I HAVE NO PLANS FOR MARRIAGE NOW — ALEX LOPEZ
Pretty actress Alex Lopez has come a long way as far as the Nollywood industry is concerned.
From the day she ventured into beauty pageant in 1993, emerging 2nd runner up and her subsequent roles in movies like Piccadilly, Domitilla and Daughters of Eve, Alex has remained in the limelight.
In this interview with Uwalaka Patrick, Alex takes us into her world. Enjoy.
Looking back from 1994 to 1995 when you set out to become an actress, would you say you have surpassed your wildest expectation in life?
I don't think I have even reached half of what I set out to achieve in life, and if you ask me why, I would say that there are so many things to do, plenty of places to explore. I don't think everyone can achieve all their dreams in life.
Would you say your journey has been one beautiful fairytale?
Being an actress has been the most beautiful part of my life. I wouldn't call it a fairy tale because fairy tales are things that are beyond your reach, but being a part of Nollywood will always be what I cherish most on earth.
You first emerged on the entertainment scene during the mid 1990s when you took part in a beauty pageant and came second runners up; did you have it at the back of your mind that you would one day become an actress?
Well, I'd put it in another way. I have always wanted to do something that will see me in the public view, and as a child growing up I had ideas and imaginations about lifestyles I never grew up in. I have always wanted to do something that people would recognize me with, good things that will touch people's life.
And do you think that becoming an actress fulfilled that dream for you?
It hasn't fulfilled it yet, but I'm getting close to it.
How did growing up shape you to become who you are today?
I guess everyone has a destiny in life and you have to follow the path which life has mapped out for you and whether you want it or not, you just see yourself going a particular way. For me, I would say that my growing up really helped me in so many ways in becoming who I am today.
How beautiful was growing for you?
For me growing up was okay. I wouldn't lie like some other people would say. It was okay because I come from a polygamous family and I always had my mother on the side of her children. I thank God it was okay.
Would you really classify yourself to be a Nigerian judging your Brazilian roots and your very light skin personality?
I'm a Nigerian. After all when you check, the slaves that left Africa and were taken to the West Indies later came back to Africa. I'm more Nigerian than my father's side because I grew up with my mother and her family even though my father is from Brazil.
So what is the relation between you and your father?
May his soul rest in peace, he is dead now. Died two years ago and before then it was good.
Why did you decide to settle here in Nigeria and not in Brazil?
Why would I want to settle in Brazil when I grew up here in Nigeria all my life? Besides, the only family I have come to know has been my mother's family.
My father's family really is not here in Nigeria, apart from my half siblings. So there is nothing wrong in me growing up in Nigeria and laying claim to a country where my mother is from.
Looking at you, how would one describe the woman Alex Lopez?
You said looking at me, how do I describe myself. I can't do that. It is left for those who know me to say this is what we know about Alex but I can tell you about my inner person. I'm homely and humility dwells in me.
In all these, people say you cut the picture of a wild woman . . .
That's where you say looks are deceptive. Look beyond what you see, a personality is not shallow. You shouldn't judge by how the package is, rather judge by what's inside.
What do you think are the challenges you have faced over the years as an actress?
Well people would say, nothing good comes easy and at the same time nothing is meant to last forever. So when the opportunity comes take it and make the best use of the opportunity.
I would say that I have been able to use my chances when they came and I have been challenged by the roles that have come my way all these years as an actress.
I have been in showbiz since 1993 from the beauty pageant and getting into acting, it's not been all smooth as I had to get roles from auditions, castings and prove myself before directors as the kind of actress they are looking for.
There have been times when you were cast for a particular role, only for such a role to be taken away from you and given to someone else. And with the emergence of the marketers, there was the belief that you must belong to an Igbo click or a cabal to get movie roles.
And when people say no, Alex cannot do it, she is not a good actress, it makes me push myself the extra mile to prove myself, and the challenges are no less than what other people are facing in their own field in life or career.
How do you feel when you lose roles you have already been cast in to someone else?
Well, the feeling remains that the role was never meant for me. What is mine will always come to me.
