Do you want to know how to be fearlessly female and learn the #GirlPower secrets? Then you need to read this article!
These leading ladies in entertainment – Sika Osei (Presenter and Actress), Adesua Etomi (Actress), Beverly Naya (Actress) and Mo’Cheddah – Singer), sat pretty with Genevieve Magazine and revealed in details without holding anything back on how to be a strong woman, feminism, bedroom secrets, and lots more.
Read excerpts from the interview below
What’s that moment that gave you that one leg up in your career?
Mo: It was a single for me; Won Beri. I had been working on my album and I just did a feature on a song. I was in secondary school at the time. Months later people would point at me and say ‘That’s the Won Beri girl’.
Adesua: Maybe, winning the AMVCA…
Beverly: In a strange way, Tinsel helped a lot. Prior to Tinsel there were films that took decades to get released. Not to give them a big head, but it was Tinsel.
Sika: I think it was moving to Nigeria to do 53 extra.
What are some negative stereotypes about your career you have had to live with?
Beverly: That ‘actresses are hoes looking for money all the time’
Mo: If you are successful you must be sleeping with someone.
Adesua: That is the biggest stereotype!
Beverly: Or that because you have foreign accent, you are a snob.
Adesua: Or because you are ‘yellow’ you are snobbish. And once you are dark they say… We can’t lighten you. You are too black.
Sika: I have had many people tell me to brighten up a little
Mo: My biggest issue is not being taken seriously; getting paid for an appearance and being pushed to perform. Honey Boo Boo, this is my livelihood! A performance is different from an appearance!
Does the cliché that “women are their own worst enemies” still apply?
Adesua: Yes! In all honesty, and it is really sad. I never believed it till I moved to Nigeria.
Beverly: Same! I never believed it till I moved to Nigeria.
Mo: It is an African thing.
Adesua: When I moved back, I realised that women attack women like crazy. I don’t know what it is? They would go as far as attacking your child.
Mo: Female artists are bigger than male artists everywhere in the world, because the female fans are more than the male fans, and the female fans love the female artists. But in Nigeria, you find the female fans loving the boys and hating on the girls.
Adesua: There are very few women who will stand up and clap at the success of another woman.
Beverly: I never felt this way until I moved to Nigeria
Sika: I didn’t even know I was black until I moved to Nigeria. (Roaring Laughter) Yes and I have lived in five different countries.
Adesua: I have become so conscious of things I never even thought about when I was outside Nigeria.
If you never found love in your life, would you be ok with it?
Mo: If you never found love you won’t know what love is.
Adesua: I would never be ok. I would feel like something is missing. I know people who marry, yet are not in love with each other. Love is inconsequential to them. That is not ok for me.
Sika: I need to love.
Beverly: I rebuke it Lord! I’ll find love.
What kind of men would you date?
Beverly: I can’t stand Potbellies, and beyond the physical, someone who doesn’t know how to treat me like a lady. I have a fear of settling down with the wrong guy and I won’t deny it and that’s probably why I haven’t found that ideal guy yet. I know he will come. I am very ambitious and I know where I am going so anyone I am going to marry has to be successful in some way so that when we do get married, I am not the one doing everything.
Mo: I want a guy that can handle my success. I want a man that gets my fly. I could have a better car than you but I want you to be confident in yourself. I can’t be with someone who is not romantic. Educationally, the school-drop-out-turn-billionaire story people always bring up is not applicable in Nigeria. There is a clear difference between American drop-outs and Nigerian drop-outs. I cannot date an illiterate even if you are a billionaire. And religion-wise, I am a Yoruba girl and we believe whatever religion your husband practices is what you should practice. So, for me, from the get go, you gotta say Jesus. I cannot even be with someone who is not spiritually grown.
