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By Tony Ogaga
Actress, model, moviemaker and entrepreneur aptly describe curvy Juliet Ibrahim. Eighteen years after she came into the limelight in Crime To Christ, the thespian has carved a place for herself as one of the most popular faces both in Nollywood and Ghallywood.
The mother of one, who found love again in the arms of rapper, Iceberg Slim after divorcing her ex a couple of years ago, here opens up on career and romance. Enjoy it.
How did you come into acting?
I started acting at a very young age. I performed at talent shows in school and in church. I was also singing at those talent shows and in the choir. I spent my entire childhood dreaming of becoming a superstar. Luckily, in 2004 I won a beauty pageant and I got a call for an audition. I went there and I got the lead role for my first movie, Crime to Christ. That is how it all started for me and the rest they say is history. It has been wonderful and I thank God everyday for allowing me to live my dream. I have been able to use my career to impact many lives and create other avenues for my brand and myself. Apart from acting, I am a professional compere. I am also into music and I run a production company, Jewelz Productions where we produce and direct films, musical videos and TV series, just you name it. I am equally an entrepreneur and I have my own line of beauty products, Moda Lipstick Line & Shades by Juliet Ibrahim Eyelashes. I also founded the Juliet Ibrahim Foundation.
What new project is Juliet Ibrahim working on?
I do a whole lot more than people think or know. I do act; produce, direct and I also run a production company. I am a master of ceremony and business owner. I am a humanitarian and I run an NGO focused on creating awareness on kidney -related diseases, malaria, Ebola, HIV, kidney, cancer, hepatitis C and other deadly diseases. So, there is a lot to always expect from me. However, I will be dropping more music this year. Talking about movies, I will be on the screen more often, hosting your favourite events and also dropping a reality TV show.
What are your challenges combining all of these?
Honestly, I am a superwoman (laughter). Sometimes I ask myself, how I do it all. But at the end of the day, it is by the grace of God; He is the one that keeps me going. I am able to juggle everything perfectly.
What inspired your TV series, Every Woman Has A Story?
Every Woman Has A Story was my directorial debut. It follows the lives of five women who have been through pains and struggles that have left them marred in a way. But through it all, they have gained the power to share the joy, the happiness, the heartbreak, the pain, the disappointment and the love in their individual stories. They live every single day with the hope of having a man strong with love, deep with care and high on passion. The series features several first time actors handed the opportunity to showcase their talents as well as up and coming acts whose prowess would be highlighted. The first season of Every Woman Has A Story was shot in Accra, Cape Coast and South Africa, while season two will be shot in Nigeria and Ghana. The series is currently showing on ONTV Nigeria every Monday and Wednesday at 7pm.
Could you tell us about your most challenging role ever?
As an actor, every role is unique and different. I challenge myself daily to become better than my last movie role.
You and your lover, Iceberg Slim clinched an endorsement deal with international perfume brand, Oros. Could you shed more light on this?
We were announced brand influencers of Oros perfumes in Nigeria last year. The fragrance is described as elegant, provocative and free spirited, a scent full of passion and emotion. The bottle is elegantly designed and hand decorated with Swarovski elements. An additional silver arc symbolizes brawn, brains and bravery. Oros is definitely a must have among ones’ collection of perfumes. It is also a perfect gift item to purchase for a loved one, and I believe the best duo to interpret the message Oros is putting out to its potential customers is the Iceberg Slim and Juliet Ibrahim brands.
How did you guys hook up and how did Iceberg Slim woo you. Was it love at first sight? Who made the first move?
We met in South Africa. We became friends while out there and he made the first move by starting a friendship. Our initial conversation kicked off on our similar tastes in music. However, after I left South Africa, we didn’t cross paths again until some months later. We built a friendship and every other thing fell into place at the appropriate time.
What was the thing that attracted you to him?
His confidence, intelligence and his bubbly personality were the first qualities that caught my attention while we had those casual conversations in South Africa. He is a fun person to be with, and he is very straightforward. I guess many of his followers on social media can attest to that by the kind of things he posts and talks about randomly. We have very similar characteristics, so it was quite easy to click with each other.
Now that you have found love again, is marriage near or far for you?
Like every other relationship out there, things are to be taken one step at a time. We are happy together and that is all that matters for now.
What do you have to tell trolls on social media who have been saying negative things about you and Iceberg Slim?
I have nothing to say because everyone is allowed to express his or her personal opinion. Although, I am not obliged to listen to any opinion of my life. I love my fans and whenever they feel they have an advice for me, I gladly hear them out, take notes and keep their advice in mind. However, I don’t encourage negativity in my life, and that is something most Africans need to learn. Whatever you as an individual think of yourself and say of yourself is what is preached into your life and what you become. Hence, I encourage people to speak positivism into their lives and that of others.
What is the secret to your success?
Success means creating a business that empowers customers, employees and community at equal measure. Success is simply knowing what you are doing is helping you and others lead a better, happier and healthier life.
What advice do you have for young girls who want to take after you?
Whatever you want to do in life, you must first of all make sure that it is exactly what you want to do. You must have a passion for it, learn it or give it your best and strive to be the best at it.
Which of your parents did you get your stunning looks from, your mum or your dad?
Both my parents are beautiful in their own way. I thank God for both of them.
A magazine once crowned you as the Most Beautiful West African Woman. How does that make you feel?
It is an honour to be given such a title. I am privileged.