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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


  1. Very nice, its important to know who you are and stay true to yourself.

    Pleaseeeee do something on Yemi Awomodu, im in crush with him. Thank you!

  2. This actress is one of my favorite. She is mature and very professional.

    Good job you've done here. Must have taken some effort to get the data on this people. Cheers NaijaEcash

  3. Omosewa, this blog will sure feature Awomodu real soon. Naijaecash, thanks for stopping by, your blog is quite revealing too.

  4. i know yemi awomodu very well. he is my good friend. he is married, unless u want to be his aristo

  5. Thanks for killing my crush on him King,LOL.

    Did you notice she was frowning in almost all of her photos.

  7. Talking about Yemi Awomodu, my sister carries his pix everywhere.Can u ask him if he wuold be my brother-in-law.


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