29 year Veteran actress Joke Silva in a recent interview reveals how she was sexually harassed and how she has dealt with it so far.
Sexual harassment in the industry
To be honest with you, sexual harassment is in every profession, its not only in the movie industry. But because we are in the limelight, people tend to focus on our case but its all over the place. I think its always up to the individual to handle it. For me, I know my God is king and He is sovereign so I believe there’s nothing you want to offer me that my God can’t give me. Sexual harassment is something that goes on in every day life whether you are in banking or any other sector. We are even hearing that some women even harass men as well.
My grouse against women’s negative image in films
A couple of years ago, I did a film that was written by a woman and there was not one positive female character in the entire script. The mother which I played, was very controlling while the daughter was a spoilt brat. The alarming thing was that it was written by a woman. When I spoke to the writer about it, she said that was what the audience liked to see and also that the women were like that. Since then, I have been very concerned about the portrayal of women in Nollywood and in popular culture generally whether in films, music, books or TV. So when AWDF – African Women’s Development Fund spoke to me about this, I thought ‘fantastic,’ finally there’s an opportunity to at least dialogue on this issue. It also shows the power of the medium, the entertainment, popular culture that we work in. It does something that people absorb subconsciously and when things go into the subconscious, its actually more powerful than what goes into the conscious.
Playing long-suffering character roles for years
Of course producers do type-cast. I’ve been an actress for about 30 years (I will be 30 years in the industry next year).
I’ve been typecast many times. As a young actress, I was often given roles of a long-suffering character. I had to eat so I had to accept such roles. But after a time, it became boring and when I became older in the industry, I started turning down such roles. However, I’ve also been lucky to get some really important work that takes me out of such roles.
Those are the kinds of things we are going to talk about in the film forum coming soon, about typecasting and stereotyping of women in films. Women are a mixture of good and bad sides. So, women should be playing good roles too and not only roles that are about witches, bitches, whores, evil stepmothers and others. These are the kinds of roles writers should be writing for women-more positive roles in a three dimensional way rather than in a one dimensional way.
Why I wore a low-cut hairstyle for years
I haven’t had low-cut for several years now. For a while now I’ve been braiding and wearing weaves. The reason why I actually had a low cut then was because of my scalp. I have very tender scalp and very stubborn hair and to get the hair to relax was a problem. My scalp used to burn during relaxing so I had to stop, to allow the scalp to heal. So, I left the hair natural for a long time. Now, I don’t even perm my hair often. I go for weaves and braids.
Style to me is elegance and comfort. These must come first before any other thing. Sometimes I don’t always get it but I always like to be appropriately dressed for each ocassion. My favourite look is to be elegant and stylish. I like the ethnic look especially the long skirt and blouse (or what they call the up and down) and buba and iro. I also like gowns and trousers as well.
When not working, I love to spend time with my family. For holidays, I don’t really have a particular favourite destination in mind. What I like is the company. I love going away with my family, my husband and two sons. To me, holiday can be at home. However, I will love to go to Mauritius with the family. My husband has been there and he says it’s a wonderful place.
Staying in shape
I’m surprised that you say I’m trim because I’m looking at my tummy and saying, ‘oh Joke, you have put on so much weight, you’ve got to watch it!’ Not that I want to be lepa (skinny) because being thin doesn’t agree with me as I look haggard when I’m too slim. But I will like to shed a little around the hips.
Best food? I like amala, ewedu and fresh fish. For continental, I like pasta and seafood.
The bling factor
When it comes to jewelry, I just wear what goes with whatever outfit I have on. I’m not too much into the expensive stuff because in the first place I can’t afford it (laughs). Besides I prefer a simple look. However, when it’s necessary to appear glamorous like at special ocassions such as award ceremonies, I do it.
Beauty item I can’t do without
That will be eyeliner. I use it for my eyebrow and also line my eyes and lips with it.
On complaints about the artificial look of many Nigerian women
My take on that is that whatever a woman needs to do to make her beautiful and they are available, she should go ahead and use them. It’s a matter of feeling good and comfortable with yourself. For instance, there are times I leave everything natural-my hair, nails and I feel fine. At other times, I feel like doing the glamour thing and I go for it.
Stylewise, I don’t think our women overdress. We are just extremely fashionable women. Sometimes, we can be OTC, ‘over the top’ but the glamour is still there.