She is one of the new faces of Nollywood that is gradually becoming a reckoning force. Irrespective of what role she is playing, Ini Dima-Okojie, the former banker who chose a life in the limelight has a way of leaving an indelible mark in each production. Who could forget her in the popular web series ‘Skinny Girl in Transit’ or the Femi Odugbemi’s family drama series ‘Battleground’. Each of these productions sees the Edo State indigene, delivering outstanding performances on screen. Her latest effort is ‘Kpali’, produced by Emem Ema. But is there more to the young actress? The Interview finds out in this chat.
How challenging was it for you in ‘Kpali’?
It was quite interesting. We filmed ‘Kpali’ in the middle of 2017 and I was smacked in the middle of a daily show called ‘Battleground’ and that was very tasking for me because I was one of the lead characters and filmed daily.
However, they were gracious enough to give me three weeks off the film.
I had read it before I had started working on the daily show, and as such it got me pushed. Eventually it fell in between the daily show.
First and foremost, I had to study while I was starring on a daily show.
Normally I would like to space it so I could have time out to prepare properly.
I had to multitask because at the end of the day there will be no excuses when everyone is watching. It was interesting, tough, but we did it.
Do you feel fulfilled as an actor?
This is my dream, what I have always wanted to do, and what I quit my job to do.
It has ups and down, a lot of challenges, nothing is perfect, but at the end of the day, it is all worth it.
It almost feels like a higher calling to me to do this, making the characters believable and giving people a means of escape.
It feels bigger than me, it’s been a ride but I wouldn’t change anything. I used to be an investment banker and then I quit to join the film industry.
A lot of people thought I was crazy but when I got the support of my parents, I decided to do it. My dad was very troubled with the idea at first but my mum for some reason, she bought into it
What led to that career change?
It was a major challenge and that’s why it took me time to tender my resignation letter.
But you know how you have a dream that it’s tugging at your heart.
You almost cannot sleep at night because everything you are doing doesn’t really make sense anymore, that’s how I felt at my former job.
At some point, I just couldn’t ignore the fact that I needed to give this a shot.
A lot of people thought I was crazy but when I got the support of my parents, I decided to do it.
My dad was very troubled with the idea at first but my mum for some reason, she bought into it. I think she must have convinced him because they offered to pay the school fees.
Was there anytime you felt discouraged after you left your job, at least in the initial stage?
No, not at all. I never thought I should go back. I was thinking of how to work very hard to make sure I become successful. It was a huge step and I had to make sure that I was ready for that. I have never looked back.
Would you say 2019 has been a fantastic year for you with the number of movies you featured in?
It’s so funny outside looking in.
2019 has been quite a challenging year, but I thank God because in the midst of the challenges; work that you are anticipating to come out and then everyone assumes you are doing very well, but you know you are your own biggest critic.
But I’m in awe of it all. I’m grateful and still very much inspired and ready for 2020 to come quickly.
What are your plans for 2020?
I am on a mission to make my dream come true. A lot of projects both in film and TV will be coming out next year and then keep hoping to get a script that will inspire us and I will keep giving my best to it.
Do you have plans to go fully into fashion?
Fashion is a huge part of my life and it started right from when I was young.
I was so obedient with what I wear not minding what people will say about it. I love fashion and I express myself through it and have fun with it. It will be crazy not to leverage on it later in the future but for now, I am more focused on my acting career. Fashion is something that I have at the back of my mind.