‘NOLLYWOOD SHOULD CUT DOWN ON MOVIES PRODUCED’---EBUBE NWAGBO
Since her debut in Nollywood four years ago, Ebube Nwagbo has so far had everything going for her. Unlike many of her colleagues, Nwagbo got a prominent role in her first movie in the industry and since then her profile has been on the rise. The eldest in a family of six, Nwagbo, 24, grew up in Warri, Delta State. She attended Federal Polytechnic Oko, and later Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, both in Anambra State, where she got a degree in Mass Communication. She spoke with Justice Ilevbare about her career
Your rise in the industry is quite fast, what would you attribute this to? I think it's God and luck. I knew what I wanted. I was given the opportunity and I made good use of it. I worked very hard and that got me to where I am today.
Did you ever think you were going to get to this level soon?
I did not. I am surprised about the way it turned out. You know the industry is so large now and for one to still be there and make impact it's something else. I met so many people that started acting before me and I know where they are today. I remember the day I went for the auditioning, I met those who started acting before me but today they are still where they are and I wouldn't compare myself with them. But I believe if you know what you want and work hard for it, you will get it.
When actually did you start acting?
I started acting in 2003 while I was still in school.
Why acting and not something else?
I enjoy watching movies as a kid and this helped to shape my interest in school. I like most actors I see and one day I just said I should do it for the fun of it. But I ended up taking it as a career.
I have a friend who was in the movies and so when I made up my mind to start acting, I went up to him and asked him how to go about it. He later told me about an auditioning taking place somewhere. I went for the audition and got a very good role. That was how it all began in 2003.
What was the first movie you starred in?
The first movie I starred in was Arrested By Love.
How was it like acting for the very first time?
It wasn't funny at all. It was my first movie and I played a prominent role. It was challenging too. But it was interesting at the same time because I was acting alongside those I've heard about and never met. I was doing something extra-ordinary and had to be a very good girl. But with the help of my director and few friends who believed I could do it, even though I didn't believe in myself, it came out well.
How would you describe the role you played?
I played the role of a young, innocent born again christian. I played alongside Jim Iyke. He was a bad boy who fell in love with me and I told him to go get born again before we could do anything. So, he was arrested by my love. He became a changed person and his parents were really surprised that someone could actually change their son. We wanted to get married at the end but we couldn't because something happened between our parents in the past and that worked against our coming together. I liked the movie and I still cherish it.
Do you think this happens in real life?
It happens because I think no man would want a wild girl for a wife or a girlfriend. Every man should be attracted to a calm girl. You also find so many people getting born again in the process of chasing a girl and following her to the church. So, I would say it happens in real life.
What was it like acting alongside those stars you've always admired?
I felt it was a privilege and wanted to make use of the good opportunity very well. It's something I still can't forget.
How many movies have you starred in so far?
It's between 30 to 40. Some of the recent ones I've done are African Soldier (yet to be released), Cadet, Stronger Than Pain, Zenith of Evil, Red Card.
Which would you say is the most challenging?
Every movie comes with its own challenges. I say that all the time, but I still can't forget Arrested By Love because it was my first movie. You know, normally in the industry, you start from the scratch but I started with a prominent role which was not easy at all. I would say it was the most challenging.
Would you describe any as your best?
I don't have my best. But I love African Soldier because it was a movie I was doing that I felt it was the real me. I think I really put in my best in the movie.
What has acting brought you?
Acting has brought a whole lot of things to me-the good, the bad and the ugly. The good because the money is coming and it's okay but could be better, the fame, it opens doors and people love you. The bad side of it, is that you tend to live your life for people, you are no longer like the normal girl out there. The ugly side of it is that you don't have any secret to yourself anymore, whatever you are doing is for the public.
How do you manage your fans?
I have learnt to smile all the time even when I don't want to smile.
Have you ever experienced situation that you wished you were not an actress?
There was this particular day I was coming back from a foreign trip. I met some guys at the airport and one of them walked up to me and asked If I am Oge and I said no. I know very well the guy knows me but I didn't have time for too much talks. He took his time and went back to his friends and they told him that I am the one and when he came back he was saying all sorts of things. He started insulting me and I felt so bad that day. It wasn't funny and everyone was just staring at me.
Who are your role models?
Liz Benson and Joke Sylva in Nigerian film industry. Then outside Nigeria, I've always liked Julia Roberts. I like the personality and acting of Liz Benson. Even now that people don't see her much on screen they still talk about her. That is who I want to be like. Then for Joke Sylva, I like her carriage and acting too.
If you have opportunity to change anything in Nollywood what would it be?
That there should be a limit to the number of movies produced. They should actually cut it down. But, I think the industry is growing by the day and I am impressed. Many people have come to accept and identify with what we are doing.
What is your next major work?
I would be working on a couple of movies but no titles yet.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a down to earth person. I am very jovial and fun loving.
How do you relax?
My work is really tedious but when I have the time, I hang out with my friends. I love watching movies so I visit the cinema.
If you are not acting how is your typical day like?
I love sleeping and could sleep the whole day. I read too because I love reading.
Is there anything you hate about yourself?
I think I am too soft. I want to be harder than what I am now. When you are too soft, people take you for granted and when you are too hard, they run from you so I want to be in between.
What challenges did you encounter when you started?
The first challenge I went through was during my auditioning because I had to go to Onitsha, Anambra State. Many people didn't believe that I could make it because of my background but I had to break that jinx. It took a lot of hard work and commitment to overcome this. So, my major challenge then was that no one believed in me but I thank God that I was able to scale through.
What else in life are you passionate about?
I like watching movies a lot because it was from movies I developed the interest to act. I like my phone so much. I also love listening to music.
Apart from acting what else are you into?
Once in a while, I model and sing but for commercial purpose. It's not like I have an album but someone featured me in his music because of my face. But what I prefer is stage performance.
Is sexual harassment a myth or reality?
I have heard about it but never experienced it. Even if you have to sleep with every Tom, Dick and Harry and you are not good, you won't get roles but when you are good and they know this and you refuse to sleep with them and they know you have the qualities they are looking for, they will definitely come for you. I don't believe in sexual harassment. If you are hardworking and have what it takes, you will get to the top.
Are you married?
No. But hope to very soon. God will have the final say.
Is your man in the industry?
I don't want to say whether or not he is in the industry. But all I can say, is that he is somewhere around.
What do you look for in an ideal man?
First and foremost, he has to respect me and has to understand what I do because if he doesn't there are likely to be problems. He has to be God fearing too. Some people talk about love but love without respect is something else.
Do you believe in love?
That word love is really big. Like I said, the most important thing is respect forget about love.
Have you had a bitter experience?
I had a very terrible experience and it's something I don't want to talk about because it's personal. Love might exist in some other people's home but to an extent, I don't think it exist.
What do you like about celebrity?
People are always looking out for you. You are like a role model to many people out there and I like being looked up to.
Have you ever been insulted for acting a bad role?
It happened after I acted my second movie Midnight Love. There was a particular love scene I did that people were not comfortable about. But I tell them that it's just movie and that it's make believe. It made me feel bad then because I was new and was getting to understand the industry but if it's now I can handle it.
What's your advice to those aspiring to be like you?
That they should be very careful and patient. They have to be hardworking and believe in themselves to succeed. If you know what it takes to be a good actor, just be patient and pray to God, you will definitely make it.