I wasn’t intimidated acting with Genevieve –Joseph Benjamin

Story by Ifeoma Meze
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Joseph Benjamin modelled for Fanta Chapman, a popular soft drink in the 90s and was a child actor in the popular TV series, Tales By Moonlight. He has hosted of Project Fame and is the lead actor in Mahmood Ali-Balogun’s new film,Tango with Me. Senior Reporter, Ifeoma Meze, met him during the week.

How did you start?

I started out first with modelling - photography modelling and modelling for commercials, TV adverts and all. My very first job was for Fanta Chapman in the 90s. That was the first brand I modelled for. Then my first acting experience was in Tales By Moon light.

How old were you then?

I think I was in my teens because then there was this restriction. It is either a story had something to do with a child. I can remember I featured in two episodes of Tales by Moonlight. My first role was when I acted a palace guard and in the second story I was a homeless child. Those were my first experience acting. Then I was one of the extras for a movie in 1991 called Crossroads. That was the first movie I featured in. It had the likes of Ejike Asiegbu, the past president of Actors Guild of Nigeria; it had Victoria Inyama. I left acting for a while but I was still doing my photography modelling. I worked for Indomie, Maltina and a host of others. In 2003, I did a movie with Zeb Ejiro, Robert Peters and Kate Henshaw. The movie is Deadly Mission. A lot of people asked why I did not stay back in the movie industry but I knew within me that I had to strike a balance because I was in between a whole lot of stuff. The system then was not too encouraging so I just felt it was not time for me to strike that balance, so I left. In 2005, I came back. I did a couple of soaps. The major one was for Mnet called Edge of Paradise. From there, I did other soaps for Tajudeen Adepetu. Things started evolving and I did Super Story, which I was a doctor in. I basically started doing more of TV series. I also did some movies for Shan George. After that I was in a couple of other things like I was one of the contestants for Idols West Africa. I made it to Planet One where I was one of the top 60. I later got to know that it was my age that was the issue.

Were you too young or what?

No, I was too old for it. From Idols, things continued evolving for me. It was actually in 2008 that I decided to stay in the system. I told myself that I had a passion for showbiz and I had to go for it. I have a talent for every aspect of entertainment, from music, voice over, modelling, acting and it was in 2009 that Project Fame came my way and ushered in my presenting skills. Basically, that is how it has been for me.

Where did you school?

I did my primary school in Benue State, secondary in Lagos State and I have a diploma in computer literacy from an affiliate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). From that point when I got that diploma, I started taking professional courses. Every time I enroll for professional courses, I find out that the passion for entertainment and showbiz always takes over. At some point, I told myself, enough of confusion; I decided to strike the balance that I have always looked forward to. I let go of every other thing and focused on what I am doing right now.

Do you have native names?

I am from Igala in Kogi State. I don’t have any Igala name but I have an Igbo name because my mom is from the East. My names are Joseph Chibuzo Benjamin. So, Joseph Benjamin is not a stage name, it is my real name.

What other aspects of entertainment are you into?

I just knew I had a passion for show business. I knew I had a talent for all of these things. All entertainment aspects are intertwined. There is a connection in all entertainment aspects; it’s just for you to understand if you have strong points for any of them. I tell people that all you have to do is understand the unique selling points in your career and build on it; trust me, you will fly. I am an MC for events but presenting is like the highest point in that aspect and I discovered I could do that very well too. People keep asking me about Project Fame. I auditioned alongside a lot of big names but I was not picked for the first season that Dare Art Alade hosted. I impressed them but I heard they were going to give it to Dare. It made sense because he was a product of Project Fame in South Africa. For the second season, I did not know they were shopping for a host. I just called the producer and he told me that I called at the right time, so I went for the audition again and I got it.

What drives your passion most?

Amazingly, music holds a very deep part of my heart. For someone like me to talk about music, you will know I am not talking about half measures like what most people do now. Your music is you, people should be able to feel me from the music I do. I know I have great passion for acting but music has a deep part of my heart. Acting and presenting comes to me naturally but for music, that is just Joseph.

Are you one of the many that fell in love with music by singing in a choir?

I am still in the choir. Music started for me when I was young. I remember back then, my elder brother and I played with music a lot. My brother loves music but he does not know how to sing. I discovered I could sing a long time ago.

What kind of music will you be going into?

My genre for music is soul and R&B. I think mostly gospel, and inspirational music.

Will it be right to say that Tango With Me is your biggest movie so far?

Yes, it is my biggest movie considering everything, the technicalities – bringing in an entire crew from Hollywood that went into that movie – it was a big one for me. It was my first time working with people from Hollywood. It was a big budget. More dialogue driven and very intimate, I will say yes, that it is my biggest movie project so far and it has been awesome for me.

What was it like being picked for the lead role?

There was no major audition for Tango With Me. They had it locked in that they would use Genevieve (Nnaji) and they had an idea of whom they wanted for the male character. I had a one-on-one chat with the crew. One of them knews me from Tinsel and Project Fame, and from there everything was set on course.

Since it is your biggest movie so far, was it very challenging?

It was, if you watch the movie you will find out that we had to really sink into those characters to deliver because there was a lot of emotion. Throughout the period of that movie, I was totally blank in my head. I had to take myself into a particular state in my mind to really get into that character.

How long did you shoot for?

