MY KIDS DON’T FANCY MY JOB – RACHAEL ONIGA
Fair complexioned Rachael Oniga is a household name in the Nigerian movie industry, better known as Nollywood. She is one of the crossbreed artistes in the industry having featured in many English and Yoruba movies. Beyond this, the mother of three is also a model for different kinds of television commercials.
Trained as a computer programmer, Oniga's love for acting is an undying one. She spoke extensively on several issues.
I am a mother of three from Delta State. I was born in Lagos and I reside there now. I can speak and read Yoruba flawlessly. That is why most people think I am Yoruba. I joined the show business after my separation from my late husband. I started acting in 1993. I studied computer programming but now I am an actress.
Movies where featured
I can't tell how many films I've featured in. Any movie I featured in, as a good artiste, should be challenging. If I should say one film is more challenging than the other, it's like giving credit to one producer over others. Most roles I played are challenging since I always put myself into the character.
Assuming a character
As an artiste, one should be able to interpret any role in a drama. One should be able to differentiate the role from one's normal self. First, I usually go through the script. Then I would discuss with the director to get details of the character I'm given. I try as much as possible to bring out the best in me because by playing Rachael Oniga, I'll not be doing justice to the job.
Being an actor or actress is beyond studying. If one is talented, then one can make it. Someone might have attended the university and yet does not have what it takes to be a good actor.
Children taking after her
None of my children is ready to go into acting. It's not that they are not interested, they have their passion. I am not the kind of parent that would force a child to do one profession. All I do is to encourage them in their endeavours. At the moment, my first daughter has deep love for politics. They all have their free minds and want to live their own lives. They might not be happy if I tell them what to do or what career to choose.
For example, my children prefer me to separate the home from my job. Being an actress does not really thrill my children. They simply see me as 'mummy'. None of them derive joy from being called Rachael Oniga's child in public or using my name to court any favour.
Embarrassment from fans
No artiste loves to be harassed. It is high time people realised that there is no joy in embarrassing actors and actresses by asking them for money. They believe we are making so much money from show business. They should not expect us to be carrying physical cash around. I always let area boys realise that I wasn't expecting to see them on the streets. So, how do they expect me to start sharing money up and down? Some would even be telling you how much they want to collect. We all love to be appreciated but not by being molested. But often, I have been able to handle the situation very well. Maybe it is because I am a woman.
Actors and actresses are just like other people in other industries, they can marry one another. Those in banking, law and other industries marry one another. I think the problem lies in the fact that we often relate with the public. So, many people would want to know so many things about us. And any problem among us would definitely spread faster because of the kind of job we do. It happens everywhere and not only in the entertainment industry.
Saheed and Fathia Balogun
I don't want to make any comment about this, as the matter is a sensitive one. God knows why He brought them together in the first place. And if He still has plans for them as a couple, they will definitely come together.
NANTAP, AGN and ANTP membership
I belong to the three bodies. I started with NANTAP, AGN and then ANTP. It is a free world. In this profession, you can belong to any association you want as long as you are still relevant. Nobody can stop anyone from being a member of any of the three associations. If you are a member of an association, as long as you don't violate the rules, no one will hold anything against you.
Being a model
Modeling and acting go hand in hand. As an actress, when going on stage, there's a script about a character that you need to understand. I receive invitations from companies for modeling jobs. They usually see me as someone who can project the image of their products. I have modeled for companies that produce matches, milk and tin tomato.
The ANTP crisis
To you, the house is divided. But I don't believe it is. I am not in the best position to make comments about the ANTP issues as I am not one of the executive members. So, I cannot say categorically that there are warring parties. I am an actor. All I do is to act and go to my house. If there is any crisis, I believe the association can resolve it.