Nollywood Actress Tonia Okoro Ferrari: My Mother Is A Cameroonian, My Father Is Nigerian From Delta State
By Joy Marcus
I was born in Cameroon but I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. My dad is from Delta State while my mum is a Cameroonian and I have two younger siblings. I was named Ferrari by my father. I am a graduate of Accounting from Yaba College of Technology, Lagos.
I was brought to the limelight by two movies, Angela and Omotoke Gold. I have also featured in a lot of movies such as Ese, Fijagbemi and Divorce Not Allowed. I believe in following ones passion as it leads to happiness and fulfillment. I have always been passionate about acting and that was why I quit my bank job. When I started, it was a case of time and the opportunity to just showcase my talent.
I didn’t tell them I wanted to act. I lost my father a long time ago and my mum fell in love with the idea. As a matter of fact, she was my biggest fan when she was alive. My mother’s death, two years ago, almost tore me apart because I lost my dad 11 years ago and she had been my rock. She was very healthy and suddenly, she fell sick. I spent a lot of money but she did not survive the ailment. It is well and God knows best.
The first movie I partook in was Olosho by Kunle Afod in 2010. I met Kunle Afod through a marketer, who used to buy goods from me.
I produced Omotoke Gold and Eran. I am currently working on two of my movies but they don’t even have working titles yet.
Acting vs banking
I think what you are paid in the industry is a function of what you bring to the table. If you are good at what you do, you will definitely get what you deserve. You cannot expect to be well paid when you are just starting off; so, you have to be patient. However, some people are of the belief that acting doesn’t pay the bills and they are entitled to their opinions. Also, in this our economy, one has to have different sources of income.
Every profession has its own peculiar challenges. When I started my acting career, the challenge I had then was getting roles and having the platform to showcase my talent. I made a lot of sacrifices to get to where I am today. There is no shortcut to becoming famous and relevant but I surmounted all the hurdles and today, I am where I am. It is also tough staying away from trouble because as a public figure, your actions might be misinterpreted and misjudged by the public and media. I try to stay off anything that may affect my brand negatively.
I don’t know why some people make issues out of nothing. I was asked if I wore an artificial bum and I just showed them. I didn’t strip because you don’t need to strip to show somebody what you are wearing.
I really cannot state the formula that has worked for me because it is not Mathematics. However, the grace of God is what has worked for me. Also, staying focused on my passion, avoiding controversies and improving in everything I do.
Before I joined the industry, I owned a beauty care business which I still operate till date. I am into skincare; so, whenever I am not on set, I focus on ways to grow my business because my career helps my business. Everybody wants a good and healthy skin. Also, sometimes when I travel, I buy things to sell in Nigeria.
Before I got into the movie industry, I had a huge love for Liz Benson. She actually motivated me to come into this industry. I also love Joke Sliva, Mo Abudu, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Sola Sobowale, Jaiye Kuti and many others. These women inspire me. I am close to Jaiye Kuti and she is one of a kind; she has a heart of gold and she makes me a better person.
I relax by watching television and checking social media updates.