Beverly: I dated a guy who was of a different faith once. I really liked him. He said if we were to get married he wouldn’t mind raising the kids as Christians…
Adesua: Oh Baby girl they say that before marriage. I know a guy who said that to his fiancé. The moment they got married, during their honeymoon, he compelled her to practice his religion’s rituals. If you cannot even say “In Jesus name” while we’re praying, there will be a problem….Can I date a guy that has potential? Yes! I have seen people who did not start out having as much but they make it eventually. How about a man who is not as educated as I am? The owner of Facebook is a dropout. I have always given room for exceptions. I am not a black or white person. There are loads of grey areas and there are loads of people who fall into the grey areas. What if I meet someone who is accomplished, intelligent, well spoken…You have to give room for exceptions
Beverly: I agree with Adesua, potential is extremely important. If I see that you know what you want out of life and are taking steps to get there, I am willing to roll with it.
Sika: (Directed at Beverly)What if at that point he is below you, would you still date him?
Beverly: Let us start on the same level at the very least.
Adesua: Some people have ‘old money’ they grew up with, if they lose it tomorrow, then, what?
Beverly: You should be able to handle that money and make it grow and stretch. Let me explain what I visualise when I think of potential. You dress well, live in a decent home, you are very ambitious, you have your own company as well, drive a nice car, you are self-assured and I can tell, based on dialogue, that you still have some growing to do and you have every intention of getting there. It’s very important to ask a guy where he sees himself in the next 5 years. If he is ambitious it will show. The way he discusses business will reveal that to you…
Sika: I love how Beverly has established what she wants; he drives a nice car, has a nice house….For me, I am the kind of girl that falls in love with who you are now but even more who you are going to be. When you are in your 20s it’s ok to marry potential but in your 30s should you marry potential? I want to see that you have done something with yourself and you have a plan for the future. If with the little you have you have been able to achieve something, I cannot imagine what you would be like 5 years down the line. And you have to be a Christian. If you’re not, it’s not going to happen. I also do not like people who take themselves overly serious. Life is going to bring so many hard things that you should be able to laugh about. Guys who make me laugh are so attractive to me. The guys I have dated have been nerdy looking which is really funny, because I wonder what I find attractive about them. On education?…(In unison with Adesua)You don’t need a PHD to mess with me.
What are the two things you would never tell a guy?
Sika: How much I make and how many men I have slept with.
Adesua: I don’t think there is anything I would not tell especially if you ask. I am an open book.
Beverly: I don’t even think how many men I’ve slept with is a necessary question to ask. It’s so irrelevant, why do you care?
Mo: Why would I tell a guy how much I am making? You are making yours and I am making mine. And why would you tell a man how many men you have slept with?
Sika: Men are visual. I don’t ask and I don’t tell
Adesua: It’s so irrelevant. I know loads of virgins who have anal sex and if you ask them how many men they have been with they will gladly tell you nobody.
Sika: The only thing I would tell a guy is if I have had something to do with his best-friend or sibling because it will come back to bite me. Apart from that, we are moving on swiftly.
Ideally, when do you expect a guy to propose in a relationship?
Mo: For me, I am not waiting for him to propose. It is about where I am now. Am I ready for marriage? I have things I want to do before marriage and kids. I don’t think I am there yet.
Beverly: After two years, it’s okay to get engaged. I don’t mind waiting for longer than that, but I will not let it go to 5 years.
Adesua: Ain’t nobody trying to date for 5 years in this day and age. Nigga shift!
Beverly: As you are letting those years go by, you are losing out on the opportunity to meet someone great.
Adesua: Not to talk of my eggs. The eggs I will produce at 35 is not the same amount of eggs I produced at 25.
Sika: It depends on what point of your life you are at. At 25 I can’t be bothered but right now? I would only wait a year. People had arranged marriages that succeeded. Suck it up! Marriage is a decision. Feelings are very temporary. I am in my 30s and I want to settle down. Am I ready to pop out babies? No!
If you were told to choose between your marriage and your career, which would it be?
Beverly: This is why entertainers always end up with entertainers. I would leave a marriage.
Mo: For career? No I wouldn’t leave a marriage.
