Perhaps you know her as Koko from African Magic popular soap opera Hush, or from a handful of films she has acted including October 1. The question is not if you know her, it is how well you do. Here are five facts about the star you should know about her.
1. She is a linguist
How many languages do you speak? Have you ever tried learning a new language and failed? Many of us can relate, Meg Otanwa should inspire. She speaks five languages. English, her native Idoma, Hausa (as she got her degree in English from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, French as she got her post-graduate degrees from French-speaking universities; she bagged her first master’s in Human Resource Management from Time Universite, Tunis, Tunisia and a second from Universite Jean Moulin in Lyon, France. Raised largely in Lagos, Meg speaks fruit Yoruba. Her fifth language is Spanish. It is her weakest language. “I am not fluent in Spanish,” she told Cable Lifestyle in an interview; “but I read and understand.” She attributed this to not being in an environment where she would exercise her knowledge of the language.
How can she learn all these? Don’t bite yourself, yet, perhaps, it is blood. Her father speaks nine languages. Now, bite yourself.
2. Meg Otanwa came from the banking industry
After garnering degrees in three countries, two continents and two languages, Meg Otanwa chose to settle for acting. Before this, she worked in the banking industry, earning a comfortable take from the African Development Bank in the heart of Tunis, the Tunisian capital. Then, “I just got to a point in my life where I felt like it’s time to move to the move to the next.” So she left the bank and returned home to take up acting. “I have always wanted to act. I knew that at some point in my life, I would venture into it. It was not a question of ‘if’, it was a question of ‘when’.”
It wasn’t an easy ride for her. Meg Otanwa didn’t just walk into a set. She passed through what she tagged as a “process”. “I had to go to auditions in packed auditions with bad treatment,” she admitted. Even as a star, it is still not a rosy bed. “Sometimes you don’t get cast and you don’t know why or you get some jobs and you don’t know why or you get underpaid and then treatment on set can be below average.”
This is what she has elected to do so she understands and stands in spite of the challenges.
3. She still mourns her mom
Some people understand what it is to lose a parent in their prime; some can only dread that. For Meg Otanwa, the loss of her mom remains her heaviest loss. Albeit, the actress admits that the fact that she comes from a big family helps cushion the blow of the loss of her mother, since she and her younger ones alternate playing the role of mother for her siblings, she still points out that this does not take away the pain.
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In November 2016, Meg was featured in the cover of Zen Magazine and she appeared on it dressed in her late mother’s vintage lace outfit.
4. Meg Otanwa has been an actor for a long time.
You might have just heard of her but Meg did not enter Nollywood yesterday. Or the day before. She first hit location in 2011. She starred in the movie I’ll Take My Chance a Royal Arts Academy movie produced by Imem Isong and directed by popular actor Desmond Elliot. The movie stars Ini Edo, Bryan Okwara, Sam Loco Efe, Jide Kosoko, Ini Ikpe. Meg Otanwa only had a bit part in this movie. For the next few years, in fact, the Benue-born actress continued to play small roles in films. 2016 was her turning point. She got the role of Koko in the Ameri
can Magic TV series Hush.
After Hush, Otanwa’s career was no longer hush hush. Before 30, Road to yesterday, Being Single, Ojuju and Kpians: The Feast of Souls are some of her most notable movies were she had substantial roles.
5. Meg Otanwa is a victim of Fulani Herdsmen
Meg Otanwa’s victimhood of the current number one terror in Africa is tripartite. First, she is a victim as a human being, then as a Benue Indigene whose farmlands and properties and lives have been targeted by the herdsmen and finally, on a personal note, Meg lost her cousin to the criminals, a police officer, Sunday Fabian Otanwa who was ambushed alongside his colleagues and murdered on duty in June 2017.
In January 2018, took up the pen and wrote a detailed open letter to the president, urging the commander in chief to be on the right side of history and under the banner of justice and defend her people and stop the Fulanis who come to “kill and claim our ancestral land.” The actress recalled how her grandmother hid her and her siblings from the marauders in 1987. Twenty years on, the raids have got worse and the bloodletting has risen to a terrorist proportion.
Meg spared no words nor adjectives in her missive. Wicked, scam, cheats, criminals, declaring that this is “a war between good and evil, between light and darkness, between men bent on destroying lives and properties and those who wish to live in peace and a shared prosperity.”
Meg signed off the letter by calling for the protection of every Nigerian irrespective of tribe and creed.
Bonus Fact: Best Actress in a Drama
In March 2017, African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA) was held in Eko Hotel and Suites. A certain emotional Meg Otanwa was honoured with the plaque for her role as Koko in Hush. “It felt so surreal,” she said when asked about how she felt being appreciated in such a large scale. She never expected to win but like they say, a golden fish has no hiding place. The pot of soup is usually the destination. For Meg, it is the spotlight.