Screen goddess, Osas Ajibade recently had an interview with Genevieve Magazine. She talked about her husband, life as a married woman,her pregnancy and more. Read excerpts below:
On the process of hiding her bump: Hiding this pregnancy hasn’t been easy and it has been a challenge getting dressed every day to hide my bump but doing that has allowed me try different fashion choices I would previously have been nervous about. Take my AMVCA ball gown for instance. I would never have chosen a ball gown because I am more of a form fitting dress type of girl but Toju Foyeh (designer) made it work. It’s funny how even she didn’t notice any changes when she took my measurement because I have perfected the art of sucking in my belly. I pulled it off and not one person noticed I was hiding something. This has taught me that we can be fashion forward with pregnancy and I hope to be an inspiration for women going through body changes.
On why she kept it a secret: This is my first child and I do not want people’s opinions or judgment at this time. I have friends in the industry who were judged heavily when they were pregnant and it is not easy. I want to take back that power from the public and enjoy my pregnancy with all its challenges. Unfortunately I am aware that this is the industry we signed up for and people will always judge. It’s a very sensitive period for us especially with my older sister passing away from malaria when she was with child. My mum is really protective and she is on board with my keeping this pregnancy a secret. Losing a child is not easy on any parent so I understand why she is being protective. She even shared with me some Benin superstitions like putting a pin on my clothes to ward off evil and never telling anyone how far gone I am in my pregnancy and I am following her instructions to the letter. I was surprised when Aunty Betty confirmed that she also wore a pin on her dresses during her own pregnancies as well. We know the culture we are in. Let’s be real, there are bad belle people out there so to protect this blessing we are going to enjoy this moment privately.
On how she felt when she found out she was pregnant: This pregnancy wasn’t planned at all. As newlyweds we just wanted to enjoy our marriage before thinking about having kids but life happens. Interestingly, Gbenro figured it out before I did. I wasn’t feeling well and he told me he was going to get me some orange juice. On returning, he handed me a pregnancy test kit. I took the test and came downstairs to tell him the result. We stared at each other for what felt like forever and I said the words “We are pregnant”. We embraced for a long time and seeing my husband who is a true alpha African man in that state of emotion was such a beautiful moment. This pregnancy has brought out a new side of Gbenro who is usually very calm. Seeing him so excited when he rubs and listens to my belly is the most beautiful thing in the world. I now call him Papa G and he always smiles when I call him that. In fact I want 10 kids but Gbenro says I am on my own.
On her sister’s death: Because of where we are [Nigeria] I would be lying if I said it hasn’t crossed my mind that revealing my pregnancy might jinx it. That’s why we are taking precautions to ensure we don’t go through the same events around the time my sister passed on. My sister’s death was an unfortunate situation but we will not let her death be in vain and are taking all the necessary precautions. This might be a cliché thing to say but I keep God first and it has always worked for me. It is never easy to not know all the answers but the number one answer is God and he would always lead the way. My mum always says prevention is better than cure and that’s one of the reasons I am leaving today for the United States to have my baby. I take precautions with everything, even with my career. I keep things to myself until they are birthed. When I was very young, I was on the phone to my friend telling her of my plans. My dad overheard me and said to me; “Hang up the phone. You don’t tell anyone your plans before they happen!” and that stuck with me. I had a lot of apprehensions initially about this pregnancy but I encourage myself by saying “You cannot have faith and worry at the same time. Pick one!” My husband feels the exact same way and he speaks so strongly of his faith. We would be silly to be oblivious to the evil in the world but God will not allow it come our way. I am grateful to Genevieve for keeping this private and announcing it in a special way.
On falling in love with Gbenro: A woman always gets the sense that a man wants to hook up with her but I didn’t get that from him. It was actually me who asked him out the first time. Most of my friends and family were in the States so I was all by myself in Nigeria. I did not know anyone and we hung out a lot together. Gbenro’s friendship and loyalty drew me to him. He was such a cool person to hang out with, very sweet and he always looked out for me. From then on the friendship grew and it was such an organic relationship.I really am in love with Gbenro. He is so funny and I am always laughing when I am with him. I am concerned for our neighbours because it could be 2 o’ clock in the morning and I am bursting out laughing. He is an absolute comedian and people don’t see that side of him.
