Actress Stephanie Linus has definitely paid her dues. Her road to success was not paved with gold but with determination to succeed against the odds, she has found love and happiness.
From surviving an abusive marriage to the success of her film, Dry, Stephanie has established herself as a bankable actress in Nollywood. In this chat, she talks about her career, and new project, Hygiene First.
What inspired Hygiene First?
We use this phrase ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ often, but I don’t see it reflected enough in our society. In fact, we have ignored the importance of hygiene when it really should be the epicenter of national discussions. Some of us have traveled to other countries, and we notice how much attention they pay to keep their environment beautiful and clean. The case is different here because we are not putting in enough work to ensure that things are better. I feel frustrated ignoring some basic things that have huge impacts on our health, especially during this pandemic. So, I felt there is a need to awaken our consciousness to daily habits that matter to our hygiene. As a student of environmental studies, this is an important mission for me that will hopefully serve a lot of Nigerians as well. I decided to champion this course because I believe the change we want can only start with us. We all have a role to play in making the entire country a lot cleaner and habitable.
We have a culture of poor waste disposal. How do you think this new initiative can create a paradigm shift?
We realised that ‘education’ is a unique way to communicate our mission to people. In Nigeria, we take things for granted because it hasn’t occurred to us yet to do things the better way. We are nonchalant and everyone is guilty of it. With adequate awareness and enlightenment, people will pay more attention and adjust their habits to disposing their wastes properly, especially since it concerns personal health and wellbeing. We will have a structured and informative programme that helps people see how important hygiene is and show them why they need to take responsibility for their communities.
Recently, you were spotted with Ketil Karlsen, the European Union Ambassador to Nigeria amid rumours that both of you were working on a big project. Could you share that with us?
We were discussing some matters of mutual interest and I can’t share anything about it at the moment. When the time is right, I’ll make a comment.
Since you released Dry, we’ve not heard anything new from you. Is there any new movie project on the front burner?
Of course, there are some movie projects in the pipelines. I’m working on a project centered around human trafficking. Another one is a historical piece on the role women have played in this country, and the third is a romantic comedy. I’m not the kind of person to rush. I put in a lot of work into my projects and I’ll be sure to let you know more about them at an appropriate time.
What sets Dry apart from other films?
Dry is a timeless piece. As a filmmaker, I choose to tell stories that will stand the test of time, with messages that would resonate from generation to generation. Dry is centered around a mission to eradicate fistula and improve the maternal health care system we have in Africa. And because of the positive change this movie seeks to bring to the world, it will always make an impact and find its relevance.
When you starred in Emotional Crack back in the day, did you see yourself ever becoming this big?
I’ve had lots of daring visions on positively impacting my world even before I started acting. It really hasn’t been all about me. With God’s blessings and strength have I been able to come this far. He lays the dreams on my heart, puts me in the right places and gives me the strength to work towards them.
Last year, you were inducted into the Blacks in Cinema Hall of Fame. What does this mean to you?
It feels very heartwarming that a movie from Africa was selected to be among the films that have shaped black cinema, especially in the United States. This was a great honour, which proved to me the importance of being outstanding in anything you choose to do. I’m glad that the movie, Dry has opened many doors of opportunities. It shows me that a lot can be done with just one film. I’m yet to do more; I haven’t even finished exploring.
What is your advice for youngsters who want to take after you?
Be yourself. Hold on to your dreams, have a focus and be determined. Enjoy and be content at every stage of your life, but don’t lose focus on your journey even when you get confused. The journey might be blurry, but your sheer determination and faith in God will definitely see you through.