Growing comedy sensation, Oyinbo Princess, in this interview with Weekend Magazine speaks on how she is making headway in the competitive Nigerian comedy scene as well her love for Pidgin English. Excerpts:
Weekend Magazine: Can you give us an insight into your background?
Oyinbo Princess: I was born in England and both of my parents come from England originally no mix or other cultures, plain British. I studied both at school and college, and then completed many courses whilst in employment.I am an outgoing person who loves to make others happy. I like to go the extra mile to exceed people’s expectations of me, not only in my personal life but in employment also.
WM: When did you have your first contact with Nigeria and what was it like?
Princess: I first had an insight into Nigeria via the music industry. I have always loved music and keen to find songs with a good beat. Nigerian musicians always seem to make the best music and from listening to their lyrics, I became interested in Nigeria as a country, wanting to know more.
WM: You speak Pidgin English fluently, how did that come about?
Princess: Well, as you know, I love the music; I guess this is where my passion stemmed from. Most artistes (especially back in those days) used Pidgin English a lot in their songs. To start with, I only learnt how to pronounce the words before understanding its meaning. I instantly fell in love with Pidgin English and pushed myself to learn. It was a mind matter – applying and staying committed to learning. I still learn something new every day. To learn the deeper Pidgin English is what I intend on challenging myself with next.
WM: Tell us about your flair for acting?
Princess: I have always been very much into acting. From a young age my parents enrolled me in many local shows, pantomimes and productions. Acting to me is second nature, I love nothing more than leaping into a character and getting on set or stage. I am obviously proud of my own culture and background, however I must say, to be in character in a Pidgin English speaking role, feels much more comfortable. I love the Nigerian culture so much that to put a smile on people faces gives me an overwhelming sense of acceptance and pride.
WM: You also have a thing for comedy. How would you say you have fared in that segment of the Nigerian entertainment industry?
Princess: Naturally I have always possessed a slight comical streak to my personality even at school. I was always known as the ‘class clown,’ making people laugh and enjoy themselves, makes me happy. I feel that I am managing to stay on top of my fan pages by constantly uploading new videos, posts and pictures. I try to always do something new to keep my fans interested. I am aware of many other successful ‘Oyinbo’ people who also share a love for Nigeria. I think I set myself aside by being consistent, having an inside knowledge of the country from my visits and adapting to the culture 100 percent. What I do is a niche within the market; I am committed with my time, so hope that it will guide me to the right places in the near future.
WM: Do fans hope to see you in a Nollywood movie soon?
Princess: I am certain from the feedbacks I have received; my fans would love to see me on the big screen in a Nollywood movie. I am very interested in it. As of yet I am still to seal a deal, but I feel with God’s grace, it is only a matter of time. I think I could be an asset to a production and would hope to add excellence, enjoyment and spice, to ensure the movie is an award winning one.
WM: What do your parents feel about you wanting to make a living through the Nigerian entertainment industry?
Princess: I am blessed to have such open-minded and understanding parents. They are both always proud of me in whatever I do and achieve in my life. They have always been behind my goals, aspirations and dreams, being fully supportive in any situation. They know the passion I have for Nigeria, the culture, the food, the people, the music and the country in general and they are eager to also see where it may lead to for me. I am aware that they would like to see me succeed within the Nigerian entertainment industry because they understand how very much it means to me.
WM: What is your take on Nollywood?
Princess: I think it is great. There are many different Nollywood producers, movies and actors/actresses, making it appeal to people from all different backgrounds, not only within Nigeria but worldwide. There are so many to choose from, they can suit all tastes. I have also noticed that they are always keen to promote upcoming actors and actresses, allowing them to make a break within the movie industry. I can honestly say that it inspires me to achieve my goals and I hope to be able to be a part of Nollywood myself, in the near future.
WM: Who are you favourite Nigerian artistes in the industry?
Princess: I have always liked Akin and PawPaw, they always make me laugh and I have seen many of their movies. UcheJombo is an inspiration, not only is she a talented actress, but also a screenwriter and producer. Nonso Diobi has also appeared in a number of movies I have watched and enjoyed. I loved Ramsey Nouah in ‘The Figurine,’ his acting skills are amazing. These are a few of the artistes I aspire to and there are many more I have not mentioned, who too are amazingly talented.
WM: Do you have a Nigerian man in your life?
Princess: I am married to a Nigerian man, from Lagos, he is Yoruba. We have been married for three years now. I actually knew all about Nigeria before we even met, so you could say I was a ready-made wife. He was shocked when we first met and I dropped a few phrases in Pidgin English to him. I guess on both sides, it was love at first sight. On our second date, I cooked for him and his friend, though I was ‘pepper happy’ and added far too much to the stew but at least I managed to show off a skill or two, even though it did blow their heads off!
WM: How often do you visit Nigeria?
Princess: Over the years I have been to Nigeria many times, in fact, hundreds of times. I visit for leisure or vacations a number of times and also for work. I used to work for an airline which brought me to Nigeria almost once a week. I now have my in-laws in Nigeria, so always have a reason to visit the country I am so passionate about and love so much.
WM: What would you say got you totally hooked on Nigeria?
Princess: Everything about Nigeria has got me hooked! From the wonderfully creative music to the tasty food, from the addictive culture and friendliness of Nigerian people to the beautiful country in general and the hospitality I always receive. Nigeria is an amazing place, which is the home of a fantastic nation. I love Nigeria in so many ways; I am literally hooked for life!
WM: Has your love for Nigeria opened doors for you?
Princess: Definitely. I have proudly become an online sensation from one of my popular videos ‘Egusi,’ going viral a few months ago. Following this, I have been invited to host and MC many shows and events, big and small, even appearing at weddings on a more personal and intimate level. I do adverts for companies as well. It is not always easy to make headway in such an industry with competition; however, I do it for the love of it and when I manage to anchor proposals, I am grateful for the opportunity.
WM: What Nigerian food is your favourite?
Princess: I actually love all Nigerian foods from snacks like chinchin, puffpuff, guguru and epa to main dishes such as egusi, banga, eba, fried dodo, peppered fish, yams, fried rice, stew, moimoi and okra. I can prepare all of the above and many more. Meat dishes are my favourite; I also have a taste for cow foot and shaki (tripe). In my traditional culture, being English, our foods tend to be very bland, with no pepper at all. I now cannot even fry an egg without adding spoons of pepper to give it a kick!
WM: Where do you hope to be in the next five years in the Nigerian entertainment industry?
Princess: In the next five years, I aspire to be a full-time actress, host and public figure promoting Nigeria in all ways to people worldwide. I aim to be giving back to a community that has given me so much. Nigeria has influenced my life in so many ways, that I wish to spread the word and help make Nigeria a popular destination for others from outside the country.
WM: Any last words for your fans?
Princess: Following this interview; I just dey sit here and ask myself, ah ah, wetin bi this, me weysabi Pidgin dey come write Queens English as replies! Omo I no try at all ooo LOL!! No shaking, make our readers come check me for my pages nao, see wetindey happen!