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Friday, March 28, 2008

Sola Sobowale's Journey into Showbiz

The journey to showbiz started when she opted out of College of Education to follow her dream by going to Ibadan then the hub of entertainment in Nigeria. Initially enrolled as a Secretary in training at Sight & Sound, Ibadan, Tunji Oyelana, (Sura Di Tailor) who married her elder sister, Kikelomo got her enrolled in the University of Ibadan’s Department of Music.

When she didn’t get her fulfilment rocking the microphone, she eventually opted for the thespian art. From rested Village Headmaster, to Lola Fani Kayode’s Mirror In The Sun and a couple of stage productions including Femi Osofisan’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again, it was a steady rise for her. She also scored more credits in a long list of Yoruba movies- Asewo To Re Mecca and Eri Okan.

But like she admitted, never has her acting career enjoyed rave reviews, acclaim and boost, as it has received in Super story’s Oh Father, Oh Daughter. It meant different thing to different people. “There are instances women have walked up to me and told me that my role in Super story has helped them to restore their marriages, especially relationships that have been disturbed or threatened by the second woman. I am happy the role has touched lives and changed many homes for better.”

Married to former corporate executive director of EKO Hospital, Dotun Sobowale, who has since relocated abroad.

If Sola had hearkened to the voice of her father, Pa Olagookun, 77, who hails from Ifon, Ondo State, she would have been in the classroom as a tutor. Though her foray into acting has fetched her fame and money, Pa Olagookun had said in an interview with this writer that it was never his career choice for his daughter. “I didn’t like her going into acting much. I wanted her to be an academician. She was a very brilliant child. She was very robust, active and intelligent. One of the attributes she had was sticking to whatever she wanted to do. She was very pertinacious.”
hough he would have stuck to bringing his dream to reality for his beautiful daughter, the influence of his brother-in-law changed his position. There were some overriding influences. “Tunji Oyelana, my son-in-law and then a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, was a great influence. I think she was really influenced by him and I think she had encouragement from him and with that I couldn’t object.”

With over two decades in the the spian art, Pa Olagookun assessed her daughter. “I’m very happy to see where acting has taken her and I thank God for the progress she’s making.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Pictorial Glance at Fathia Balogun of Nollywood

NAME: Faithia Akorede Adunni Balogun

ADDRESS: Ikorodu, Lagos State.

DATE OF BIRTH: February 5, 1969.

MARITAL STATUS: Married with children.

STATE OF ORIGIN: Ukpara Water Side LGA, Delta State.

LANGUAGES SPOKEN: Urhobo, English, Yoruba and Pidgin English.

Olufunmilola Nursery School, Ikeja, Lagos State.
Maryland Primary School, Maryland, Lagos State.
Maryland Comprehensive High School, Lagos.
Kwara State Polythechnic, Kwara State

Tell us a little about your childhood, growing up, parents, brothers and sisters?

I was born into a polygamous home and a family of nine (9). I family was very much middle class with a fair balance in my parents wealth. I had a Catholic background and grew up in Ikeja where I did a lot of my early education.
Parents: Mr & Mrs Williams
Brothers: Ken Williams, Anderson Williams, Charles Williams
Sisters: Joseline Williams, Stella Willams.

What was the first paying job ever that you had?

General receptionist at Chips Bit & Bit, a Computer Company on Toyin Street, Ikeja, Lagos.

How much were you paid per month and what were the responsibilities?


What other jobs did you do outside Acting?

What made you go into the Acting career and when did you start Acting?

I don’t know whether to call it fate or coincidence! Alhaji Fatai Teniola introduced me into the Industry by casting me. It all started in the early 90’s.

Who were your Idols/Models (Actors) in those days?
There are lots of them, some of which I have been opportuned to work with.

What was your first role in Theatre, TV or Movies?
“A Secretary” in a Movie “Ta lo pa Chief”

What was your major break-through role and in what film, series or play?

I thank God for every movie I have starred, I can’t say which are precisely.

What were the constraints you had to face and overcome as an up-and-coming Actor (young actor)?

The task of growing up (experience-wise) and handling the fame of becoming a recognisable star were some of the hurdles I had to cross back then. In spite of all I am still standing and I thank the Almighty God.

What is the most awkward or strangest role you have had to take/play in your career and why?

