Saturday, 19 September 2015
At first sight you would think you need to break the bank to have Tonia Ferrari Okoro sit and have a chat with you. But when you go closer and have a feel of her warm affection, humility and the sparks of electromagnetic attraction that emanates from her, you will realise you are in nothing but a good company.
Though not the kind of beauty that will grace the covers of European tabloids but her womanly assets, steep in African values, will more than make many African men get out of their skins. It is doubtful any man will run into her and not be pushed to want to know her better.
I sought her out after being told that there is another Yoruba actress making waves in the industry. She has done a couple of films that got top ratings and thus has some good claims to fame. I knew next to nothing about her but when we got on talking I knew another star is born.
Meeting Tonia Ferrari
“I’m Ferrari Tonia Okoro, born to a Nigerian father and a Cameroonian mother. I am into beauty and the world of entertainment. I have serious passion for acting. That’s why I left banking job for acting. I came into the industry through Kunle Afod in 2010 and we did a couple of jobs together. Some of the movies I did with Afod included Olosho, Ewe Aje and others. I also worked with Bayo Tijani who introduced me to my present boss, Afeez Owo. Afeez Owo is a man I respect and love. I call him my dad and his wife, my mum. Both of them have been very nice to me”.
Acting in Yoruba films
Born to a Nigerian father from Delta State and a Cameroonian mother, Tonia Ferrari obviously has no Yoruba roots. So, why would this sophisticated beauty opt to ply her acting trade in the Yoruba sector of the movie industry.
“Yeah, I grew up in Lagos, everyone around me spoke Yoruba, so I picked Yoruba as my first language. I am a Lagosian by virtue of being raised here in Lagos. I was born in Cameroon but my mum brought me back to Nigeria when I was still very little. I was raised by a strict dad who was a no-nonsense man but in spite of his strictness he was also my best friend. I attended High Class International Schools for both my primary and secondary educations. I studied Accounting at Yabatech.
I found the Yoruba sector to be more amenable. Most of the people are very accommodating and always willing to help. Besides, when I wanted to start acting the first connection I got was with the Yoruba sector. That was in 2010 when I left my banking job and opted for acting”
Leaving the banking job for acting
Arguably, the most financially prosperous sector to work in Nigeria after the oil and gas sector and telecommunications is the banking sector. It is almost unthinkable that anyone would want to leave such a lucrative job as banking for the unpredictable, uncertain world of acting, where many upcoming actresses are not always paid for their roles. But Ferrari has her reasons and she was seriously convinced she was wasting her time working in the bank.
“I have serious passion for acting. I was an internal auditor in a bank and I was living fine but I always felt incomplete, like something was missing from my life. In a nutshell, I felt I was not doing what I love, so I resigned and followed my dreams. I am not saying the banking job is boring, it was exciting and interesting but my eyes were always outside the banking hall- in the make-believe world, because it is what I have always wanted. I didn’t go into acting for the money because I have my beauty care business that brings in income. I am here only to fulfill my dreams and desire to be an actress. In acting, when you pay your dues, acting pays you back in ways you least expect.
But would she sincerely say acting pays more than banking?
There is nothing like enjoying what you do. For me, acting pays a whole lot more. Everything should not be seen in naira and kobo. There is a fulfillment more rewarding and exciting in doing what you truly love than counting money. I meet great people and I am living my dream, what can pay better than that?
Her experience as an actress
It didn’t start easy, trust me. It’s got its own challenges. You don’t expect to start making money immediately you get in, you have to join the queue and wait for your time. There is always one hurdle or the other to scale. Not everybody you meet will take kindly to you. Some older actresses hate you at first sight for no reason, probably thinking you pose a threat to them. There is also the challenge of finance because you need money to make money. In spite of all these, it has been fun all the way because nothing beats doing what you love. When you love what you do you don’t see any negativity anywhere.
How her beauty has helped her career
No doubts beauty and good figure help in the industry because it is your calling card but it is your talent that will see you through. Without true talent, your beauty cannot take you far. It has helped me get some roles though and it defines mostly the kind of roles I get. Most of the times I play the roles where my beauty is pivotal in the script. For instance, you don’t see me playing the role of an old woman because I just don’t fit the picture.
Sexual harassment in the industry
I have never experienced what you would call sexual harassment in the industry. What is sexual harassment? Is it when a guy asks a woman out? Is it when a man and a woman in the same job decide to date each other? Most situations we call sexual harassment are normal man-woman love relations. Has anybody raped or slept with anybody by force? If a senior colleague asks you it doesn’t amount to sexual harassment in my own estimation. I have been asked out several times and I won’t call that sexual harassment. Anyone that asks me out and I say no, and he decides to take it personal, that’s his headache. I have got one ‘honey pot’ and it’s not for public use. It’s a precious sweet part for a special person.
