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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

All about Oge Okoye of Nollywood

Oge was born in London to the Late Mazi Okoye and Lolo Okoye, both devout Anglicans. It was from them that Oge imbibed the virtues of honesty, sincerity, courage and fear of God. A native of Nnewi in Anambra State, Oge, who was born under the star sign Scorpio, had her early education partly in London, at the University Primary School Enugu and at the Holy Rosary College, Enugu. In school Oge was engaged in a number of theatrical activities, which got quite a number of people, including her teachers, convinced that she was cut out for a career in entertainment. After her primary and post primary education, Oge gained admission into the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Akwa, Anambra State where she graduated four years later with a degree in Theatre Arts. It was during Oge's first year in the University at Akwa that the inspiration to become a 'big time actress' heightened. She felt that it wouldn't be out of place to try her hands on her long held passion.

ge stole people’s heart with her role in Spanner and Sister Mary, Enjoy this interview with the Nnmadi Azikwe University theatre arts graduate and mother of one.

How has motherhood been?

Motherhood has been a bit of fun and interesting although it is challenging in a way. It’s been fun for me.

What should we expect from you in 2008?

More acting and something big

I thought I would be meeting a very fat Oge, what did you do with your weight?

I can’t do that because of my career. I cannot allow myself to be bloated out because I just had a baby. I watch what I eat and go for exercises everyday and I go for my swimming lessons every evening as well.

Where do you swim?

I swim somewhere around Ikeja.

When can I come to watch you swim?

Don’t bother.

How is your baby doing?

He is okay, he is one year plus now and he has started school.

How far have you gone with acting in this year?

I just finished one and will be starting another one on Monday. I started getting jobs as soon as I came back. I wasn’t out of the scene for a long time.

Why did you go and have your baby in London?

I was born there and I thought it will be nice to give my baby that privilege as well.

Despite your privilege background and star status, you are still down to earth. Why this simplicity?

This is me you are seeing, why should I be proud? I was brought up that way; humility is the first key for me. I’m a simple girl.

You would have easily chose another profession, why acting?

I have always wanted to act and as a small girl I’ve always dreamt of being a super star actress. I’ve always wanted to act, that was why I had to go and study it in school. This is my dream and I’m happy with what I’m doing.

You came back to Nigeria in March 2007; did you not lose some ground?

It wasn’t as if I was off for a very long time. As soon as I got back I started getting called up; may be they miss me when I was away.

How has it been with your husband?

My husband has been a very supportive person, very loving and kind. He is everything I could think of. He is all in one.

Your husband is based in Holland, why didn’t you go to Holland to give birth to your child?

I wanted to give my baby a life. I was in Holland all through, but was shuttling Spain and London because my mum stays in Spain. I stay in Holland a bit, then off to Spain and back to London. I was just enjoying myself with the pregnancy.

I heard your husband is married to another white woman over there. Is that true?

That is a blatant lie. I don’t know why somebody would just cook up that kind of story.

So, he was as single as Jesus Christ when you met.

Yes, of course. He is only married to only me.

So he has never been married before.


You sound so sure.

Yes, I’m confident there is no reason to be shaky.

Where did you think the story come from?

I don’t know. I saw it first on the internet. I really don’t know where it came from. BUT I KNOW IT IS A LIE.

Don’t you get scared that you are leaving your husband to wolves in Holland?

When you get married to your husband and I mean your own husband, there won’t be reason for you to be scared. I trust him and he trusts me too, if not he won’t leave me to wolves here too. We trust each other; I know he is not going to cheat on me. As we speak now, he is in Nigeria. And he is here most of the time.

Where does he stay when he comes home?

In our house of course, how can you be asking me that kind of question? Where else will he stay? We stay together.

Do you think trust is enough?

Yes, but love is all. There is love, trust, understanding and a whole lot of it. I’m not saying marriage will be rosy, husband and wife do have squabbles but with love and understanding things usually work out. If there is enough understanding I don’t know why there should be problem

I learnt you and Ini Edo are no longer best of friends.

Who says that? Ini is still my friend, she will always be my friend.

Is it true that you’ve kept your distance from your single friends now that you are married?

