Yes, I've broken some hearts, says star actress, Uche Jombo
Despite her late father's warning that she should not venture into acting, "very stubborn" Ucheobi Jessica Jombo, damned all consequence and gave her body and soul to Nollywood.
"I disobeyed my very strict dad who is now deceased to go into acting.
My first movie was Visa To Hell by Fidelis Duker in '98. But Adure by Charles Ifeduba, where I played lead the following year, really established my name and presence in Nollywood".
From Abiriba, Abia State, Jombo also made headlines few years ago when her celebrated romance with veteran actor, Norbert Young, crashed amid accusations and counter accusations from the estranged lovers. "I don't like talking about my affair with Norbert. He is now married and we greet whenever we see," she said in a voice filled with emotion.
Uche, who read Maths and Statistics from the University of Calabar, in this exclusive chat with Daily Sun, also spoke glowingly about the new man in her life. "He is humorous, dark and tall.
He also makes me laugh always. Though, he has not proposed to me, I pray everyday for him to do it this year".
Miss Jombo, you've been so quiet in terms of acting in recent times? What is happening?
Nothing! No problem at all, I've been working, only that I chose to keep away from the media. About five of my movies are already out. I even wrote one of them, entitled, Girls In The Hood.
But the story making the rounds in Nollywood is that your new lover does not want you in showbiz any longer?
(Smiles). Sincerely speaking, I'm hearing this for the first time. The people spreading this ugly rumour, were they there when the warning was given to me by my lover? People should mind their business and leave Uche Jombo alone. For God's sake, I've been busy since last year working and some lazy people are out there spreading false tales about me. In fact, I even had to excuse myself from location to grant you this interview. I'm currently on location working back to back. The fact that my fans no longer get to read about me often as it was in the past, does not mean I'm out of showbiz. A man that truly loves you should not tell you to quit the legal business that makes you very happy. I can't quit acting for anybody. It is part of me.
They also said you are planning a quiet wedding soon with this new man in your life. How true is this?
(Laughs heartily) Well, God's time is the best. The truth is that sometime this year, Uche Jombo will be getting married, but I've not been proposed to. But I know it will come this year. In fact, I'm praying and waiting for him (lover), to make it happen this year.
Is the lucky guy a Nigerian?
Yes. He is an Ibo guy.
For how long have the two of you been dating?
(Chuckles) Please, please, I'm not gonna answer these your personal questions again. I'm not denying the fact that I'm into a relationship. And the dream of every girl is to have a relationship that will eventually lead to marriage.
So, what are the features that got you attracted to this guy that is currently rocking your world?
His sense of humour is outstanding. I like laughing and he makes me laugh much. I like his height. Since I'm not too tall, I like tall guys. I also like his dark complexion and intelligence.
But if you had not met this your Romeo, can you marry an actor?
(Cuts in) Yes! If the true love is there I can marry an actor.
Aside veteran actor, Norbert Young whom you dated then, have you dated any other Nollywood actor?
(Mood changes). No other actor except him. And please, I'm not gonna entertain any more questions from that angle again. Sincerely speaking, there is no big deal in dating my colleague, especially when the love, respect and sparks are there.
But was it true that after the bitter break-up, you and Norbert became sworn enemies?
No! We only went our separate ways. I greet him whenever we see. Why should we be enemies in the first place?
Then, they also said you felt really bad and dejected when the rosy affair suddenly crashed?
Please, I want you to tell me why we are talking about Norbert Young here. I don't want to talk about a married man. Norbert Young is a no-go area, please.
Okay! Back to Nollywood. Some couple of years ago, you produced your debut movie entitled Ibinabo, since then, we have not heard anything from you again in terms of producing. Why?
Emmh! Nothing was really responsible for my not producing more movies. I'm just being careful and studying the industry. Right now, I'm cooking something with Emem Isong. By the time we are set, Nigerians will know that Uche Jombo has not abandoned the art of movie making as a producer.
So, how soon is this project of yours coming out?
Very, very soon. Let me not talk much till the movie comes out.
Ibinabo, your debut effort as a producer, was it a commercial success?
Sincerely speaking, the movie was okay commercially when we released it in 1999.
How true is the story that some of your colleagues till date are still being owed their artiste fees on the set of Ibinabo?
I don't know about that. I'm aware we paid everybody. But if truly they are owing anybody on that set, it should be me.
Some of your colleagues were banned from acting in movies late last year. As a top actress, how does that make you feel?
