Darlene Benson Cobham, an actress, singer and Theatre Arts graduate of the University of Lagos, is the wife of the famous music producer, Cobham Asuquo. The award-winning actress, who joined Nollywood in 1998 and emerged Reel Award's Best Actress in 1999, for her outstanding role in the movie, 'Maama,' in this interview with TAYO GESINDE, speaks on her fashion preferences, foray into acting and the pains and gains of being a celebrity. Excerpts: Growing up. IT was fun.; I grew up in Port Harcourt and Calabar. My father was a journalist and my mum, a businesswoman. So, we had a good upbringing. I'm from a family of five girls and we are all close. Foray into acting. I had always been theatre- inclined and that was why I studied Theatre Arts. I joined Nollywood in 1998 and I won Reel award's, best new actress with the movie 'Maama' produced by Opa Williams in 1999. I have featured in over 50 movies. My first movie was Venom of Justice. My most challenging role so far was playing a 15-year- old destitute, street grown, violent and wild girl in Maama. Description of self. Would it not sound corny if I began to praise myself? Because everything I have in mind to answer this question will make me look like the most fabulous person on earth. Philosophy of life. Respect people and be kind. Love is the answer to all mankind's problems. Let love lead. Definition of style. My style is simple and sexy. I am not a strict fashion follower and I also don't want to look old fashioned so I try to strike a balance by going for the simple, yet classy ensemble of today's trend. Sometimes, I just create my own fashion. If I see a style that represents my personality well, I go for it not minding whether it is trendy or not. Whenever I want to buy my fashion ensembles, I look out for stuffs that pamper my physique and are comfortable on me. Beauty regimen. I must cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise. I make sure that I protect my skin from direct sunlight too. I use different beauty products, Ilike Clarins, Aveeno and Mary Kay products. For make-up, I have different types: Mac, Mary Kay, L'Oreal, VS and so on. Sometimes, I go for any quality shade that suits me. I am not really a make-up person, so, I use little make-up because I love having a natural look but I can go heavy for evening events and shows. Favourite designers. I don't have favourites at all. I wear a lot of different designers. Choice of accessories. Three things usually determine my choice of accessories. They are my mood, the occasion and the outfit I want to wear. I tend to accessorise more when I am on stage singing. For shoes, I used to do just heels but it wasn't the healthiest choice, so I started buying flats and sandals too. I have a few gold jewellery but lots of costume jewellery. Favourite colours. I love blue and purple but I am not so rigid about it. So, I wear other colours too. Favourite perfumes. Aaaahhhh! I flirt with perfume because I keep changing scents. Right now, I am using two different Prada scents, 5th Avenue and Jadore. Opinion on toning. It is not a healthy practice! If you want a nice glow on your skin, you must use safe, certified products that won't damage your skin. However, trying to change complexion from black to white is just not good. On cosmetic surgery. It is a personal thing. I believe if it is something that makes you look abnormal and you feel fixing it would give you confidence to relate better with people. If you can afford. It then, please go ahead if it is a safe procedure and not one that is a risk to your life. With this age of technological advancement, plastic surgery is not a taboo. Provocative dressing. Some people are of the opinion that actresses are the ones promoting indecent dressing because of the way we dress in movies. It is largely true! Young people will imitate anything they see celebrities do both in and out of movies. A lot of the nudity we see in movies are highly unnecessary and is not part of the stories. Celebrities must realise they are role models and producers should do movies without depending on nudity to sell them. I'm not in support of provocative dressing, especially when it is excessive. There is decent sexy and there is indecent sexy. Keeping in shape. I try to keep in shape by dieting, especially when I notice that I am gaining weight. I exercise too but not seriously. I do my morning stretches and I climb the stairs as often as I can instead of elevators. What I will like to change about myself. Nothing. My life and experiences make me unique. Secret of beauty I can't say. It has to be God because I am doing what I know a lot of other people are doing too. Special treat. Special treat for me is globetrotting. I love going on vacation. For now, Seattle is my favourite spot in the world. I go there a lot but I am looking forward to going to Seychelles and Cyprus. I love tropical islands with beautiful beaches and luxurious hotels. Most expensive item in my wardrobe. Oh! That would be a black evening gown from BCBG. I have not bought a piece of clothing worth up to $1,000, yet. My gold jewellery set too is expensive but really, I am a simple person. Fashion icons. JLo and Halle Berry, but I don't idolise them. I am inspired and influenced by many icons. My hair and nails. Fixing for sure! I wear nail extensions and hair extensions almost all the time. I am not a braid person really. What I won't be caught dead wearing. Ha! I have to think about that o! I don't know what would put me off so bad. I am still thinking. Tattoo or piercing? I am not a fan of either of the two. Best beauty advice I have ever received. It is to drink lots of water. Advice on how to stay young and beautiful. Think young and beautiful; it all begins with the mind. Keep away from harsh cosmetics, then, cleanse and moisturise your skin daily. Greatest physical asset. Greatest physical asset? Okay, I think it is my legs. Hot legs! Hahahaha ( Laughs). I am quite modest; really, I did not think they were that hot until people kept saying they were. I just hope that they still are. Combining the home front with my career. I am handling it really well and that is because I've got a great husband and wonderful family. Coping with male admirers. I have no problem with them. I appreciate them and I am friendly with them but I let them know that I am married and they respect that. The pains and gains of being a celebrity. The pain of being a celebrity is not being free a lot of times when you go out and being judged when they don't really know you personally. However, one has to accept that it comes with the territory. On the other hand, it gives you a voice and you can influence lots of people positively. You will also become a role model for the younger ones and that is the reason one must live an exemplary life. Advice to fans. 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