If you are my friend you will always be my friend. My friends are still my friends. I can’t do that. I don’t agree with that.

Someone told me it is because you don’t want them to infiltrate your home.

It is not true. Those who know me well know that I’m a private person, I don’t have so many friend. I find it so hard to make so many friends.

Is that why you did not have much scandal associated with you before marriage?

May be, I keep to myself most of the time. My privacy is important to me. So I don’t know why anybody would say I abandoned my friends because of my marriage.

Though I got your wedding invitation, why did you get married in Spain secretly before coming home?

Why didn’t you have so many boyfriends before your husband?

I am not going to answer that.

How has it been as a married woman?

It’s fun and enjoyable but I must add that it is very challenging. Before you think about yourself and your career but now you have a husband and baby to think of about. You see it is a whole lot of responsibility on a woman, because she makes her home. It is like a big work but I’m getting used to it.

To what extent would you go to save your home?

I’ll go to any extent to save my home because I am happy with my home.

Will you forgive your husband if you catch your husband with another woman?

Of course I’ll forgive him but I know that I will not catch him with another woman, he is not someone like that.

What gives you the assurance?

I know him the same way he knows me.

On cold night that he is away what do you do?

I just hold my teddy bear, pray and talk to him on phone.

Is your prayer that ‘Lead me not into temptation’?

No, I just pray normal prayer.

Have you been tempted to go for another man?

God forbid, no way.

Why no way?

I am contented with what I have. I am okay with what I have. What else I’m I looking for?

So you are satisfied in all ramifications.

Oh yes, in all ramification.

That means he is okay for you on bed then.

What is your business with that? I don’t knw what you are talking about.

Why do you have tattoo on your boobs?

I have it on four different places.

Why on your boobs?

I just have it for the fun of it. I love tattoo.

You used to say the movie; ‘Sister Mary’ is your favourite movie. Why is that?

It was the first movie I played lead role, the marketer believes in me. I thank him a lot for that.

What does your husband do?

He is into cars and goods.

What extent will you go with your husband on bed?

What do you mean what extent? He is my husband, I’ll go all extent with him, all extent and anyway. Remember he is my husband.


I started acting when I was in the university precisely in my first year in school. That was when I did the job 'One Dollar' after which I did 'Spanner' and then 'Sister Mary'. But indulged in little dramas back in those days. So when I grew up and found myself studying theatre arts, I decided to just start acting. I was opportuned to find a platform as soon as I made my intention known to a few people who knew that my passion for acting was boundless.

" I really wanted to act but I didn't really know how to go about it. I had friends who told me that I had to go for audition and all that and I went for one and I was lucky to have been given a role. It was a sub lead. After the shoot, I was encouraged by the comments from the director and the producer who predicted that I would go far once I put my mind to it and work hard. After that movie, I started receiving offers. I am sure I handled my role in my debut performance well, because if I didn't do it very well, I don't think anyone would have called me up for another job."

But even as Oge was itching to be an actress, Daddy felt that she would be better off as a doctor. He had prepared her mind towards becoming a surgeon so she could save lives. "My dad is the strict type. You can't mess around with him. He really had a set opinion about acting because of the negative image actors portrayed then. It's really sad that he is not here to see the height I have attained so far. He died as soon as I started acting full time but he knew that my dream was to act.

"My mummy, who currently resides in Spain, also knew that I wanted to be an actress. She had no objection whatsoever. And really, my mum has always been with me. She has always been on my side to push me to any level I want to get to. I am like the only child of my parents, so all the pampering has been there. I mean she is not surprised at all about what I am doing. She has heard and read of my exploits and she is happy with me."

Oge's first shot at the home video turf was in the commercially successful comedy 'One Dollar' starring Patience Ozokwo and Victor Osuagwu. Though she played a supporting role, she drew attention to herself with her smooth interpretation and showed a lot of promise. "I didn't particularly do much, but many people called me up and were commending me. So that was how I knew that I was going to do some more work and even move higher."

After that outing in 'One Dollar', producers sought and engaged her. They all seemed to be in agreement that Oge was a good center to hang a story on. Today Oge has featured in over 50 movies with a dozen others at various stages of postproduction.

