My heart has been broken only once –Nollywood star, Rita Dominic
Pretty, sexy and multi-talented actress, Rita Dominic was lured into Nollywood by top actor- cum-comedian, Basorge Tariah, in 1998, on the set of My Guy.
Unarguably, one of the busiest top actresses in Nollywood today, Rita, who is also a Theatre Arts graduate from the University of Port Harcourt, divulged that she had sizzled and sparkled in close to 100 movies. "But my most challenging movie in recent times, remains, "Desperate Millionaires". In this soon-to-be-released movie, I had live maggots crawling all over my body…"
The very emotional and romantic star of "Playboy" who is also the last child in her family of three girls and one boy said she misses her late mum greatly. "How I wish she is alive today to see my success story. I miss her much."
Reserved and shy Rita also talked exclusively on other issues, especially her dear constituency, Nollywood.
You look prettier and younger. What is the secret?
Thanks! I don't know if I have a secret. It is actually amazing because I'm always on sets recording and hardly have time to rest
How were you able to escape the one-year ban placed on some of your A-list colleagues by movie marketers last year?
(Laughs) Sincerely speaking, I had absolutely no idea. I don't know how God did it for me. I can't say. Also, I was not even in the country when it happened. I came back and heard about it. I was shocked when I heard about it.
What would you have done if your name were listed among the banned stars?
I would have wondered what I did wrong to warrant my being banned. I would have also wondered what went wrong. I would have taken the bull by the horns if it had happened to me and do something else. Maybe, go back to London and continue my job there.
As a top actress, are you in support of the ban or not?
Hmmh! How do you want me to answer that question? In fact, no comment.
Are you afraid to speak your mind?
No, I'm not afraid. I don't want to comment on it now. I will speak at the appropriate time.
What are you doing presently?
Presently, I'm very busy recording movies. It is what I like doing anyway. I'm also coming out with a very big project very soon. Not an NGO, but something that will shake the Nigerian showbiz scene. Let me not say much on it till I'm ready to explode.
Like how many movies have you starred in this year?
(Thinks) Like how many have I done this year? Maybe, like eight. I just left the set of Desperate Millionaires, by A.2.Z Productions. In recent times, it was one of my most challenging movies. You won't believe it I acted with live maggots all over my body. I nearly fainted on location during those horrible scenes with those maggots.
What would you say is the secret of your meteoric rise in Nollywood? How did you do it?
Sincerely speaking, I have paid my dues; my first movie was done in '98. I don't consider that period till now a short period of time. My Guy was my first movie courtesy of Basorge Tariah.
As an up and coming actress then, what were the major difficulties you encountered?
Hmmh! My major difficulty then was breaking into the mainstream, because I was one leg in, one leg out in Nollywood. I was not really into it. Sincerely speaking, nobody harassed or intimidated me sexually then and even now. I came with a focused mind. Nobody ever approached. And if anybody had dared me, I would not have taken it lightly with that person. I don't take nonsense from people.
Now that you are at the top of your career. How does it feel?
It's interesting, especially when you know where you were coming from. I started acting and singing when I was a kid. But I don't think I'm even at the top of my career yet. I'm still working hard everyday to remain at the top.
Did you ever envisage that you would get this far in Nollywood so soon?
No! For me, it happened like a dream. After My Guy in '98, I relocated to London and came back in 2003 for holiday that was just for two weeks. I had the intentions of going back to my work in London, but a casual visit to Chico Ejiro's office changed the whole thing. And since then, I have not gone back to my work. The industry arrested me after doing that movie entitled LOVE YOU FOREVER, for Chico Ejiro. I finally decided to stay when most of my colleagues and fans started telling me not to go back to London
As a child growing up, was acting what you dreamt of doing for a living?
Yeah! My parents saw this trait in me and supported me from the outset. As a kid, my family and pals always gathered to watch me dance or sing. My mom also bought me lmany books on acting and singing then. I went to many kiddie's programmes then. My parents are proud of me and actually supported my choice of career.
In Nollywood today, the name Rita Dominic is synonymous with romantic roles. Why is it so?
Are you serious! I don't know how it started (Laughs). Are you really sure of what you are saying? Maybe, they feel I'm very romantic.
Are you really romantic?
(Chuckles) Yeah, I'm romantic, but not stupidly. I'm also emotional.
Can love make you cry?
Who doesn't cry for love? The thing is for you to know how to control your emotions.
Like how many times have Nigerian men broken your heart in your quest for love?
Just once. And when it happened then I felt my whole life was going to crumble. But I feel very funny when I look at the whole thing today.
Talking about Nollywood movies, like how many have you starred in since your arrival in '98?
I've lost count, but I know it is close to 100.
Does that mean you feature in every script that comes your way?
No! I must see the full script before I go on set. I can only go on set when I'm down with the storyline. I have also turned down quite a number of scripts for not conforming to standards
We would like to know more about you and your background?
