I Can’t Pose Nude
Anita Hogan, actress and star of the Gulder Ultimate Search, denies being the one in the pornographic photographs currently circulating around town
Q: After the Gulder Ultimate Search competition, what have you been doing?
A: I will say I've been chilling out. I have been on the quiet side. I have been taking things very easy. I have been thinking of getting married.
Q: To who?
A: A man. I am already engaged. I've been taking things easy since I met the guy. So, I needed to withdraw a little from the entertainment scene.
Q: Did the Gulder Ultimate Search help to launch you into the acting world?
A: No. I've always been an actress. In fact, I've been in the industry for four years now. When I came into the industry, the Gulder Ultimate Search stuff had not started. I have done a couple of movies, both English and Yoruba. I did Mafikangbakan, Pastor Dehinde and a couple of other interesting ones. Apart from my home video distribution business, I am a full-time actress.
Q: What were the challenges you faced shooting the movie, Artistos and Runs?
A: I did those movies while I was still doing my youth service. That was a long time ago. I was very excited and happy then, so there were no challenges. I got the roles through audition, unlike now, when producers will just call you and say, 'let's see if you can fit into this role.'
Q: Not even sexual harassment?
A: No. What I will say is emi o kii wo oju Uche ( I don't look at faces). If anybody has approached me within the industry, it is because he likes me and wants to marry me. I won't say nobody has toasted me because I'm a woman and I'm not too bad looking. So it's normal that a man sees a woman and likes her. A couple of people have expressed interest in me, but it's all in the level of 'I love you, let's get married.' I won't lie to you, they were genuine proposals. I know this because after I refused a guy's proposal, he proposed to another lady and married her. I've not been harassed and I think it's because I don't look at people's faces. I just come, do my thing and go. That's why people say I'm too strict. Even in the Gulder Ultimate Search, people said I was too strong-headed.
Q: So you're a snub?
A: I'm not a snub. I am just one person that knows what I want. Though some people find this annoying at times, I just have to go on with my life. I stand my grounds and tell myself that I am an artiste and this is what I want to do. So, I'm not a snub and I will never be one.
Q: Of all the movies you've done, which one do you find quite challenging?
A: I'll say it is Ma fi'kan gba'kan, which is a Yoruba movie. Actually, there's is a cartoon entitled Chika and the Warrior, where I played the lead role and I was worried when I learnt it was going to be a cartoon because I had not seen any animated character movie before in Nigeria and I just read my lines. But the film came out so real and interesting that I am really proud of myself about it.
Q: Do you select your roles?
A: I take any role, apart from the fact that I cannot take a role that does not fit me physically or those that are ridiculous.
Q: Even if the price is good?
A: Well, the best I can do is to tell you that this role doesn't fit Anita Hogan. You should give me a role that will fit me very well. No matter the price, I don't think I can do it because I have dignity.
Q: During the Gulder Ultimate Show, did you people have sex with one another?
A: Obudu was not conducive for such things. Even one of the guys, after staying for one week, called his doctor and said 'I've not been having the urge, am I still normal?' The reason for this was that the weather was terrible, the conditions were terrible. We were living like semi-animals. We were wearing the same dresses everyday. We only had two shirts, two trousers, sweater and thermo jacket. You see, our feelings died. I can even tell you confidentially that there is not even a place for you to do that. Besides, deep down in our minds, we were developing hatred for each other because of the prize. Nobody wants to be carried away and lose the target. I can tell you it didn't happen because you can't go anywhere without anybody seeing you. And we were restricted within a particular place because the place was a jungle. So if you go anywhere, anything can happen to you. If you move beyond the restricted area, you can be attacked by animals. Though discipline was part of our undertakings with the organisers, you can't imagine that we were even drinking from the rock!
Q: But after the show, did you people still call or see one another?
A: You know everybody had become a superstar after the show. The show actually brought us together as brothers and sisters. I already had a relationship before I went there, but it was not too serious. It was just a relationship that I was nurturing. And I'm somebody that doesn't mix business with pleasure. I have had all those feelings in the university and it ended there. Now, it's time for me to work and carve a future for myself. I don't think any of us has had relationships thereafter.
Q: What is your interest in music?
A: Well, I used to sing in the church choir and I play the guitar. I don't do it professionally but just for the fun of it. I'm also into photo modelling. I have sent a couple of pictures out and I have not received any reply so far. Maybe I have not done enough job on it.
