I REGRET SMOKING –BARBARA ODOH
Lots and lots of people still remember the hit movie,
Glamour Girls; especially the "give me my money" scene of Barbara Odoh. 13 years after, fans still recognise her steamy role. The mother of two is still every inch a glamour lady. Her sultry look and sexy carriage is still intact. Correspondent Kemi Yesufu spoke with her on her past, her new life and why she believes being sexy is not sinful.
How did this transformation come about, from glamour girl to evangelist?
The transformation is not by my power; the Bible says that it is not by power; it is not by might but by the spirit of God. So it is He who is willing, because God cannot impose Himself on you. In the first place, you can't question Him. But even at that, He does not impose Himself on you; He needs your consent to do certain things. Despite the fact that He already has a plan for you, He still needs you to work in partnership for those things to come to pass. It's just like a prophecy, we receive prophecies everyday but prophecies don't work on their own, it needs your involvement. In fact, the day you hear a prophecy that's when trouble starts. Because the enemies have heard, they obviously would want to abort the good thing God has spoken about or His will concerning you. This is where your effort comes in, you have to work and pray towards your prophecies, for it to come to pass.
How willing where you to accept God's will for your life?
I really wanted God's will for my life to come to pass. I therefore, did everything humanly possible for it come to pass… I am not perfect, I am still struggling but even at that, God has found me, He knows my willingness. He is the God that searches all hearts and He alone can turn our hearts the way He wants. But He still does not impose things on you; the only time you see God imposing things on you is if you are called. If you are carrying the message, there is no hiding place for you; He will fish you out.
What really happened to your acting career? Did you just walk away or gradually lost interest?
These questions again? If there is one question I run away from, it is this question. I cannot even explain; God's ways are not our ways. God is so mysterious. Until He finishes what He is doing, you cannot understand. He is the God that knows the end from the beginning. I found myself where I am today… I had plans, but sometimes the plans don't work the way you want. It's a huge responsibility when God chooses you because you don't know who you are, until certain things begin to happen in your life.
So, would you then say that you didn't know God while you where in the film industry?
I have always been a God conscious person. It was just that I did the things girls did. I did a lot of things but bearing in mind that there is God somewhere not just some other god, but the supernatural God.
When you started talking about God, a lot of people must have said sexy Barbara Odoh, what's she talking about?
My God is attractive, He makes Himself lovable, gives me gifts every second, everyday, that is why I fall in love with Him everyday. Anytime, I am not on the right track with God, something inside of me is troubled. I know there's this being that loves me, who wants to do the best for me without my asking.
Lots of Nigerian home video fans still love the movie Glamour Girls, some have tagged it one of the Nollywood classics. What is it about this movie that you think makes people remember it?
First of all, I give glory to God for Glamour Girls. Because the Bible says God orders the steps of the righteous, it wasn't a coincidence that I was involved in the movie. It was God's doing. It was my platform to fame; people are still crazy about Glamour Girls 13 years after. When people see me on the streets or wherever I go, they point at me saying that's 'Glamour Girl.' It is the work of God. Your hard work cannot be taken away but the bible says it is whom God shows mercy that receives mercy. And your delivery of a role of course makes a film remain in the hearts of the people. Glamour Girls was a good story, it was a story that brought awareness to the society. It was well scripted, well acted. And the acting was from the bottom of our hearts and not now that money motivates people. (Back then) we were doing something we loved to do.
Will you encourage any of your kids to go into acting?
There's nothing bad about acting. The only thing is that we all pray that our children should go to school. Whatever you choose to do, get a formal education, after your education you can do whatever makes you happy. Acting adds value to the society. If my daughter decides to sing and she decides that she wants to be the best. What is wrong with it?
Talking about music, what kind of music do you listen to?
I am a practical person. Life is practical. My religious belief as it where is a practical one. Christianity is a way of life. Worship is a way of life because that is what we owe our creator. I listen to any music that appeals to me as long as it doesn't have dirty language in it. I listen to things that add value to my emotional status, my soul, and my spirit, body. Our body needs to be ministered to, you must have your bath, you won't say because you are a Christian you will not take your bath, you must wear good clothes. The bible says the earth and its fullness belongs to me. So who is expected to wear good clothes? It is I. I listen to love songs. I am highly emotional, but pretty tough too. I'm beginning to understand why when I hear a love song, I cry. It's because I have a heart of love.
Is there anything about yourself that if you had the chance to change that you would?
If I had my way, I would have said, Lord I shouldn't have smoked in my life. I should not have done this or done that. But I thank God, I did all of these things, if not my ministry will not be complete. God made me go through all those things. I studied journalism but I am not preaching journalism to anybody today. I am preaching life's experience to people. The pain of life, the pain of a single mother, the pain of a girl that is with a guy who cajoled her but doesn't care about her. The pain of being loved by your father but yet another man outside tells you that your father's counsel is deceptive. You can't give what you don't have and passion is built out of pain. I can't stop feeling this way, the day I do, my ministry is dead and that means, I don't have a message for anybody.
It's good to hear you talk like this, but won't some people misconstrue it that Barbara Odoh is full of regret?
Regrets over what? That I am alive? That I have children? (Laughter) What is it that my mates have achieved that I have not done. Is it regret that I am looking this young when I am close to 40 years? My only regret would have been if Jesus did not die for me.
What are the things that make you happy?
I love music, I love to dance, I love to be happy, this is what nobody can take away from me. I have my mood swings as a human being but the moment I remember that Jesus loves me, I smile again. The death of Jesus on the cross (says) that you can live again, that you can love again.
So Who is Barbara Odoh loving ?
You, who are you loving? I love Jesus.
I have seen you at events where men stare at you. How do you resist temptation from men?
Why they no go look me? When they look at me, that means that God did his work on me well. Christianity does not mean you have to be a recluse or a sadist.