I don’t think I have had any irritating role, because every role is meant to show exactly how it happens in the real world and positively influence the viewers. We are just acting.

What films have you been most proud to be involved with so far, and why?

In a Nation wide Television Programme "Super Story - face of deceit”. Because I had to play the role of an aged woman (42 years precisely) and you know what, it was very interesting. I had a great time.

Did you at anytime want to quit your Acting career for something else or for a reason, and why (if any)?


What is the motivation for you or what keeps you interested in this career every morning you wake up?
I think I just love the job I do because any time I am on set, I am always very happy.
How important are our Nigerian roots, morals, values, knowledge and sense of wisdom to you and your works?

Its importance cannot be stressed enough. I strongly believe this is what gives our Nigerian films the edge over most other industries at the moment. This niche is extremely important for our viewers who are at home and abroad, to inculcate, remind and record our ways and values.

On the stories, scripts, or screen play of your films, and its impact on the Nigerian/African cultural values (home and abroad), how do you manage to harness, keep and pass them across in your films?

A well thought-out script, with proper revision where and when necessary is a key. Furthermore, we live the life and still have knowledgeable people (elders) within our communities, and sometimes borrow this wisdom to keep us a step ahead.

Where do you see yourself in this career in the next five years?

In an elevated stage more than what God had done now.
Where do you see the Nigerian movies industry in the next couple of years?

I see us competing with other top movie making continents, countries and industries.

When you are not working (Acting, producing, directing or making a film), what do you do or how do you pass the time?

I relax by way of sleeping, watch films and rehearse scripts I have written or that I am contracted to do.

What kind of music do you listen to and who is your favourite musician?

High life and Juju – King Sunny Ade
Jazzy blues

Is there an International Actor (American, British, Australian, African, etc.) you will want to work with if the opportunity presented itself?

Sharon Stone, Whoopi Goldberg.

What other messages do you have for your international fans in America, United kingdom, Europe, Africa and its Diaspora?

I request for more prayers from them. They should also bear in mind, I am privileged to be in a position to entertain them, and without them and God, I am nobody.

For any reason at all, how would you personally want your fans to remember you?

I will like to be remembered by my good works. I am giving my best to them at all time

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ngozi Ezeonu - From a Hair Dresser to Nollywood

Did you study Theatre Arts?

No. I have a diploma in journalism from the Nigeria Institute of Journalism.

When did you start acting?

I started acting professionally in 1993 and it’s been tough, but we thank God.

What are the challenges you face in your career as an actress?

Well, every job comes with its own challenges, but we are getting by.

Are there some roles you won’t forget in a hurry?

Yes! There is a job I would not forget in a hurry entitled Forbidden. I played a barren woman. Ironically, I was pregnant (then). I was five months gone and I was playing a barren woman. So, it was not an easy thing to shoot and that was in 1995. For me to be pregnant, you know my first pregnancy actually and I shot two-part movie at the same time. It wasn’t easy.

When you cry in your movie, what do you remember that makes the tears flow easily?

Well, actually, when you give me a script, I research. Then I try as much as possible to characterise. I put myself into that character I’m playing. If it’s going to be the woman that the husband usually maltreats, I build myself into that character. And when I’m playing and I’m to shed tears, they comes naturally.

How have you been able to combine the home front with your career?

It’s just the grace of God, actually. God has been so kind. Like I always say, he planned my life even before I was born. My family has been very supportive. It’s not too difficult combining the two. Most times, I’m out of Lagos on location. But before I do, I try as much as possible to arrange my home. I put my home in order. Nobody will lack anything till I get back. When I get back, I try as much as possible to fill the gap. Whatever they missed when I was away, I make up.

How many children do you have?

I have three children: one girl and two boys.

Do you still cook and do house chores now that you are a star?

I am not a star (laughs). I’m just me. I cook. I do house chores. I pound yam for my husband, and make fufu if need be. I’m an Anambra woman so I cook, I cook, I pound yam, I pound fufu if you want me to. I honestly do a lot of home chores.

How does your husband see what you are doing?

He is comfortable with it because I was acting before he met me. So, it’s not a problem.

Are there some roles you can’t play no matter how much is at stake?

Oh definitely, yes. I can’t play nude no matter the amount that is at stake. I don’t know how to play romantic scenes on television. So that is it.

