I’LL PLAY NUDE IF THE DEAL IS RIGHT — TONTO
An undergraduate in the Petro-chemical Engineering at the University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, pretty 23 year-old Tonto Dike is determined to climb to the peak of her acting career.
Her emergence into the movie industry in less than three years have won her credits, in over 30 movies.
She has featured in movies such as Missing Rib, Last Mission, Secret Mission, Rush Hour, Final Hour, Fatal Mistake, Family Disgrace, Plain Truth, Miss Maradonna, Divine Grace, Tea or Coffee, 7 Graves, Crisis In Paradise, Insecurity, Mortal Desire, among others.
She speaks on her acting career for which she has a great passion, saying she might act nude if there is the need to do so.
What informed your acting career?
I've always had the passion for acting and when the opportunity came I grabbed it.
You never thought of studying Theater Arts in school?
It may be embarrassing to say this, but I feel studying Theater Arts in school is like a waste of time. Some people can sing while some learn how to sing. I'm not the kind of person who will learn how to act, although I love to learn how to improve acting but it is just a talent in me.
How did you get into acting and which was your first movie?
I got into the industry after I left the reality TV show “The next movie star” 2005 where I was first runner up, to the winner Kingsley Ogboso. And from there, I started looking for contacts and fortunately for me, a lot of people saw my talent. During the AMAA 2005 awards, I got introduced to Amaco brothers and that was how I bagged my first movie role.
I can't remember the title of my first movie right now but I know that I starred with Desmond Eliot, Uncle Pete Edochie, Nonso Diobi, Nkiru Sylvanus, and Uncle Larry Coldsweat and today within a period of three years I'm up there in the industry.
How many movies do you have to your credit?
I have a whole lot of them, released and yet to be released. I have lost count. Some of the movies include, Missing Rib, Last Mission, Secret Mission, Rush Hour, Final Hour, Fatal Mistake, Family Disgrace, Plain Truth, Miss Maradonna, Divine Grace, Tea or Coffee, 7 Graves, Crisis In Paradise, Insecurity, Mortal Desire
How do you coping with the industry?
It's been wonderful. Acting to me is like a dream come true and I'm happy that I grabbed the opportunity when it came.
How do you combine the acting career with your studies?
I give God the glory. It has not been easy because I have to travel from Port Harcourt to Lagos and to wherever we are shooting. But I thank God that somehow, I have a lot of people that are backing me up and I have been coping.
The road is not usually smooth. There are bound to be challenges. Can you recall any of those challenges you have encountered?
Sincerely, I don't think I've had to go through any challenge. This is because I don't see them as challenges.
I'm a very prayerful person. I believe so much in God and it seems like everything just falls at my feet. Anything I want just falls at my feet. I can't say I've had to go through challenges since I got into the industry.
How has stardom affected your day to day activities on campus?
It has not affected me, instead, it has added value to my bank account and given me fame.
So how much do you earn for a movie?
I can only tell you that I am comfortable.
Have you had any embarrassing moment for playing a particular role?
Yes I have had lots of it. There was this day I went to a grocerry store and someone walked up to me and said, 'you know, you are actually very, very pretty but I think you should stop kissing men like that in movies and I just stood there stupefied.
What if you are paid to act nude, will you do it?
Well when I get to the bridge, I shall cross it. It's my profession. What the hell am I supposed to do?
So you mean you are likely to do it?
I might, yes.
So who is that lucky guy in your life right now?
I have a very special man in my life and I'm sorry I can't talk about it because I like my privacy.
How soon are you going to the altar?
I don't know.
Who is your kind of man?
Everybody says I'm a very weird girl because I love short men. I love God- fearing men, men who are ready to listen, men who are not authoritative, who can back you up in any situation and most especially, a man who understands the movie industry inside out. I need my man to be strong and supportive.
So you mean this special man in your life is qualified in all ramifications?
Yes, he qualifies in every way.
Is he a movie person?
No he's not. But he understands every bit of it.
How does he feel when he watches your movies?
He watches them but he always tells me that if you are going to do something that I'm not going to like, keep them away from me.
What was growing up like?
My growing up was fun. Although I lost my mom when I was three years old but growing up was the best for me because I had everybody at my back. I had attention. I had love and my father was always there for us because it was always like, 'their mom is not around we have to be there.' My aunties were there and so also were my friends.
Are you the first child?
I am the third and the second girl in a family of five.
How supportive was your father when you wanted to go into acting?
In my home where I grew up, we were all raised differently from Nigerian mentality. My dad is a free spirited person.
When he went into politics, I sat him down and I told him that I don't like it. He said he likes it and I said well, if that is what you love to do go ahead and enjoy yourself. So the first time I got into acting, he called me and said 'this is not what I love for you to do but if this is what you want, do it right and do it responsibly' and that's it and till today he has been there for me.
My father is my friend. I call him my boyfriend because we are that close.
Talking about your outlook, the tattoo, the hair colour and all, are these part of your signature?
The hairstyle is me. This is Tonto. I'm trying to bring back that hairstyle because I felt a part of me died at a point when I stopped wearing it. I was being choked because I was trying to please everybody, my fans, the directors but right now, I don't care. I just want to be me.
And the tattoo?
Yes, this is me.
What do you think about having sex to get roles in Nollywood, is it real?
I'm not going to counter that totally, it happens.
Have you ever been sexually harassed?
I have not. There is something about the way you package yourself that attracts sexual harassment. And just because I'm new in the industry does not mean that every Tom Dick and Harry will have to sleep with me to give me a role.
I place myself on a particular level where I want to be, so even if I become a shining star tomorrow, nobody will say, she slept with me to get roles.
Being a young and pretty girl, you must have numerous advances from men. How do you handle them when they come?
If I don't know you, I come on as an unfriendly person. I'm very uptight and I don't bullshit people. I tell you straight off 'this is how it is for me, this is what I can do and can't do. But that may not be the real me because, I have a lot of friends right now.
You never can tell where help might come from tomorrow. Someone walks up to me one day in Shoprite just to talk with me and I never knew the guy from Adam but I was nice to him. Unknown to me, the guy works in the American Embassy and he helped me when I went to get my visa.
A lot of people will like you, a lot of people will want to sleep with you but the way you go about it is what matters.
What is the craziest thing a male fan ever said to you?
Kiss me in public.
So what was your reaction?
It's show business. I just let him go.
Who is your role model?
Al Paccino and Julia Roberts.
What is your jewelery taste?
Port Harcourt people like more of the gold thing. We don't do costume, it is mainly gold, so I prefer gold.
Are you a designer freak?
I shall not say I'm a freak. It's something I was born into but I'm adapting. Sometimes what I wear is not labeled but has to look good on me. For instance, the jeans is labeled, the top is not but the shoes are.
What about perfumes?
I wear Curious, I Do, Gucci, and Versace.
What are your hobbies?
I love to travel a lot and I love staying at home and reading novels, thrillers and science fiction.
What is your best food?
My best food is Okro soup and Garri, I grew up on that.