‘I didn’t choose entertainment, it chose me’
Beverly Osu is a Nigerian model and actress. A controversial figure, she’s predominantly known for her roles in several Nollywood films and for her participation in the season eight of the Big Brother Africa, where she represented Nigeria, alongside Melvin Oduah. In this interview with CHINONSO IHEKIRE, the award-winning model spoke on her exploits in the entertainment industry and life as an entrepreneur.
A lot of people know Beverly the actress, model and entertainer, could you share with us the other side of you?
I feel like everyone sees what I want them to see; people think Beverly is such a playful person. Well, I’m very playful, but I love my quiet time. I’m a loner; I’m an introvert and extrovert.
As an artist, how has COVID-19 affected you?
Well, it has been high and low with me, because like it has affected our jobs and our source of income, we still got to do things. Personally, it just gave me more time to do some thinking, to re-energise and revaluate my life, which I feel happens to just everybody. Having your ‘me-time’ is key for your mental health; I did a lot of soul searching and a lot of planning. Right now, we are just waiting to execute.
Where do you see the entertainment industry post-COVID?
There are two ways this might end up; its either it totally disappears and everybody goes back to normal, which I still doubt, or people just basically turn back to their normal lives and way of living. But I feel like, even when we return to our normal lives, our normal wouldn’t be our normal. These months have given the world time to re-adjust; it will be like a new beginning. Things are popping up, new ways of living; the world would have to adjust to it.
So, do you feel it’s doing more harm than good or the reverse?
I’m a firm believer that there’s always a rainbow after the rain. I feel that everything bad is happening because there’s always something good about to happen; I’m that strong believer. I feel this pandemic came to change the world; maybe some changes we refused to make on our own.
How did you get into the entertainment industry?
See, I didn’t choose entertainment, entertainment chose me. I remember when I was younger, it was not like a big deal, but like every other kid, I used to say, ‘Oh, I want to be like you when I grow up.’ It was not really something that in my secondary school days I was really thinking about, though I was the Social Prefect. I got into university and life just happened. I promise you, I never really prepared to join the entertainment industry; every step I took just led me somewhere.
Could you recall some of those early steps you took?
In my university days, I had a group called The Playgirls; I was about 17 years then. We used to enjoy dancing in clubs and organise parties for students. From there, I started bringing video vixens for people’s videos; it just happened step by step. Along the line, I was forced to be in a music video and that was it. I was having fun throughout my journey into the entertainment industry without even realising it. Then, Big Brother came up and I was like, ‘Oh, let’s try this one.’ It wasn’t like if I didn’t have it, I was going to die.
Participating in the Big Brother Africa Season 8 opened a lot of doors for you. Are you still thrilled by the experiences of being on that platform?
No, I was over it after a year. I don’t think my journey was like any other’s journey; I came out very confused, highly depressed. It took me two years to really get into the entertainment business. I say entertainment business because you remember I said I was in the entertainment industry for fun; I still have fun doing it. But now, I make money while doing it. So, two years of my life, I was really confused. I was going through ups and downs; mental health issues. After a year, I removed that from my bio. I get bored easily; I didn’t want anyone to look at me. There was a lot of talks; I didn’t want anyone to find me. I didn’t want to be associated with Big Brother; I had to be something other than a reality star. I had to put my creativity to work. But I’ve learned to accept my past, to live with it and to grow from it; that’s my journey.
In recent times, we’ve heard about cases of rape in the entertainment industry. As someone that is very active, what’s your take on the issue of sexual abuse in the industry?
The rape situation has not gotten to me; it’s not as if we are waiting for turn by turn, but I’ve not experienced it. I don’t think I have put myself in the frontline for that to happen. Rape in the entertainment industry, I really don’t know what to say. I feel like now people are listening, but at the end of the day, anybody caught raping should be dealt with. I’m not just saying from men raping women, there are women that rape men too; I’m never one-sided about this. As for me, there was a time in my life, I think I was like 16, I almost got raped, but not every girl would be as lucky as was. I’m a gangster girl; I tore the guy’s trouser with blade. I went there myself if anything had happened to me, what would I have told my brothers? So, I tore him with blade. It was terrible; I left the hotel. What would I have told people if that guy had had his way with me?
