#Faceoftheweek - Theodora Ibekwe Oyebade

In an exclusive interview with Theodora Ibekwe Oyebade, a traditional Queen with the title Ezenwanyi, Ada Ka Ibeya 1 of Nollywood; An Actress, Film Producer, Publicity Expert, Community Leader, Charity Supporter and Activist. Granted Bayo’s Blog as a face of the week, she revealed her Background, Experience in the Entertainment Industry and her Achievements. 

*  May we get to meet you; who really is Theodora? 
My name is Theodora Ibekwe Oyebade, a traditional Queen with the title Ezenwanyi, Ada Ka Ibeya 1 of Nollywood; I am an Actress, Film Producer, Publicity Expert, Community Leader, Charity Supporter and Activist.

*    Can you please tell us about your background?
Born and raised in Edo State, I originally hail from Owerri in Imo State, Nigeria.

*    Briefly tell us about your educational background.
I was considered a child prodigy by my primary school tutors, my parents wanted me to pursue education as far as I could take it. This led to a certificate in Education at Auchi Polytechnic, Edo State. Later, I studied Accounting at the University of Lagos.

*    What do you do for a living? 

 I am an Actress, Film Producer, Publicity Expert, Community Leader, Charity Supporter and Activist.

*    What inspired you? 

I cannot really recall my inspiration, however as a young lady I was always interested in showbusiness.

*    What dream did you have while growing up?

I wanted to be a singer.

*   Who is your mentor and why?

I wouldn’t say that I have a Mentor. My parents were a great inspiration and I learnt a lot from them, as we all do. I admire Omotola Jalade Ekeinde and have learnt from her, watching her movies and working with her.

*    What do you like doing in your spare time? 

Spare time? What spare time? All my time is taken with one thing or another. I love cooking for my hubby, Ayo; and at present I am mentoring the Youth via my YouTube channel.

*    Do you get used to being a celebrity?

That word Celebrity is so cliched. Who really is a celebrity? Do they give back to the community that put them on a pedestal? Do the Press not enjoy tearing them down? I am fortunate to have had a loyal following over the past 14 years, but I would not consider myself a celebrity despite the numerous awards and film appearances.

 What have you learned about yourself since you became a celebrity? 

That word again? Hmmm. I have learnt that I am very easy going and approachable, which may be why I have so many followers on Social Media and they attend most of my events in droves. I have learnt humility, as I have seen many of my forerunners falling from grace. I have never been uppity but learning a lot about human nature.

 If you weren't famous what will you be up to right now? 

I started out as a Teacher, in Nigeria, and wanted to become a Banker after my Accounting degree. So, I would have probably pursued a Banking career although I became disillusioned about that and ended up managing at Water Parks.

 Who is your celebrity crush? 

Not sure I have one. I do admire a few of the Nollywood Actors like Desmond Elliot, Van Vicker, Bolanle Ninalowo but as a married woman I will not admit to having a particular crush celebrity crush, lol!!

What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever done for you?

Can’t recall any weird actions except that some of my fans have become close friends and have gone on to imitate some of what I have done like, producing and beauty pageants. Unfortunately, some have not been able to replicate my success and have invariably turned against me and spread malicious rumours about me. On a lighter note, a lot of fans send me gifts, and some have made me an ambassador of their brand, etc.

 What are some of your achievements? 

Wow!! Okay, I have supported Clarion Chukwurah’s charity through fundraising; helped to fund raise for Theodora Children’s Trust; fundraised for the John Utaka Trust. The list is endless, I have been publicity secretary for various committees including Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK); supported the Entertainment activities during the London Olympics, Stratford Theatre Royal. I have received numerous awards for acting, producing, presenting, community support, beauty pageants.

 Can you please tell us about the people you admire?

I have mentioned a few already, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Clarion Chukwurah, Desmond Elliot, Van Vicker, Bolanle Ninalowo, Joke Silva, Judi Dench.

 Are in a relationship; if yes what advice would you give to young couple out there? 

Yes, I am married to Ayo Oyebade, an accountant, actor, producer, community leader, film finance executive. The only advice I can give to young couples is to ensure that you keep the communication channels open. There is nothing worse for a relationship when couples stop talking and start keeping malice and going to bed without settling a quarrel. Love conquers all but it must not be a worldly kind of love based on feelings and emotions. Love is sacrificial, you let go of your selfish desires to be at one with your spouse. Forgiveness is so essential.

 How do you manage your relationship and profession? 

It has been relatively easy as my husband is very much interested in what I do and has been a student of film for many years, long before we met. He has supported me in every venture and has been on many of my film sets as an actor or behind the scenes. We essentially work together. He therefore understands the stresses and strains of being in show business.

 Are you ever depressed and why?

Everyone feels down at one time or another and I am no exception. I wouldn’t say that I get depressed but rather despondent when things don’t go according to plan; I have a cheerful and positive disposition and of course, a great faith in God.

 Where do you hope to be in the next four years?

As a Queen and humanitarian, my focus is building a Foundation to benefit the African Youth. To support and encourage them in whatever good vocation they are involved in. I will continue to develop and produce films and plan to learn to direct. Most of all, I want to be stronger in my relationship with God.

 How would you assess Nigeria economy of today?

Access or assess? I am not based in Nigeria, so, it would be difficult for me to assess Nigeria and to even access the Nigerian market for my films without guidance. Film distribution is incredibly difficult around the world. Nigerians in the diaspora have had limited success with their films in Nigeria and some have taken the brave move to make their films in Nigeria with varying degrees of success.

 What can be done to improve Nigeria sector and entertainment industry?

 Ha! What a question!! I will make no comment on this as I do not know enough. However, I will say that we need to get our movies to every corner of the corner, which means investing in Cinema complexes all over the country. We need to make better movies, which will attract more audiences than the American movies do; we need to have better access to distribution channels but producers have to plan their movies better, follow the proper trail: development, pre-production, principal photography, post-production, marketing and distribution. But we also need to get distributors and sales agents involved in our projects from the get-go. Better scripts, better training for actors, better pay for practitioners.

 If you had to advise young people what will you tell them?

Humility will get you far. You don’t have to be a braggard. Do not think that you can rise to any permanent heights by pulling your fellow man down. The negative aura that you put out there is what you will receive. Build up one another, support each other’s aspirations, learn the true meaning of love and practice it, remember, love the Lord thy God with all your heart, might and strength and, love your neighbour as yourself; this is the whole of the Law.

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