Nollywood actress and presenter, Michelle Dede is an epitome of beauty and brains. According to the actress, her beauty isn’t one that society considers conventional, in this interview with Linda Orakwe of AllureVanguard, she shares her beauty secrets

What’s fashion to you?

Fashion is fun; fashion is something I don’t think should is taken too seriously, and I mean that people should have fun. I like to experiment with fashion scene I studied fashion designing. So one of the reasons I think fashion should e fun is because I don’t take it that seriously. Yes, I know it is a serious business, but I use it to express myself in different ways. If I’m feeling playful, I’ll wear something feminine and flirty, and if I’m feeling structured I’ll think of something more androgynous and wear a pant suit, but I also spend a lot of my time in jeans, even though I don’t necessarily go to events in jeans very often. I like having fun with fashion; fashion should be a tool that you use to express yourself.


How do you consider your style?

My style extremely varies because I dress based on my mood. It depends on how I am feeling, but I’ll say my style is edgy, classic and feminine.


What fashion secret do you employ to slay every time on the red carpet?

Well, I don’t know about slaying every time, because sometimes I get it wrong, but I’ve been styling myself for years. There was a period when I get a stylist who I still use once in a while, but then I’m a fashion student. I spent four years studying fashion; I know how I like to dress. I know what I like and I’m also open to new things that maybe I wouldn’t have thought would suit my body shape

What’s beauty to you?

Beauty is how you feel on the inside even though I know that a lot of people have a different meaning for what it is. For example, when I lived in England, it was a size six, and I never thought I was slim enough there.   But here I’m a lot bigger than I ever was, so I realise I was constantly being judged based on society‘s perception, not beauty whereas as I’ve getting older I’ve realised it’s about how I feel and I think that’s how everybody should feel. I know a lot of people do not find me conventionally beautiful, but I think I’m beautiful. It might be the way that you think, but at the end of the day, it’s an internal thing that should be worked on if you like how you look, people will feel that and they’’ be attracted to you because of that.


Do you have a beauty routine you follow?

Yes, I use Emmaus body product, I’ve been using them for the past two and half years, it’s a range of body products done by a Nigerian. They’re made in the U.S, and they’re also available here. Emmaus body product and I also use bio oil, which I’ve been using for over fifteen years now. I visit the dermatologist especially in times when my skin isn’t acting too well. At the moment I’m also using a range of product called Germane de Cappuccino, they’re okay and also helping. I cleanse and moisturise, and I do not leave home without sun block, I don’t know why people don’t use it here in Nigeria, but thankfully some people do. I rub it on my face and body after I have used my body lotion.


How would you describe your eating habit?

Terrible at the moment. It used to be a lot better, but lately, I’ve been eating a lot of nonsense, unfortunately. I’ve put on a lot of weight, but I have to get back to eating better. When I was at my healthiest I was working out five times a week,  I was eating about six times, not big portions but I was constantly hungry because I was working out. But now I’m eating three times a day and not working out at all which is just bad.


How do you relax?

I love going to the spa if it has anything to do with beauty. I don’t do this often enough, but I love going to the spa, and my choice is always Oasis Med Spa and B-Natural, the owner has transformed my skin, she has helped me. I love coming to movies, in fact when the cinema first opened, I was constantly at the Imax film house, at least twice a week and sometimes if I’m coming back from work and there’s traffic, I just come here to watch a movie till the traffic goes down or off. And I still do so even if I am shooting or not. I love hanging out with my friends. Most of the things I did when I was in England to have fun it’s unfortunate that I haven’t been able to do them since I got back here. I like going to the museum and art galleries; I love swimming, maybe that is because I’m from Niger Delta, but I love swimming. My happiest times are when I’m at the pool or the beach; I love swimming in a way you won’t understand (laughs).


When you think of Vacation where would you think?

Somewhere I haven’t been. I want to go to Seychelles, for Africa I want to go to Zanzibar because of the ocean. I’m sorry, I love the ocean, I love water, maybe it’s because I was a competitive swimmer when I was in high school, so anywhere there’s beach, water, where I don’t have to wear makeup, high heels. I also want to go to Namibia, even though there is no beach, but the dessert is fascinating. For abroad, I’ve always wanted to go to bally, Tahiti.


What exactly are you passionate about in life?

I’m passionate about what I do. I’m passionate about the creative industry; I’m passionate about presenting. People don’t understand the buzz I get from doing that I can’t even explain. It’s that feeling you get in your chest when you’re doing something that makes you happy, and that’s what I get when I am presenting. And acting, which is new for me, but I’m passionate about it. Pretending to be somebody else, and not just pretending to be somebody else, but being that person, is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I didn’t realise until I started acting how difficult it is to be somebody else and I think the reason it’s that way is that some of the people I’ve played are so far removed from who I am.

I’m passionate about becoming a better actor; I’m so excited about the people that have been in the industry for my colleagues and me, watching them, those that are my friends and those that aren’t, watching and learning from them. For example, we’re here to see My Wife & I, watching Omoni… Omoni Oboli has always inspired me. When I first saw her in ‘Anchor baby’, then Ramsey, it’s like effortless acting.  I want to get to the stage where whatever character I’m playing; people do not see Michelle when I played Tari in Desperate House Wives Africa, people that didn’t know me were like you’re so soft and sweet! And when I say “thank you” they’re like “oh my God your voice is really deep, you don’t sound like Tari”, and that’s because I’m not Tari. So I want characters that’ll push me to play characters that are nothing like who I am, so I’m passionate about learning and getting better.


How has fashion improved your brand?

To be honest, initially I didn’t think it was something that was so important, but I think over the years in Nigeria fashion has made a difference. We love fashion in Nigeria, and I think it also allows people to see a different side of you, which is one of the reasons why I got to the point where I thought, you know what, I need to start styling myself. It’s one thing when you see my presenting a show, and I’m wearing an outfit styled by someone else, it’s not necessarily what I would choose to wear, but people assume that’s the way she dresses. Some people feel Michelle just wears long dresses, but they don’t know that I spend 75% of my life in Jeans, trousers or shorts, and when a couple of people see me in shorts, they’re surprised. Because I like to experiment with fashion, they’re some things I haven’t even worn that I’ll like to wear. I think as the industry grows and as people become more into themselves, they’ll wear what they’re comfortable in that represents who they are. I wear what I like irrespective of what people have to say about it.


Fashion rule, Beauty Rule, Life Rule.

Fashion rule; wear what makes you happy. Don’t bother with what anyone else thinks. Wear what makes you happy. Don’t go to sleep with your makeup on, did it in school, it was a bad mistake. Use Sun Block, despite your complexion, either dark skinned or otherwise. My life rule would be ‘careful how you treat people on your way up because you might meet them on your way down because whoever it is that needs your assistant today, could your boss tomorrow.


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