Toni Tones, Nigerian actress and singer, says she is afraid of what will become of young women seeking to make a career in the entertainment industry.

The talented actress, who is also a photographer, brought her fears to light when speaking with BBC Africa.

According to her, the society is increasingly becoming unsafe for the women folks, who are now being seen as sexual objects by men who used them to satisfy their pleasure.

Tones recalled how she was approached for sex during a movie audition she went for, despite making the cut on the grounds of merit.

The actress said while the syndrome is applicable to all spheres of life, the future of young girls trying to build a future for themselves in the entertainment industry is increasingly becoming endangered.

“One of the biggest challenges women face in any industry, not just entertainment, is possibly sexual harassment. Men look at women as sexual objects and feel like they are there for their pleasure,” she said.

“I was called to audition for a role and I auditioned for it three times. And I finally got the role and then the director asked me, if I am willing to sleep with the executive producer, to keep this role. When I heard that, I thought he was kidding. I thought he was joking. I’m like: ‘Are there cameras, am I being punked? ‘Are you serious?’ But he was serious.

“I remember categorically telling him that there is nothing in this world that I want bad enough to sleep with somebody for it. And I worry for young girls who are very vulnerable. Girls are coming into the industry, they’re much younger. They are 15, 16, 17, 18. They are still maturing emotionally. And these men are predators so they prey on young girls, because they know they are naive and they are easy to manipulate.”

She also offered her two cents to budding artistes, enjoining them to always be careful while going for auditions.

Tones also stated that regardless of the odds, young girls can still live their dreams, only if they will remain committed and reject being influenced negatively by others.

“Believe in yourself, know your dream like the back of your hand. I was told by several people to bleach my skin, and I would get ahead faster,” she said.

“And I was like: ‘No, thank you.’ People are always going to try to impose their own insecurities on you. But do not let that be your reality, hold on to your beliefs and believe in yourself.

“Try and have a guardian if you know you are young, if you are under 21 especially, to go for auditions with a guardian, with someone who is older. Do not go alone, and stay the course, work on your craft. Make sure that you are the best that you can be. And keep going for auditions, keep getting as many jobs as you can and with perseverance I promise you, you will get to where you want to be”.



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