Didi Ekanem Background
I am from Akwa Ibom State. I grew up in the village till I was nine years old, before my family moved to Port Harcourt, Rivers State. I lost my mum at the age of nine. I have two brothers and three sisters.
I have a Diploma in Law from the University of Uyo. I also have a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Communications from the University of Port Harcourt. I have a certificate in Theatre Arts from the University of Port Harcourt as well.
I grew up watching a lot of Nigerian movies, especially at the time when Genevieve Nnaji was reigning. That was when I developed interest in becoming an actor. I felt Genevieve was an outstanding actress, and her beauty and persona stood out. I just wanted to be like her.
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My dad supported my career but it was not easy. Initially, I told my dad that I wanted to become a lawyer, and he also wanted that. That was why I bagged a Diploma in Law. I was suppose to switch over to a law degree through ‘direct entry’ into second year if I passed. But, I did not pass because there were a lot of distractions. I then changed my mind from wanting to be a lawyer to being an actor. When I initially told my dad that I wanted to become an actress, he said I should forget about it. But, I stood my ground, and he said if I wanted to become an actor, I would have to complete my studies. Afterwards, he started supporting me. He even paid for the film school I attended.
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I am more of a businesswoman right now. I haven’t acted in the past five years. I have a fashion business called Shop ODOT, as well as a food business, which I started in March 2022. That is the project I am currently working on because the business is still very new. I am trying to put the business out there because I want people to know about it.
Social media has been a very good marketing platform for my business.
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Back then (early days of career), people thought the only thing I had going on for me was my body. People seem to think that as a curvy woman, one attracts extraordinary favour because of how one looks, but that is not true.
As an actor, I felt people were not able to notice my talent; it was as if my body was overshadowing my talent. Whenever my name was mentioned, it was always about me having a big bum. I had to work twice as hard as other people, and it just did not feel right. I wanted people to appreciate my talent. Thankfully, I have been able to change that narrative through the things I do. A lot of people now realise that I am a very hard-working woman, and that makes me happy.
Acting on stage is more taxing because one has to make sure that one delivers one’s lines well, without making it seem like one crammed it. However, when it comes to acting in a movie, one can easily improvise if one forgets one’s lines, and that makes it a lot easier.
Challenges of Didi Ekanem
There have been lots of challenges. When I got into the industry, I realised that there were many things taken as norms that on had to follow suit. One of the biggest challenges I had was sourcing for jobs. It was always as if one was harassing producers, majority of whom are men. One had to constantly call them and ask to be featured in their movies. When people talk about sexual harassment, I don’t put all the blame on the producers because it is not easy when woman are harassing them.
I cannot really remember if I have been a victim of cyber bullying. I don’t carry myself as a celebrity. I have not really done any negative thing that has been on social media for people to troll me.
I keep a small circle of friends. I really don’t have celebrity friends. I relate with them but I don’t keep them as friends. I am very careful about the things I do. I try not to be involved in controversial things.
I am a very kind person. I see my fans as sisters and brothers. I relate with people easily. I am very warm and welcoming. I don’t have airs about me.
Being popular does have its advantages, especially now that we are in the social media era. If one starts a business, one will definitely get customers because one is popular and has a platform.
What I dislike about fame is the fact that people are always interested in one’s life. Fame has a way of controlling people’s lives. One is supposed to look a certain way, live a certain way, and drive a certain type of car. Because of that, some celebs strive to meet up to the expectations of people. Many popular people are not rich because whatever money they make, they end up using it to buy expensive things.
That would be the movie, Jump and Pass, by Uduak Isong.
I will love to act in a movie where I can cry, or one where I can transition from being poor to a rich person. I want to be in movies that tell deep stories, not the regular ones where one is stereotyped to becoming a runs girl (prostitute).
The unique thing about me is the fact that I am very hard-working and homely. I am also a ‘woman of God’ but many people don’t believe that. I love God so much, and I think that is something unique about me. I am very intelligent too, though it seems a lot of people don’t know that.
Aside from acting, I love make-up. If I was not doing fashion and food business, I would have become a make-up artist. It is something I will still do anyway.
I rarely go out. I am a homebody. I love staying at home, surfing the Internet, watching television, eating and gisting.
I love to dress modestly but because of my curves, my body usually exaggerates whatever I wear. I love to dress simply and conservatively. Forget about (what I post on) Instagram, I am a conservative person. I prefer loose-fitting clothes to tight ones.