Did you report the incident to the police?
I didn’t report it; I was 16. See, I’ve gone through so many things that even my closest people don’t know about. I tore the guy’s trouser; that’s my only incident and I escaped. Maybe I’m just a fighter.
What’s your stand on women coming out to speak now, after many years of being raped?
See, everybody has different ways of handling situations. As little as a headache, the way I react to a headache might not be the same way that you react to it. Anytime you have gone through soul-searching and you feel that it is time to come out, then do it. After all, there are three-year-olds that tell their mother the same day, ‘Mummy, uncle is touching me,’ yet there are people that were raped 35 years ago that didn’t tell anybody. What I stand against is women trying to bring men down in the sense that, ‘if I can’t have him, you can’t have him.’ Some of the rape accusations are false. If he really raped you, you should bring out facts. I have brothers and I’m the only girl. So, I see it from both worlds.
What’s your understanding of success, and do you consider yourself successful in the industry?
Success is very relative to the individual. I might have N10 million in my account and I might feel like I’m the Bom-Diggy-Diggy, I’m balling and nobody can tell me nothing. Somebody else might have like N100 million and feel like he isn’t doing anything. So, success is what you make of it. Right now, would I openly say that I’m successful? I would not say that; the world can say that. I feel like I’m just starting and every stage I move in, I feel like I’m starting. I learn new things; I navigate my way. So, I’m successful to an extent, because I’m above average in the economy. But to me, regarding my satisfaction in the economy, I am not successful yet.
When you started out as an entertainer, did you get the support of your family?
They didn’t even have any say in my life; they didn’t have any say when I was growing up. Maybe I was very stubborn. Again, it wasn’t a struggle; it wasn’t something that gave me sleepless nights. I go home and I tell my brother, ‘Guess what, they called me to shoot this video.’ My brother is like, ‘Who is that person?’ I said ‘Bracket.’ He says, ‘Yes, you are going to do it like this, you are going to do it like this.’ So, in my family, it is all love. We are very free to express ourselves; we are very free to criticize ourselves. So, there was no form of criticism in my home. From the outside world, oh my goodness, it was terrible!
You’ve received a lot of criticisms in the industry, does that bother you? How do you cope with that?
I don’t even cope anymore; I don’t just see it. If I see it and I wish to reply to you, I reply to you. If I see that you are telling me your own point in a situation and I look at it like, ‘Hmmm, this is a different angle.’ I’m very free and open. If what you say is very stupid and I’m not in the mood, then I might reply to you. Sincerely, I’m just living life. All I want is to have clear skin, a beautiful love life, money in the bank and a booming career.
Word has it that you are delving into business real soon, could you share with us?
Apparently, I’m going into the skincare business and it has taken me two years; Coronavirus might just make it three years. I’m bringing out my own range of skincare products called OCB (Obsessive Compulsive Beverly). The name came out because I have an OCD; I love everything in place. I like to manage my life, and my skincare is always on point. It has taken me these years now to really get the right formula and audience. This is the period of my life that I’m officially going to come out and say that this is whom I am.
Do you plan to use your art for advocacy?
Yea, I use my art for advocacy. I take some pictures that talk about mental health and freedom; I’m very open to so many things. If my spirit leads me to talk about the youths on drugs, I would speak about it. I’m not oblivious to what is happening, because I have been through life; I went through life early. So, when it comes to drug abuse, I can talk about it because I have experienced it. When it comes to rape, I can talk about it because I have (almost) experienced it. When it comes to police brutality, I can speak about it, because I have experienced it too many times.
What’s your advice to young girls?
You have to be wise, you have to be hungry; you have to be prepared. Educate yourself, even if the school is telling you that one plus one is two. At the age of 10, I would probably be teaching my own daughter on a lot of serious issues. Don’t be afraid to be who you want to be, express yourself. I don’t attach too much to myself; I’m never afraid to ask for help. I’m never afraid to say how I feel to my loved ones. If there is a problem, I call my loved ones. Express yourself. On earth, you didn’t come alone, that is why there are other people here.