I was struggling to discover myself before BB9ja – Maria Benjamin
In this interview with Naomi Chima, ex-Big Brother Naija reality TV star, Maria Benjamin, expresses her excitement about her recently premiered talk show, ‘Healing with Maria’
Prior BB9ja reality TV show, it appears that you were stable financially, what influenced your participation in the show?
Prior to Big Brother, I wasn’t made in any way, I was still struggling, and my life needed a lot of improvement too. I was still struggling to find my light career-wise, and otherwise. I might have had some previous careers prior to that time but many things I really wanted to do as a person had not come to light. So, prior to BBN, I was still lost as a person. I must say, financially, I was okay, but not made. BBN platform was a gateway for me to be able to achieve certain goals and dreams which I have always had.
What were some of the experiences in the house that shaped your life?
If I am being honest, I was myself 100 per cent in the house. I was more aware of my environment because I am not used to living with people or a large number of people. I never lived with my family throughout my adult years. I moved out when I was 16 and catered for myself till adult age. So, having to live with a huge number of strangers was a huge challenge for me.
I was very much of myself and was trying so hard to accommodate my acquaintances as per what was accepted in the Big Brother house at the time. My experience at the time was that I found out that I was actually a nice person, laughs! I also learnt to understand that every other person has an opinion too and that my opinion isn’t always the best or right opinion.
After the show, you made a move towards acting, can you share your experience in Nollywood?
I have two major movies in post-production, almost ready for Netflix Nigeria and USA, they are solely up to the producers. I am not in a rush, Nollywood has generally improved and I am so proud. It was great to be on set with veteran actors and it’s a huge honour for me.
Are you going fully into acting?
I wouldn’t say fully like 100 per cent, but yes! I will be acting if the roles and opportunities do come up.
What birthed the show ‘Healing with Maria’?
It was in 2021 after BBN. It was something personal not about me but something within the family. It was an issue within the narrative of drug abuse, and domestic violence in general. It literarily hurt me because I actually had no way of helping, I felt helpless about someone I cared a lot about and loved. So, I thought to myself that there should be more awareness to help those in this struggle and challenge.
There have been accusations against you that you go after married men. What is your reaction to this allegation?
Obviously, there was a biased rumour about me, of course, I won’t be the first, and it happens anytime someone comes to fame. That rumour that came out in 2021, it’s not in my place to discredit or credit it, you know I never even brought it out there in the first place and it is not in my place because it is going to touch a lot of personal lives and it is just not in my place to voice out. Also, I don’t owe people any explanation.
Some of your fans are eager to know why you are still single. Can you share some God news with us?
Oh! I am not single I have not been single in a long time. I am very much in a healthy relationship with a partner that I have been seeing for many years now. He is a great person in my life, and encourages everything I do, and he gives me peace. I am just so grateful to God that I have him.
Expecting the good news anytime soon?
God willing, Yes!
Can you share with us your experiences as an air hostess?
It’s something I don’t miss and I miss at the same time. You know it’s so funny you bringing it up because the last time I was at the gym, I was looking at the virtual screen that displayed all parts of the world and I was surprised that I had travelled almost around all the cities on the screen. I am happy that part of my journey happened. I do travel a lot, but not as when I was an air hostess. It created room to expose myself and be aware of people’s cultural behaviour. But it was odd to wake up in different time zones, adjust and prepare, you are on a diet, sleep at odd times, and stay awake for long hours. But the excitement was once we landed at a country that you haven’t been to, you get to explore and see the country. It was challenging because it never made room for real life. I missed a lot of weddings and family time because I always put work first.