Of all her movie offerings, Oge picks her effort in the emotive movie 'Sister Mary' as her most tasking. "All the movies have I done have been tasking, but I found that particular movie tasking. I must say that it was that movie that brought me to limelight. I found it very challenging for the simple fact that I played the role as if I was really in the convent. I am not a catholic, but to convince the audience I visited so many places like the convent, bought books and made a lot of research. It came out well and so many people liked it particularly those in the catholic fold who thought I was Catholic. As a matter of fact I am an Anglican'

Indeed it was her performance in that movie that endeared her to a number of movie producers and movie lovers. She kept receiving offers and has not stopped receiving those offers till date.

Asked to name her role models, Oge says that they are legion. But she lists the Hollywood actress Julia Roberts, Nigeria's Taiwo Ajai Lycett, Liz Benson and the veteran actor 'Uncle' Olu Jacobs as actors that have had tremendous influence on her. She adds: "I love Uncle Olu Jacobs. He is like a father to me. He talks to me from time to time on how to be better.

"I recall that one thing that he told me that has sort of guided me is the fact that I must never strive to be like anyone but myself. That's my word for anyone who wants to come into the industry. My word for them is that they shouldn't come into the industry to be like my role model Liz Benson or like Auntie Taiwo Ajai Lycett. They should create their style and be themselves. They should do their own thing and aim at being better than those on the turf."

Oge obviously has no regrets engaging the movie run way. She says that it has been worth the while and adds that she is always overjoyed each time fans cheer at her and each time people stop her on the streets to appreciate what she described as her 'little effort' on the screen. "I am happy each time they appreciate me. And really I don't feel that I have arrived yet. Oge still has a lot of grounds to cover. But I appreciate all their love and concern they have shown and accorded me."

If there is one role that her fans have not found her playing, then it's the strip-teasing role. Oge says there is no rule to her not playing such roles. "No rule to it. I think as an actress, you should be versatile. You must not be tied to a particular character. You should be able to flow in any role you are given. You shouldn't be stereotyped.

"So if I have not done any daring role, it's because it's the job that I have been given. But there is a very daring one that would soon come out. Maybe I should just ask my fans at this juncture to bear with me and consider my role in that movie as just make believe. I am certain that they would see a different Oge in the yet to be released movie."

Oge loves casual wear because they give her freedom of movement. "I wear the best but it's the best that would allow me move freely. So I normally would go for the best. I mean that's one of the challenges we face as celebrities. You can't afford not to appear good always. So my dress code has to do with what exactly is happening but I prefer a lot of casuals except when I have like a dinner or official engagement. Then I would look for something else to wear. But I prefer being caught in casuals, like in my jean and my shirt.

"As for perfume, I go for designers like Angels and Obsession. For jewelry I prefer gold. I hardly put on gels because I am prone to burns on my neckline. I am not too much into make-up. I only make up when I am on set. And as for food, I like Semovita and Edikaikang. I can hold on a shooting session once I am battling with a plate of Semovita and Edikainkong soup. As for music, I love rhythm and blues. I like to listen to Tuface Idibia and Lagbaja.

Asked to state the most ridiculous rumour she has read or heard about herself, Oge recalls a tale, which suggested that 'she was dead and buried'. She states what would have necessitated such a costly tale: "It was one tale that swept me off my feet and to know that it was flying everywhere and was even published in a popular magazine and with my picture there. It has nothing to do with me. I think someone died after we shot my second movie 'Spanner' and the folks thought I was the one. So they went to the press without verifying. That's one of the challenges we face as celebrities.

"The other is being able to interpret a particular role. I played a role of an army officer recently. It was challenging for me because I was to live a role of an army officer who was to hand out orders and keep a straight face. I tried everything possible and I know it came out well. Another part of the challenge is the fact that people judge you by the works you do and that's a bad thing to do because our own job is to act. It doesn't really mean that that is the way we are and that's the thing we do because our own job is to act.

"I played a wacko role in a movie recently. I think it was in 'Separate Lives' and a woman came to me and was shouting on me at a filling station. She was just screaming and taking the role I played in the movie so personal. But apart from that, everything is cool and okay."

