Tuesday, March 20, 2007
The Bold, The Cool and The Beautiful
laspapi continues his search for subjects for his interview series above and who more fitting than the delectable Stella Damasus?
Laspapi: What does Damasus mean?
Stella: It’s my grand-dad’s first name. It’s Greek. He grew up in a Nigerian community with a heavy Greek presence and these people found local names hard to pronounce. The Greeks gave him a nice name and it stayed with the family.
Laspapi: What State are you from?
Stella: Delta (Asaba)
Laspapi: Your Native name?
Stella: Obiageli. (I’ve come to enjoy)
Laspapi: Does that name reflect your nature?
Stella: (Emphatically) Yes! As a child, my mum called me “omo jaiye” (child of enjoyment). When I met my husband, jaiye (aboderin), one could see it was meant to be.
Laspapi: As a child, what did you aspire to be?
Stella: A psychologist. I like to ponder the workings of the human mind and why it twists and turns as it does. I believe it is humanly possible to reverse wrong turns of the mind. As a child, for some reason, I had a calming effect on people the community had given up on as irreversibly insane. There was a violent girl who steadied whenever I was around and a man (I was 15) who was mentally ill (schizophrenia) but would yell whenever I passed, “Ada Oyibo, (White man‘s child), you will build a hospital for me, you will take care of me”.
In the future, I hope to be able to endow psychiatric homes where those who have mental health issues can be helped.
(Here, Stella pauses to ask herself why she’s answering questions she’s never given answers to anywhere. “Easy”, laspapi answers, “I’m the Girl Whisperer”)
Laspapi: Who do you look up to?
Stella: (pointing two lovely hands in the air) God!
Laspapi: What’s your concept of God?
Stella: A divine, supernatural being who owns the world. He can save us from the world and ourselves. Only God can change the course of my life.
Laspapi: Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
Stella: A combination. I’m an artiste but the real me loves privacy. I learnt the social side for my husband. I love to do things for myself, go to the market, the movies…
Laspapi: Favourite perfume?
Stella: I’m wearing Bulgari as I speak but my favourites are “Wish”- Choppard and Elizabeth Taylor’s “White Diamonds”
Laspapi: Do you believe in white lies?
Stella: I don’t. You tell one then you need a black lie to cover that. Life is easier when you tell the truth. You gain more respect from being honest.
Laspapi: Favourite Clothes designer?
Stella: Myself. I have a label, Monafrik, which I haven’t launched yet. Soon though.
Laspapi: If you had only 5 minutes to get out of the country, what would you take?
Stella: Apart from my children? My handbag, it’s got lots of stuff in it- my passport, bible, perfume…
Laspapi: Let’s play words and associations.
Stella: I don’t want to play
Laspapi: (Unrelenting and rapidly ) Love
Stella: Not good
Then in her soft voice she said, “Can you imagine? Don’t write that. Why’d I say that? I think I was referring to irresponsible, casual sex, the way some young people do now, not bothered about the consequences and the dangers of STDs.
Laspapi: Can you see your unborn children in my eyes?
Stella: (Staring into my eyes for a few seconds) No, no, no.
Laspapi: A word for people who hope to become big stars
Stella: Love and believe God. Dedication, Hard work and Principles.
Laspapi: A word for posterity?
Stella: I want to be remembered as a woman who stood for the right things- As one who was loved and who gave love, who gave care to those in need. A strong Character who stood.