Her limits as an actress
I honestly have no limits when it comes to acting. As an actress, I believe I should be able to take on any role given to me, as long as it not in disharmony with my values and beliefs. As an African woman, I cannot go nude of course. I think the normal fake romance on set is the maximum I can for now. When it comes to sex scenes I can do that too but not to the extent of going nude and showing my privates to the world.
The craziest thing she has ever done
That will be when some actors accused me of wearing fake hips and bum. At first I thought it was a joke but they were dead serious about it. They went on and on about it that I had to prove it to them that I am all natural. So, I pulled down my jeans and showed them my naked bum. They were transfixed and could not talk for moments. I know I have a fresh and beautiful bum. It was so crazy I couldn’t believe I did what I did. Even the guys were confused. Don’t think I am wayward or something, I believe so much in decency but their accusation made me lose my head. I even told them to touch it and confirm but they just stared in disbelief.
What followed after seeing the big fresh bum
Of course, after getting an eyeful of my fresh bum one of them started getting funny ideas. I have got a nice butt and I know it. When he asked me out I wasn’t surprised but I shocked him by turning him down. He tried and tried but failed to get to me.
Slovenian police used pepper spray against people trying to cross from Harmica, Croatia
Migrants stranded in Croatia have been making renewed efforts to head north despite moves by Slovenia and Hungary to hold them back.Slovenian police used pepper spray on Friday night to disperse a group trying to cross from Croatia.
Hungary, meanwhile, accused Croatia of violating international law after asylum seekers were sent over the border without first being registered.
The EU, which is divided on the crisis, is to hold emergency talks next week.
Overnight, thousands of migrants trying to pass through the Balkans to reach northern EU states spent the night at railway stations or sleeping alongside roads.
As controls have got tighter, many migrants have strayed from transport routes, walking through cornfields to reach borders.
In a day of chaos and confusion on Friday, people were shunted from one border to another as governments remained split over how to handle the crisis.
The march by Europe's would-be immigrants is becoming a race against the changing political mood of its many nation state.
Each day now there are new routes and new rules marking the map of Europe - and without a pan-European solution, it is every nation for itself.
Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Textile materials and fashion accessories estimated at millions of naira have been consumed after fire gutted a shopping plaza on Broad Street on the Lagos Island area of Lagos State.
Also, a section of the Skye Bank branch in Ikeja was gutted by fire, destroying some property.
Drive Hot News learnt that the Lagos Island fire started around 8.55am after a power surge.
Workers at the plaza were said to have made frantic efforts to put out the fire before inviting officials of the Lagos State Fire Service and men of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency.
While some traders watched helplessly as their goods burnt, others were said to have struggled to salvage their wares.
A firefighter with the state fire service, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the fire started from the second floor of the three-storey building, adding that more than three fire trucks were deployed in the scene.
He said, “It is a three-storey shopping plaza where they sell female fashion items like bags, shoes and other accessories. The fire started from the second floor and was caused by an electrical surge. We were able to curtail the spread quickly.
“Firemen from the Onikan, Sari Iganmu and Alausa stations responded with 10,000 litres of water each.”
The General Manager of LASEMA, Michael Akindele, said there was no casualty in the incident, adding that some traders were able to save their wares.
“No life was lost and there were no injuries. Traders in areas not affected moved out their goods; everything is under control,” he added.
In the Ikeja incident, Drive Hot News gathered that the server room of Skye Bank caught fire around 10.50am.
The prompt response of firemen from the Ikeja fire station was said to have prevented the fire from escalating.
Our correspondent was told by a firefighter that the fire was also caused by a power surge.
“They called the fire service on time and that was what saved the day. The fire started from their internet server room. There was a spark, which started a fire.
“But we were able to stand with them till the problem was fixed and banking operation resumed without much delay,” he added.
The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Fire Service, Amodu Shakiru, called for increased vigilance among residents.
He said, “Both fire were caused by electrical upsurge and that is why we always tell people to be cautious.
“You can use the back of your hand to feel the heat of your electrical gadget. When it is hot, you should know it is a potential hazard.”
Meanwhile, several people were injured and about five shops set ablaze on Monday after some hoodlums clashed at the Alaba International Market.
