Theodora Ibekwe – Oyebade who hailed from Imo state was born in Benin City, Edo state. She was qualified as a teacher at Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi before she gained a degree in Accounting at University of Lagos.
Her career started years ago when Dr. Dayo Olomu introduced her to television presenting which was pretty much a springboard to her other activities. Currently, she’s involved in a lot of activities – being a beauty pageant organiser; film producer; charity ambassador; activist and of course the brand ambassador for Chamy Perfume. According to her, being- beauty pageant organiser has always been her passion as she was always into elegance. She was discovered by a budding film producer at an event where she was MC and later became the lead female in his debut movie. Speaking on being a film producer, she was encouraged by her cousin to produce her own film and given her experience on different sets including “Amina”, motivated her to take up the challenge.
Theodora is passionate about her work and this involves – making people smile; entertaining them; motivating them to be the best they can be; rewarding them for excellence; enhancing the Nigerian community in the UK; raising funds for worthy charities, etc. According to her, she felt “privileged to have come along at a time when UK Nollywood was in its infancy”. She was pleased to have been beautifully placed to boost the profile of the industry, despite the long presence of Africans in UK Nollywood.
Her talent for publicity was indeed a blessing to her as she has profiled many up and coming UK Nollywood practitioners and assisted on so many film sets. Some of her works includes: Co presenting on Arise TV Talk Show at Passion TV with Dr Dayo Olomu; organising Miss Elegant Beauty Pageants; featuring in numerous movies including “Amina”; and producing her own film “Shameful Deceit” and its short version “Chronicles of Elizabeth”. She has also been a producer and associate producer to so many UK films. Aside from her works on Beauty pageants, publicity and blogs, she’s currently an Ambassador for Focus on Disability Foundation and Nigeria Research, Information and Development Bureau (NRIDB) for which she raises funds. In addition, she’s the Assistant Public Relations Officer for Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK) and presently the President of the Actors Guild of UK Nollywood (AGUKN). She’s also a member of Uncelebrated Nigerians Awards UK – where she was a co-host at the 2016 edition.
Talking about her achievements in UK Nollywood, Theodora admitted she couldn’t take all the glory. She gave Glory to God and like-wise thanked her husband, Ayo Oyebade. As a PR Guru, she has achieved a good record in publicising numerous films and successful premieres of quite few of them, including Amina; Shattered Hearts; 18 Carat Mama; Murderer-in-Law; and her very own “Shameful Deceit” broke UK Nollywood records at Odeon cinemas in 2013. The success of “Shameful Deceit” started right from the campaign which commenced from auditions through principal photography to the premiere and eventually four screens were sold. Another monster was “Basira in London”, which had also a record breaking premiere in 2015.
For the involvement in her current activities, Theodore revealed that she had no formal training. She learnt everything on ground and on certain sets, she was not just a runner but a production assistant, even a location finder. Her activities on various sets shaped her in producing her own film. She admitted that her role as a publicist came to her naturally and could be attributed to her “bubbly personality”– though it was left for her fans to be the judge. Her inspiration in the business is the desire to be the best she could be. Of course, she’s a prayerful woman who puts God first and according to her, His grace kept her on the treadmill, where there are so many detractors. She loves entertaining people and making them feel good about themselves. One of her rewards and motivations is that she loves supporting people. Her husband is a great support to her career as he has been in the entertainment business longer than she was.
She revealed that despite the fact that UK Nollywood is still in its infancy, it can actually pay the bills, but, presently, movie making is a past time for most of them in the industry as they all have their day jobs. Theodora had no real challenges except for the word “jealousy”, which is of course, rampant and it is only ignorant people that listen to gossips. She is very passionate about her job and she doesn’t give room for negativity to hinder her. Funds on the other hand was also a major challenge but she believed that with patience, perseverance and the right project, the investment will come.
Her advice to those going into the business or planning to be like her is for them to work hard; never give up on their dreams and not to be a DIVA. Patience; perseverance; respect for authority; humility; smart working; and also acknowledging the importance of having various streams of income will contribute to the success of the business.
Theodora Ibekwe – Oyebade is on social media and she can be reached on her Twitter page @theodoraibekwe; facebook – Theodora Nollywood IbekweOyebade; Instagram – @theodoraibekwe; and finally her website, www.theodoraibekwepr.com