Hips don't lie, check me out-Mercy Johnson
Mercy Johnson the second runner-up at recently adjudged sexiest female in Nolly wood was our guest on a day she chose to pick up her prize, a 32'' LCD. Clad in a tight fitting black skirt, a white top and a matching D& G hand bag, she literally brought activities in the company to a halt.
With smiles powerful enough to awaken even a blind man and carriage good enough to steal the soul of even the devil himself, Mercy really showed that her choice by Nigerians as the third sexiest woman in Nollywood was no fluke.
Apart from sharing an interesting moment with the Saturday Vanguard team, the sultry lady from Kogi State spoke to us. We also bring for your delight, some of the memorable photographs as captured by the sharp lenses of our cameras. Enjoy;
You were not present on the D day, what happened?
I traveled to Europe for a movie cum close meeting with my fans for two months. I travelled around nine countries which include Germany, Belgium, Greece, Italy, France, Spain and others.
Who was in charge of that?
Isaac... , he's been there for about eight years, so he's well known there. It was an opportunity to get closer to my fans, sign autographs for them and answer questions that have been bothering them.
How was this all organised?
The person in charge has a website where fans vote for the artiste they want to meet. So if you are on high demand, he'll organise for you to meet with them.
Which people did the voting?
Africans voted, but the whites voted more. Blacks who were married to white people brought their partners, it was fun all the way. Sometimes I hear them say 'Mercy Johnson' correct girl and things like that.
On arrival, how were you received?
Arrival was great, a lot of fans came to receive us and it was covered by a TV station in Berlin owned by a Nigerian. We were taken to various places to hang out and take some drinks. It was grand and awesome.
What was the most memorable thing you experienced over there?
In Nigeria so many things are overlooked but abroad I found out that people appreciate celebrities more. At a point I started crying because of the kind of reception we got, some fans even broke into tears.
At that point I said to myself that I'm never going to do anything illegal and I'll do my job better than ever. I would be good because I never want to disappoint all these people who appreciate me so much. I can tell you the experience was great and awesome.
What did you benefit from that trip?
Lots of things because the organiser is a great man. I say this because he didn't just bring us there to have fun alone, he also put together some thing like a workshop for us to learn. We also had to do movie with one of their Berlin artistes, Mr Haggin who is popular there.
The man was surprised that we were able to pick our lines that same day because he's had the script for about a month. It was also awesome because over there, their artistes usually go to artiste school which I didn't attend. So it was more like exchanging ideas and personally I learnt something new
What do they think about Nollywood?
They think it's got wide entertainment opportunity, they think we've not even started and we are doing so well. They see Nollywood as a system that's been able to compete with their foreign counterparts despite sophisticated machines and manpower they use over there. In fact, they see Nollywood as a working progress.
What are those things you noticed they do perfectly well which we've not even started doing here?
Costuming. They costume base on your colour and environment. In Nollywood, it's difficult to see two artiste wear white upon white, they'll complain about lighting. But they think it is a minute thing to think of.
They seem to have more time for production than we do. In Nollywood, a particular person can do 10 movies in a month and when they'll come out not very interesting. No matter how awesome you may have done it, you'll find out that you could have done better if you had enough time to rest.
How do you think your fans should address you?
Just Mercy. A lot of them say something like 'hips don't lie.'
What's the meaning of that?
They say the hip is beautiful, loud and nice.
And what do you think?
I'm just normal and gifted like every other person, nothing special.
When did you notice this hip thing?
Three years ago. That was when people started shouting Wao! See her hip and stomach. Honestly, before then, I didn't see it as anything, it didn't count and I carry myself like any other normal person.
Who discovered you into Nollywood?
I was discovered by Kenneth Nnebue of NEK Video link.
What did you do for NEK?
I starred in one of his movies and when that movie came out it was an instant hit for me.
Some of your fans argue that you overact in movies.
Yes I agree. I don't frown at those arguments because the best way for me to learn is when they pick out the things I'm not doing well. After that, I'll go back and look at my mistakes and correct them.
Do you kiss in movies?
Yes, I do. I feel terrible when I watch my movies and see where I'm supposed to kiss and I didn't do it well. For me, acting is a flare, I wasn't educated to act. I don't like to fool my fans because I am being cautious of whom I'm kissing in movies. It's all about the job and it doesn't matter who I kiss.
What matters is that I do my job very well.
Do you have any feeling when you kiss in movies?
No, none at all. No arousal, no feeling, whatever. I just do it and move on to the next line.
What is it that attracts people to you?
Just the personality.
How do you treat them?
I welcome them, but I have a problem with people who want to treat me less than I am or try to take advantage of me. I love to appreciate myself and my job. So when I come across people who don't appreciate me, who would rather say only the bad side of me, I don't take it lightly with them. There is a Yoruba saying, that when you beat a child with one hand and hug him with the other hand, it makes him feel that he's loved. I love to be treated right like every normal person would love to.
Which of your movies was more challenging?
Kill The Bride.
Did you kill any bride?
No, I was the bride and Mike Ezuruonye killed me.
What challenges do you see in taking roles?
In Nollywood these days, there isn't much challenge because you tend to take up the same roles in up to three-four movies which have the same story line. Kill the bride was most challenging because it was my second movie. The first one was bigger than me as a person because I never thought I could do it, the tears, romance was unbelievably good.
How do you take it when fans embarrass you?
Despite their excesses, I still try to accommodate them because without them, there will be no me. I mean if 60 per cent of my fans be against me, I'm out of the market.
Have you had any embarrassing moment?
Yes, sometime ago I went to the airport to pick my ticket to travel to Europe and one of my fans just ran to me shouting my name. He then asked if he could give me a hug, I looked at him and said ok. He just hugged me, kissed my lips and started laughing. At that point, I didn't know what to do so I started laughing too.
Why did you laugh?
It was unexpected and there was nothing else I could do.
What kind of person is Mercy at home?
She is just like any other girl, I do my house chores and when I'm not busy in the house, I stay in my room watching my movies and picking out all the flaws so that I can correct them when next I have to take up such roles.
What kind of relationship do you have with your friends?
I still maintain a very good relationship with my friends. Those I call my friends are the people who were with me when I was a nobody so I try as much as I can to keep them.
How about your boyfriend?
We broke up.
Why did he break up with such a lovely girl like you?
I don't know, but I just think that it didn't work. The fact that I'm an actress made my case bad, but then it could have happened to any other person.
Where do you stay?
My father insisted that I stay with him or I stop acting.
When you became a star, how did your father take it?
Well, he's remained the biggest encouragement I ever got to be an actress.