A source told Drive Hot News that the clash was between some Yoruba and Igbo touts, who engaged in a supremacy battle over collection of fees.
A witness said the fight started around 9am, adding that business activities had been grounded as a result of the clash.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Joe Offor, who confirmed the incident, explained that the clash was between the market’s transporters and traders unions.
“The transport employers association and the traders association were involved in the incident. The Alaba traders complained that the activities of the transport association were affecting their businesses. They said some of their customers were being harassed and intimidated to pay exorbitant fees, and they were losing them to their competitors.
“This morning, the traders challenged the transport association which led to a scuffle between the groups.”
He added that policemen from the Ojo division and some military officers had restored sanity to the area.
Friday, 4 September 2015
Guatemala's former president has appeared in court after spending his first night in prison.Otto Perez Molina, 64, rejected allegations that he was the mastermind of a customs corruption scheme dubbed La Linea, or The Line.
At least 100 people are being investigated over the scheme.
A judge in Guatemala City ordered his detention on Thursday while hearings over the corruption allegations took place.
After Friday's second day of hearings, Mr Perez Molina was again taken from court to a military prison in the capita.
Tuesday, 1 September 2015
A couple walks toward the altar to get married at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada, in this May 15, 2005, file photo. Elvis isnt doing as many weddings in Las Vegas as he once did. The US desert oasis is known throughout the world as a destination for gambling and excess, and kitschy weddings. But fewer and fewer people are taking advantage of the citys flexible laws. PHOTO
At the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, an Elvis impersonator in a black jumpsuit croons as a couple walks down the aisle. Pastor Jean-Claude Chevalme pronounces them man and wife. All in 10 minutes flat.
Viva Las Vegas.
But the wedding business isn't what it used to be in Sin City.
The US desert oasis known for all-night gambling, extravagant shows and no-hold-barred boozing has for decades also been a magnet for couples from around the world who are looking to tie the knot quickly and cheaply.
The kitschier the ceremony, the better.
The marriage license office in Nevada's Clark County is open until midnight every day, even on holidays. Weddings usually cost just a few hundred dollars.
But fewer people are taking advantage of the southwestern city's flexible laws — 37 percent fewer over the past decade, in fact, as the number of Vegas weddings dropped from 128,000 in 2004 to 81,000 last year.
"The wedding business here in Las Vegas has fallen off since 2004. We haven't had ups and downs, and ups and downs — it's just been a consistent drop every year," Chevalme said.
"You know, people don't have as much money anymore because the economy here isn't that good."
A couple walks out of the Little White Chapel after getting married in Las Vegas, Nevada, in this May 15, 2005, file photo. Elvis isnt doing as many weddings in Las Vegas as he once did. The US desert oasis is known throughout the world as a destination for gambling and excess, and kitschy weddings. But fewer and fewer people are taking advantage of the citys flexible laws. PHOTO | AFP
The downturn could also be due to a decline in the appeal of a style of wedding that emerged more than a half-century ago.
"Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward got hitched here — two big Hollywood stars of the 1950s," said Clark County clerk Lynn Marie Goya.
They weren't the only ones. Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra exchanged vows in Sin City in 1966. Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, Angelina Jolie and Billy Bob Thornton, and Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford all tied the knot here.
The lustre from those celebrity weddings has worn off over time as a Vegas marriage has come to mean something less glamorous: an impulsive, and usually ill-fated, marriage.
Stars like Carmen Electra and Dennis Rodman got married there before annulling their vows nine days later. Britney Spears and Jason Alexander tied the knot — and then promptly untied it 55 hours later. What happened in Vegas really did stay in Vegas.
Films like "The Hangover" haven't helped the city's image.
"One of the misconceptions over the past few years is that people only come here when they are drunk and they get married last-minute, and that's just not true. That makes great movies but that's just not true," says Goya.
Even with the downturn, Las Vegas remains the top destination for weddings in the United States, and newly legalized gay marriage could provide a new source of revenue.
But Las Vegas estimates the nearly 40 percent decline in weddings has cost the city $1 billion a year, so it is starting to fight back.
It has kicked off a publicity campaign to restore the allure of the Vegas wedding and to attract a new generation of lovebirds to the city, especially from overseas.
"It's all about the fun and the craziness. Everything is large, big, so different from what we have back in Norway," says one new bride.
Rob Johnston, a newlywed from Britain, says he and wife Claire loved their Elvis-themed wedding.
"We really enjoyed it — it was a fantastic experience. We've had many great days and now we're off for dinner in the Eiffel Tower. What more could you want?"