Benita. That is why when I act a bitchy role, you think I am bitchy and when I act a good girl, you think I am good. It is all make-believe.

They also say, I mean the gossip press, that you have found love overseas?

I have found love overseas ke? Who told you that? Please I beg you! I am in a relationship but not this love that you said or they said I have found. I am in a relationship and it is for real. I don't want to let the cat out of the bag. I will let you guys know who the fellow is when it is time.

Did the fellow you are in a relationship with presently meet your requirement for an ideal husband? Recall you had mentioned previously that he must be God fearing and all that?

Well he tried to meet them. He tried and that is all I can say even though I think that people should stop giving me husbands on the pages of newspapers

What is the truth about your pregnancy?

You heard that too abi? But do I look pregnant? They even said that I was nine-month pregnant and had done a secret wedding, a reason I have been out of circulation. I know they will say there is no smoke without fire, but this one there is even no smoke at all. I recall that my mummy called me to find out when I had the pregnancy that she didn't see and I said mummy I tire o. There was nothing like that. But it is okay for people to talk about you. The only pain is when people see you in different light and paint you in the colour that you are not. Some even call you all sorts of name and develop impressions about you even when they haven't met you.

Once at the airport, I sat by a woman who was trying to change her babies pampers and at the same time board a flight. She was trying to do so many things at the same time. So, I offered to help her at least hold the baby while she sorted out other things. You know what she said: 'my dear, it is bad to judge people. I never knew you were this nice' (from afar). She confessed and then apologized that she had been judging me wrongly. We exchanged numbers and have since remained good friends.

How much do you spend looking this stunning?

Oh my God. But I don't spend much. It is just a natural gift. That is the truth. This is just me. I drink a lot of water. I only visit beauty parlors once in a month. As for designers, I am not a designer freak. I simply put on anything that is good and fitting.

Where are you headed career wise?

I am aiming for the highest. I have merely scratched the surface of what I want to achieve in the industry. I love acting. I love the job. I may not have all the money in my account but I am okay. I believe that whatever we are earning now is a steppingstone to greater things. We are getting there. Very soon we will start living off the works that we do. I am very positive about it. But I love acting. Some other thing might come at the corner but I am first an actor.

Other sites The Nigerian Voice