Beauty, Cocktails & #Girltalk with actress Pepi Sonuga
Nigerian-American actress Pepi Sonuga has moved mountains, or countries, to do what she loves. Actor, singer, and dancer, Sonuga loves to perform. Although a newcomer in the industry, she can be seen on Freeform's popular drama, "Famous in Love" portraying pop star Tangey Turner.
My motto is “let my work speak for itself.”
I absolutely adore the Mario Badescu drying lotion. I don’t have a severe acne problem, but I have a scarring problem. Which means if I get one tiny pimple, it could leave a scar for months. So it’s critical for me to kill the pimples before they take full form and this product is perfect for that.
I don’t have a favorite cocktail, I just tell the bartender “sweet but strong.” HA! I do love Moscato though.
Since I was very young, I’ve wanted to entertain.
I’ve been in plays and dance recitals, and I have been singing, dancing, and acting since I can remember. My family still teases me about how confident I used to be about my future, even as a child and even in Nigeria miles away from Los Angeles. But when I migrated with my mother to the States, all my dreams were suddenly within reach, and I think that sent my ambition into overdrive. My mom used to love entertaining, and she would tell me stories of talent competitions and shows when she was in high school. So when she became aware of my dreams, it was only natural for her to be 100% supportive. She never pursued a career in the industry but loved every part of it. This made her the perfect mother to raise a child like me because she was never cynical or trying to “live through me,” she was able to be supportive and happy for me without attaching her own dreams to mine. My mom is definitely the main reason why I went for my goal, because she held my hand through it all and made it feel possible, or at least worth a shot. We sometimes joke that God sent me directly to her because very few Nigerian parents would’ve been as liberal as she was. LOL.
It really does take a long time to become an overnight success
That’s important to know for anyone who has any kind of dream. There have been many moments through my journey where I felt discouraged, crazy, and wanted to give up. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure of what I was doing. When I began in the industry, my worries changed, but I still persisted. You worry if you’re talented enough, if you’re pretty enough, or if you’re too pretty and should rough up a bit if you’re smart enough… there’s so much to worry about if you let yourself. What helps me keep fighting is reminding myself of how far I’ve come. I always tell myself “you haven’t come this far only to go this far.” I’m also aware of how different each of our paths can be, and I try never to compare myself to the next person. What is meant for me can never be taken away from me and I believe that with all my heart. In general, I’ve learned that there will always be a new set of problems. You’re either praying for your first audition to come, or for your show to get picked up to series, or your multi-million dollar budget movie to be a box office hit. As soon as you reach a new level, the bar just keeps getting higher, so I figure it’s easier to just enjoy the ride.
My motto is “let my work speak for itself.” I believe if you show up on time, give it your best shot, put your heart out there for the role, are polite, attempt to be an anchor on set for the crew, and try to have some fun… you can never go wrong. Everyone likes working with their friends, so just become someone that people like being around. This art is a personal one, but the business is a very social one. I’m not saying to make yourself uncomfortable in order to mingle (some of the most brilliant artists were introverts), but instead be a positive and collaborative addition to any environment you find yourself in.
It's important for young kids to have vision and hope. A child has to be able to envision a world bigger and brighter than the one they currently live in. That’s what made my childhood so colorful. I saw the world as my playground even before I had ever left my home… each country an experience waiting to happen. People say “stop dreaming” and "stay on the ground, be realistic.” But sometimes dreaming saves you. You must never stop dreaming about your better future. Hold onto that image tightly and never let anyone take it away. That will get you through hard days. Just remember to put in the work after you’ve woken up because a dream without action will remain just a dream.
When life throws you lemons, just add BEAUTY, COCKTAILS, GIRLTALK. Life obstacles can weigh heavy on your mental and physical wellbeing. How do you stay uplifted, motivated or even inspired to push through and maintain your happiness?
Daydreaming is the biggest thing that keeps me motivated. A daydream is like saying a prayer, meditating, and watching a film about your future... all at once. It’s entirely spiritual if we’re being honest. When I feel down, what gets me up are glimpses into my future. I made a vision board that’s divided into 3 sections: the life I want regarding my career, the life I want personally, and some vague ideas of who I want to be after 50yrs old. It’s filled with photos of Oprah, fancy old Hollywood parties, films I wish I were in, charities I want to start, Beyonce (of course), dream houses, travel destinations, Rihanna magazine covers (of course), and various African superstars. Whenever I start to lose a sense of myself and the reasons I do what I do, I just look at this board, and it’s an instant mood booster. Also, it sounds silly, but when I feel deficient, on my saddest day, the only thing that makes me feel better is watching a cartoon or an animated film, preferably one with a female lead who fights against the odds to achieve her dreams: Mulan, Zootopia, etc. It might seem immature, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over cartoons; they’re so inspiring… why are they only for kids?! Adults need to stay motivated too! We should also believe anything is possible! That message shouldn’t be exclusive to children! shaking my head
Girl you betta go...
Because I’m Nigerian, I would encourage everyone to visit at least one African country of their choice (preferably Nigeria hehehe). Culture, food, people, THE MUSIC!! It’s an adventure, that’s for sure.
Popcorn & Cocktails
“Friends” is always my go-to. I loved “The Game,” it had well-written characters, and the main couple is so cute! I also love “Sex and the City” of course. Right now I’m on a mission to read classical books. You know.. All the books that we were all supposed to read in school but used Spark Notes for that book report instead? I’m now playing catch up. Some on my list are The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye and The Odyssey. My favorite book is “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston.
What do you have to say to those aka (men) who say we are too sensitive, emotional, or sarcastic?
I say: everything you condemn about my femininity is actually my superpower, so stay mad! LOL. Women are magic, and I won’t even spend too much time answering this question because I believe that deep down, every man knows this to be exact
100 pairs of shoes and only 2 feet! What was the last thing you bought for yourself?
The previous thing I bought myself was one of those “Love Boats” at sushi restaurants, the ones with a little bit of everything, which are meant to be shared on a date or something I GUESS. Yup. Enjoyed that. I deserved it.
Guilty Pleasure: If your cable package supplied one channel, what channel would you choose and what would you watch?
Hmm probably Freeform because I’d want to watch my show lol