MARRIAGE WON’T STOP ME FROM KISSING IN MOVIES -JENNIFER ELIOGU
If you thought she was past her prime because she was off the scene for a couple of years; you have another think coming because she is back in the industry for good. Jennifer Eliogu is back on the block and is more matured.
Really, everything about her reflected the sort of change brought about by marriage during the interview. Little wonder she admitted that her immediate family – consisting of her daughter and husband was what she cherished most at the moment.
She was particularly generous with superlatives when she talked about her husband – though she declined to mention his name. In Nollywood, that is understandable.
Jennifer said she really never wanted to act, even though she went into the movie industry shortly after she completed a diploma in dramatic arts at the University of Jos in Plateau State.
“It all started sometime in 1996, when a friend of mine had a role to play in a movie and I accompanied her to the venue of the audition. I got to the venue and I got interested. Although I have always liked acting I never wanted to act. I did a little bit of acting in school and church but I never knew I was going to be an actress I had always thought I was going to end up as a musician.
“I was given a role to read by Jerry Amilo in those days when auditions were held before casting was done. Afterwards, I didn't stop, instead, I kept going,” recounted the native of Uke in Idemili Local Government Area of Anambra State
Upon joining the industry in 1996, the first movie she appeared in was House on Fire which was not released until the following year. But unlike others she said, “fortunately, I played a major role in my first movie, alongside Ejike Asiegbu, Charles Okafor and Gloria Young and 11 years down the line I can say that even though I am from a comfortable family, acting has been rewarding for me; I have been able to do some things for myself,” she stressed adding, “I got N25,000 for my first film and that was good money back in 1997, even though things have changed over the years and the industry has grown.”
Really, movie directors and producers used to fall over each other to have her headline their productions. Then, her physique was a common sight on countless movie jackets and posters. But she would not acquiesce to talk that she was past her prime, instead, she said she prefers to see herself as an evergreen actress while tracing it all to God.
“I've never seen myself as a shinning star; I see myself as evergreen; I am always there. The fact is God elevated me two or three steps higher. I got married and had to excuse myself from the movie industry. I have my daughter, she turned two recently. Now I'm back.
“And that is why I cherish my family; I can never wish for another one,” she said.
Meanwhile, Jennifer said marriage would not in any way affect her job.
“I've always played romantic roles with some sense of decency even before I got married. And now that I'm married, it won't be any different. If a kiss is instrumental to making the scene a reality, I don't see why I will not. If one has to do the kiss to achieve the message the director is trying to pass across, it's okay! But if I'm not comfortable with any particular role, before I go ahead to negotiate I should be able to tell whoever I am dealing with. If it works I may be able to water it down a little to make me comfortable; but if not, I should be wise enough to back out.
“I know that some people have to play the nude, vulgar or bitchy roles, but I don't have the guts to play such roles,” she declared.
If you asked her, she will tell you that the industry standard has improved drastically and she insisted she was not saying so for fear of being blacklisted if she made caustic comments and added that “If you ask around the industry, you would find out that I've always been myself; I have respect for everybody but I am one blunt person. So, when I say the industry is fast improving, I am not patronising anyone; I don't speak for fear or favour. I say my mind the way it is. I know that there are loopholes here and there but overall you can not say we have not done well,” she argued.