I had the sweetest conversation with actor and TV host, Idia Aisen.
She shared exclusively with me about dealing with loss – the loss of her job, the loss of her father, and the loss of her partner all at the same time. These almost crushed her.
Months after, she has brought her head above water and was sparkling as the lead on the hit movie Nneka, The Pretty Serpent. As she was celebrating that big win, she heard a senior colleague in the industry saying ‘She must have paid for the role.’
This beautiful conversation shares how she survived that painful comment, surviving the big losses in her life, and standing strong in a sea of stereotypes.
The loss of her father!
“I’ll tell you a story about the day my dad died. I was coming out of my 3 P.M show. The show at 2pm ends at 3 P.M news show and they’re laughing in one of the offices. Then I heard a producer say, ‘oh ask Idia ask Idia – boss bought her a car.’ I’ve never told anybody this like in public. I was like my car um and it was like just a Hyundai. I really wanted the same one that my sister had so my dad got it for me after a lot of begging. My God! It was a warzone to get that car, and I hear this producer who knows nothing about me other than, I come to work, I do three shows, I go home.
As she was saying that I got upset at that moment. I started trying to call my dad because I’m like ‘Dad you know you told me to take this job. I’m getting frustrated. These people have no respect for women. I don’t want to deal with this because even when we’re negotiating my salary conversations like ‘oh you know she doesn’t have a family she doesn’t have a husband and children why does she want to be paid this much you know.
So, I start calling his number and his number isn’t going through. One of my brothers picks up the phone and goes ‘Daddy can’t come to the phone right now’ and I’m like ‘tell him it’s me give him the phone because I really need to talk to him they’re driving me crazy at work’. ,My brother told me ‘I don’t have time for this I have to go and he hangs up’.
I’m trying to figure out what’s going on, why would my brother speak to me like that? Calling everybody just trying, everybody’s number ‘Where are you?’ I’m like oh I’m at work they’re like ‘Just wait there.’ So, I called the firstborn, and I told her I was like ‘Look if you don’t tell me what’s going on I’m going to be pissed’… and she said Idia ‘daddy is dead’.
A lot of the people that came out to criticize the movie were criticizing it because of the choice of Nneka, and that was what broke my heart. They criticized it before a lot of people got to see it and that’s why they succeeded last year.
This year my God stood for me. Last year a lot of people didn’t get to see it and it was just, ‘eh my friend auditioned, why didn’t my friend get it.’ It was now like, and I just thought wow!
Like, I knew they hadn’t even seen the movie, so, there was this criticism that now made a lot of people say we’re not going to go see it, which was also still fine. Then other people saw it and they were like we love it we love it cool, but it wasn’t the magnitude of what I know we shot. This was now that opportunity and people literally messaged me ‘I was turning my nose up at first that she’s not even an actor blah blah.
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Head over to HEREto watch the full interview.
You can also listen to the full podcast on HERE