I Thought My First Love Would Lead To Marriage...Kate Henshaw-Nuttal
It is difficult to stop talking about Kate Henshaw-Nuttal. Quite a lot of positive things have happened to her since she left Doctor's Quarter. She has travelled to the U.S. to shoot a movie and is back to the nation. Kate as enough wits, charm and beauty to arrest anyone, with a new attitude and looks, while it takes some people going totally nude or topless to grab attenan. That is why SAMUEL OLATUNJI went after her again for this eye-revealing encounter. Excerpts:
What was it like being on location in America?
It was a new experience, there were new equipment and people were lot more serious with their work and everybody knew what they were doing. I didn't feel any new challenge, though it was a totally new role for me. And I had a good director in Lancelot Imasuen.
Why were you chosen out of the many actors in Nigeria?
I don't know. Actually, last year when we went to America with late First Lady, Mrs. Stella Obasanjo, we met the producer, Adeniyi Bamiro, and he had wanted to produced it then, but he was told we had to get a work permit because we didn't reside there. Actually, I was on location here in Nigeria this year when I was called and he had actually gotten someone else for the role but Lancelot insisted it was me he wanted and that was it.
Tell us about your role.
My role is that of an adulterous wife, she is not real to her husband, she tells a lot of lies and is very dubious. My character is married to a guy called Ralph, played by Zack Orji. She is an all-bad woman.
What do you think Nollywood needs to meet up with international standards?
Equipment! We saw so many equipment and Lancelot was always calling my attention whenever he saw new equipment.
We heard you were well paid
I won't complain.
Why didn't you come home with others when they did?
I went over to London for my holiday. My husband was already in London waiting for me, while I was in America shooting.
How does it feel every time you leave your husband for location?
It is my work; that is the kind of work we do and your partner has to understand. Our work involves a lot of travelling and we cannot be in one location all the time. My husband understands and he has adapted to the fact that I am an actress.
You've been on the scene for a very long time, what has been keeping you there?
You make me look old with the word 'long'. I've just being keeping my head down and be as professional as I can be. And I'm also praying God to keep me there. It is not easy though; I know a lot of colleagues that we started together and most of them are not there anymore. It is really hard in an industry where new talents come up every day.
What do you do others don't?
I don't know.
What have been responsible for the sudden disappearance of stars?
In the industry, it is easy to get up there with the press hailing you and if you let it get into your head, you won't last. I've seen people come and gone.
When you started out as an actress, did you think you'll ever get this 'big'?
No, not at all. Like I've said in interviews in the past, I did not wake up to say I'm going to be an actress; I was just around Klink Studio and I saw advert for an audition, which I went for and that was the beginning for me. I believe this is about talent and it is whether you learn it or have it.
Did you think you'd become a household name?
No. When the film even came out, I didn't know.
Have you been harassed sexually?
Never, and that is why I'm still here. If you get to the top through your hard work, of course, you will stay there. I was never harassed. What is wrong with most people is that they don't want to have the patience to be a star and sooner or later it will backfire.
So, none of the guys in Nollywood have been bold enough to ask you out?
I dare the person to speak up.
Are they blind or they are just simply cowards?
I don't know.
In the game of love, did you get your fingers burnt and how often did it happen?
I don't know how often, but I still remember my first love; I thought we were going to marry, but it didn't work out. That was my first year in university. Of course, most people find true love the first time, but for some people, they have to go through the bad ones before they finally find a guy who loves them for what they are.
How old were you then?
I was 17 years old.
At 17, what and what did you give to make the relationship work?
I did not have much to give, because I didn't have anything then; it was just my heart that I had to give and I did give it.
And did he shatter the heart?
No, we just grew apart. I was in Calabar before I came over to school of medical laboratory in Lagos later, and by the time he came over, we had already grew apart. Mind you, there was no mobile phone then. So, it was just a question of time and distance.
You said the only thing you had to give was your heart. Didn't you give your body as well?
That is left for you to find out and for me to know.
But there is no way I'm going to find out except you tell me.
I'm not going to tell you. Come on, I'm going to keep something to myself.
Maybe if you had given your body it would have worked out.
You don't necessarily have to, although you do sometimes, but that is not the criterion.
How many frogs did you kiss before getting your prince?
Uncountable, really, I can't remember.
Do you think love is fair to women in this part of the world?
No, it isn't. I think the woman is on the receiving end; you have to trust the guy for who he says he is and what he says. I think here it is more of the woman maintaining the relationship than the man. Here, if you are in a relationship for a long time, people look at you as a failure and start thinking it is the woman's fault.
How have you been enjoying marriage?
You can see I'm enjoying marriage.
What have you been doing to keep your marriage, especially to a foreigner?
You people and this foreigner thing. Is a foreigner not a human being? What I've been doing basically is that my husband and I talk. We talk about everything and it breeds understanding. I'm not saying we don't have disagreement or quarrels, but when you talk you'll be able to know what to do. But if you don't talk, everyone is left to think whatever he wants.
Doesn't he complain about your work?
He does. When we first got married it was okay, but it got to him. For instance, I got back February this year and I went straight to Asaba to shoot three jobs and I was there for a month, I only stayed home for two days and I travelled again. After a while, he complained and I had to adjust so that my home front will not suffer.
What would you give to keep your home?
When are we going to see you with a protruding tummy?
God is faithful.
Is it God or you?
It is me definitely.
Has your husband had reason to doubt your faithfulness?
No. When my husband watches most of the films I played love scene, he just makes fun and say "give me their numbers, I want to speak with them" and he asks them jokingly what they were doing with his wife. He quite understands, and the fact that you talk to somebody who is not your wife or your husband, it doesn't mean something is going on.
Don't you think if your husband were a Blackman he would complain about your incessant travelling?
Maybe, because I've had some of my friends say that their husbands cannot take my constant travelling. And I say thank God.
We remember there was a time you said your daughter had a domestic accident and things were so bad that you had to carry your daughter to the middle of the road looking for a bike to take you to hospital. What comes to your mind when you think of that incident?
It was a bad experience, but when you see where you are now, you thank God. Nobody has a perfect life and that was a down period for me.
What was the feeling like then as an actress with a face?
I don't want to remember, but then I wasn't thinking of myself as an actress but as a mother; all I cared about was getting my daughter well. At that time, the mother instinct took over.
We heard you and Stella Damasus are no longer in good terms. How true?
That is not true, we are still friends. She spoke with me last week while I was in Uyo, and she said she was in Abuja for a film festival or something. And you know that she has not started working, while I am very busy moving from one location to another; so that is it.