No problem, anybody that wants to know about my age should visit my website. I grew up in different places like Kwara State, Aba, Port Harcourt, Owerri and London. I'm from Aboh Mbaise, Imo State. Mom is deceased She died in 2001. Dad lives in London. And as the last child, mom's death was and still painful to me. We are just four, one boy and three girls.
As the baby of the house, were you spoilt and over-pampered?
I was not spoilt or over-pampered. We were raised in the strict Catholic ways and background.
Why are you still single despite your fame and fortunes? Doesn't that bother you?
Hmmh! I don't know.
Are Nigerian men scared of you?
I don't know!
The title of one of your numerous flicks that I have seen was 'Guy On The Line'. Is any guy on the line for you right now?
(General laughter). Let's say I'm in a relationship.
Do you see this relationship leading to marriage?
I don't know. And please, I don't want to talk about this aspect of my life in the papers.
The fact that you are still single, does it bother you?
Does it? No, it does not bother me. I'm of the view that when the right time comes things will be stable.
Now that you are not yet married, what kind of husband will appeal to you when the time comes?
I want a man like me as a husband. I like a man that has much respect for family values. My man should also know when to draw the line between playing hard and working hard. A man with a good dress sense also appeals to me.
So, in essence, you are still searching for a man with all these qualities?
I don't know.
We would like you to describe yourself for us. Who is Rita Dominic?
Rita is just herself. A nice girl, fun loving, and a simple girl who was brought up in a Catholic home…she loves and believes in God. Would like to touch people's lives in positive ways.
What are your passions and phobia?
I'm not down much with pets. My biggest passion is for my job. I have phobia for things like (thinks) for people back-biting me…
As a popular and pretty actress, how do you cope with overtures from men?
Hmmh! Iam usually friendly, but I tell them off immediately I discover it is beginning to take a new dimension. Another thing I don't tolerate is giving out my numbers or accepting to go for a dinner or lunch with my male admirers.
What do you like most about being famous?
Stardom? What I like about it? Do I really like anything about being famous? It's full of ups and downs. As a star you don't have a private life, you live your life for the public. Stardom denies you the opportunity of moving and doing things freely like every other person.
Which among your numerous movies appeals to you most?
It is a movie entitled All My Life, with Omotola. It was a really moving and emotional film where I poured my heart out like never before.
Let me take you back a bit. Your celebrated romance with handsome movie director, Aquila Njamah eventually crashed when many thought the two of you were altar-bound. What went wrong?
Sorry, I don't want to talk about it in the papers.
Did you feel bad when the affair caved in?
For goodness sake, we are still very good pals. He has my back and I also have his.
Any possibility of rekindling the love?
I don't know. Let us leave this issue alone for now, please.
In Nollywood today, who would you say is your most respected actress?
They are two Joke Silva and Liz Benson. I also admire and respect Elder Steve Rhodes and Olu Jacobs much.
And if given the chance, who among the Hollywood stars would you love to act alongside with?
Many of them. Nicole Kidman, Anthony Hopkins, Angelina Jolie and finally Robert De Niro. I love these stars much. I'm very positive about acting with them all or few of them someday.
You like wearing weird afro-hairstyles always. Any reasons?
No special reasons. I like it so because it suits me. But I also wear other hairstyles.
What do you miss most about your late mom?
(Looks sober) Aah! The fact that she was not there to share in my success and joy. She was among those that started it all. But I'm so sure she must be proud of me in her peaceful grave.
Most of your colleagues said that you are cocky, pompous and arrogant? Are you?
Many people mistake my being reserved for something else. I'm a very reserved person, so I don't know where they get all these from. I'm not cocky or arrogant.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind when you finally quit the stage?
(Thinks) Very simple. I want to be remembered as that lovely and fantastic actress that touched many lives positively with her roles in movies.
Aside acting, do you do other things?
Yes, but not much. I do some bit of social work based on my training abroad. My project, it is coming out very soon.
Any plans of quitting acting someday?
Well, someday, but not now. But acting is part of me; remember I read Theatre Arts from UniPort. The last thing I will do is to disappoint my fans in any of my movies. They are the reason I'm in showbiz today.
If you were to meet God, what one major wish would you ask from Him?
Fine. To put me in a position where I can always help the underprivileged in our society without difficulties.
Why did you drop your real surname, Nwaturuocha for Dominic?
I did not drop Nwatururocha. It was dropped because many people, who were not Igbo, could not pronounce it. Besides, it was too long. So, we all agreed and opted for Dominic, which is my dad's name.
You must have taken some bold steps in life today. What would you say is the boldest step you have taken in your youthful life?
Deciding to abandon my job in London and stay back in Nollywood remains my boldest step in life today. That decision was not easy for me to take. It was a positive step, which I also never regretted till date.