TAMARA Eteimo is without doubt one of Nollywood’s most sought after actresses cum producers. And indeed she has earned her stripes. Ever since Tamara won the 7th edition of Next Movie Star (NMS), the light complexioned petite actress has continued to grow from strength to strength. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at AMVCA in 2014 for her role in Desperate House Girls.
Born to a family of six, Tamara studied Theatre Arts at the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, and graduated in 2009 before making it to NMS in 2011. Tamara later studied at the New York Film Academy where she honed her skills in acting and movie production.
ANTHONY OBI had a chat with the Bulu-Angiama, Bayelsa State indigene on the set of Gone Grey, a movie she is working on and she opened up on her journey so far.
You studied Theatre Arts at the university, has it always been your dream to act?
I don’t want to sound like a broken record by saying it’s always been on my mind to be an actress. The truth is that I’ve always seen myself as an actress. Even as a kid, whenever I watched anything on TV, I always tried to mimic it. Back then I watched Shakira a lot and I loved the way she wiggled her waist and every other thing about her. You know, I had this strong feeling that I could do it. I think that was what kept me going until my university days when I had to decide what to study and it turned out Theatre Arts was my number one choice.
What was your parents’ reaction?
At first my father wasn’t so receptive but after my certificate programme in Acting, he started coming around. He was like ‘you have to impress or rather, convince me that this is really what you want to do.’ Back then a lot of parents were not disposed to having their kids pursue careers in acting. Dad said he was giving me a year to do the certificate programme but if he was not impressed, I’d do any course of his choice and I agreed. And guess what, I made a distinction and dad was so excited he bought me a car; ever since he’s been my number one fan.
So, how has the journey been so far?
I’ll say glory be to God because it’s not been an easy journey but it’s been a splendid one. So far I’ve been able to produce three movies and a TV series. It’s a plus for my career and obviously, the job is really paying my bills but at the same time, it’s been a learning process for me; we learn as we grow.
What’s that movie role you’ll never be caught portraying?
I can act any role as long as it makes sense. However, if it’s nonsense then I won’t do it because first and foremost, you must see yourself in the character you want to portray before you act it. But one thing I know is that I can’t go nude.
Which of your movies would you say is the most challenging?
Every movie comes with its challenges so I can’t really tell you that this or that is my most challenging. But I have two that were very challenging; the first is The Event, where I played Samantha featuring alongside Wale Ojo. It was really challenging because I had to play the role of a 19 year-old girl. At a point, Wale was confused and he had to ask how old I was. In fact, I had to go on diet to achieve the character. The second is the present one I’m shooting right now. I’m playing the role of Biola, the daughter of a politician. The challenge was the part where I was kidnapped; you don’t want to go through that (laughter). It wasn’t comfortable because I was tied up. Believe me, I don’t wish my enemy to be kidnapped. It’s not a good experience. It was a huge challenge for me and at a point, I felt like I was almost fainting. These things happen in real life and that’s why I can’t wish my enemy to be kidnapped; it’s not a good experience.
How would you define love?
Love is you. Love is who you are. Love is amazing. You mustn’t give love to only humans. Animal, flowers; everything God created deserves love. But the truth is if you don’t have love, you cannot give love. It’s quite simple; you can’t give money when you don’t have it. So, you need to have love first before you can give love. Love is you; what you can offer.
What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done to you?
Recently I was on the set of Wale Adenuga’s Superstory when suddenly this guy just came out of nowhere and put his face close to mine like he wanted to kiss me! I was like ‘wow, take it easy!’ but he was like ‘I’m your fan.’ When you’re in that kind of situation you ask yourself ‘what do I do? Should I shout at him because what he did was rude? But then he just wanted to talk to me because he is my fan?’ I was short of words and amazed! I think that’s the craziest thing so far.
What’s the greatest advice you ever got as an actor?
When we were in the house back at NMS, Sola Fajobi came to see us one day and said, ‘Humility will pave ways for you. Don’t let stardom get into your head.’ And so far, that has been my watchword. And again, Mr. Linus, Stephanie Okereke-Linus’ husband once came to visit us and advised, ‘put God first in whatever you do and the rest will fall into place. Do your best and leave the rest for God.’ Those have been my watchwords. Humility is also very important and of course, God first and love what you do; that’s what my mother will tell you.