When 28-year-old movie producer, Busola (not real name) got the news that she would be working on a movie set with a popular Nollywood actress, her joy knew no bounds.
Busola had gotten a job as an executive assistant for the actress whose identity she has chosen not to disclose. Her excitement, however bubbling with life, was abruptly soured on her first day on the job.
She recounted during a narration of her experience with this author:
“I got to the office and was told to go meet her on set. I got there and her first look at me was very condescending but I was there to work so I moved past it."
Later on, Busola would come to find out that the unpleasant first-time exchange with the actress was because she didn’t appear star-struck as other people would have.
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“I later found out that it was because I didn’t seem star-struck,” she reminisced.
Busola also disclosed that her hustling spirit was the only motivation that made her stay on the job.
“I saw people cower in her presence and I just wanted to quit right away, but my hustling spirit said ‘no’ ”
Some female celebrities are rude
For real estate executive, Nofisat Omotayo, her job doesn’t require regular interactions with celebrities but this hasn’t absolved her from being at the receiving end of cold and unfriendly receptions.
“Some of them are very nice but you see the women, LMAO! If you allow them, they don’t mind marching on you. Imagine someone shouting at me for giving her a spoon instead of a fork. I wasn’t even her PA. I was just serving her but because she is a celebrity, it’s okay to be rude. I couldn’t do anything because my boss was there, I wouldn’t have tolerated such behaviours.”
Celebrity photographer, Gboyega (not real name) had his first celebrity work experience with Nollywood’s Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde.
Even though he had been looking forward to the moment, the experience would leave a bitter taste in his mouth about the much-loved Nollywood diva.
“The first time I worked with a celebrity, it was with Omotola and it wasn’t really a nice experience. We sat outside for close to six hours waiting for her to get ready. She didn’t even offer us water. We got there by past four and she didn’t come ready until past nine.”
Celebs are tough to work with
Gboyega added that a lot of popular figures are generally problematic to work it.
“I was so embarrassed! I had never been so humiliated in my life,” model and budding actress Yewande (not real name) said while recounting a personal experience with a top shot comic actress.
“I was supposed to join the staff bus but I didn’t because I wanted to get ice cream on the way, and knew I couldn’t stop the bus. I joined one of the actors that had now become a friend and told him that he was going to make a stop so I could get the ice cream. Everyone knew I was in a relationship. I never hid it and never had the plan to do anything funny. Everyone that was close to me then knew, even my boss...In fact, most of them knew that it was my BF that sent me money to get ice cream, including the actor I was following.
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"On getting to Cold Stone, he posted a video of me getting the ice cream with the caption ‘look where we ended our day’ because we were done with shooting for the day. By the time we got back to our lodge, my boss (the actress) was already waiting. Immediately she saw me, she started yelling profanities at me with everyone around on the street. I was so embarrassed!!! Never been so humiliated in my entire life. It was one of the reasons why I declined the offer to renew my contract when it expired. I just couldn’t stay in such an environment."
Case in point
Actress Funke Akindele and singer Waje among others have made the list of popular entertainment figures who have been accused of being terrible bosses.
In June 2020, an ex-worker of the actress, Cassandra Owolabi, caused a stir on social media after publicly accusing her of physical and emotional abuse.
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Cassandra posted a video to Instagram in which she alleged that Funke had a way of using degrading words on those who work for her and making them feel less of themselves.
The lady who worked as a writer for the Jenifa actress likened her work experience to being enslaved.
She claimed that Funke stripped her staff of basic fundamental human rights such as freedom of movement; speech and expression.
Again, in March 2022, a Twitter user Aditi Ogbenyeanu, drew attention to the actress after sharing the tweet below accusing her of owing salaries.
In the same month, Funke and her husband, JJC Skillz, were once again dragged into the horrible bosses’ trend after an individual who worked with them on Omo Ghetto: The Saga levelled allegations against them on social media.
See his tweets below:
Waje accused of being a bad boss
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Omniknowest hitmaker, Waje, was also dragged into the horrible bosses trend in August 2018 after an exchange between her and a former employee, Yvonne Sparkle.
Waje had lamented working with four personal assistants in the space of four months, a development which she attributed to laziness on the part of those seeking employment.
A post on her Instastory read:
“Dear young people, You have to work! You think cause of the cloths and the lifestyle, we hang our leg and sit with makeup and a smile? It's disheartening. You send me dm's of how you want a job etc. in the last 3months, I have worked with 4 personal assistants with everyone complaining the job is stressful. so you thought the job was taking pictures?”
Yvonne, on the other hand, had described her working experience with the singer as a harrowing one that almost claimed her life.
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Navigating the waters
Busola has worked with actors, musicians, TV personalities and the producer maintains that the experience is always different with each individual.
For her, the popular face is one thing, but people must understand that the human behind the face is another thing entirely.
“While some aren’t too different from what they are in public, others are polar opposites. I’m a producer so I’m not often on the receiving end of their display of superiority but I see that in their relations with others whose positions are seemingly below in the hierarchy.”
Busola stressed the need for people working with celebs to maintain a level of self-respect and shy away from over-familiarity.
“I respect myself a lot. There’s no need for unnecessary familiarity. I do my work and that’s it. Doing this reduces the chances of getting disrespected. At the end of the day, we are all flawed, some more than the others.”
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Advertising executive, Dada Ayodele, also agrees that it is important for people working with celebrities to keep the engagement strictly professional.
“Keep the relationship strictly professional and only work with celebrities that maintain a certain standard of ethics. The celebrities need to understand the power play here. As a brand, I am your employer... At most, your partner. Once everyone starts to cancel ill-behaved celebrities, then they will learn to behave.”
Getting the money
Just like certain employers who bait unsuspecting job seekers with the promise of exposure, some popular entertainment figures have also been found wanting when it comes to paying workers.
However, former Big Brother Naija (BBNaija) housemate, Mercy Eke, is not to be found on this list according to celebrity photographer, Gboyega.
“I’ve had a positive experience working with BBNaija’s Mercy Eke. She’s so chilled and even offered us food, and also made sure to socialize with use. Mercy also paid well.”
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Gboyega also added that a lot of superstars seem to pay well these days.
Producer Busola, however, pointed out that some of these popular figures expect people to understand that working for them is a privilege and monetary benefit shouldn’t be the focus.
“They toiled to get where they are and they believe you should also do the same, which basically translates to getting underpaid and overworked. Sometimes one person does the job of 3-5 all in the name of keeping the circle small. I have seen people get fired because they requested a salary increase.”