Nigeria’s Girl Next Door Talks New Film “Water & Garri”

In the bustling landscape of Nollywood, the name Jemima Osunde has captured the hearts of millions and stands out as the ultimate girl next door.


Best known for her breakout role as Leila in MTV Shuga and her compelling performance in “The Delivery Boy” which earned her a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 15th Africa Movie Academy Awards.

Jemima dazzled again in the highly acclaimed “Water & Garri” alongside the iconic Tiwa Savage.

In an exclusive interview, Jemima takes us behind the scenes and offers insights into her character, collaboration with Tiwa Savage, and the excitement surrounding the film.

In Water & Garri, you play Stephany, Aisha’s cousin. Can you introduce us to your character and describe their role in the story?

Stephany is a resilient girl. She’s one of those who chooses to be as happy as she can be irrespective of what life throws her way. She loves her family, Aisha. When you watch this film, you’ll see that she’s what I like to call “a ray of sunshine”.

The film explores themes of family and homecoming. From Stephany’s perspective, how does Aisha’s return stir up the past and impact your character?

For Stephany, Aisha’s return was exactly what she needed. As independent as Stephany is, it’s clear that she needs her family still. She didn’t even realise how much she needed her back until she was standing right in front of her. So as much as it stirs up the past and brings back memories that aren’t all pleasant, it also gives her the reassurance that she’s not alone. She’s still got her person and she finds some solace in that.


Working alongside Tiwa Savage must have been a fantastic experience. Can you share some insights into your on-set chemistry and what it was like collaborating with her?

It was an absolute delight! Tiwa is so much fun! Every day was more exciting than the previous day. It was beautiful to watch her do something so different from the norm and face it head-on. Watching her ease her way into acting and into being the character was so satisfying. Bonding with her came naturally. She made sure to interact with the cast and create a bond that I believe everyone will see when they watch Water & Garri. The acting came organically as we genuinely bonded behind the scenes. She’s an amazing person and I’m so glad I got to experience her on that level. I’d work with her over and over again.


What’s the funniest blooper that happened on set?

There were so many cause we were always bantering. This was such a fun cast but one thing that was for sure bound to happen was Kay’s bike dying at the wrong time. When the director called action, in the middle of the scene, the bike played a lead role in its own way and that was always so funny to me.


What excites you most about audiences finally being able to see Water & Garri?

I know people are like “Water and Garri”?? A Tiwa Savage movie? She does music, how does she have a movie? Everyone is in for a surprise at how GOOD this movie is. Even I was rendered speechless after watching it and I’m in it lol! I believe people are definitely going to be impressed and most importantly, moved by it. Everyone will see Tiwa and the entire team in a different light. I’m super excited to see the feedback from people after watching our movie. Positive and constructive.


How do you envision the legacy of “Water and Garri” in the context of African entertainment and storytelling?

I’m optimistic about all things African entertainment. I look forward to more stories being told in the best way possible – great storytelling with the best quality of production and delivery. Water and Garri is a film that’s very well done. It would be really hard to question the great quality of this film from the well-written script to the cinematography, to the directing, to the acting. Everything!! The entire production is excellent and I want to see more of that. More productions that are well thought out and show our continent and stories to the world in an artistic way.


How did you approach building Stephany’s character? Did you draw inspiration from any personal experiences or other characters you’ve played?

Absolutely! Stephany is so relatable to some other characters I’ve played and has some traits that are similar to mine. I had to channel myself and some of the characters I’ve had to play in the past to get to her.


What’s the most unusual or interesting item you have in your character’s wardrobe in the movie?

Hmmmm, nothing crazy really. Oh actually scratch that! Haha! It wasn’t in her wardrobe but I held on to it like an accessory in the scene it showed. Her cigarette!! That was very foreign to me as Jemima. Lol.


With a keen eye for style, who are some African designers that you love, and why?

African designers are absolutely killing it right now! Especially in Nigeria! Shout out to all of you! I’d say the ones I personally love and I’m proud of are Flat17 Studios, Rendoll and Orange Culture.


What are some of your favourite ways to incorporate your Nigerian heritage into your personal fashion choices?

I wear a lot of Nigerian Ankara materials and tie-dye. You’re sure to find me in a pretty Bubu made from tie dye or in Ankara pants or a bag. Also with my hairstyles, our braids are a beauty to behold and I’m happy to rock them once in a while, especially as protective styling for my natural hair.

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