We’re sharing an interview with our Director of Communications at Orisun Collective, Jessica Obilom. Jessica, a trained professional actress, recently starred in the film Trafficked and we are super excited to be talking about her role in the film and what else she’s currently up to!
How long have you been acting?
I have been acting for over 13 years. I got my start in theater, then transitioned into film acting 7 years ago. But I still do my occasional stage play.
Was Trafficked your first major film role?
Yes it was. I booked this role about a year and a half after moving to Los Angeles. What made it really cool was that I played a lead role in a movie that has A-list actors. This type of thing could take an actor years to achieve, so this role was definitely a huge blessing and accomplishment for me. You can check it out on iTunes, Amazon, Fandango, Playstation, Redbox, cable on demand, etc.
What were some of the challenges you faced in the role?
Well, the biggest challenge was just connecting to the role itself. My character was a sex-trafficking victim, and had been for the last 5 years. How do I connect to this? That is something I had never experienced, nor did I personally know anyone that had experienced that. And if I'm being honest, I was just under a rock when it came to this whole phenomenon of sex trafficking. I just was not aware of how prevalent and close to home it was. So my solution was research. And when I say research, I mean RESEARCH. I read books, I watched movies, documentaries, and read countless articles. And once I finally had a good enough sense of it all, I started writing. I created a whole backstory for my character and her sex trafficking experiences. It all came out to 100+ pages. Essentially, my character wrote a book about her life as a victim of slavery.
Where was this film shot?
It was shot in California in the cities of Malibu, Los Angeles, and Bakersfield. The funny thing is, there's a scene where my character is in her hut in "Nigeria." This hut was actually in Malibu. That's movie magic for you. However, there are some quick b-roll shots that were taken in India and Morocco.
What are you currently working on?
I am working on 2 webseries: Stepford Sidechix and Growing Up Immigrant. Stepford Sidechix season 1 is currently on YouTube, and we are in pre-production for season 2. The 1st season of Growing Up Immigrant will be premiering on April 4, 2018 on YouTube. I am also writing my first feature film, which I want to shoot in Nigeria.
What attracted you the role?
I was attracted to the Stepford Sidechix role because it made me a bit uncomfortable and I knew it would challenge me, so I had to say yes. And I'm so glad I did. I was attracted to GUI because the character is Nigerian and the project is African-centered. I love my Africans. Plus I knew and trusted the writer.
What is your dream role?
My dream role would be to play a super hero. It doesn't get much better than that, right? For me to achieve something like that means I've achieved something great, because there are not a lot of women who look like me in that genre.
Who is your favorite director?
I don't have a favorite director just yet, but right now I'm enjoying the works of Anthony Hemingway, Gina-Prince Bythewood, Ryan Coogler (#WakandaForever), John Singleton, and Ava Duvernay.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
Ambitious as it may be, I see myself with an Oscar. I know that I have the talent to get there, it's now just a matter of literally everything else. And there is so much that goes into it. But I believe I will get there, by God's grace. I also see myself married with children. I'm really excited about that part. One day, sha.
Who is your favorite actress?
Right now my favorite actress is Kerry Washington. She is everything. She is fierce, adorable, passionate, sexy, sorrowful, strong, weak, sarcastic, funny. Everything. I love watching her and everything she's in. Watching her is like being in an acting master class.