Although she does not believe in reincarnation, Oge says she would choose to come back an actress if given the opportunity to live life again. Indeed for her, this has been very fulfilling. "I don't think I would have been happier in another profession. It has been particularly fulfilling. I am comfortable with whatever I am earning as an actress. It has been able to pick up my bills. And of course, what I earn today is better than what we earned when I started. For me, it was not really about the money, because if it is, there were so many things one would have indulged in. So it was not really about the money. I just wanted to do that I had always wanted to do, which is acting. That was just it, even though the money is helping out somehow."

When not on set, Oge spends time reading, watching movies, 'catching some rest' and 'just chilling out with some of my friends and relations'. Asked where she would want to be five years from now, Oge quips, "Hollywood." She would also want to be married then, be successful, have her kids and live a stress free life."

Monday, February 25, 2008

I am a Simple Warri Boy - RMD

Click on the picture to enlarge

Nollywood star actor, Richard Mofe Damijo who was recently appointed special adviser to the Delta state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan is learning the process well.

In this brief chat at an event in Asaba, Delta state, he speaks on how he copes with his new assignment, how he handled his female fans while he was actively acting and explains that his new appointment has not separated him from his career. Enjoy;

As a government official now, what is your new job like?

It is challenging, but I am learning the process. I am a fast learner, thank God for that and there are people there who are guiding me in the process of trying to understand that things are done differently here. I’m enjoying it.

What happens to your acting career?

No o ,I haven’t really left acting. I’m going to be doing a lot of local work here to build the industry here, so there’s really no leaving the art. I am going to teach, I am going to coach and I’m going to inspire, so I’m still involved in acting one way or the other.

May be not as much as I used to in front of the camera, but I’m going to be doing a lot behind the cameras for now. For instance in the month of March, we have set in motion the Delta Entertainment Summit where stakeholders in the music and movies business will gather in Warri to talk about the best ways of entrenching the right tenets of showbizness.

We expect people like Emeka Mba of the National Film and Video Censors Board, Dr Don Pedro Obaseki, and a host of others in Warri. This will reduce if not stop restiveness in the area and inspire several others to benefit from art.

Now that you have a more tasking job, how do you joggle between your family and this tasking job?
This is not more tedious. Every work is tedious, what you aim for is a balance. Every work takes you away from your family, what you do is to create a balance between your family and your job.

Make a flash back as to how your journey in the arts all started?

I think it just a childhood fantasy and I also studied Theater Arts, so I guess it was a natural calling.

Obstacles and challenges dogged your path, how did you overcome?

Making sure that I sold the idea that being an actor does not necessarily mean being intellectually berated. What I have tried to do is to give the actors some integrity that after the acting you also have some brains.

Is it true that female actresses have to sleep around with producers and directors to get roles?

I didn’t go through that experience myself, so I can’t speak for the others because I don’t think anybody that I have worked with even as a producer or as a director would have had to go through that to get any role from me. For me, merit is what matters.

Sex can only take you so far, but if you don’t have any talent, no matter how many people you sleep with, you will not make progress.

How did you or how do you handle your female fans, every one knows they are too numerous and still come in droves?

There is no written text book on how to handle them. It is by the grace of God. I try being nice to everybody and I try to put everybody in their place and I also make them know that there are limits to every thing in life including star adulation.

If you are opportuned to change anything in the Nigerian entertainment industry, what will it be?
Get rid of all the charlatans.

Who are the charlatans?

Those who give professionals bad name. Those who don’t know anything about the profession but think they must participate.

They don’t research before they write their scripts, they don’t research before they act and when they come up with their films or styles, they are not up to standard and people use that to judge professionals.

How would you describe your self?

A simple Warri boy.

Who is your role model?

I have plenty , but I’ll mention Wole Soyinka and Nelson Mandela.

What type of clothes do you wear?

I wear anything good. Mudi makes my clothes

What about shoes?

I wear anything good that suit me.

Dedicated to the memory of Teslim Olamilekan Suleiman (1992 - 2005) [Click Image to read about him]