Recently, we caught up with the beautiful singer and actress Arese Emokpae who made her bow into limelight after winning the first edition of The Voice and also with her stint in the Africa Magic series JEMEJI, where she played the lead role. Arese revealed a lot about herself to Genevieve Magazine’s Jeffrey Oparah in this exclusive five minute cameo. Enjoy it:
What would you say your motivation is and can you describe your passion?
I will say my motivation is to leave a little light with everyone, interact with everyone no matter the field, even if I wasn’t an actress, leaving a sense of warmth with people; and on the other side, my passion for acting is being self aware and digging into my self. To build a character is such a fascinating thing and is something I will never get tired of.
How were you able to immerse yourself into that character in the JEMEJI series?
Well with Senami, I was able to immerse myself into the character because of our shooting location; it really helps when you’re given all the tools to get into it. When it comes to building the character as far as that goes, I am lucky, in that Senami and I have a lot of very similar traits so I was able to pull from myself a lot to build her and at the same time, I also tried to be myself on-screen.
What do you look forward to for women, in light of International women’s day celebration?
I look forward to women taking ownership of themselves. I know that empowerment and equality are conversations that have been happening for a long time. I want to see younger women take ownership even more especially in Nigeria. Yes! We’re moving forward, but a lot of us are still defined by societal roles and most of those roles are defined by the men in their lives; their husbands, their fathers, their brothers. I do believe that women and men have their set roles, but that doesn’t mean that those things are set in stone. So, I want women to take ownership of themselves and be okay with breaking rules as we press for progress.
How would you rate the contemporary Nigeria movie industry?
I would say that the Nigeria movie industry is on this building wave and progress is inevitable as industries will always improve; but the Nigeria industry specifically; we are growing exponentially right now. If I look at films that were made just five years ago versus what we make now consistently and not just big budget films on every level, from cinema movies, TV movies, TV series, web series; five minute short films. The standard is increasing exponentially every single day and it makes me so excited for what is going to come in the next 3-5 years. I think we’ll not be able to recognize ourselves (laughs).
I have heard some actors say that they got into the industry by coincidence, others luck and some chance. Which category do you fall into?
I don’t think I fall into any of those categories, funny enough, I have been pursuing this and I think this goes for a lot of our actors; a lot of people don’t realize how much work goes into an acting career before you ever know an actors name. Though, a lot of people first got to know me through “The Voice”, they said “ok, she can sing a little bit, she went to this competition and now she’s on TV”. I didn’t fall into acting by accident, I have been training for a very long time. I’ve been acting for almost 15 years now. Yes! Some people get into it by chance but more often than you think, it’s been a result of dedication, hardwork and a lot of hearing “No” and insisting that “you’ll tell me yes” tomorrow“.
How old are you?
I just said we should have progress and women should take ownership; it’s difficult for me to say but I’ll say it. I’m 30.
You don’t look it.
I know. That’s why I feel very comfortable in my age because I don’t look it.
What was the experience like winning “The Voice”?
There is no real way to quantify it. It’s surreal. It felt like everything I’ve ever done in my life was leading on to that point. I knew that I was building something and I didn’t know that it will be “The Voice”; to be that moment of “oh all my theatre, dance and acting experience have come into play and it’s shown on stage”.
Tall guy, short guy?
Butt job, breast job?
When I was 22.
Before 30 crisis?
Not feeling independent enough for my age.
In a relationship?
Would you rather marry a man with prospects or a man that is already made?
For me, having prospects and being already made are material things that can come and go. I’d rather marry somebody with character.
Is there any female actress you look up to in Nigeria?
I will say “many”. When I think of some of the women that have made a style for themselves without compromising on whom they want to be, the person who comes to mind is Nse Ekpe Etim. I love her. There is something about her that is so lovely and genuine.
Tell us about your song.
“Uwe no” is my first and only released song. It’s a song I’m really proud of; I worked for a longtime to really come out. It’s the first song I recorded and did professionally. Yeah. The song means a whole lot to me and I’m happy that it’s out. It’s one of those songs that is old and still evergreen.
You’re safe now.
Thank you (laughs).