Rising Star Linda Osifo On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Entertainment Industry

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…Just don’t forget yourself. Always remember why you started and what the purpose is behind what you started. If the purpose is positive, and you’re out there for the right reasons, not just to be famous and have lots of followers and sensational fans, but if your purpose is to impact and change individuals in your communities, inspire and trigger that visionary feeling of “I can be more in life than just this,” then you’ll never lose yourself. So don’t lose yourself in the process because, yeah, you’ll go crazy…

I had the pleasure to talk to Linda Osifo. Linda is a Nigerian Canadian actress recognized for her contributions to film and television. Over the course of her career, she has been featured in an array of films and series that are available on platforms such as Netflix. Notable works include roles in “Merry Men,” “Fifty,” and “Naija Christmas.” In 2015, Osifo’s acting prowess was highlighted when she garnered a nomination for the ELOY award due to her standout performance in the TV series “Desperate Housewives Africa.” Beyond the cinematic world, she expanded her portfolio by taking on the role of Nina Fire in the popular soap opera “Tinsel.” Linda also branched into the realm of game shows, co-hosting the “Give ’n’ Take National Jackpot” alongside the respected Nigerian star, Segun Arinze. In 2023, she further solidified her stature in the entertainment industry by being chosen as a Master of Ceremonies for the esteemed Afroglobal Excellence Awards, held in Toronto.

Yitzi: Thank you so much for joining us. Before we dive in, our readers would love to hear about your origin story. Could you share a bit about your childhood and how you grew up?

Linda: Well, talking about my childhood, it’s been a while, but I can sum it up for you. I grew up in Benin City, which is in a state called Edo State in Nigeria. Fortunately, I had some good years during my childhood. I spent about 7 to 8 years there, starting from a very young age. Unfortunately, I couldn’t experience everything I wanted to because I moved to Canada at the age of eight. So I got to explore a bit of my culture in Nigeria, and then the other half of my growing up was in North America, specifically Canada. It’s like a blend of different experiences. We have the Nigerian flavor, which is all about the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the aspiration to be more, dreaming, and reaching for greater things. And then there’s the Canadian side of life, where opportunities abound, and you can achieve more. I hope that makes sense.

Yitzi: Can you share with us the story of how you became such an accomplished actress? Where did that start?

Linda: I don’t even know how it started. I’m still on the journey, to be honest, because success doesn’t have a limit, you know. It’s a purpose, it’s a journey, and you just keep going. But one thing I can tell you is how my passion evolved from being just passion to quite intense. Passion isn’t enough anymore; it’s more of an obsession now. It started in childhood. There are things we do naturally as children that we overlook, even as parents. You might have a child who’s always singing around the house, picking up the karaoke stick to sing. Tomorrow, they become one of the best singers; it was always in them. For me, it was an innate aspect of being very involved in my community, even as a child. I participated in school programs like acting, pageantry, and community service like fashion shows and church activities. These were like an introduction to what I had started; I just wasn’t getting paid for them, of course. That’s where my journey began. The only difference was when I decided to make it an obsession, meaning, “It’s this or nothing.” I graduated with a psychology degree from York University in Toronto, Canada, which was a significant achievement. After that, it was a matter of deciding what I really wanted to do with my life. So I made the life-changing decision to go back to Lagos, Nigeria, and start an adventure.

Yitzi: So you started in Nigeria?

Linda: Yes, I did. It’s unbelievable. It’s crazy too, though.

Yitzi: You must have an amazing career and some fantastic experiences. Can you share with your readers one or two of your favorite stories or memories since you started in entertainment?

Linda: Well, my most amazing experiences, I’d say, go beyond just the experience itself. It’s about the impact. That’s what I find truly inspiring on a daily basis. We do have those magical moments when we meet incredible individuals, but it’s not just about those moments. It’s about the lasting effect that comes from them. So, it’s the impact I receive from being part of this field and making a positive difference.

Secondly, another remarkable experience would be the roles I’ve had, not character roles, but rather mentor roles. I mean, the opportunity to be involved in charitable organizations, even having my own charitable initiatives, and reaching out to more than just the entertainment industry. The exposure to these experiences is what makes it more effective in achieving such goals. So that’s my perspective on them.

Yitzi: Is there a person who made a profound impact on your professional career, or professional life? And if there is, can you please share a story about that person?

Linda: I had that moment with a project that I consider one of my most special ones. It’s called Desperate Housewives, Africa. It’s the ABC adoption of the Walt Disney Desperate Housewives that, you know, we know from Walt Disney. So this was the adaptation of the African version. And I must say that exposure was more of my break because it was at that moment that I said, “Okay, if this doesn’t come through, I’m gonna have to go back to Canada, get in the snow, and start shoveling because I’m done,” and it came through, you know, so it was my aspect of like, “Okay, this was the break for me.” Other than that, of course, I get inspiration from individuals who are far in the aspects of, I have seen the results of what they do and how consistency has helped them. And I try to use those as the role models and the impacts that I try to also inspire to be.

Yitzi: That’s great. Let’s pretend you were the queen of all Hollywood. From your insider’s perspective as the queen, what changes have you been happy about in the past five years, and what changes would you implement in the future?