Does it portray professionalism on the part of those who are suppose to give out such roles on merit?
Well for me if it happens, the way I would look at it is that they finally saw what they were looking for. But I refuse to believe that I wasn't good enough for that particular character, but again as an actress we can't play all the roles.
And if they are giving me a role and someone comes from nowhere to try to get the role, fine set up the stage and let's see who between us is better. It is only when that is not done that I'd complain about the lack of professionalism.
How beautiful has it been for you as an actress over the years?
It has been exciting, because I have had my ups and downs in acting and when you have your downs it is like a challenge for you.
Were there times when you looked back and said, Oh I wish I was never Alex Lopez?
No. If I come back again in this world, I will still be Alex Lopez.
Alex, at thirty plus you are still single, what is happening to you, where are the eligible men?
Is there a law that states a woman must get married before she is thirty? I'm single because I chose to be single, and I feel that I can do what I want to do with my time and freedom.
It's not like I would not like to get married or have more children but the fears of commitment might be the reason why I have remained single.
I really like my freedom. I'm very independent and I'm a single mother, who is raising a 17-year-old son and who has just finished his secondary school education. And I don't think I'm lacking for anything for now.
Don't you think that sacrificing your relationships for your independence might take its toll on you in the long run?
I don't think I will suffer if I don't find myself in a relationship or if at the end of the day I get married, it would just make me a much more matured person in my home.
Before anyone gets into marriage, you have to be matured so you will be able to handle the ups and downs of marriage.
How committed are Nigerian men toward keeping to their vows as married men?
Please, don't restrict this to Nigerian men alone, men are the same the world over and it doesn't matter if they are black or white. But don't condemn the men because when you talk of men being unfaithful, you must also talk about women being unfaithful too. The ratio is really high these days.
Would that contribute to the reason why people are not getting married these days?
I wouldn't know about why people are not getting married in their numbers nowadays, because I can only talk about Alex. We all have different experiences and everybody would want to get married someday and have children.
Looking at the whole problems associated with marriage, would you say, Alex will want to take a shot at marriage in the next five years?
It depends on when God says.
But you would be getting close to forty and very old if you are not married by then?
It doesn't matter. I'm not afraid of getting old.
Why do most single mothers in Nollywood find it difficult to get married? Is it because they already have children or the feelings of why rush into a man's house, when they can survive on their own ?
I don't think so and I will use myself as an example.
I have been a single mother in the last 17 years and it's not because I don born pickin so wetin I dey go find for man house. There is so much involved in getting married.
There are many things we can give each other as man and wife. I'm here and would want to have another child but I will not have another one till I get married.
And even if I later decide to have another one outside wedlock, it is going to be my own decision, because then I was young and didn't know how to cope.
I'm not going to rush into marriage because it is something that demands patience. I can rush into a relationship but marriage I will never do that because it has its own mental, psychological effects on a couple.
So what would be the criterion for your dream man if you were asked to choose one?
First of all, he has to be God fearing, and I have to accept him with all his faults because no body is perfect.
I have to find out if the other side of him is what I can live with the rest of my life, and since I have a son, he must appreciate the fact that my son is part of me and if we must get married then my son must come with me.
If given a chance, would you get married to the father of your son?
I don't know because in all honesty I will not be able to answer that question.
You once owned a farm where you were into some very serious business of agriculture?
Like I would always say, look beyond the wrapping and see what is inside the package. I have always farmed even as a girl growing up in my village in Obosi, Anambra State, where we raised chickens, made garri from cassava, reared goats and others.
So bringing forward that experience, I went into chicken farming when the movie industry went into a recess. I went into poultry farming, because I had asked myself a question, ten years from now Alex where would you want to be and that was when I believed I could make it in farming.
How challenging was it running a poultry farm as a top rate Nollywood actress?
It was stressful with all problems associated with running a poultry farm and meeting up with the demands of big time companies like UAC who were my major customers then.
Are you in any serious relationship presently?
No, I'm not. I think my life is at peace at the moment, am not running away from anybody, it just that I want to be alone for the time being till when I feel that I'm ready for love again.