Does that mean you have not accepted any role that borders on romance?

No! I may not be able to do it well. Although some people say that, as an actress, one ought to be perfect in any role. To me, it is a personal thing. Inasmuch as I know that I’m supposed to be versatile as an actress, I still remember where I come from. I don’t follow trends. I do my things my own way. Fine, if you can’t give me those one I know I can do well, let’s leave it.

Is it because of your marriage? Your husband?

No. Even before I got married, I never played any romantic role. No, I never did. It’s a matter of principle. It is true kissing on set doesn’t make you less a Christian, but I don’t do it just because I have decided not to do it. Mine is a matter of principle, believe me.

What are the things going on in Nollywood that you frown upon?

Greed is one of them. People are greedy. Another thing is dishonesty. We don’t tell ourselves the truth. People copy other people’s stories. These days we shoot movies without knowing the title. Then when it comes out, somebody somewhere will say, Ha! I saw you in some movies.’ You will be wondering what happened in the movie because you don’t actually know the title. It’s because they steal each other’s titles. That is why they hide the titles, even to us that are shooting it. It’s one of the things I don’t like in the industry. And that is called piracy. The stakeholders or the risk bearers are not getting their money. They make the movies with plenty money and, at the end of the day, somebody somewhere is reaping from where they did not sow. It is very bad, that is what is really bringing us down. Instead of us to go up, we are going down. But apart from the factors I have just mentioned, I also would want you to know that Nollywood is still teething. It’s still a baby, you know. So we have to go through the normal process. We will pass this teething period definitely by God’s grace and we will move on.

How come you don’t wear skimpy dresses like some other actresses?

You, how would you feel if you saw me wearing something like that? Does it mean that stars wear skimpy things (outfits)? I told you I don’t follow the trend. I’m my kind of person. I like to cover up all the time.

How come you have not had bad press since 1993 when you started acting?

I told you something earlier: I don’t see myself as a star. At my age, if I start doing things like that, people will think I’m crazy. First and foremost, as I said, I don’t see myself as a star and I don’t act as one. I am the home girl that I am. I always remember where I come from, and I know where I am heading for. It’s important in my life. So, I have been able to keep bad press at bay just by the grace of God. I don’t do things anyhow. I respect myself a lot. I don’t do things that I wouldn’t want people to hear. That is the answer (laughs).

How do you cope with your fans?

I appreciate them a lot because there wouldn’t have been any Ngozi Ezeonu without my fans. I cope very well with them. They encourage me. If you call yourself a star,’ you must always be in the mood to say hello to your fans. Without these people, nobody will buy your films. And the stardom will just go. So, no matter the mood, I try as much as possible to appreciate them.

What about the fact that you don’t have any privacy?

I don’t feel bad about that. I see myself as some people’s role model. This is because you being a star means you have a lot of responsibilities. There are certain things you can’t do any more because people look up to you, especially children. Also, you have to really respect yourself. My being a Nollywood star does not stop me from buying roasted plantain beside the road or buying some fairly used clothes maybe for my children if I will have to. But the difference is that they may sell it to me at a high cost.

Who is your role model?

My mother is my role model. Although she didn’t go to school, she reads. She reads her Bible. And she is very strong.


Tell us a little about your childhood, growing up, parents, brothers and sisters?

Parents - Mr and Mrs D.O. Ikpelue. I have 5 brothers and one sister (7 all together).Normal Nigerian home. Above average.

What was the first paying job ever that you had?

Hair dressing. I practised journalism for a short while too.

How much were you paid per month and what were the responsibilities?

I was self-employed and comfortable.

What other jobs did you do outside Acting?


What made you go into the Acting career and when did you start Acting (year)?

The Interest. I started acting professionally in 1993.

Who were your Idols/Models (Actors) in those days?


What was your first role in theatre, TV or Movies?

Supporting lead in Nneka, the pretty serpent, an Igbo Movie.

What was your major break-through role and in what film, series or play?

Thelma in Glamour girls (1), back in 1993.

What were the constraints you had to face and overcome as an up-and -coming Actor (young actor)?

I was Lucky - None.

How many films have you been involved with as an Actor to date?

I have done quite a lot at least 50 movies. Glamour Girls, Nneka, the pretty serpent, August Meeting (1) and (2), Christ in me, In the beginning (1) and (2), Innocent tears (1) and (2), etc.