We shot for like six weeks and everything was done on the Island. From what I hear from people who have seen the movie, they love it, meaning we did justice to it.

You are quite romantic in the movie, are you also like that naturally?

You are just trying to put me on the spot. I had to be romantic for the movie but it was a professional romance. This is letting out the gist about the movie. Go and watch the movie.

There is a rumour that a lot of guys were jealous that you had to act alongside Genevieve, did you get such comment?

You can say that again. All of the interviews I have been granting, guys have been asking how it felt kissing Genevieve, and I am like saying, is that all you saw in the thriller?

Let us put it this way, you said you never knew who you were going to act alongside with in the movie until you went to meet up with the crew and saw the chat, how did you feel knowing you were going to be in the movie with Genevieve?

I never knew I was going to be starring with her. I loved the story when I read it, it looked challenging and I asked whom I was going to play with and they said Genevieve, I was like wow, nice.

You had a crush on her?

I admired her talent not a crush. Well, crush, you can say that, every human has a crush. She was someone whose career I have admired and respected over the years because she is quite thorough and professional. I have followed her career and she is one of the very few who I like and applaud. When I first met her she was quite pleasant unlike how people think she is a snub. I also respect Stella Damasus, Kate Henshaw, Rita Domnic and Nse Ikpe Etim. People ask me if I felt intimidated working with Genevieve, trust me I was not intimidated working with Genevieve. We are both professionals and if Mamood Ali-Balogun didn’t feel I was capable enough to do the job, I would not be called or even considered.

What don’t people know about you?

I am a very reserved person. I am someone who likes my space. I am not a crowd kind of person except it has to do with a function or something. A lot of times people have termed me as an introvert or a snub but I am not. People who know me know that I am a very jovial and sociable person. I can crack you up but I am very private.

Joseph Benjamin


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5/16/2011 1:19:15 PM
Its so wonderful 2know dat gene is been loved and admired by so many.Keep on shining babe, God is on ur side.
Oh no Benjamin tmi
5/16/2011 7:15:46 PM
This dude seems so quiet and pulled together but from this interview that seems like a fad.
1. TMI- which obviously means he talks too much and jabo alot, most of the questions he wasn't asked he talked about.
2. He seems desperate for fame in a very coded way, i mean really west africa idols for you, music ok i will stop here and i also just stopped calling you one Hawt Candy.
A man with no breaks on his speech is a big no no on my fantasy list.
Goodbye Benjamin
5/16/2011 7:28:30 PM
5/16/2011 9:24:44 PM
Ride on girl and ignore those f**ls.
5/17/2011 8:00:53 AM
Joseph benjamin. U rock! God bless
5/17/2011 9:33:24 AM
who is genevieve? and y will someone feel intimidated acting with her? stop dat overrated thing abt dis genevieve, after all is she a better actress than omot, bimbo, rita dominic, kate nuttal, dakore and the rest? i beg make we hear word
5/17/2011 9:38:18 AM
Joseph Benjamin, this interview of yours has done you more harm than good, why would you be talking about being or not being intimidated acting with Genny? i mean what's in your fellow human being/ woman that will make a man fret at the sight of her. i'm begining to marvel at the height of fear and tension that besiege people at the the mention of Genny.

i use to hold you in high esteem but not anymore since you could sense intimidation over someone else.
what @ all is dis?
5/17/2011 9:39:23 AM
what @ all is dis overating stuff abt genny? why will someone feel intimidated acting with her? is she the beauty quin of nollywood or the best actress that nollywood has ever come across? pls dis noise abt genevieve will not make heads bow, we want better stories abt other actresses.
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5/17/2011 9:51:47 AM
If only u admit dat u are a sinner n confess ur sins, Jesus is ready 2 save u & giv to u a new life.
5/17/2011 11:38:23 AM
the fact is that ,genny is the one shining,whether she has sleept with a million men or not,whether she is old or not.why must she live according to the standard of those who behave and talk like p/p who grew up on the street,even though they say that they live abroad.is like they pas through abroad but ,abroud do not pas through them.they talk another woman down as if they are perfect themselves.whatever is it that this woman has achieved ,they cannot go halfway doing it.judgement is for god and not man.if we all believe that each one answers for him or herself before god one day,then save yourselves and work your own salvation through and leave genny to work her ownthrough.women over the century has been so neglected,talk down,considered second class citizen ,and to see women doing the same thing today is really sadening.we can always chastice but , not in the way that mama g and jayjay is doing it.by the way ,they behave and talk like mother and son.and ghetto type i mean.i guess p/p has to learn to threat them like osei and the rest of his clowns.let them comment and answer themselves ,unless they say something meaningful.
fine boy
5/17/2011 2:41:33 PM
why fine go be intimidated acting with genny?
why all this genny
5/26/2011 1:32:12 AM
l dont like the way people look this genny girl as God...she is just a human who was as like u back in the days..she is a star dosn't mean she can be praise at any givn opportunity... they are better stars in nollywood then her..genny this genny that...is making her to feel she is the queen of England...l know all stars ahve fans..but try to say the truth about them..not all this useless praise..
who she be
6/12/2011 8:50:36 PM
why will one feel intimidated for acting with genevieve? is she better than the other beautiful and talented actresses that nollywood can boast of? nfc pls give us a break, genny's acting is just ordinary, stop overrating her as if she is better than all the others
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