Adesua: It is a relationship and not a dictatorship. My career is my destiny. Telling me to stop doing what I do is trying to usurp my destiny. If you try to clip my wings you are ending my life. You knew what I was doing before you met me. You knew my job before you met me. If you tell me to stop after marriage, you are clipping my wings and I will have a problem with that. Such relationship will never even get to marriage.
Sika: When I start dating a guy, I ask the important questions and if he is not comfortable from the get go that is a red flag. That’s why we girls gotta pray. We gotta pray for the right man.
Would you get a divorce if a man cheated on you?
Beverly: If it was just once, then no. If it is a constant thing, I’m out. If it is a mistake and you can genuinely see the remorse and he feels dirty and filthy then I wouldn’t leave you but if you feel like you’re entitled to cheat because you are a man, then I’m out.
Adesua: No. When you’re a lot younger, you say you will get a divorce. But you as you mature, you realize that men are just wired that way. That doesn’t mean its ok or its license for them to cheat, but it is not enough for me to leave.
Sika: No. But if you cheated as a woman, trust me your husband will not be there.
Mo: No. …in hard times and in good times, in sickness and in health. (In response to Sika) It depends on who you are with. I feel like if I cheated on my boyfriend he would not leave me.
Sika: I think 70% of men would leave.
Adesua: Because they won’t be able to get the image out of their head.
Sika: It is the height of disrespect to a lot of men but if they cheated they would expect you to understand.
In order of priority, what does today’s woman want?
Sika: I think that is number one
Beverly: Stability, love, respect
Adesua: Every woman wants respect.
Beverly: R.E.S.P.E.C.T – Aretha Franklin
Adesua: That song is so valid many years later
Mo: A woman also wants to be taken care of no matter what we’ve achieved. Women are delicate and sensitive and men should treat us as such. They should be soft and sweet.
Beverly: I hate games with a passion because it makes me overthink. I want a guy to say straight up that he likes me or not.
Adesua: That’s when he doesn’t know what he wants
Mo: A man that knows what he wants just goes for it.
Adesua: They are target “meeters”. Once they set a target, they go for it…. Men, don’t tell your woman she is getting fat. Be sensitive. There’s a difference between telling your woman she is getting fat and saying, ‘baby let us go to the gym’.
Beverly: Girls, you need to maintain that you he fell in love with.
What do women want in the bedroom?
Sika: A lot of my female friends complain that men don’t take the time to truly please them.
Beverly: Like make them squirt?
Sika: You have even gone too far…
Adesua: Some people have never even climaxed in their lives.
Sika: Men should take the time to understand our bodies and put our needs before theirs. Sexual satisfaction is so important! Intimacy brings people together. If I am not sexually satisfied, it is worse than him not having that much money. A girl I know was in a relationship 8 months longer than she had to be because the sex was great. Ask me how long they dated for? 8 months!. That just illustrates that sexual satisfaction is very important.
Adesua: Men should not be selfish lovers. I don’t want to experience bad sex in a marriage.
Mo: Men should understand that women are wired differently. So they ought to take the time to read up and educate themselves. Someone I know ended a relationship because he doesn’t give head.
Beverly: That is important though! (Roaring laughter) This is exactly why I understand sex before marriage. You don’t want to end up with someone who gives you bad sex. I can respect a guy’s decision to abstain, but why? I get it for religious reasons. Ideally, I would love to abstain, but I don’t want to be in a situation where the guy is impotent or can’t please me. I will resent him.
Adesua: I hope we get to a point where talking about sex is not such a taboo. There are marriages where the couple is clueless on what to do because they have never talked about it.
Sika: I think the most important thing in the bedroom is to not be judgmental. If I am with a guy who suggests something that is so far off. I have the tendency to judge him but it is really a matter of communication. Leave judgment out of your relationship.
Is Feminism a good idea?
