Who is Funmi Fiberesima?
I am a producer and actress but I like to refer to myself as entertainment entrepreneur because I handle the business of entertainment.
What do you mean by that?
I am in the business of movie production. Apart from producing my first film, I am also involved in drama productions for the Nigerian Reproductive Health Association and I have also been doing production consultancy for the African Drama Association.
What is the title of your film?
The movie is titled: Onikola. It is a Yoruba film about female circumcision.
As a member of the Fiberesima clan, how was growing up in the family?
Our family is a very large one. The Fiberesimas are scattered all over United Kingdom and other parts of the world. We come back many generations, even within the Fiberesima family, there are different households. I met one of my cousins last year for the first time in my life. My mom is from Ogun State and I was born in Lagos where I spent my childhood with my mother’s relative. I did not get to visit Rivers State until much later when she died.
What in your background prepared you for the job of movie production?
I come from an entertainment family. The Fiberesima family has been in entertainment right from when I was a kid. I remember that part of the syllabus that I had to study for my music exams had my uncle’s name, Adam Fiberesima in it.
What did you study in school?
I did a certificate course in Theatre Arts and then moved over to Communications Studies at the University of Port Harcourt.
How profitable has the entertainment business been for your family?
Nobody comes into the industry looking for money or profit; we all come in with a passion. One has to be willing to work even though they are not going to be paid. If you come into the industry with the mindset of making profit, you are going to be frustrated pretty quickly. But you will make money eventually if you remain with your passion and if you don’t get discouraged along the way.
Is the business all rosy for you?
No, it is not all rosy. I have made sacrifices but for now, I think I am comfortable. I am not desperate to make money. I am in it for the passion and I believe that I will get to a point where I will be able to make money that will cover all the years of sacrifices. Till then, I will continue to make sacrifices.
Who financed your first movie?
I came into the industry with my money. Nobody financed my first movie.
How much did you spend producing the movie?
I spent close to N12m and that was because I ran into a lot of people that were thieves but my production was protected because of my background. I have learnt that if I have to give somebody any money, the person has to sign a written agreement. It got to a point, one of my directors attempted to hijack my production, claiming that it was his intellectual property! I bought the rights from the script writer and I paid for everything, but he was telling me it was his intellectual property because he directed the project. I may be new in the industry but I am not new in business, nobody can swindle me.
The money must have come from your boyfriend
I don’t have a boyfriend.
Why is that?
I seem to make all the wrong choices. The cliché that good girls like bad boys applies to my situation because I have a tendency to run into the wrong kind of guys.
Did you fall for a bad boy?
Yes. I fell for a couple of them. I seem to have a track record in that area. The fact is that if one person does something bad to you and the second person does the same thing, you begin to ask if you have a problem. I am currently going through rehabilitation process in church so that I can spot a good guy when he comes.
What happened with the last guy you dated?
He is married now. We actually got engaged, he was a good guy but a boring one.
What is his profession?
He is an Information Technology expert.
Would you have preferred an actor to him?
No, I would not prefer an actor because I am not sure I would be able to endure the sight of my husband kissing another woman in a movie.
But that is your profession…
I know. Our profession is the type that can drive a woman crazy. I know there are some actors that do all that and are still committed to their homes but I don’t think I am secure enough to be an actor’s wife.
How do your male colleagues react to the idea of a rich female producer?
The men feel intimidated and they try to write me off, but I don’t care, if I make returns of just N1m from that film, I would be happy because it dealt with female genital mutilation, something that most people are no longer talking about. I have always been passionate about women and children.
It is interesting to see a woman that is financially independent.
Fiberesima women are strong; my sister is doing a pretty good job with the African Movie Academy Awards and Ibinabo has a track record with the Actors Guild of Nigeria. I am glad to be toeing their paths and I hope that I will not put my family name to shame.
What does style mean to you?
My style is exceptionally moody; when I am happy, my style is happy; when I am sad, my style is sad. You find me wearing black and navy blue when I am not happy. Also, I like to look sexy when I feel sexy.
What is your favourite food?
I don’t have a favourite food; the reason is that I like experimenting. I like travelling and trying out local dishes. The last time I was in New Delhi, India, I was hospitalised twice because of the pepper in their food.
Do you believe in cosmetic surgery?
Yes I do, I am even considering doing one, and I am still doing research on it at the moment.
Which one do you want to go for, breasts or face?
I won’t say much on that but Toolz has looks that I admire and you might see me looking like her very soon.
That means you are considering buttocks and hip enhancement..
(Laughter) No comment on that.
What would you want to be remembered for?
I want to be remembered for following my passion and staying true to it.