UCHE OGBODO INTERVIEW
Who introduced you to the movie industry?
My father. I have been doing drama since I was a kid. My father encouraged me. At the time, I had just come out of the secondary school; he came home one day and told me he had something I might be interested in. He told me he had a link to Nollywood. He told me he met someone who could introduce me to the industry. That was it. The next day my father got me registered in the guild and he paid my bills.
Your mother agreed to this as well?
Oh yes! Everybody in the house supported me. They knew I could act and they knew that acting was a passion for me. They knew I could make it.
You have been in the industry for four years; how has it been all these while?
It hasn't really been easy. There has been stress here and there. Anyway, so far so good; I don't think I have any reason to complain.
Did your father's influence in the industry get you a lead role in your first movie?
No. I wasn't really an instant hit. It was not as if I came on board and I played the lead role. I think I played one or two extras.
When did the big break come then?
It came less than a year after. I did a movie, In Another Bondage and I starred alongside Saint Obi and Bob Manuel. Since then, I can say I have been moving on and on, as God would have it. I don't have to audition for movies again; I stopped that like three years ago and I don't play extras any longer.
It was an audition that got me my first lead role. I always believe in hard work. I don't believe there is an easy way to anything. When you take an easy way to something, you will crumble. I believed I could work my way up there and show the world that I could do it.
Would you describe yourself as a 'sought after actresses'…
I can say that. There is really no time that I don't have jobs.
Like how many movies have you done since you joined Nollywood?
I would say I have done about 20 movies, if not more.
So, how much are you paid?
But you know I won't tell you. All I can say is that I earn more than I earned three years ago. I am comfortable with what I get. I won't tell you I earn one million naira or something like that when I know it is not true. I would rather not disclose what I earn than lie.
Even with your regular appearances, you are still not rated in the A class. Do you feel bad about that?
I am not okay where I am. I could be a star but I know I am not a superstar yet. But I know that in the future, I am going to be a super, superstar. That is where I am going.
People that started with me four years ago are not where I am today. I am working hard. God has been faithful. I believe so much in Him and I know I am moving forward.
How have you been able to cope with stardom?
I have been myself. I am not a fake person. I don't know how to do that. Being a star introduces you to so many things you were never used to do. You have to make people believe you can be an idol.
People do not understand why a star should walk on the streets. But I still walk on the streets. People harass me, people praise me and they shout my name. When I pass, kids follow me around. But I don't mind all these. I wave at them, I even stop and hug and kiss them. That is what I want. I don't want them to see me as somebody they can't come close to, no.
How come you are not in school?
I took a break. I was studying Mass Communication. But I needed a break because of my job. But I think I am ready to go back now.
You did a semi nude movie that attracted so much controversy…
I won't really call it a nude movie.
So how far did you go?
It was not a nude movie. I have done a couple of movies that people said I bared some flesh. There was this movie that I was on my panties, but they were not really panties. Just go and see the movie before you judge me. People judged me so much, even my senior colleagues. They said so many things.
Given the chance, will you do it again?
Yes, I think I will do it again.
But why did you play that role?
I want to be a professional. It is not because I want to show off my beautiful skin. It is because I want o do my job. I don't want to fail. I want to convince people that I can do my job no matter the challenge.
Maybe you went that far because you wanted popularity.
Popularity was not on my mind when I did that movie. What was on my mind was getting the best out of what I was doing. I wanted to be the best of all. I like being number one. I like being higher than whoever. I didn't do it because I wanted to gain fame.
How did your father take it?
He felt really bad.
Oh! But he was the one that introduced you to the industry…
I told him I was doing my job. Why did he introduce me into the industry? He didn't make me go there because he wanted to get me spoilt. But the industry is spoilt already. There are scandals everywhere. You cannot put an innocent girl in the industry and you expect the person to remain innocent. My father didn't want me to go and become spoilt. But he wanted me to achieve my aim in life. This is something I have been doing from my kindergarten years.
But my father felt really bad. He didn't like the fact that I kiss so much in the movies. When I came home, he wanted to hit me, for real. But I told him I was doing my job. I told him I didn't mean to hurt him. I told him I thought the director would do something about the script but he (the director), wouldn't hear of it. Because he was trained in the US, he wanted a Hollywood kind of thing. There was no way I could escape from it.
So you feel very comfortable kissing and doing love scenes in movies since they are all part of the job.
No, I don't really feel comfortable doing that. I would prefer a movie where I won't have to kiss all through. It is not fun, not all the time. The person you are kissing may not be your type. You could be acting with somebody who has mouth odour. Normally, you wouldn't want to kiss that kind of a person. But because you are a professional, because you are doing what you ought to do, then you just have to close your eyes and do it.
People watching might think you are having fun, but they don't know it is horrible.
Which guys would you rather kiss in movies?
There is no particular person I would rather kiss. I don't have a preference. I am just doing my job. I am a versatile actress. I can kiss an extra that I am acting with.
Did your guy feel bad when he saw the 'nude' movie?
It did not affect my relationship. My man is Westernised. He knows I am doing my job. He believes in me and he has so much faith in me.
My man is very comfortable with what I do. And since I love him, there are things I cannot do. It is not as if it is so much fun kissing or touching these guys in movies. It is my body. But because of the kind of job you are into, you have to do it. You have to give in your best so that people can commend you. As such, my man is okay with my job.
Lets' put a name to this your man.
His name is Cross.
Is he a Nigerian?
He is not really a Nigerian.
I don't think I would want to explain further please.
We hear he is based in Holland.
Who told you that? I know I didn't tell you. Anyway, he is in Holland.
Since he is so far away, how do you manage?
I see him when I want to see him.
So you can afford to fly out every weekend?
No. It is not every weekend. I don't want to see him every weekend. If I wanted to, I could; but he is busy and I am busy.
How often do you see him?
I can see him once in three months or two months.
Don't you feel lonely at times in the night?
He is with me every minute of the day. We speak almost every second. Even if I am cold at night, I feel he is beside me.
How do you cope with male admirers since your man is not in town?
They are around. Some of them can be very upsetting. They believe they can buy you in order to have sex with them. You can admire me, but if you don't have the qualities I like in a man, what will I be doing with you? I am not a loose girl. I don't follow men up and down. Men don't trip me. Their money do not trip me. I believe in the inner qualities of a man.
Since your relationship is a long distant one, do you trust him?
I trust him because he tells me the truth.
And you believe he is telling you the truth?
I believe him. He knows that I love him.
So, he is the only guy you sleep with?
I can stay the whole year without having sex. I am not a nymphomaniac. If I am badly in need of sex, I go to my man.
What is your aim in life?
I am aiming at Hollywood. I want to act alongside Angelina Jolie.
How do you cope with scandals?
Fortunately, scandals have not really been following me. You might not believe this, but I am not a bad person. I am very reserved. I don't like hanging out. If the press writes something bad about me, I don't think I will react to it. Such things don't bother me. I don't have time for that.
You like tattoos.
You have one in your arm. Do you have some in other places?
Yes, I have another one in a tiny place, somewhere I am sure you would not want to know.
You have moved to Lekki…
You have stepped up...
God has been faithful.
Did you move in there so that you would be called a 'Lagos big gal'?
No way! We are all big. God created us to be equal. I can live anywhere, even in Ajegunle. I am very down-to-earth.