How I beat the sex hunters
By Victor Akande
Almost every artiste you meet, either started from the church or school. Uche began at The Over comers Church. And did she over come? Not without mentioning the fact that her initial dream was to become a top model and beauty queen until she could not sustain her slim figure. Her modeling dream thus passed away and the home video industry took possession of her. Uji was second runner up at the Miss Lagos Island Pageant in 2001.
She has appeared in My Heart Desire, One Way To the Top, He lives in Me, My Conscience, Mortal Sins, Beautiful Faces, My Dream, No Guarantee, Aristos and Passion and Pains. Uji, a 300 level student of sociology at the Univesity of Lagos began her movie career in year 2000, having been discovered by Zeb Ejiro. She was challenged by her role in Emotional Tears also starring Genevieve Nnaji, Jim Iyke, Ashley Nwosu, and Sola Sobowale. Her best movie, however, she said is Passion and Pain, a campus story she played alongside Desmond Elliot, Ramsey Nouah and Emeka Ike. “I was able to blend with all of them in that movie,” she said.
Looking back, from her very first soap opera, Candle Light to date, Ujis said, “Acting is really fun because it deals with the inner mind, and dealing with that kind of thing, you have to give yourself deep thought, knowing what you are going into and believing same to match your aspirations. Acting may be a make-believe, but a true actor must live the character and interpret the role with his emotions. By so doing, he is also identifying with the message which, in most cases, is geared towards correcting societal ills.”
The difficult task in the art, she said, “is the one to one delivery of story lines which most producers expect you to do. Also, coming to shoot and at the end of the day you find out that nothing is happening and then you have to go back home, having wasted your time and money. It's really difficult.”
And has she ever experienced or faced sexual harassment from anyone in the quest for a role? Uji answered in the affirmative, but she claimed that she was smart about it. “It's like that in the Nigerian movie industry. There were those who tormented me, but I am a very smart person. When I came in, Winnines was a very hot place and you found out that when you get there every man comes asking: Do you want to act? Take this script upstairs.” But, I was cautious not to allow myself to be used. Some times, I embarrassed the guys and for a long time nothing happened and I gave myself a break. I came back and, by then, I had done the soap opera, so, it became easier to taunt those who wanted to sleep with me before giving me a role. Then, of course, there are genuine people who looked at my performance in the soap and gave me roles. This was the game until I came to limelight.”
One beautiful thing she enjoys about her career is response from her fans. She enjoys their approaches and she loves to give them attention. “My fans like to send me gifts. They give me so many things. I have never asked for the gifts they give to me. They appreciate me. They like my movies and I like them so much that I don't know what to give them in return. Sometimes, I feel like I should be the president or governor or be in position to be able to favour them all.”