Working in showbiz is not that easy as many people think. It is one of the most challenging sectors to work in and unless you are principled, shrewd and know what you want, you risk being exploited in all senses, says Sandra Ero, an Italy based Nigerian actress, showgirl and dancer.
Sandra came to Italy in 2001 for further studies. She studied acting at Studio 254 Academy in Rome, and now features in a TV show titled "Studio 254 Show: - Trash or quality?" going on air every Friday at 8:30pm on Gold TV Italia and Gold Sat (Sky, channels 856 & 903) on Sundays at 5:45pm.
The "Studio 254 Show" addresses different topical issues in politics, fashion, economy, etc.
Sandra is a cheerful, optimistic, kind and altruistic girl, and these qualities have most of the time made some people try to take advantage of her. She wonders why people always to try to take advantage of those who are good to them.
Apart from acting, Sandra also works as a beautician and an assistant in a photo studio.
Revealing how difficult it is for an immigrant to find work as an actress in Italy, Sandra says that in many auditions she has participated in, they are normally looking for Nigerian or African girls in general to play the roles of prostitutes or minor roles in plays.
She observes that it is not easy not only for immigrants, but for all actors in general to be invited for auditioning if they are unknown. One’s chances of finding jobs depend on who you know, she says.
Sandra regrets the fact that many good actors are never given a chance of taking part in auditions. “If you are not even allowed to take part in an audition, how will they ever know if you are a very good actor or actress?” she asks.
Sandra is quite critical of the Italian entertainment scene, where physical beauty counts more than the artistic skills. The Italian entertainment scene, especially the television seems more interested in physically beautiful girls and women with no qualifications than the less beautiful ones who are highly qualified and very good at their work.
If you are sexy and ready to dress in a way that exposes a good part of your body, then it becomes very easy for you to be invited regularly to TV programmes, Sandra says. “The body seems to be more important than intelligence.”
She gives an example of how cameramen in TV programmes are keen on the way female guests dress. “If you go to a talk show dressed in a manner that leaves nothing to imagination, they quickly put you in front, and the cameras always focus on you even if you are not contributing to the debate,” Sandra says.
She has attended some shows where there have been explicit requests from some cameramen to either sit or move in a way that enables the panties to be seen.
Sandra has some advice for those aspiring to become actors and actresses. “It is important to study because physical beauty is never enough. Your physical beauty can give you an opportunity, but only your skills will make you retain it. Intelligence counts because it helps you find your way through the system,” she affirms. Sandra holds that those who have talents eventually make it if they don’t give up. “Encourage yourself and follow your dream, it is better to try than to give up without ever trying.”
Sandra also warns aspiring actresses and actors against letting others condition their decisions in life. Each person, she says, should decide on what he/she would like to become in life.
And if you think that acting is a bed of roses, here’s Sandra’s message for you: “Don’t abandon whatever job you are doing because you want to become an actor or actress because it is not easy at the beginning.”
Full name: Sandra Ero
Place of birth: Benin city
Dress size: 40
Hair colour: Brown
Educational background: Diploma.
Country of origin: Nigeria
By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a