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My pastor’s message pushed me into acting – Theresa Edem-Isemin

My pastor’s message pushed me into acting – Theresa Edem-Isemin

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I was born in Akwa Ibom State. I am from a family of five – with three brothers and a step sister. My dad died when I was nine-year-old but my mum is still here with us. As a kid, I was very inventive and creative. I had a highly imaginative side and was a fast reader. Though I was reserved, I would still play rough with my brothers at home. At school, I was shy and always kept the play for home. Because I was the only girl; resulting from my parents waiting a long time to have me, I was very well-pampered. As a kid, I had many ambitions. I wanted to be a pilot, and then, an air hostess, an aeronautic engineer and even a musician. I guess I got the love of air from my dad who worked in the aviation line as well.

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For my elementary education, I attended Hillside International Nursery school, Uyo and St. Mary’s Science College, Abak, for my secondary education. Both schools are in Akwa Ibom State. I also attended Federal University of Technology, Owerri, where I studied Animal Science and Technology. I wish I had studied Theatre Arts in the university instead. I took the next available course that the university had to offer because I didn’t want to sit at home.


I’ve always acted. I used to tell stories to the kids around me and in church. I used to act everywhere except on a professional platform. The first time it hit me that I should pursue acting, it was in church when the pastor said we could make money from our passion. At the time, I was managing a fitness company in Akwa Ibom State and on hearing that, I quit my job and moved to Lagos to pursue my acting career, seeing that Lagos was the best place to skyrocket. This was in 2012. Prior to that, I had acted in a movie with my church where I played the role of a journalist. It was titled Take Back Your Throne.


Starting out, I thought it’d be easy but it wasn’t; it was hectic. I would wake up sometimes at 4am to go for auditions. Also, I was coming from a job where I had an official car and driver but I had to leave all that behind and move to Lagos. I had to start boarding buses to move around. It was quite uneasy for me. My mum used to even persuade me to move back to Akwa Ibom but I refused. Also, back then, the treatment I got wasn’t deserving of a thumbs-up but now, with my management, things have changed. Even now, I still face some challenges. The pay is not encouraging.


When I moved to Lagos, I enrolled at the Royal Arts Academy where I played my first role in a movie professionally. It was called Mrs. Somebody, where I had just one scene, and following that, I acted in After the Proposal, where I played the supporting female. Because I was a student, I found it rather overwhelming and nerve-racking but exciting, overall. Going to Royal Arts Academy was to harness my talent and turn it into a skill.

Parent’s reaction

When I told my mother my plans to go into acting full-time, she was shocked and appalled. But through it all, she’s been supportive. When I moved to Lagos and had to survive without a job, my mother maintained an upkeep for me till I had my feet steady on the ground.


I’d say After the Proposal, which was produced by Uduak Isong and directed by Desmond Elliot, the other major one was Tinsel, where I stood in as Angela.


Right now, I’m on one of the flagship shows on Mnet titled Forbidden and I play the lead female. I have some great films coming out in the cinemas this year and the next. I’m also considering producing my own films in earnest. I produced a short film titled Eno which has been picked up by some film festivals. I also feel drawn towards directing and may like to explore it in the future.


I met my husband when I was 16. Because my brother was handy with electrical items, my husband had come to fix his video game in our house and that’s where we met. On that day, my brother wasn’t around and he had to wait for him to get back. It was the wait that made us talk and we gradually became best friends and still are till date. He’s an IT consultant. Marriage has been great and although I do not sell perfection, I’ve been enjoying every moment of it. My husband is supportive of my career. We discuss my roles and he helps me prepare.

Role models

As funny as this sounds, Beyonce is my biggest influence; even though she’s not much of an actor. I admire her for her drive, hustle and professionalism. She’s not just a glamour girl, she’s also a hard worker. Also, I can never tell my story without Emem and Uduak Isong. I also admire Genevieve Nnaji, Mildred Okwo and Toni Tones.


I read a lot and I like to watch movies, preferably with a glass of wine. I also like to play video games. I love to cook. I cook traditional dishes while my husband is the intercontinental chef.


Anything that’s comfortable is what I like to wear.  Comfort determines what I wear.

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