Q: Have you considered posing nude in any of your photo collections, maybe that will speed up the processs?
A: No. Not in Nigeria.
Q: But nude pictures attract more audience and you know, we live in a corrupt society?
A: No. I don't believe that, because I see a lot of pictures, a lot of bill boards and there is no sign of nudity.
Q: I'm talking about magazines?
A: Which magazine, which one?
Q: A local playboy, for example?
A: We don't have a local playboy O!
Q: Who says somebody cannot come up with one?
A: I have never considered that anyway. I won't do it because I am not that good-looking and then... Maybe if I am that sexy, I can say okay, I am very sexy, I have to do this but......
Q: Do you agree that if anybody poses nude, the person becomes an instant sex symbol?
A: I don't believe you because, let me tell you, I read a lot of magazines from abroad. Even if the person is not fine, they will use the computer to do justice to the person. You know, they will use computer graphics to bring out a particular perception because that's nice for you. People will believe that for you to be bold, there must be some kind of perception you want to achieve in that particular....even if you don't, the computer will help you fix it and your boobs will be 20 inches big.
Q: So if somebody comes now and wants to use the computers to fix it for you, would you agree?
A: No. There's actually no reason for me to do that because, emm... I don't really know how to say it. Because I'm not a small girl.
Q: Is it a question of morality?
A: No. Morality is a personal issue to me, because I have passed through a stage in life and I have come to realise that the issue of morality as regards God, is a personal issue. That's why, when people were saying Da Vinci Code, I have read the book, I have the movie. It did not change my belief in Christ, but it doesn't prevent me from exploring and getting to be challenged. I have people challenging my belief, you know. If not, what's the essence? Even God loves changes, that is why he created women. If not, he would have just created man to be taking care of the garden alone.
Q: So you won't pose nude for any amount?
A: I won't pose nude for any amount.
Q: Do your parents stay in Lagos?
A: My father was a military officer, so we were jumping around (laughs). We were shuttling between Lagos and Uyo, but he's dead now.
Q: How supportive were your parents to your trade?
A: My parents were very supportive. My dad, before he died, was very supportive. If I tell him I am broke, he would say 'come' and he will give me his pension of three months. That was how they were being paid then. He was a bit sceptical about my going into the industry because he was worried that I would never be accepted by the society. He kept on telling me about artistes in the past and how people underrated them. I was happy that along the line, he saw some of the things I did before he died. He saw the Gulder Ultimate Search and some movies and more people knew him in our village because of me.
Q: Do you smoke or drink?
A: Well, I drink Gulder beer (laughs). I will say I started after the Gulder Ultimate Search. I drink it responsibly. Maybe, when I'm just chilling out with my friend. I am not a habitual smoker. I am not someone that stays at home and starts smoking cigarrette. Maybe on set, at times.
Q: Who is your kind of man?
A: I like a nice man, a man that is very supportive and faithful. One thing I hate in this life is unfaithfulness. I come from a broken home, so I would rather stay a single woman than going into a marriage knowing that I am not in love or I don't believe in it. I want to be a happy person and I want somebody that understands what happiness is and join me in that line. He must not be the richest or the best, but a happy family.
Q: How old are you?
A: I was born on 28 May, 1975 in Lagos. I had my primary and secondary education in Lagos. I attended Moremi Nursery and Primary School, while my secondary school was Command Secondary School in Ipaja. I also attended the University of Uyo, and University of Lagos for my Masters degree. I am sure you guys are aware of some pictures of myself going around.
Q: No, we are not. Can you tell us more about them?
A: I know you guys are lying. Well, some people got some funny pictures of me in nudity and they wanted to get money from me. I said sorry, I don't have anything to offer, you know. So, maybe they did it to know the extent of the truthfulness of the pictures. Maybe if I had yielded, then an iota of truth would be in it. But I said look, there's no truth in whatever they are saying. So, when they saw that I did not yield, they started spreading the pictures round media houses.
Q: Have you seen any of the pictures?
A: Ah ah, yes.
Q: What do they look like?
A: Me. They look like me (laughs). They look like me in a very incriminating manner.
Q: Are they hard copies or internet printout?
A: I don't know. I don't know the source, but like I said, the person that was responsible for the prank eventually came to me, but it was like, I can't do anything. I don't know.That's is why I said, sometimes as an artiste, you know, some people will just see you and want to hurt you. And that was what the person said. He said he did not like my guts. The same guy now went round newspaper houses, distributing the pictures.