Linda: Well, you know, in the world of entertainment, there have been some significant shifts, even in hosting and other aspects of it. I must say I applaud the growth of technology in recent years, how it has expanded and greatly impacted the entertainment industry. If we look at the past five years, especially in the realm of streaming, we can clearly see the substantial changes that have occurred, and that, in itself, is quite commendable. Of course, there’s always room for growth.

Yitzi: In your specific industry, what changes would you like to see?

Linda: In my industry, I would aim for more flexibility. Instead of success being based on who you know, I believe it should be centered on the merit and talent of individuals. The true gifts they possess, which is what their worth should be, should be what society values. It shouldn’t just be about who knows who. This perspective would provide more opportunities for people to aspire and achieve more based on their abilities and not just their connections. That’s the aspect I’d love to change. I hope that answers your question.

Yitzi: So you have an impressive body of work, Linda. Could you share with our readers some of the exciting projects you’re currently involved in? Also, please tell us about the upcoming Afro Global Excellence Awards event and how our readers can support you.

Linda: Thank you very much. It’s really thrilling for me because working in different locations always has a ripple effect, you know? It has a significant impact on my body of work. Having this event take place in Canada is particularly special because I’m Canadian, and it feels like a homecoming. Recently, we completed filming a movie in Toronto called “The Light Coach.” It offered a broader perspective on the entertainment industry in Toronto and showcased the incredible talent we have here. Being a part of it is a major milestone for me. A decade ago, I wasn’t working in Toronto, but now, a decade later, I’m deeply involved in the Toronto entertainment scene. It leaves me with a remarkable and lasting feeling of accomplishment.

Now, let’s talk about the Afro Global Excellence event. The keyword here is “excellence,” and it promises to be a remarkable gathering of individuals who excel in their respective fields. I won’t be the least among them, and that’s a humbling thought. I anticipate it to be a mind-blowing experience because we’ll be in a space filled with people who are celebrating excellence in all its diverse forms — it’s a celebration of life’s achievements and goals. It’s all about sharing the positive energy in the room and acknowledging the incredible accomplishments of every individual. I’m excited to be part of it and to stand on that stage, recognizing the faces of great personalities who have excelled in their fields. What makes it even more thrilling is that it’s happening in my hometown, Toronto. So, it’s double the excitement.

Yitzi: Okay, this is our signature question. You’ve been blessed with so much success now, and you’ve gained a lot of experience. Looking back to when you first started, when you first took those initial steps, do you have five things you wish somebody had told you when you first started?

Linda: Of course, five things I wished I had known before I started:

  1. Number one, the thing I wish I knew was that your life will never be the same again. So enjoy the freedom, well, I don’t want to use the word freedom, but the liberty of expansion that you have right now to yourself.
  2. Number two, don’t dwell too much on time because it will go by really fast. So don’t let time be your deciding factor. If someone told me, “Hey, I’m going to give you this, but in the next ten years, you’re going to see the actualization,” I’d think, “Ten years before I’m out there? I’m not taking that, you know?” But whether you dwell on it or not, time will still pass, right? So that’s number two.
  3. Number three, definitely enjoy every experience because it’s meant to teach you a substantial lesson that will help you in the next step of your career, decision-making, and anything that will have an impact on your career.
  4. Number four to me, just don’t forget yourself. Always remember why you started and what the purpose is behind what you started. If the purpose is positive, and you’re out there for the right reasons, not just to be famous and have lots of followers and sensational fans, but if your purpose is to impact and change individuals in your communities, inspire and trigger that visionary feeling of “I can be more in life than just this,” then you’ll never lose yourself. So don’t lose yourself in the process because, yeah, you’ll go crazy.
  5. And the fifth one, in everything, always remember that nothing is forever. So just take everything one day at a time, and that’s it.

Yitzi: This is our final question. Linda, because of your great work and the platform you’ve created, you’re a person of enormous influence, and many people take your words seriously. Do you have an idea or a movement that could do the most good for the most people?

Linda: Absolutely. I would like to specify this towards a particular gender, which is women. I believe in the power of education. If women have access to quality education, there’s immense potential for positive change in society. The girl child has much to offer, and I am an example of what exposure and education can achieve. I found my identity through these resources. So, if more girls had access to education, they would discover their true potential. Society would benefit from women who are self-aware and empowered individuals. My idea is to expand educational opportunities in my society, particularly in Nigeria and across Africa. I faced limitations due to the lack of these opportunities, and it was the absence of such limitations that helped me discover my true self.

Yitzi: Well, how can the readers continue to follow your work online? How can they watch you in Afro Global Excellence words? How can they continue to support you in any way?

Linda: Yes, yes, yes. So, of course, I’m available through various social media platforms: Instagram, and Facebook, and, of course, you can find me as Linda Osip Olindao on those platforms.

Also, for the Afro Global event, for those who can’t be there in person but want to watch virtually, on the 21st, the live stream will be available for people all over the world. I hope you tune in.

Yitzi: It’s been an honor and a delight to meet you.

Linda: Thank you. Great conversation.

Yitzi: I’m so happy we got to meet, and I hope we can do this again next year.

Rising Star Linda Osifo On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Entertainment Industry was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.