Oma Iyasara – Sexual Harassment Is Not Peculiar To The Movie Industry

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Oma-Iyasara3Up and coming actress, Oma Iyasara, tells Saturday Beats how she got into the make-belief industry

Have you always wanted to be an actress?

I really don’t know if it was supposed to be acting but I have always loved the TV. While growing up, Christiana Amanpour was my role model.

So how did you get into the industry?

I got a chance to do a series “The Return” in Ghana in 2006 but I had to go to university. But I became a professional actress during the ASUU strike in 2011. Instead of sitting at home bored, I went to an acting school in Lagos and that was it.

Who introduced you to acting?

No one really. I accompanied my friend to a casting and the producer saw me and gave me a script and that was it.

Was it a ‘waka pass’ or you just hit it big the first time?

Well, my first role wasn’t a waka pass, it was a TV series about four girls and I was one of the girls but after that, when I started in 2012 after my university, I did a couple of extra roles.

Which movie eventually shot you to limelight?

It was Last Flight to Abuja. I thank Mr. Obi Emelonye for the opportunity. I really appreciate it.

How easy was it to get to where you are now?

It wasn’t easy, I had issues with my family but I thank God they are supportive now. Most times, I fell into depression because it was hectic. My body frame was a problem.


They said I had to lose some weight. It got to me but then, whenever I remember America’s Queen Latifa, I feel relaxed. After all, she is successful in her career. I can’t be skinny and it just kept me going. The journey was not easy but I thank God. I love my body so much. I actually used to be skinny. I was called ‘alika,’ ‘fido dido’ and such names. I prayed to be chubby and I am enjoying it all the way. We all can’t be skinny.

Do men get intimidated by your size?

Yes. Some men actually get intimidated but I don’t blame them anyway.

There are so many actresses, how do you cope with competition?

The competition is crazy but then I realised that if you know what you want, you will keep pushing till you get there. I really don’t see them as competition but more like a drive to strive harder.

Some actresses claim they were sexually harassed by directors and producers, are you one of them?

Sexual harassment is everywhere, it is not peculiar to the movie industry. So far, I will say I have been lucky not to go through such anyway. It is how you place yourself that you will be addressed.

Who do you owe the success you have achieved so far?

I owe it to God, my family and a few friends who believed in me and didn’t mock me and also to myself for how I pulled through.

There are so many cliques in the movie industry, which one do you belong to?

I don’t belong to any. I am my own clique. Growing up, I was warned against cliques. I get along with everyone and I am just a happy kid.

Men generally don’t like marrying actresses, have you considered that?

Yes. I have thought of that but then, my man will love me for me because he is my man and my profession won’t make him love me less. A lawyer or banker is not better than an actress because every work place has its own negative part. Nigerians really need to be enlightened; acting is make belief and not all actresses are wayward. In fact, they make good wives.

Tell us about your boyfriend…

I am very much single.

What if your man asks you to stop acting?

When we get to that bridge, we will cross it. The man hasn’t come yet, but if he wants me to stop acting, he should better have a Plan B that will wow me.

They say actresses live above their means in order to meet up, do you do so as well?

That is a big lie. I cut my coat according to my material. If I can’t afford something, I make do with what I can.

Who are your role models?

My sister Efuru, she is a super woman

Who would you rather play a love scene with in movies?

As long as he is good looking and doesn’t have bad breath, bring him on. I don’t mind the person.

How do you cope with male admirers?

I cope very well, I try not to let the admirers get to my head, and I know how to draw a line.

Did your parents support your career path?

At first no, but I am very sure if my mum was alive, (God rest her beautiful soul) she would still say no to acting.

How was growing up?

It was amazing. I have a large family so I had a lot of cousins, relatives and it was amazing. I learnt a lot from my dad who is a giver and always smiling. My mum was amazing, she was a strong woman and my sister took after her. So, I learned a lot from them. Most times, I wish I didn’t grow up, I wish I could be a child forever but then I can’t. It’s just a wish.

Will you act semi nude in Nollywood?

That is a tough question. To be sincere, I don’t know. Let’s see what happens when the offer comes.
courtesy of Punch

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