With Ayamma, Princess of the Silver Screen, Theresa Edem, steps up big
You won’t miss actress, voice-over artiste and model, Theresa Edem, in Ayamma, the cultural epic film by Emem Isong.
Pretty and always wearing a girlish smile, Theresa played the devious Princess Ama, who will not allow the heir apparent, Prince Daraima (Wole Ojo), follow his heart in the well-helmed musical with the signature of Chris Eneaji. And she played the role with so much depth.
Theresa was believable. A critic remarked that she played the role as though the scriptwriter, Vivian Chiji, had her in mind when creating the character.
An Animal Science and Technology graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Theresa is very passionate about acting, and it shows from the way the Tinsel actress strives to make all the roles she has been given to play appear real and believable.
An alumnus of the Royal Arts Academy, from where, according to her, she was prepared for a career in acting, Theresa, star of movies, Take back your Throne, After the Proposal and The Antique, disclosed in this interview that though she studied Animal Science, acting has become a huge part of her life.
You played the role of the queen in Ayamma with so much depth as someone who has mingled with royalty at that level. Do you have such a background?
I did a lot of research on the character and on the Ibibio traditional royal family. Then again, we all have royalty somewhere in us, don’t we?
I am happy that you like my interpretation of the role. The feedback from the movie, which I consider my big break on the Silver screen, has been encouraging.
I am encouraged to do more work and to continue to be a good ambassador of Royal Arts Academy, where I was groomed and prepared.
Where are you originally from and what was growing up like?
I am from Uyo in Akwa Ibom State. I was born and raised there. Growing up was fun. As the last born in my family, I enjoyed the benefits of being the last-born.
I schooled in Uyo until when I had to go to the university at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
From Animal Science and Technology to the creative industry, at what point did you realise that you needed to change lane and what was the motivation for studying an agric-related course?
I studied Animal Science and Technology, and I still haven’t left it alone. I still love animals and I am planning on going into agric business in the nearest future.
However, acting has always been in my blood. I loved to read. And when I watched any movie, I would re-enact the entire film for friends, family, anyone. Sometimes, I would act it out on my own, for hours.
So, I have been doing it for a while in church and in school. Then, one day in church, I heard a message that transformed my mind and life. That is when I decided I was going to take up acting as a career.
I was also inspired by the creative abilities of those I consider my role models, such as Liz Benson and Meryl Streep.
Auntie Emem Isong is also a huge source of inspiration and motivator.
For modeling, definitely Naomi Campbell, and for voice-overs, Robin William.
And my parents, even though initially questioned my decision to change lane as you put it.
My family has been very supportive, thank God. I mean it took a while to convince them, but once they were convinced, they stuck with me through thick and thin.
Was your decision to get married quite early into your career a way of keeping the gossip press off your back?
No ooooo (loud laughter). I married my childhood sweetheart and it had nothing to do with my career, but everything to do with love and God’s time.
Oh, marriage has been great. My husband is my number one fan and big supporter. I don’t know what I did to deserve him. When you marry the right man that understands your purpose and is ready to help you achieve it, then it is easy to combine marriage with any career.
Which of your works would you consider your most memorable stage, screen and television performance?
Well, I consider all the jobs I have done as memorable, but let me quickly name one for each category.
For stage, it will have to be the play, Twenty-five. For television, I would say playing Angela Dede on Tinsel. For television film, I will pick The Bakers Daughter and for the silver screen, of course, Ayamma.
What will you consider the pain and gain of the profession?
The pain, I would say, is that acting is emotional. So, every character drains you emotionally because you become one with the character.
The gain, on the other hand, is that acting impacts lives. It can alter people’s choices and actions for the better.
Then, of course, there is the pay, which keeps you going.
What is your philosophy about life and what are your likes and dislikes, and hobbies too?
My philosophy of life is that if you can conquer your mind, you can conquer and accomplish anything.
I like good things, and hate bad things. I detest anything that is bad.
As for hobbies, I love to read books and I write as well. I read all sorts of books.
I also enjoy watching movies and series.
My favourite food would have to be spareribs, yum! I don’t have a favourite colour; I just go with my mood.
Any work on your plates and what is future for Theresa?
Yes, I am working on a new project called, Loving Daniella. It should be out sometime this year on the silver screen. I am very excited about it.
As for the future, it is so bright. I plan to keep pushing the envelope and doing quality works that will keep touching lives. I want to tell our stories to the world.
I hope to build a career that will make people dare to dream and step out and say, ‘If Theresa can do it, I can too.’