AS a DYNAMIC,OUTSTANDING,'A'-List Actor, how have you managed to adapt to the different range of roles you have played in your career?

*Versatility and Interpretation.

What is the most awkward or strangest role you have had to take /play in your career and why?

My role in "Love in High Places". No reason at all.

What films have you been most proud to be involved with so far, and why?

Glamour girls, My best friend, and My faithful friend.

As an 'A'-List Actor, yourself, what other 'A'-List Actors or Actresses have worked or collaborated with?

*Pete Edochie, Liz Benson, Sola Fosudo, Sola Shobowale, Clarion Chukwurah, Justus Esiri, Eucharia Anunobi-Ekwu, etc.

Did you at anytime want to quit your Acting career for something else or for any reason, and why(if any)?


What is the motivation for you or what keeps you interested in this career every morning you wake up?

The Job satisfaction I get.

How important are our Nigerian roots, moral, values, knowledge and sense of wisdom to you and your works?

They are very important, they form the bedrock of any job I take part in.

On the stories, scripts, or screen play of your films, and its impact on the Nigerian/African culture values (home and abroad), how do you manage to harness, keep and pass them across in your films?

*Like I mentioned earlier, I consider the impact my films will have on the public. I hold morals and our cultural values close to my heart. I also use my films as a medium to evangelise.

Are you also a producer, Director and film-maker, which seems to the natural progression for our actors/actresses?

I am concentrating on just Acting for now.

What project are you working on at the moment and with whom?

I just finished a job with Sola Fosudo in Enugu for Twins Production (The Agents for in Eastern Nigeria).

Where do you see yourself in this career in the next five years?

I will be five steps higher in the next five years, by the grace of God.

Where do you see the Nigerian movies industry in the next couple of years?

It definitely must have passed the teething stage.

When you are not working (Acting, or making a film), what do you do or how do you pass the time?

I stay with my family and play wife and mother.

What kind of music do you listen to and who is your favourite musician?

I listen to all kinds of music depending on my mood. I Like Whitney Houston a lot.

Is there an international Actor (American, British, Australian, African, etc.) you will want to work with if the opportunity presented itself?

I will want to work with Whoopi Goldberg if I have the opportunity.

What message do you have for your international fans in America, United Kingdom, Europe, Africa and its Diaspora?

I appreciate all of you. I promise not to disappoint you all, God bless you.

For any reason at all, how would you personally want your fans to remember you?

As one who did not lose her sanity and kept her feet on the ground

Friday, March 14, 2008

Stephanie Okereke - A Model and an Actress

Stephanie Okereke is a Nigerian born superstar with an infectious personality. Spend five minutes with Stephanie and she will have you laughing and feeling like you are talking to a friend you have known forever. As the sixth child in a family of eight Stephanie has been entertaining her family from birth Now she is entertaining the world.

Ms Okereke sprung onto the Nollywood scene in 1997 with Compromise II” and then featured in “Waterloo” A year later she was accepted into the English and Literary Studies Program at the
University of Calabar. She decided to pursue school while she put acting on hold, A year later Nollywood came calling again and Stephanie could not resist she fed her desire to act with Teco Benson’s Terror.

Stephanie has big dreams and she let the world in on her modeling talent with her second place finish in the 2002 The Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria” beauty pageant Despite her hectic schedule, Stephanie graduated with her degree from Calabar and started to stake her claim in the movie world. Emotional Crack put Stephanie on the map and was nominated for eight awards. Stephanie was delighted to have her efforts blessed with two awards. (Best Actress — English and Reel Awards Best Actress of the Year 2003), Stephanie has also stared in quite a few films including Private Sin, Final Solution, Pretender and Adora (Shot in South Africa).

In April of 2004, Emotional Crack was premiered at the African Film Festiva held in the United States. Stephanie also joined her Nollywood colleagues to speak out in a collective voice to help stop the piracy of Nigerian movies
Next, Stephanie made her first foray into Hollywood by auditioning for a role in the Good Shepard. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for Stephanie and see what happens. In the meantime Stephanie has a role on Mnet’s soap Snitch. We have just started to hear from this rising star who is also a talented singer and a model. Stephanie is always striving to improve her craft so needless to say the best from Stephanie is yet to come.


