When I wanted to study at the university, I opted for Mass Communication. The course has to do with entertainment as well. So, everything about me has always been entertainment. Today, I am here and I thank God for it.
How has it been, getting to where you are now?
It has been tough; it has been smooth as well. Life is filled with ups and downs. Anybody for whom all things go smoothly should watch it, he will soon die. Life goes up and comes down, a little to the front and a little to the back; and then it gets stable.
You hit the limelight with Living in Bondage, and became popular after that. But you have not featured in too many movies ever since. Did you decide to take a break?
I never took a break. This profession is what I know how to do best. Inasmuch as I don't feature as regularly as I used to in home movies, I am still in the entertainment industry.
On whether I took a break, I think you should ask producers. They are the ones who have this notion that we are old faces and they would rather use new faces in their movies.
Really, I don't understand the politics that is going on in the movie industry. That is the truth. Your being an old face should be no reason for you not to get roles. In this our job, there is always a role for anybody at any age. This is a profession where there is no retirement. I don't know what is wrong with our people sometimes.
I had this problem of people saying that because I work for a particular person, it was the reason I was not getting roles.
But for crying out loud, a freelance artiste is a freelance artiste. Had it been I signed a contract with a particular company, then I would be restricted to that company without doing any other thing unless I have permission from that company.
We are all freelancers. We work with whoever pays us. I don't know where they get this idea that because I am working for Amaka Igwe, I am occupied and I cannot work for any other person. It is not fair at all.
It may be because you don't belong to the right caucus…
I don't belong to any caucus. If you are good, you are good. Why should I belong to a particular group? Look, this is still a profession where your talent speaks for you. If you are good, you will certainly get jobs. You do not have to belong somewhere before you get roles. If you do, that means you do not have confidence in yourself.
To the best of my knowledge, I am a good actress. My awards speak for me. I know that with time, everything will normalise. That is the way I see it.
Are you really bitter?
Somehow, I am bitter. I have come to this world to make a living. What if I didn't have any other means of livelihood, what becomes of me? That is why we have a lot of artistes today who are frustrated and they go into things that they are not supposed to do. Those who don't have the wherewithal, they get themselves involved in so many trash and at the end of the day, they make headlines. This is because they are frustrated, besides the fact that they are also greedy.
An actor is not supposed to starve. We are not supposed to be redundant, unless you are not good. Even when you are not good, there are still jobs for you.
They should stop this caucus nonsense. They should stop this 'I am the piper, I call the tune' attitude. It is not right at all. We should throw sentiments to the winds and embrace what is right.
Your association recently denounced an actor for alleged drug trafficking…
How can they say he is not an actor? Once an actor, you're always an actor. Whether he pays his dues or not, whether he is Nollywood or 'No wood', the guy has been acting for years. If he were a nobody, they wouldn't have linked him to us. He is even a known face in the industry. Let us be realistic. Nobody should run away when there is a problem.
It is believed that artistes are mostly into this crime of drug trafficking, using their profession as front…
I don't know about that. Anyone who is in the drug business is greedy. I don't believe an artiste should be involved in drug trafficking. We are the future. People want to emulate us, irrespective of the fact that they don't know who we really are other than that they see us on TV and in the movies.
Some of us are some peoples' role models. A lot of people call me daily and tell me how much they appreciate what I am doing and how they would want to be like me.
Then, for somebody like me to be caught with drugs, what have I portrayed to the people out there who believed so much in me? How will I explain it to my fans? All the years I spent trying to build this name will vanish in the twinkle of an eye, everything will go down the drain. Mind you, nobody out there is interested in the reason you went into that crime. The name is soiled and it is over for you.
We should be careful what we do. Even if it were my mother who said I should carry drugs, I would never do it.
You are also popular for your role as 'Peace' in Fuji House of Commotion. How did it come about?
Amaka watched me for some time in some of the soaps I featured in.
I was in Ripples where I played the role of Madam V Boot. She saw me one day and told me that she knew that we would work together some day.
That day eventually came. I was called for an audition and I got the role.
People say some artistes are really what they act. In your own case, can you be a second wife?
I am too jealous for that. I can't be a second wife. It is not as if I have not had offers, but because of my jealous nature, I don't think I want to find myself in that second wife mess. I don't know how I will handle it.
Most of your colleagues are into NGO 'business', you don't seem to have joined them…
I don't have an NGO and I am not intending to have one. Most of them are just trying to look for greener pastures in case of tomorrow. The way it is now, we are like a flower that has its time to bloom. Maybe they believe that there would be a time they would shine and a time they would die, so they are trying to establish something that would sustain them. You are entitled to do whatever you feel can make you happy.
What is your vision?
My vision is to see this industry go higher than high. I want us to get to where we can compete with Hollywood. I know that we will get there some day.
There was a time artistes could not even afford to dress well, let alone buy cars. But look at us now, the story is very different. We are living big.
Have you been embarrassed by any of your fans?
I have been embarrassed one hundred and one million times.
Which incident are you likely not to forget in a hurry?
There was a day a man walked up to me and lashed me thoroughly. He insulted me from head to toe. He said I was a wicked woman, and that I should wait for his wife to come and deal with me.
Can you imagine? I was dumbfounded! What was my own with this guy? After abusing me, he walked away.
Don't such experiences make you feel like quitting?
No matter what, I am not going to quit. This is a profession in which I have found peace and joy. This is where I will be until I drop dead.
Do the scandals that come with your line of duty affect you?
No way! When you allow such things to weigh you down, then you will go down the drain. Such is not good for an actor. Try as much as possible to be scandal-free. But some things are inevitable. We are all human beings and we are likely to make mistakes. When such comes, you take them in good faith.
Most artistes do not make good spouses…
When it comes to that, it is a matter of the heart. It happens in every walk of life. I don't see the reason an artiste's own should be any different. How come it is not celebrated when it happens in other professions? I have attended a wedding that lasted three days. How come nobody heard anything about it?
Marriage and divorce are matters of the heart like I said. It is he that wears the shoes that knows where it pinches him the most.
When you are in a relationship, it depends on what you see before you opt out. Marriage is not something people should dabble in. It is not something that should be discussed on the pages of newspapers. It is left for the couple to fashion out the way they want their thing.
Nobody should talk about marriage when he or she is not married.
You were married before…
I was married before. So? I am no longer married.
Why did you break up with your husband?
My marriage was hell. I don't mind the way I am now. I am very much okay.
As an Igbo woman, the society usually stigmatises a woman who married and divorced…
Abeg forget that. That was in the olden days jare. I still say that he who wears the shoes knows where it pinches most. If you are not married, don't talk about marriage because you will not understand it.
So you belong to the school of thought that believes that if your marriage is not working, get out…
Yes o! I believe strongly in that. When a marriage is not working, things could go wrong. It can lead to so many things. It can lead to hypertension, it can lead to death. That is the truth. Why would you want to lose your life because you want to remain married?
If you are happy in your marriage, I wish you luck. If you are not happy in your marriage, get the hell out of it!
Are you going to condemn the whole male folk because of one bad experience?
One bad experience is not bad enough for me to condemn the whole male folk. I am not saying I will not get married again, I will try again if I find what I am looking for. All men are the same. It is just that some are slightly different. Remember, I said slightly.
Do you regret your marriage?
Do I? No.