Men Want A Piece Of Me......Mercy Johnson
Within the next few months, Mercy Johnson, one of Nollywood most popular faces, would be returning to the citadel of learning to get herself a professional degree in one of the universities abroad. Though she wouldn't disclose the university and the particular course she is going to read, the dark-skinned actress, who has travelled all over the world, seems to know what she wants from the industry that has given her fame within the last few years of her incursion.
Mercy Johnson revealed some of her fears and moves in the next few years to Klieglights.
"I'm about to go back to school, in some months time, I would be on the campus of a university outside Nigeria studying to earn a degree.
"I think I have put in so much into my work that I'm going to have to give myself another life outside this. So for now, I just want to go back to school. Of course, I won't be there permanently, I would be coming back to the country regularly after my school sessions or when the school is on break."
Isn't' this Okene, Kogi State indigene scared of being forgotten if she leaves the industry for a period of time given the many new faces of Nollywood?
"I'm prepared because you have to leave for someone else to come in, the whole fun isn't for just one person alone. The crown is open for everyone, you have to make your mark while you are there and leave the scene for others to grow but as soon as you are back, you are reckoned with again because your marks are like imprints that have remained in the industry."
Said to have been born into the family of an ex-naval officer in the early 1980's, Mercy, cut her teeth in the movie industry with her role in Kenneth Nnebue's movie, The Maid.
This curvy star actress, who occupies the fourth position in a family of seven children, has no doubt made her mark with over 60 films to her credit since her foray into the film industry in 2002.
"For me, Nollywood was a career and a choice I had to make, others wanted to be doctors, lawyers and engineers but I always wanted to be an actress. It's something I wanted to be part of the growing and creative process and thank God, I made it.
"I got into the industry as a result of my failure in JAMB exams. I felt I couldn't sit at home and my father wanted me to go to a computer school, which I did but after then, I decided it was time to go into acting. When I joined, the terrain wasn't an easy ground like many thought. A movie by a senior colleague actually spurred my resolve to make it in Nollywood," the leggy and curvy actress revealed.
Who is the senior colleague, one might just be prompted to ask?
"She is Genevieve (Nnaji). I have a cordial relationship with her and I see her as one of my motivators. We've been on the same set before and the experience is just wonderful and our relationship is just cordial. She is a good person, who is always ready to teach and work with you for your own betterment. She also offers encouragement in every way and she once bought me an expensive pair of shoes. She's a good person, female senior colleague and someone I admire," Mercy said glowingly of star actress, Genevieve.
It will be hitting the nail on the head to say that Mercy is sexy. Perhaps that is the fact behind her barring a lot of flesh. So what has it been like with men?
Mercy has a very quick reply: "You just know where to draw the line-some men stalk you. I can remember one who called himself a naval officer and said he would kill me if I didn't give him money or fell in love with him. Some men are mild and gentle, some are insulting but whichever way it goes, it makes you feel appreciated and good. The truth is that I have a lot of men wanting to have one thing or the other to do with me but I know where to draw the line."
So, who is the guy in her heart at the moment?
"No guy for now! Nothing really. I mean, I just wouldn't dabble into that for now. I just got out of a relationship and I just wouldn't want to talk about it but all I know is no guys for now. Of course, it would happen and you would see me at an event with the guy but not now!"
With these statements, one would definitely wonder if this lady is planning to settle down for marriage anytime soon. "Next Year!" was the quick answer Mercy gave.
Continuing, she said: "I want to start next year with my husband and that's if I don't do it earlier than that. There's no one in particular, it's just part of my thinking. Time waits for nobody and I don't want any guy now but when I have to, I'm going to make sure that I sit down and open my eyes. It doesn't have to be a courtship of four years or more, but I'm just going to open the year with it.
"I'm a lady and I have a lot of guys, who want me but I'm really not into guys for now. But I would cope with making a choice because some won't meet up to your taste, others won't know how to talk to you, some won't know how to pet or care for you, so you just keep dropping until you get the right person as a choice!"
Quite calculative yet humble and humorous, Mercy couldn't help giving much thanks and accolades to her naval officer father, who is responsible for the push that made her a force in Nollywood.
"My dad has been a great and major influence on my career. He gave and provided for me all the love and support to make me be where I am today. I still live with my parents and siblings and I have good rapport with them," she said.
Friendship in Nollywood has become something many actresses run away from-especially the popular ones-and this is because of the heartbreak it causes whenever they fall out. As such, what is her relationship with colleagues in the industry?
"I don't really have friends in the industry at least, none that I know about. I've only got colleagues and acquaintances. I still hang out with most of my friends from school because I'm more comfortable with them irrespective of the stardom. This is because friendship is more, it's precious, it could mar, make and kill one and I hold it in high esteem," she said deeply.
Mercy's prowess in interpreting sexy and romantic roles, which involves kissing passionately, has been a source of interest for movie buffs. How does the family respond to this? She takes a deep breath and answered: "I am from a very strict Christian family though my dad rarely watches movies, I give him some of the good ones to see. I'm not saying that the romantic thing is bad because it is still my job. Critics should be more concerned about my private life, which is affected when such criticisms are made. They may see my work and complain about it. I try not to exceed the boundaries but also be professional about it. Once it's cut, I stop. I am a very responsible girl. I draw the line between my work and pleasure.
"You see, I enjoy positive criticism, which I believe is geared to change something wrong about me but I completely ignore negative criticism," she said.
Several actresses have several takes on nudity but for this movie siren: "Nudity! No! I could only go a little sexy and show some curves, reveal a little but barring it all is just impossible. I mean forget it! Well, I could only go semi bare but not nude."
For a well-travelled young lady, who is doing well for herself in her career of choice, one would expect her to draw comparisons between Nollywood and other movie industries in Europe or America.
"Nollywood is a working success that definitely needs time to grow. However, we lack professionalism, standard equipments, sincerity, creativity and technicality. We honour mediocrity that is what people want to be, not what they should be. When discipline starts becoming the prominent thing in Nollywood, then, the industry would be better off. Discipline, I believe is the first step to a better Nollywood. Aside this, several other things are not in place and it all borders on mediocrity," this was Mercy's sincere opinion of the industry.
And does she have any regrets for being a star?