You have disappeared from public view for some time now, but it looks like you are still bubbling. How has life been with you all this while?

Even if I don’t achieve anything this year, the fact that I am alive, that I can walk without any walking stick or crutches is enough reason for me to be happy. I am bubbling, and I have every right to bubble.

You traveled to the US. What did you go there for?

I traveled for medical care, did some studying at the New York Film Academy. I learnt a couple of things and did a film before coming back home.

What kind of film?

It is a mixture of Nigerian and American movie.

Who wrote the script?

I actually wrote, directed and produced the movie.

What is the title?

I called it Through the Glass. I think it is still a working title.

Is the movie based on personal experience?

No. I don’t think it has anything to do with my life. It is a romantic comedy. I was just having fun in school and I got the inspiration to write the story. I have a lot of talent in me. I am just exploring them.

Did you feature in it?

Yes, I did. I am first and foremost an actress.

Now that you are back home, what plans are you making to get back to work? Or are the scripts already pouring in?

I am just taking it easy, basically. The idea is for me to do quality work. I think it is high time we moved up from where we are now. Film-making, no matter how you look at it, is universal. We actually need to upgrade what we are doing.

What really happened between you and Chikelue, your footballer husband?

This is one subject that I really don’t want to talk about. I consider it dead right now. Maybe I should just clarify a few things I heard when I traveled. We are no longer together.

You are no longer together as husband and wife or as friends?


We hear you were married before…

I learnt that he said I was married before I met him. I am not here to say negative things about him, because he was someone I shared so many things with. I am not here to run him down. But it was malicious of him to say I is married before. It is totally outrageous.

So you were never married before you met him?

There is no way I would be married and nobody would know about it. Come to think of it, how old was I then? I think it was just a defense on his part, because he was the one who was married before. It was a form of defense so that when the story comes out, it would seem as if he had defended himself.

How did you make his club in China drop him?
I didn’t know I had such powers, to call his club and tell the coach not to take him. He went there for trials, so how would a single phone call stop him from getting what he wanted? He tried to make me look like a totally bad person. I had to say this (the marriage) wasn’t good for me any longer and I did not want to be in it.

Did you try to make up with him?

I really would not want to talk more on this. It is gone. There is no making up. We have filed for divorce.

But he stood by you when you had an accident.

I want to clarify that issue. Yes, he stood by me when I had an accident, but it was his responsibility to take care of somebody he claimed he loved and was his woman. It is not as if I don’t appreciate the fact that he stood by me, but he was supposed to be there. If he weren’t there, people would start talking.

But he was like a wolf in sheep’s clothing because he knew what he was getting by being at my side. It is not as if I don’t appreciate that he was there, but that does not justify any of the things that happened in our relationship.

We also learnt you were in a rehabilitation centre in Ogun State over drug.

That is ridiculous. I don’t know what journalism has turned into; that people could write something that is totally false. They wanted to paint me as a broken-hearted girl who couldn’t take it any longer; that her relationship broke up and she decided to get into drugs.

The story has no truth. What was the reason behind this? Were they trying to make me have a bad reputation? I don’t know what they wanted with the story; but I tell you, it is totally false. It is not true. I have been out of this country for about five months. I have never been to a psychiatric hospital. I am sure the writer knows what he did was ridiculous.

But have you ever, at least, played with drugs?

I have not even smoked a cigarette, except in movies. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink, so why would I do drugs? I don’t even know what cocaine looks like, except in films where it looks white.

But they say in every rumour, there is always a bit of truth.

No way. In this case, there is no figment of truth. I was in the (United) States. I was not in Ogun State. There is nothing like truth in that rumour.

Do you intend to do anything about the publication then?

What I intend doing is between me and the publishers of the story. I heard the writer is very remorseful. He has tried to apologise and he is willing to re-write the story.

Are you in a relationship now?

I am not. I am very, very single now. I am not in a hurry.

Back to your ex, how come you married a footballer? Was it because you were desperate to marry a star?

You don’t plan things like that. Things just happen the way they happen.

Could one then say it was your fault that you broke up with your ex-husband?

It was never my fault. It was just due to irreconcilable differences. I am not saying this because he is not here. It wasn’t my fault. It was just that we just couldn’t stay together.

How come you locked him up?

I didn’t lock him up. I don’t know where you got that gist from, but I tell you, I didn’t do that.