Adesua: The fight for women’s right isn’t something we can escape. It is always going to be that way. Society for a long time has been so male-dominated; it has gotten to the point where women would like a fair chance. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. It is such a big deal now because most women are standing up for themselves. Women want more options than being a wife and a mother.
Beverly: You can achieve anything you want to achieve and not focus on what the men are doing, just achieve your goals.
Sika: Not to be anti-feminist, but I actually hate the word, Feminism. I don’t understand what feminism is, to start with. And we, women, are hypocritical; when it favours us, we are all for female rights, but when it doesn’t, we are quiet. I still want a man to open the door for me. I still want him to be the man of the house. As many of the women I look up to will say, you actually need a good man as your backbone to succeed in life. Can I put a little dent in this conversation? Most women will say make sure the man loves you more. If we all believe in that, that’s not bringing ‘equality’ into the relationship.
Mo: Men need women as much as women need men. Some women just hide behind feminism when a man treats them badly.
What would you do if you went on a date with a guy and he wants to go Dutch?
Beverly: If it’s the first date, you’ll never see me again.
Adesua: If he wants to do that, we’ll split it, but we’ll probably never see after that.
Beverly: Rather than split, I will pay but you’ll never see me again. What is splitting? So when we get married we’ll be splitting children as well? No!
Adesua: You get to a certain point in your relationship where you can do that but to start off like that?
Beverly: Here is my take. We are never going to be splitting bills in our relationship (Roaring laughter) Occasionally, I will give him a treat. But we are not going to bring out a calculator during dinner to establish who got what and how to split the bill.
Sika: I think in relationships you start things off the way you want them to finish, so in the beginning, I am not paying bills. Things deteriorate.
And in marriage, would you split bills?
Mo: The couple should decide, beforehand, who does what.
Beverly: I am traditional and I think a man should pay the bills but there are times that financial situations can change and I may have to pay the bills. You are paying the bills and I am taking care of the family, making sure that when you come home there is something for you to eat. It is not a struggle, it’s a partnership. That is how a marriage should be established.
Adesua: I think a man should always be a provider; that is what he is created to be. The woman is the helpmeet, and one cannot do without the other. The fact that women are more liberal doesn’t change the fact that a man is meant to be a provider. But when you get into a relationship, figure out what works for your relationship. It might be a bit naïve to go into a relationship expecting everything to be the way it is in your head. It doesn’t work like that. You are getting with someone else and he has a completely different thought process. For me, we could have a joint account which we both fund for certain bills, while maintaining our individual accounts. It’s a partnership, but it doesn’t negate the fact that the man should be the provider and a woman, the home maker.
Sika: I think the most dangerous thing to do is to take a man’s purpose from him. Relationships where men are emasculated are the most toxic relationships.
Adesua: I have seen that happen too many times!
Sika: I come from a family where my mum was the breadwinner; my dad had to leave his job to support her because she fainted on a plane; she was travelling alot. And here is why I respect my mum so much, she realized that she couldn’t make my dad feel less of a man because quitting his job to be with her was more manly than anything she had ever seen. That was such a bold step on my Dad’s part. So when my mum makes the money, she sends it all to him to decide what they do with it.
Adesua: And that’s where love comes in because it stops being about money and other material things and it became about the relationship.
Sika: My parents have been married for 40 years and they argue about petty stuff but I never for once saw my mum disrespect my dad because he wasn’t bringing in money. I am not opposed to bringing in money as a wife but you can never ever take away the fact that the man is supposed to be the provider.
Adesua: Even if he is bringing two naira home, you best make that two naira work.
Beverly: I cannot marry a guy that is going to make me the bread winner.
Adesua: But I don’t know how I would feel if I am married and my husband is doing everything. I am a woman that likes to work and I want to feel I am bringing something to the table. I cannot sit down and not contribute. I don’t function that way.
What does a woman do with her earnings, then?
Beverly: You pay the bills and let me choose how I spend my own money…If he can’t provide for certain things, I would step up.
Sika: My ideal situation is, you have your account, I have mine and we have a joint account.
