While some Nollywood stars have littered their bodies with all kinds of drawings and piercing, Mimi Orjiekwe, tells Ademola Olonilua about why she would not dare write on hers.
From being a beauty queen you became an actor, what influenced that decision?
When I contested for Miss African Queen, one of the judges was a movie director and when he saw me, he convinced me to audition for a role and do my best in it. Even before then, when I was in school, I was always involved in the dramatic club, so when I got the opportunity to audition for a movie, I embraced it. That was how it all started for me.
How was the transition from the runway to television screen?
They are all different forms of entertainment and I have a passion for entertainment. If you love entertainment, you would want to do anything in the field. They are all in the same category. I would say that the major difference between the two is that acting is more emotional, you have to express yourself while acting but when it comes to beauty pageantry, you just have to walk pass people but also try to impress them and not fall in the process.
Why did you decide to go into beauty pageantry?
Being a beautiful girl, a lot of modelling agency approached me to join their agency. A family friend of mine, Temidayo, convinced me to give it a shot. He told me that I could be a beauty queen and I would excel, so I picked the form, competed in a beauty pageant and I won. That was the beginning. After then, I was invited to be a part for an advertising campaign but it was never my turf or what I wanted to do in life.
Since it was fetching you money why didn’t you stick to it?
When I was growing up, I never really had a clear cut idea as to what career path I wanted to toe in life. As a matter of fact, I always wanted to be a lawyer but when modelling and acting came, I dropped that idea. You do not know what God has in stock for you. I was supposed to study Law but it did not work out. I had to study some acting courses and when I got the opportunity to become an actress, I embraced it and I love the limelight.
You won the pageant in 2009 but you have not changed much, how have you been able to maintain your physique?
It is hard to stay in shape because as you grow, you tend to eat more food and if you do not exercise regularly, it would be difficult to keep your shape. Whenever I see any girl who is in shape, I always give them kudos because it means they really worked hard. Sometimes I grow bigger and other times I am slimmer. But I work out a lot and I watch what I eat. However, I have come to realise that it is not about what you eat but the hormones in you. If you want to remain beautiful and keep fit, you have to work hard. One has to work out daily, watch what you eat, embark on regular diets, and maintain your physique.
Has your beauty ever worked against you?
It has opened a lot of doors for me but it can also make people upset. If some people think you are beautiful and feel you don’t have their time or refuse to do their bidding, they get upset. It has happened several times. It is one of the challenges of being beautiful. If you need a favour from a man, he would believe it is the right time to make advances at you.
How often do you get advances from men?
I don’t know how frequent it is but I know that I get advances from men a lot. As a woman, it doesn’t matter whether if you are beautiful or ugly; men would always want to talk to you, so it is up to you to learn how to handle it. You have to be genuinely nice to people because sometimes, they do not want to woo you, they only want to be friends. I handle advances from men as an adult and I am nice to everyone. But if you take it further than friendship, then I will tell you it is impossible.
How do you maintain your skin?
I do not like the sun and if I must walk under the sun, I use an umbrella. I try to always be at places where the air conditioner is on. I use normal body mosturisers, nothing expensive. So I think it is by the grace of God that my skin glows.
How much do you spend on beauty products?
I can’t say I really spend much because I change my soap and cream as soon as they finish and I don’t keep records of that. I don’t use any facial wash or cleanser. I use facial scrub once in a while. I don’t spend much to be beautiful. I think you just have to use the right products on your skin to make it glow.
We have seen women bleach their skin just to be as fair as you, how do you react to that?
It is unfortunate and it happens because people are convinced their creams are good products and would make their skin glow and shine. They buy it, use it, then it burns their skin and they begin to regret their decision. I feel so sorry for them because it is not good for a woman to bleach. Bleaching disgusts men and even people who come around you. I always advise ladies not to patronise those who sell bleaching creams. You should not buy a product that you know nothing about. You need to go for a skin test to know exactly what suits your skin. Our skin is very sensitive and if you use a harsh product on it, it will definitely burn your skin.
How come you don’t have any tattoo?
I cannot draw anything on my body. I see my body as a Ferrari or a Bentley. You will never see anyone write things on such exotic cars. I keep my skin clean, I don’t want any tattoo on my body because I don’t need all that. I think if I inscribe something on my body, at a point, I might not want it any more so I don’t want to do something I would want to remove later in life and may not be able to.
How about extra body piercing?
I come for a very humble Christian background. It is not like there is anything wrong with extra body piercing but I grew up knowing my mother did not have an extra piercing on her body. She is my role model and I do not want to do anything she did not do. As the only daughter in my family, my mother was and still is the only one I look up to. I learnt how to shape my eye brows from her. She did not have an extra piercing. I copied that from her. When I was growing up and saw that my friends had multiple ears piercing, I liked it at a point but I made a decision not to indulge in it because my mother didn’t do it.
Since you were the only girl in your family, weren’t you a tomboy when you were much younger?
When I was in secondary school, people always said that I looked like a boy. We had a drama club in school and I was always asked to play the role of a man because I went to an all-girl’s school. They gave me the role because I acted it very well, all thanks to what my brothers taught me. I remember when I was growing up, we always played football and we wore just our boxers. I was always the goalkeeper and we did a lot of rough play. Then I did not have boobs. But that did not stop me from knowing I was a woman. It was a stage in my life; my early years and I miss those years so much. I did not care if someone was looking at me or what I was wearing. It never really occurred to me that I had to look good. I miss those days but I am happy that we grew into something better today.
What kind of clothes are you comfortable wearing?
I don’t like stress so I like something that is simple. I don’t care who made it, once it is comfortable and it fits very well, then I am good with it.
It seems you do not mind showing off your cleavage…
If you have it, flaunt it. But it does not mean I should show the world everything. I have to look sexy for myself. Nobody is stopping you from showing what you have but don’t look irresponsible.