Did he use to beat you?

No. I don’t want to talk about what he used to do and what he didn’t use to do. It was just that we couldn’t stay together.

But we hear you were dating some other guys while you were still together.

I had an accident in 2005. I was recovering all this while. I wonder which leg I was using to go after other guys. I have never been a promiscuous person. All of a sudden, I turned into a promiscuous person when I was married?

Look, I was bedridden. I was recovering from an accident. I wasn’t even working at that time. I got fully recovered in 2007. I wonder when I had the time to do all of that.

Maybe the accident was what changed your attitude to life.

I believe it was God that saved me from the accident. I am a Christian and I am born again. I am still alive because of the grace of God and what He wants to do in my life.

I am closer to God. I should be closer to Him. He was the one that saved me. He gave me all the visions that I have now. For some people, just a little thing would happen to them and they die. But I am alive. I had a major accident. I had my face ripped off and I had a broken leg. But everything came back together. What am I supposed to do if not to give glory to Him?

Is it not sad that you have a lot of scandals following you?

It is because I never had any scandals following me before people dwelt on the so-called scandals that came up. There hadn’t really been anything to write about me. It is part of the business.

You seem to think that all these happened because somebody wanted to smear your reputation.

I think so. I am a very responsible person, and I hope to do a lot of positive and responsible things in the future. I don’t want my reputation to be messed up.

Did the scandals get to you?

They didn’t get to me. At first, I laughed them off. Later on, I felt it was not funny at all. I just feel this is malicious. What was he thinking? It was just the thoughts behind those write-ups that got me angry.

Do you have regrets?

In life, you meet different kinds of anguish; you go through a lot, but you should not allow them to get you down. Just keep moving and hold on to God. Don’t allow anybody to pull you down. If you have a vision, just work at it.

As young as you are, your marriage has already crashed after just a few years…

I am not sad. I am actually happy that as a young person, I could leave the union I was not happy in. A lot of people are into relationships they don’t even know how they would come out of. But I could actually stand and say this is not good for me, and I walked out of it. With that, I don’t have any regret.

So you believe that if a marriage is not working, a woman should just walk away from it?

No, I don’t believe in that. There is a whole lot of controversy in that. You need to do things the right way.

Don’t you think the fact that your marriage did not work out could affect you in the future?

I don’t think so. If you are having fears for me, please don’t bother. I am a wonderful person, and I think I deserve better things. I treat people nicely; I should expect nice things to come to me as well.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I was a Tom Boy - Uche Jombo of Nollywood

How did you get into acting ?

It was actually by accident. I was in the right place at the right time. I stepped into Fidelis Duker’s office to drop a letter from the organisers of Reel Awards because I was part of the marketing committee.

At that time Fidelis Duker was about to take off on a soap opera production titled Images, which he later turned into a home video. He was auditing that day I went to his office. As I just walked into his office, he pushed a script to me and asked me to read for him.

I said, ‘no, I’m here to give you a letter and he said “you can’t act” and I said no, I can act. He said ‘that’s what everybody says’ that I can’t act.

Then I told him, I can act. He then asked me how I know I can act whether I had acted on a script before. I told him of how three years of my secondary school was paid for, by acting scholarship, then he got interested and asked further.

I explained to him that in United Church of Christ where I belonged, we had this drama group called “Children of God” which is meant for children in their teenage troubling years.

During my teenage years, I was a total tom boy, so to keep me off the streets, off climbing trees and playing football with the boys, my mother had to register me in that drama group.

So after school hours, instead of me going to play football, I go to church to act. In the drama group, the best student in drama is given a scholarship for one year making it something to look forward to. I grew up in Aba but I was born in Enugu

So, I won that in a row, 3 years. Fidelis was shocked and my career in the movies had started. That was my very first time acting on script, he later turned it into a movie called Visa to hell. Some how, Adure, another movie came out before it.

What are the challenges you faced?

The job comes with challenges but you will always tell yourself that you can make it. What you might see as challenge might not be that to me because I’m doing what I love to do. I’m being paid to do it, it stops being a job to me, it become a way of life. The challenges are the things that come with the kind of life style I live as an actress.

How did you overcome these?

