Acting’s cost me my modelling career
She is a beauty and a queen to behold any day. Not many know her as a screen goddess. Starting off as a model before veering into the world of make-believe, she is certainly one of the promising hard knots to crack as far as the movie industry is concerned in Nigeria.
Ufuoma Stacey Ejenobo is her name. And as one of the hottest upcoming actresses in Nigeria, Ufuoma gained international recognition when she won the Miss Earth in 2004, which saw her travelling to Philippines to represent Nigeria in the final leg of that contest. She has also won several laurels as a model in the past. Veering into the world of acting, according to the model-turned-actress is one step in the right direction that she has taken in life.
A promising actress, Ufuoma like Nse Ikper-Etim is not an unfamiliar actress per se, because she's starred in several other flicks that includes a role in a TV soap, “ Age of Paradise”, where she was compelled to shave her hairs like a widow who was mourning her departed husband. She described her role in that soap, as one that was very challenging, adding that it was “because I wanted to do something different and ultimately challenging.”
Apart from featuring in that soap, “Age of Paradise”, Ufuoma named “Desperate Billionaire” as one of the movies that brought her to limelight. While “Desperate Billionaire” launched her into the mainstream movie world, her role in “Saving Sara”, according to her, got her into different emotions as she was made to play three roles at the same time.
“One movie which I think got me into different emotion was “Saving Sara”. I still give that movie my two thumbs because I played three different characters at the same time. The movie was directed by Lancelot. It was challenging to me.”
“But “Desperate Billionaire” was the movie that brought me to limelight . It was one movie that everybody seems to identify me with, and it paraded a lot of stars. I was fortunate to play alongside stars like Rita Dominic, Jim Iyke, Stephanie Okereke, and Chidima Okeme .The movie was widespread with good networking.” Ufuoma narrated to HVP, even as described her emergence in the movie world as accidental.
Ufuoma was at a location, shooting a new movie somewhere around Victoria Garden City(VGC), along Lekki -Epe Expressway, Lagos, where HVP ran into her few days ago and consequently engaged her in a brief chat. She agreed that since veering into the world of make-believe, her modelling career has been nipped in the bud.
“Acting and modelling are two of a kind profession.' she replied,
Even though, modelling, she continued, “is more of advertising, it's the kind of job you do that brings you to limelight.”
Honestly, she argued, “ modelling and acting has never been a problem to me. In fact, my modelling profession is suffering today because of my venturing into acting. Right now, I am drifting more and more away from modelling into acting.”
According to Ufuoma, she started modelling at a very tender age, perhaps, while she was in her primary school. “One Angela Ukuma introduced me into modelling. She was the most beautiful girl in Nigeria in 1999. We worship in the same church. She only saw me and thought I could make a good role model. There and then, she went into action to convince my parents to allow me to make a career in modelling. The first model job I did was for PZ Industries in 2002.”Ufuoma further narrated.
Although, Ufuoma believed that acting like every other profession has its own nitty-gritty. She however frowned at those upcoming actresses who would not want their own time to explode.“The President Must Die”. Since then, I have been a regular face on screen. For her, there is time for everything that we do in life. She believed that auditioning as it affects movie making is like the final act itself. “You are bound to encounter certain inevitable difficulties. Just like climbing a ladder, there is a foundation to be laid.
Some of us want to see it as a way of paying our dues. It's basically the same challenges that people face in other professions. If you want to be trained as a medical doctor, you must as a matter of fact be compelled to attend the medical school. It's the same thing with acting. You have to pass through auditioning. And for me, auditioning is akin to advertising oneself, and not necessarily exposing one's weaknesses and inadequacy. It's more like laying a foundation than seeing it as a challenge. I believe that auditioning is as good as the final act.”
Tracing her journey into the world of acting, Ufuoma, who was quick to anger and perhaps, would not want to talk about her love life said, she stumbled into acting by chance. According to her, “ I met one film producer, Ejeburi some years back who wanted to introduce me into the world of make-believe. But because I was not ready then, I turned down the gesture. Few years later, I put a call across to Mr. Ejeburi, where I expressed my readiness to be involved in the movie industry.”
“Luckily, he was conducting auditioning for a new movie he was producing. As result, he invited me to be part of the movie with the title, “The President Must Die”. Since then, I have been a regular face on screen. For everything you do in life, you are bound to encounter certain inevitable difficulties. Just like climbing a ladder, there is a foundation to be laid. Some of us want to see it as a way of paying our dues.”
“It's basically the same challenges that are bound to be faced by anyone in any other profession. If you want to be trained as a medical doctor, you must as a matter of fact be compelled to attend the medical school. It's the same thing with acting. You have to pass through auditioning.
And for me, auditioning is akin to advertising oneself, and not necessarily exposing one's weaknesses and inadequacy. It's more like laying a foundation than seeing it as a challenge.”
“I believe that auditioning is as good as the final act. Because at that point, the producer is interested in ascertaining one's ability to deliver his or her lines.
It was funny, because when I started, there were several times I was not good at facing the camera. But I was a fast learner. With time, I started to understand such terminologies as master-shot, close-shot, and medium Cus. Right now, I am trying to play around camera angles. I am still learning on the job.
One of the things that prompted my decision to express my readiness to join the industry is the fact that I felt I could deliver my lines. Perhaps, it's one thing for one to believe in oneself, and it another thing, for people to believe in you, and equally give you the opportunity to prove your mettle. I started with TV drama.”
'There is this TV series”Age of Paradise”, which I did, where I had to cut my hairs like a widow. For me, I saw the role I played in that TV drama as challenging.
Because I wanted to do something different and challenging . For me, I have found every things I got involved in, very easy to deliver. But I wanted to be challenged the more, and that was why I had to shelve my hairs in that TV series just to suit the character I was playing. Chibuzo, who happened to be a widow.
Again, I featured in the movie called, “Life and Death' with uncle Zack Orji, Emerka Osahie, Chinyere Wilfred and many others.”
“There was this emotion the director wanted me to express which I thought, I was already expressing. By that act, he made me to take a totally different angle to my role. And I saw the action as challenging. But one movie which I think got me into different emotions was “Saving Sara”. I still give that movie my two thumbs because I played three different characters at the same time. The movie was directed by Lancelot. I was three different characters in that movie. It was challenging to me.
But “Desperate Billionaire” was the move that brought me to limelight. It was one movie that everybody seems to identify me with; parading a lot of stars. I was fortunate to play alongside stars like Rita Dominic, Jim Iyke, Stephanie Okereke, and Chidima Okeme .
The movie was widespread with good networking.” Other movies which Ufuoma starred in, include, “Twist of Fate”, “Titanic Tussle”, 'Painful World I &II”, “Passionate Crime”, 'Queen of My Heart”, “Emotional Blackmail” amongst others.