The ban thing is a very sensitive issue. Like I always tell my colleagues, there are two sides to every story. I would rather not talk about it for now. As far as I'm concerned, it is a political issue; I don't want to meddle into it.
Going down memory lane, how did you come into Nollywood?
I came into Nollywood like every other actress. My first movie was Visa To Hell, by Fidelis Duker, that was in '98. But Adure, which was my first lead role by Charles Ifediba, catapulted me to fame.
What were you doing before storming Nollywood?
Before coming in, I was doing what I still do now. I write and produce advert copies and jingles. I was and still do that for Manny Bank before embracing acting fully. Then and even now, I do one or two legit businesses for corporate bodies. I also write much. I'm a total production person.
As somebody who read Maths and Statistics, many people expected you to be in the financial sector. Why did you opt for showbiz?
In a way, I'm practising what I read in the university. You calculate every aspect of your life. And that is exactly what I'm doing. The only difference is that I'm not stucked in a nine to five kind of job. I can't do that because I'm too hyper active. The fact is that I can't sit in a place for a long time. Again, I've never worked for anybody all my life.
Did your parents give their approval when you were trying to storm Nollywood?
Then, as an Abiriba man, my father objected vehemently. Being a stubborn child, I refused to listen to his advice. He later got tired and allowed me to be. Even my elder siblings were dazed on how I was able to conquer our dad, being the third in a family of nine. We are four girls and five boys. I'm stubborn, very stubborn.
What other profession would have appealed to you if you were not in Nollywood today?
(Thinks). Probably, I would have been a lawyer. I argue much about the things I know. I would have also gone into television big time.
Sincerely speaking, has love been fair to you?
(Sighs). Hmmh! I will answer your question this way. The heart is so small and the amazing thing is how it recovers after any hurt and gets ready to accept another person. It really baffles me. True love is the only thing that heals broken hearts easily. In essence, I can't say yes or no. Life itself is not fair. It is a very technical question for me to answer. I don't know…
Have you been heart broken by men before?
Yes, but I won't tell you how many times. I've also broken the hearts of some men. So, it's a two-way thing.
Do you believe in love?
Yes, I do so much.
Can you still remember the exact age you fell in love first?
(Laughs and thinks). That should be in my university days. It was an innocent thing then o! Nothing much was at stake.
How do you react when men comment and commend your beauty?
I have dealt with so many lines in my life. I deal with lines everyday of my life as an actress and scriptwriter. It takes something deep to trip me or even make me blush. I like original things. I'm a romantic and very emotional person…
Can love make you fight over a man?
No! I can't even fight for anything
So, what separates you from your colleagues?
Just that fact that I'm me, Uche Jombo.
In the next couple of years, where do you hope to be or see yourself?
In the next couple of years, I want to take my outfit, Picture Perfect, and myself to the highest level. In terms of production. I also want to have the best studio in Africa and transmit my own talk show to the world from here, Nigeria. I'm already working towards that.
When you are finally married, how many kids do you want to have?
Just two. A boy and a girl.
If your lover decides to dump you tomorrow for another lady, how would you feel?
What if I do that to him first? (General laughter).
Which foreign actors do you trip for?
My number one is Johnny Depp. I also like Jude Law, Jack Nicholson, Jennifer Green, and Rene Zellweger. In Nigeria here, I also admire Liz Benson and Joke Jacobs.
Can you marry a white guy?
I don't know o! It is one thing to marry and another to admire. You can't predict love. I can tell you no today about marrying a white guy and end up marrying one tomorrow.
The year is still new, what are the goals you have set out to achieve before it comes to an end?
I want to write good scripts and also act in many good movies this year. I also want to settle down to marital bliss. I want to get closer to my God this year.
What was your lowest fee as an actress?
It was my debut movie. I was paid N18, 000 (eighteen thousand). Don't bother asking about my highest, I won't tell you.
How did you spend your Valentine's day?
My Val was well spent. My guy and I had unlimited fun. We were at the Boys II Men show here in Lagos. On Val's day, we went to the beach and ended it up at a club. You know, I like dancing much. In fact, I love dancing.
Aside acting, what other things do you have passion for?
(Giggles) I like reading romantic novels. I also watch movies much. I like writing. This Val period, I urge all Nigerians to give and share love with all their hearts.
Your surname, Jombo, sounds foreign and you are from Abiriba, Abia State. Why?
Well, it is only my grandfather that can answer that. And unfortunately, he is dead. It is an English name. We are the only Jombos in the whole of Abiriba. I will be very easy to trace if I commit a crime.