By being me. Yes, I always believe that life is too short to attach too much importance to things of the world. When you let go easily on things that are worrisome, knowing that there’s always a supreme being over there who is there to make things better, your mind will be at rest. I try these days to focus more on positive things and free my mind off negative ones.

How true is this notion that actresses sleep their way to the top?

I hear that too but, trust me, if I was sleeping with the director, it will not take me a whole nine years to be where I am today.

But the truth of the matter is, you can not as a person say may be, you heard, you cannot even confirm because the only person that you know is you, you can only trust yourself, because you don’t know what the other person has done.

You don’t even know if the story you heard about her sleeping with the director or producer to get role is true. But God must be with you for things to be okay.

My attitude to work six years ago is still my attitude to work today, but I’m a lot bigger today to what I was, six years ago. So, I guess it is just God’s time

What is that driving force that keeps you going?

By believing in myself and telling myself that I could do it. When people talk to me and say they want to be an actor or actress, that they want to be just like me, I always tell them to start by believing in themselves. If I did not believe in myself , I would have long ago, left the industry to look for work, because I can’t imagine how many times they had family meetings on me just because I live by acting.

It got to a time that I felt may be, this profession is not for me. But knowing well that this is what I’m supposed to do for life, I am strongly convinced and I stood by what I believe in. That is why I said you must start by first believing in yourself and everything will definitely fall in place.

I’m not saying that there will not be doubts, there will definitely come a time when discouragements will set in. Sometimes you will lock up yourself and cry, you even ask yourself sometimes if you’re threading the wrong path, but having that confidence in yourself is what keeps you going at such trying times.

Having been through all of these, could you say it has been exciting?

I’ve worked hard for it so, I should enjoy the work and basically I’ve always enjoyed what I do. Even now, some ask me that, “Uche, you still have time to write knowing you’re always busy” I always tell them that the time just comes because I enjoy what I do. Sometimes, it’s not really like you’re working. It’s a way of life.

Flashing back to your childhood years, especially the time you were the drama queen, did it ever occur to you that you’ll end up being an actress?

Even when I was the drama queen of the house, I never thought that I’ll end up an actress. I used to think I’ll end up being a talk show host, have my TV show, interview people, especially celebrities.

This was why I grabbed the opportunity of the MMS presentation job when it came. That was what I dreamt of growing up to do, not acting.

Who is that soul mate of yours and when will the bells ring?

Mr. right? Am I engaged? No, I am not, am I in a relationship? Yes I am. I do not want to talk about it?

No, I don’t. Seriously

If you have an opportunity to change anything in the Nigerian entertainment industry, what will it be?
That’s a tricky question because, I don’t know how to answer it. There are lots of things to address.

Having the support of the government, for instance, may be I want to shoot in Aso Rock, and I get it without cracking my head to think of what Aso Rock looks like. Things like more corporate bodies coming into the business.

Making this job corporate where you’ll shoot on high definition cameras on its regular grounds. Also make your money before the film gets to the market, so you’ll not just be relying on only the market.

The thing I probably won’t change is the talent because I think Nigeria is blessed with lots of talents. But technically, distribution wise and what is accessible to us, those are the things I would want to change.

How do you unwind?

I watch films a lot. I go to Silverbird to watch films and I also enjoy football.

What is your grooming taste like, are you a designer freak?

Not really, I wear what suits me, if it happens to be labelled, so be it.
Being a star, what are those things you used to do that you’re not able to do anymore?

There are lots now. Part of the things you give up as a celebrity is that your life is no longer yours. Everything you do is under scrutiny, you have to defend everything you do.

When you do something, which is not as if it’s totally bad, people will definitely talk as long as you’re a celebrity.

When do you consider the happiest moment of your life?

It was the first time my script was produced in year 2000. When I was able to balance acting and writing well and I sold a lot of scripts that I wrote. That was one of my happiest moments.


