International Women’s Day celebrates the diversity and achievements of women around the world and encourages the inclusion of women from different socio-cultural backgrounds.
Wofai Fada personifies the strengths and different characteristics of a woman who has achieved, crossed barriers and demanded more from life because of her boldness.
Wofai’s journey in the entertainment and media space humbly began in Calabar, and through dedication, bold decision making and focus, over the last five years, has led to her recognition as a leading actress to watch out for. But Wofai’s abilities don’t end at just being a talented creator and performer. Like many women, she is more than just one thing and can’t be boxed in. Wofai is also a sharp-minded entrepreneur in the food and drink space, who owns her own restaurant called ‘Just Afang’, and cookbook titled ‘Yogiegee Culture’.
Accelerate TV got to meet up with this dynamic woman, who shared her story, what keeps her humble and inspired, and the changes she wants to see in her industry.
Accelerate TV: What’s the biggest misconception people have of you?
Wofai: Like many women, I’m judged unfairly simply because of my appearance. Most people think I’m mean or unpleasant until they formally meet me, having had no prior interaction with me. They literally just look at my face and draw their own conclusions. It’s so unfair. Then they’re always so surprised by my warmth and how easy I am to get along with. I always jokingly ask “what were you expecting before?”
Accelerate TV: How do you think that ties into the world’s sometimes skewed vision or perception of women?
Wofai: Quite honestly, this is something that most men never have to deal with. No one judges their character or personality simply based on their physical appearance. This should never happen. When you judge someone prematurely or too soon, you never know what you stand to miss out on or learn from that person.
Accelerate TV: So who is the real Wofai?
Wofai: If I say it now, you won’t believe me. But I am actually shy, a little quiet and sometimes reserved. It’s just that my work is obviously very public so is therefore misleading.
I’m also very hospitable. Though it’s hard work, I really enjoy cooking and recreating recipes that I learned while growing up. I love to feed and care for my friends and family. It’s something that gives me pure joy.
Accelerate TV: What made you decide on becoming an entrepreneur?
Wofai: I needed more stability and more security. In addition to that, I don’t want to go back to where I am coming from. I want to stay growing and stay pushing ahead.
My career in acting has really made progress but acting isn’t always as rewarding as I would like it to be and sometimes opportunities aren’t always readily available. I am at a point in my career where I can’t accept just any role because of my brand and my experience. I want people to see me in quality work, where characters are developed, the content is professional and my range is tested. So sometimes I have to turn certain roles down, which obviously means my cash flow will be interrupted. Naturally, I had to adapt.
I have been very fortunate and God has really blessed me with His favor. I never thought I’d be in the position that I’m in right now. But I am and I am thankful. All of my achievements have been because of God’s hand on me. I can never say it’s because of anything or anyone else.
Accelerate TV: How do you challenge the barriers that are used to place limits on how much a woman can achieve?
Wofai: Through the daily display of my skill and by getting things done despite obstacles. I never give up. I do what I have to do when I have to do it. I pace myself and I plan. And I always work with the mindset of building. That’s all.
Accelerate TV: Specifically, what have been some of the challenges you’ve faced in the Entertainment industry and as a female business owner?
Wofai: Whoa. There are some things about the industry that I don’t think I am actually ready to share. But a lot goes on. Sometimes you’re not treated fairly. But I’m sure it’s the same in any industry.
But daily…it can be difficult. I sometimes struggle to balance my time between set and my restaurant. When I’m too focused on one, the other suffers. And it can be painful because both are just as important to me. It can all be a balancing act sometimes.
The restaurant closes late and the call-time for the set is usually early. Sometimes the producers I work with are understanding and accommodate my schedule and other times, I’m not as lucky.
Accelerate TV: In your opinion, what changes need to be made immediately, that will enable and empower women in the spaces in which you work?
Wofai: If I’m going, to be frank, it would be that there are too many decisions made without women being properly or adequately represented. Women are hardly part of the table. Script conferences are held and are made up of only men. Men write our roles, but don’t consult us? That needs to change. After all, we are the ones who will perform those roles and develop those characters. Women are the ones who do the work for those characters.
We either need to be included at the table, or we make one ourselves.