Adesua: OMG you are in my head, Sika.
Sika: …In our account, the percentage I will contribute will be substantially lower than the one you bring.
Beverly: That’s basically what I said in a different way.
Sika: I think when a man sees that a woman is putting something on the table and supporting him in that way, he grows some sort of love towards her and a lot of respect. Men in the African society have been raised to know that they are the men of the house and it is their responsibility to pay the bills, that’s why you hear many of them say they are not financially ready to settle down… It is my money, your money and our money, but he brings a lot more to the plate.
Mo: I like that model.
Adesua: That’s what I want, too.
What does submission mean to you?
Adesua: Submission and love go hand in hand. If you love your wife, the way you’re supposed to, submission is automatic. And as a woman when you worship the ground your man walks on; you are like gold to him and he would love you. But submission is not me kneeling for you. I can kneel for you and my heart is elsewhere and I feel no respect for you.
Sika: Submission is like how we treat our Brazilian hair; the way we care for it.
Adesua: Submission is not commanding me to clean your shoe. I can clean your shoe, without you asking, if you treat me the way you are supposed to. If a man is always fighting with his wife, for a week, let him open the door for her, make her food…and watch that woman transform before his very eyes.
Mo: Submission comes with love. It can’t be forced.
Sika: I can’t wait to find a man I can submit to. Honestly. I am ready to submit to the man who will love me.
Beverly: I don’t like that word ‘submission’. It freaks me out.
Adesua: Because they have made it seem like slavery.
Sika: There is freedom in love. My having to kneel to present food to my husband is not love. There was a time I wanted to just take care of my boyfriend simply because he loved and adored me from head to flipping toe. Unfortunately we broke up because of distance.
Adesua: It is different if it is coming from your heart and is what you want to do.
When it comes to succeeding as a female in Nigeria and living fearlessly what are your personal stories or opinions
Beverly: I’ve always been a very ambitious person, I love the fact that I always go after what I want wholeheartedly and rarely ever settle for less. Sometimes as a woman, especially in this society, you are made to feel like your dreams are too big or far fetched but I never ever allow that to weaken me. Sometimes being too ambitious as a woman can intimidate some men, but those type of guys are not the kind I hope to end up with anyway. I want to fall in love with a man that sees my ambitious qualities as sexy; an ambitious man who wants to build an empire together, now that would be beautiful…
Sika: I’m a true believer that nothing can be achieved in fear. Risks bring rewards and the bigger the better. If I’m passionate about it I’m finding a way to start it regardless of how small my start is. As a woman I think to truly succeed is to approach every situation using your feminine qualities of grace, compassion, humility, sensuality and poise amongst others even if you’re competing in a male dominated industry.
With regards to living fearlessly, I think as women it starts with coming to terms and embracing our insecurities. No one is perfect, from looks, background, past, current circumstances etc We should begin to understand that it is our imperfections that make us beautiful and unique. And we can build something amazing from them. But only when we accept our shortcomings and truly love ourselves, regardless, can we begin to live fearlessly as women
Adesua: The thing is.. there are challenges when it comes to trying to succeed as a female in the Nigerian work environment (and not just in the entertainment scene). The fear is that you need to compromise in some way to get ahead… that you need to depend solely on your beauty versus your brain; or that you need to drop your standards and maybe give up your body and/or soul to become successful as opposed to getting by on merit, skill and hard-work.
But I decided very early on that the key for me was that I’d never put myself in a position where I have to lose myself in order to gain success. I don’t want it that way. I believe that the skills and talents I have, coupled with grit, determination and a willingness to work hard, HAVE to be enough. If I need to sell my soul, or lose my morality, for success… then that success is not meant for me, and I’m content to wait until it’s the right way.
But that being said, women are breaking grounds, fighting for what they want and taking different sectors by storm. I’m very motivated by every woman that has fought for what she wants. The truth is, we are not trying to overtake men or sideline them. Every woman just wants an equal chance and opportunity.