From the look of things you are obviously a Manchester United fan. Do you like football?
I like soccer a lot.
Despite your being a soccer fan and your working out regime, complete with a mini gym in your living room, you seem to have added weight.
You think so?
Maybe it is because of what I’m wearing. I’ve not added weight.
You seem to be on every movie set. What has made you the toast of Nollywood?
It is God. I don’t really know what is happening, I don’t think it is anything I did. I just think that my time has come.
You must be making a lot of money then.
If you think so, who am I to argue that?
Looking back from your days in Adure some nine years ago, do you have any regrets?
It is easier for me to say there is none.
Would you have found fulfillment in any other career?
I don’t know but I think I would have also found fulfillment in being a talk show host. That has been my dream from childhood. Maybe I would have pursued that.
Why did you give your first degree and post graduate diploma up for acting?
I don’t think there has been any decision that I have made regarding my career that has not been fully calculated. There is nothing learnt in life that is a total waste. What I studied has been of help at certain times.
Where did you obtain your post graduate diploma?
At the Federal University of Technology, Minna in Niger State, while my first degree was at the University of Calabar.
Has acting been worth your while? Does it pay the bills?
Absolutely. It puts food on my table.
Why did you rest your TV programme?
I was getting too busy going to locations. It was a live programme and I wasn’t on locations mostly in Lagos so it was kind of difficult. It was difficult keeping a live show every Sunday.
Would it be right to say that acting has taking away your first love?
No, at least I am still in front of a camera.
How many movies have you done this year?
Six I think.
You mean you’ve been to six locations this year? You must have made a lot of money then.
I won’t tell you.
People are saying the reason you are not married is because you are friends with only single ladies.
That is not true. I have married friends as well. Monalisa Chinda is my friend and she is married. I don’t think being single has anything to do with my friends. Marriage is something that will happen when it will happen. And I don’t think it is anybody’s business that I am still single.
Is it true you’ve been complaining about producers giving you bitchy roles?
I would say I’ve been lucky with the roles I’ve been playing. I have been playing too many different roles. I don’t think you can say I play this particular kind of role. I have really been lucky.
What role did you play in the Abuja movie?
I played the role of a lawyer who is in love with the wrong person. You need to wait for the movie to be released so that you can get to know what happens.
Why do you end up doing love stories most of the time?
It is not always about love. The story I am telling you is about what goes on in a girl’s mind. I wrote the script so I should know better.
Ok. Let’s talk about you. What goes on in your mind?
Why would I tell you what goes on in my mind? I cannot tell you that.
Ok. Why are you always secretive about your age?
It is so because it is nobody’s business. Just as it is nobody’s business that I am not married, my age is nobody’s business. The person I’m dating is also nobody’s business.
Don’t your parent pressure you to bring home the person you are going to get married to?
My perception about marriage is also my mothers’. She believes it will happen when it will happen.
What kind of man are you looking for?
I want an intelligent man who can stand on his own.
Who can stand on his own’ means someone who has money, I guess.
Yes, of course. Do you want me to marry a jobless man?
It is amazing that people no longer refer to you as a club girl.
That was an impression that was created by you journalists. I’ll take that as a compliment.
Are you saying you are not a club person?
Yes. I just love dancing and I can dance anywhere. People just assume that since I love dancing I should love clubbing. People’s perception about me does not bother me? I cannot please everybody and I know that I cannot avoid living in a world where people hate me.
I heard you told somebody now that you pay tithe. Is that true?
Why won’t I pay tithe?
Do you still remember the first time you had a kiss?
How old were you then?
I can’t tell you that.
I can’t even remember how old I was but I remember the kiss.
Were you a graduate then?
No way. How could my first kiss have been when I graduated from university? The reason I remember my first kiss is because I did not know what to do. I felt so disgusted because I was like what is the guy’s saliva doing in my mouth? It was more of shock. It was then that I started listening to other girls talk about kissing.
Was that when you learnt you ought to kiss back?
Yes, but at first I did not.
Can we say the guy is lucky?
Will he even remember?
Can you remember the first time you had sex?
I remember but I am not going to tell you.
Why can’t you tell me, is it because it was disgusting as your first kiss?
If I tell you that, then I’ve told you everything.
What will it take for a guy to capture your heart?
A lot, if I say it that would be telling. I don’t want to give some guys the clue.
Are you romantic?
What makes you think so?
I am still teaching my boyfriend how to be romantic.
So your boyfriend is not romantic.
Yes, he is learning.
What if a more romantic guy comes along?
Maybe my boyfriend will be in trouble.
You told me about a boyfriend of yours two years ago. Are you still together?
Why don’t you guys just get married?
Marriage is not as simple as that.
What is so complicated about it?
So, you don’t know that marriage is complicated. Marriage is something you have to tell yourself you are ready for.

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