On how she knew he was the one: There were several factors that made me realise Gbenro was the man for me. They say you know a person best when you travel with them. After we started dating, he surprised me and took me to Obudu Cattle Ranch for our first Valentine’s Day as a couple. As a child of the diaspora I didn’t get a lot of exposure to Nigeria besides what the media pushed out to us. When I got to Obudu I exclaimed! “This is Nigeria? Nigeria is beautiful.” We don’t get to know in the United States that places like Obudu or Victoria and Banana Island exist and that’s why Gbenro was determined to show me places and expose me to a different world. We got to know each other outside of distractions and Valentine’s Day has become so important to us. Gbenro gives me the fairy-tale. It’s funny how I still get butterflies when I look at him. He is the love I have been searching for. If he were to step into this room right now, I would be like a little girl. He doesn’t compare to the other men I had dated in the past. My old boyfriends had different qualities but those qualities didn’t all come together. One was tall but a push over the other one was cute but not very smart. It needed to all come together in one man and Gbenro was that man. He has it all plus the things I didn’t even know I liked in man. If that’s not the man for me, then I don’t know who is. And Lord is he funny! I wish people knew that side of him. The ultimate deciding factor however was something he did which I unfortunately cannot share. (Here, she really broke down; she however shared it with us and we all teared up.) No one saw that coming. Because I have never liked dishonesty in a relationship and I think it is a faulty foundation to build anything on; I opened up completely to Gbenro about something that no one else knows about me and he loved me regardless. It made me realise that this is the man for me. Unfortunately I am not ready to share that with the world.
On meeting his parents: I met his parents the Valentines weekend he took me to Obudu. While I am aware that there is this negative belief about your significant other’s parents, I have been so blessed. When I arrived at his house, his mother stepped out on the balcony called my name in such a loving way and welcomed me with open arms. I still have chills when I think about that moment. I couldn’t believe it was happening. His family is like the Huxtables on The Cosby show. They are such amazing people, so family oriented, supportive and real. They didn’t care where I came from. They just loved the fact that Gbenro was bringing a girl home for the first time. Up till now I can call my mother in law anytime I want to, she is there for me and she loves me. Look! She’s calling me right now. His family is amazing and his brothers and sister are beautiful and well-rounded individuals. They really take God as number one and it’s so admirable. My mother-in-law has a nickname for me. She calls me Sa-Sas and I love it. I love the way his mum treats his dad. They have been together for over 30 years and still act like high school lovers. Growing up with examples like that, it’s clear why Gbenro is who he is.
On rumours that Gbenro was with her for a green card: Being in the limelight, I hear different things and I wouldn’t be human if some of them didn’t get to me; especially the comments people made about how he is only with me because he wants a green card. That was very hurtful because people don’t understand the love we have for each other. Everybody likes a good life. Who no like better tin? If he is able to get a green card for being with me, then that is a blessing but for people to assume that that is the only reason he is with me is very hurtful. Gbenro has had different opportunities in his life and he could have made that [a green card] happen a long time ago. He always tells me that he had never envisioned himself being in love and in a relationship until he met me. He thought he might just end up having a baby mama. I didn’t ask him to marry me. He asked me to take this journey with him. People can talk all they want.
The Married Life
On life as Mrs. Ajibade: People say the first 6 months of marriage are the toughest and we have gone through our fair share of ups and downs. Culture was a big shock for me and being a wife is a different life altogether. I was a bachelorette doing whatever I wanted but now I am a caretaker and I have to care for my husband. I hear it’s normal to have a maid in Nigeria but I am not used to that. I upkeep my house myself even though my husband is open to employing someone for that. I do not trust anyone because I am scared. I never really liked cooking. I was the girl who would whip up a nice bowl of noodles for myself but I’m married now and Gbenro is used to eating a full-grown man’s meal. Whether I am hungry or not there has to be food in my house. I had to learn how to cook what he likes. He loves Banga soup and I am grateful to his mum who taught me to do different dishes that her son loves. I’m not complaining because if he is constantly eating out that will never make me happy. I want him to look good and I want him to be happy when he comes home. It is not so much a challenge but it is a different life.
On the compromises: Gbenro and I decided to come to a compromise and do only one project/movie at a time. I love that he loves me but in the African culture for example seeing your woman kiss another man on screen is a big challenge. In coming to a compromise I asked myself, is kissing someone else much more important than my relationship with my husband? Will the kissing scene, if taken out detract from the story? If not, then I am happy to compromise. So we will do one project at a time and kissing is off the table right now but it might be on the table later. I also understand now that Gbenro needs his space. Whenever Gbenro needs his Gbenro time I give that to him that and whenever I need Osas time, Gbenro gives that to me. What I love is that we are learning to communicate better and work with each other day by day.
On divorce: It’s scary hearing about all these examples of celebrity breakups but there are good examples as well. Take Aunty Joke Silva and Uncle Olu Jacobs, Aunty Betty and uncle Soni. Ahn Ahn! Chai! These people have been married longer than I was even born. You also have examples like Omotola Jalade and her husband. There are still beautiful examples of what marriage can be and I have a husband whose goal is to have a successful marriage like his parents and that is an additional blessing.