SINCE 2013 when shapely Linda Osifo landed in Nollywood after her studies in Canada, it has been almost a smooth ride because of her unique ability in interpreting her roles convincingly well.
Popular for her role in the Desperate Housewives series, the graduate of Psychology from York University, Toronto, Canada and former beauty queen, spoke with SAM ANOKAM and OLAITAN GANIU about her career, the discrimination she faced in Canada because of the pigment of her skin, her love life, among others.
You have been quite busy lately, would it be right to say you are one of the most sought-after actresses?
I would say that I am getting calls for work and I thank God for that and it seems like people are liking my talents and they are seeing more of it in a different light.
I recently played a lead role in film, Devil in Agbada. The movie brought up a challenge for me to be different from the common roles I’ll receive. To be specific, it brought out more skills for me. Skills like being physically strong and swift at the same time.
You started out as a model before you delved into acting, how was it?
I started off in the industry of modeling, beauty pageant, television hosting in Canada. I did two beauty pageants in 2011 and came first and second runner up respectively and those were platforms to take me to where I am now.
Why didn’t you continue in that direction?
It is because I have a deeper passion for acting more than modeling. modeling is not just the run-way modeling, as an actor, you model a personality, image and your life is all about it and it is all part of the same industry, the fact that you take pictures is just the same way models also do but I wanted more and I knew it wasn’t going to offer more than the acting aspect.
What’s your perception about ‘Desperate Housewives Africa’ series that you featured in, which was your breakthrough in the movie industry?
I would say that I got into limelight and an attention to me in that series in 2015. I was nominated for ELOY award in 2015 for that role and ever since then, I started getting more attention to my career.
Did you have the intention of going into Nollywood after graduation from the university?
I graduated in 2013 in Toronto, Canada where I studied Psychology and I left there for Lagos that same year to pursue my acting career. It was more than what was in my mind, it was a journey that I had made not because I didn’t have options, I was a fresh graduate in Canada where I was able to get a good job but I wanted to pursue more than that. The passion that I had for acting when I was young being a public figure and being able to do more, has always been there. It is beyond the acting but more of making an impact in my society.
What determines the kind of roles that you play in movies?
It is the storyline that determines the kind of roles that I would play in a movie. How challenging it is especially now that I want something more challenging. I am eager for something more challenging and that is what would determine the role not just the kind of movie it is but the background behind the story, the impact that the character will have on anyone that watches the movie just as the movie that you saw today.
Have you ever rejected a movie role before?
Absolutely, I have, the storyline has to add equity and hold substance for me to feel.
Would you take a role that involves sex scenes?
I choose my roles, cautiously. Specifically, I wouldn’t take a role that involves nudity.
Have you removed the tribal marks that made people jest of you in Canada?
I am not removing it again, let it be there. As a young child, we face low self-esteem, discrimination and we get bullied, things like that can cause pressure on you and make you not to look for another alternative. That is why bullying is a very terrible thing because it can lead you to low self-esteem.
I felt different kinds of discrimination when I was in Canada because I wasn’t just a black woman, I was a darker woman in complexion compared to the black race. I felt that discrimination, low self-esteem and in a country like Canada, where they are not so much exposed to different culture, I was called names that children should not be called.
When you came back to Nigeria, what was the treatment like?
It was different because I left Nigeria at the age of eight and didn’t come back until I became much more older at the age of 22. It was very much a different world for me that I much experienced because the little I experienced as a child was not what I was now used to. I had a lot to adjust to, like the culture, system, environment, food etc.
What was your experience in Nollywood when you joined; was it like what you read in papers like sexual harassment, sex for roles?
I didn’t read anything, I didn’t know what to expect and I didn’t have any expectation but of course, you would hear one or two things but it takes a lot to make it. People buy roles, they get discriminated, sexually abused, and for me, I came here with a mindset that was very strong that I believed in what I was coming for because I had options. Mine was not a do or die affair. I wasn’t so desperate for anything and I think that was the key to a lot of things for me. Because I wasn’t desperate, I wasn’t going to the extreme to get anything but I didn’t really experience any of such things. I was surrounded with such things happening around me and if I didn’t have my focus and understand what I wanted, I could have also been weighed around those stuff.
What was your first pay as an actress?
It’s been a very long time but I can definitely tell you it was all about looking for opportunity before anything else.
Are you into a relationship now?
I am okay. I am not in a relationship but at the same time, I am not looking for one. I am married to my Lord and Saviour because my focus at this stage is in a particular line which is my career and I just know that the right person comes in at the right time.
What do you intend to achieve as an actress?
I want to achieve a lot as a personality because I do not want to just describe me as an actress alone but I want to be an individual and at this stage as an actress, I want to expand it to be able to achieve a different kind of system with the people that I bring together. I want to make impact with people who are my kind of complexion that i experienced as a child in terms of discrimination. I want to make people more confident. I want more female or girl child to feel more strong and embrace themselves as a black woman especially in a society or industry that is so tough with the kind of my complexion to do well but it happens but they can make it and that is not an excuse.