I used to hate my father – Jummai Joseph
In Nollywood today, soft-spoken actress, Jummai Joseph stands out as one of the most beautiful and successful actresses. A product of Kogi State University where she read Mass Communication, aside acting and producing, this second daughter of a serving police officer is also the C.E.O. of Kleen Image Pictures, a complete production outfit. She says: "I like an independent and hardworking man who is also very ambitious." Igala, Kogi State born Jummai who sauntered into Nollywood in 1995 as a minor role actress, now calls the shots in the front rows, not only as a star, but also as a fast growing producer. "I've always loved to be a producer. I also want to contribute my own quota towards the growth of Nollywood, that was one of the reasons behind my going into movie production. "I want to take movie productions in Nigeria to another level," divulged leggy Jummai, who hated her dad while growing up as a child: "For being too strict".
Have you abandoned acting for movie production?
I don't think so. I did not abandon acting for production. I only went into production with Shadows. Acting remains my first love.
In recent times, you've been lying low in terms of acting?
No! I've been working. Only that most of my new jobs are not yet out, they are still in the cooler. Also, as a repackaged actress, I'm trying to be selective with movie scripts and roles. Very soon, you will start seeing most of my movies.
Back to your life as a producer, what actually inspired it?
I've always loved to be a producer. From the first day that I came into Nollywood, I said to myself that I will work hard to be a producer. Even as a Mass Communication undergraduate then at Kogi State University, I took courses in production and directing. I want to be on my own; I don't want to work for anybody. It is also not advisable to depend on acting alone. It is good for one to have something doing aside acting. I also want to contribute to the growth of Nollywood by going into producing. As producers, we end up creating jobs for thousands of Nigerians. I want to take movies production in Nigeria to another level, that is why I'm involved.
What does it take to be a successful female producer in Nollywood?
Three things are involved in being a successful female producer. For me, I have a focus, a vision and a mission to be relevant and stay at the top in Nollywood as a producer. You must be hardworking, intelligent, disciplined and financially strong to be a successful female producer.
How do you source for your own funds as a female producer?
It's not been easy at all. But the bulk of my funds come from my people who believe in what I'm doing. My family bankrolled my first movie as a producer. I solicit for funds myself, I also sent out proposals to corporate entities. These are the avenues through which I source for funds.
Were your parents in support of you going into acting?
Yes, my parents supported me because they have always believed in me as their child.
Going down memory lane, which was your first movie in Nollywood?
I came in as a wakapass (minor) role actress in 1995 on the set of Opa Williams' chartbuster, "Onome". But "Blood Money" by O.J Productions was where I was given a good role to interpret. But "Oracle" by same O.J. Productions, brought me to limelight.
It was also during this period that you suddenly disappeared. What went wrong?
(Laughs heartily). I did not disappear. I only went back to school to get a degree in Mass Communication. Unknown to many people, I was shuttling between school and Nollywood. I finished in 2003.
Tell us about your family and growing up years?
I'm child number two from a family of eight. We are four at par. I'm from the Igala-speaking area of Kogi State. Mum is a successful trader, while dad is a police officer working and residing in Abuja.
How does it feel having a police officer as a father?
Well, it was tough for me initially as a growing up child. Dad was very strict then. I also thank God for him; he made me what I am today. He made me a better person. As a child growing up, I hated my dad because he was so strict. Then I thought he didn't like me because of his very, very strict nature. Aside his strict nature, my growing up was fun and lovely. I was born and raised here in Lagos. I'm a Libra; born on September 29, please don't ask for my age. I'm an adult.
At what age did you fall in love for the first time in your life?
Sorry, I can't discuss that with you. Remember, I'm also a journalist like you. So, I can't fall for your tricks and traps. I'm not going to entertain personal questions from you.
Have you ever been heartbroken before?
I told you I don't answer personal questions. You are dragging me too far.
As a pioneer actress, what is your assessment of Nollywood?
Nollywood started on a shaky foundation, but is now deeply rooted. Most cynics do not believe we will get to where we are today. The industry is fast growing. I've told several people to stop comparing us with Hollywood. It took them 100 years to get to where they are today. Nollywood now has a clear direction. We need encouragement from you the media, government and our society. Government and corporate bodies should come to our aid financially. We need assistance.
Aside acting and producing, what else are you into?
I do different kind of legitimate businesses. I'm also the C.E.O. of Kleen Image Pictures, a complete production outfit.
If you are to meet God today, what are the wishes you would ask from him?
First, I will ask God to make me the most successful actress-cum-producer in the whole world. I will also ask Him to make me a good mother and a good wife.
Which among your popular movies do you like sitting down to re-watch whenever time permits?
So many of them. Disguise, Shadows, Ogidan, Ale Ariwo, Camouflage, Blood Money, Oracle, Faces, Culprit and few others.
Aside kissing, can you act nude or make love in a movie?
Not possible. I can't.
If you eventually get married and your husband tells you to quit acting, would you?
My family first before any other thing. I won't die if I don't act again. Other things are there for me to go into as a housewife.