May Efe Okanigbe – “Our paths and dreams and destinies are different”

05 Sep

Hi, Presh nation! Back-to-back init? You like? Anyways, it’s been a fun ride raking in these interviews. I love the connection I feel when I interview creatives. Maybe because I’m one too. Today, we have May Efe Okanigbe, a multi-talented creative. She gave insight into a couple of things. Enjoy 🌹

PRESH: Hello, please tell us your name

MAY: My name is May Efe Okanigbe

PRESH: Who is May Efe Okanigbe?

MAY: May is a creative. Actor, presenter, singer, writer and “former” dancer. I love everything creative and I’m always open to learning new things and gaining new experiences. I also do a little bit of photography, videography and directing for stage and screen.

May Efe Okanigbe

PRESH: How did this journey start for you? Has it always been there or is it something you just stumbled on?

MAY: Right from when I was little, I always knew what I wanted to do when I grow up. For me, it’s been like a calling. I always participated in the arts in school and church and thankfully, I had a talent for it. So I decided to study Theatre and Performing arts at the University. I faced a lot of opposition to my choice because a lot of people believed that even if I wanted to act I could always just do it as a side hustle and study something a little more “respectable”. Thankfully I had a very supportive immediate family and great friends who encouraged me to follow my dreams and I haven’t looked back since.

PRESH: What university did you go to?

MAY: I went to Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

PRESH: Tell us about Chill with May

MAY: Chill with May is my baby. It is a fun and interactive interview and game show that features interesting personalities from different walks of life, mostly creatives. Where we get a little insight into their lives and watch them unwind.

PRESH: You are one of those who actively create monologues and participate in challenges. Is that a strategy for you on your road to fame?

MAY: Well, I started creating monologues way before I started putting them up. I love to challenge myself when it comes to acting. To try new things and push my boundaries. I started putting up these monologues as a way to show my work and also create engaging content for my followers. You know, as actors many times, there is a tendency for you to be cast in certain types of roles continually. These monologues help show that I can do so much more and I’m glad people are noticing them.

PRESH: You won a challenge organized by Evolt Africa recently, how did it feel to get recognition for your work?

MAY: It is certainly an honour to be the winner of the “Evolt Africa Monologue Challenge”. It felt great to know that I’m doing something right and that the hard work I put into my craft is recognised. I’m grateful.


May Efe Okanigbe

PRESH: You’re used to asking the questions, how does it feel to be on the other end of them?

MAY: It feels really weird but also exciting to know how it feels to be on the other end. It’s an unusual occurrence but I think I like it.

PRESH: What is the difference between stage and screen? How do you manage to cut across both worlds?

MAY: Acting for stage and screen are interestingly different. When I first got into the industry I struggled a lot to find a balance and it took me some time to get there. Stage acting is larger than life, it needs to be louder, bolder, with dramatic expressions and mannerisms. You also need to have all your lines and movement, internalised and memorised because there are no second takes. It takes a lot of energy and hard work to perfect a stage play. Acting for screen is an entirely different ball game. For screen you are depicting life as it is, so no exaggerations, just real-life emotions, mannerisms and characters. With mics and cameras, it’s easier for mistakes or false expressions to be picked out so you have to really commit and become the character you are playing so that every camera trained on you gets a believable performance from you. Like one of my mentors constantly says, Acting is not pretending, Acting is becoming. Switching from screen to stage and stage to screen is easy if you are not afraid of hard work. You have to constantly unlearn and relearn things. Just as you embody different characters and have to detach from them when the job is done.

PRESH: That was nice and comprehensive, thank you. You probably have come across some challenges along the way, tell us about them and how you’ve scaled a couple of them. How has life been in general?

MAY: The entertainment industry is a very competitive space so I can say I’ve faced a number of challenges. At the initial stages of my career, I had to take a break from acting to go do a 9 to 5 because the jobs weren’t coming as they should which meant no money. There were many jobs I have to do for free to build my network and at least have a foothold in the industry. That’s a major challenge most actors face, so it’s always wise to have other skills or businesses so that you have something to sustain you when the jobs aren’t coming as they should. I’ve also been guilty of comparing myself to other people I know who started in the industry at the same time I did and have gone further than me. I had to constantly keep reminding myself that everybody’s race is different, our paths and dreams and destinies are different. So do your best on your own path and you’ll get where you need to.

PRESH: Who’s that one person you’ve always looked up to in the industry?

MAY: When I was younger, I loved and admired Genevieve Nnaji, because she was so versatile and could play basically any role from student to wife and I’ve always loved versatility.

PRESH: What is next for you at this stage of your career?

MAY: I have a number of film and stage projects that are in the works and I am really excited about them. I hope to build my brand and be known for my credibility and delivery.

May Efe Okanigbe

PRESH: Please leave a message for those who look up to May Efe Okanigbe

MAY: To all those who look up to me, I want you to live your dream. Be the best version of yourself, believe in God and yourself, work hard and you will achieve everything you set your mind to.

PRESH: Thank you so much for your time ✌

Follow May Efe Okanigbe on IG @exclusivemay

May Efe Okanigbe

Well, there you have it from May. I always say, you better be ready for your chance when it comes, it might only come once. Ire oo 🥂

About Author

Precious Olawumi
Precious Olawumi

.. .. .. CEO Symplypreshblog Founder of The Olawumi Precious foundation Has a ton of experiences in various industries from food to insurance to fashion. He's an introvert with a vision to one day preside over the most populous black nation on the planet. He's quite innovative and driven. In a bid to make a difference and to motivate people to become better, He chose a path that helps him relate with more people. He was a partner at the Icons Fashion Show 2019. He recently bagged a Bachelor's of Technology degree in food science and engineering.

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