I want to be the next sexiest woman in Nollywood— Ijeoma Imoh
Dreams come in different ways to different people. For Ijeoma Imoh one of the newest faces in Nollywood becoming the next sexiest woman in Nollywood is her ultimate dream. In this interview with Bridget Amaraegbu she shares her dream and aspirations. Enjoy;
How's Ijeoma's day been today?
Like the normal Lagos life, it's been hectic, boring and wonderful at the same time.
Why did you say boring, does it mean you've been less busy lately?
I've been very busy all this while but today I want to go swimming so you can see I'm not busy. I'm set to relax and of course attend to you. I swim to keep fit and of course that's one of the things I do to unwind, have fun or pleasure.
Can one describe you as a party or pleasure freak?
No, I'm not a party freak because I don't really go out and don't attend too many occasions.
Talking about party, recently we were at your birthday. How were you able to organise such a wacky party?
It was my birthday and it's something that happens once in a year so for me it was an opportunity to be with all my friends and celebrate, be happy and thank God.
How long did the party last?
It lasted till the early morning of the next day and it ended at 4 a.m.
Precisely how many of your girlfriends were at the party and how were you able to mobilise them?
(Laughing) I don't really know how many they were precisely, but I can say they turned up very well and I appreciate them all. Talking about mobilisation, there was nothing extra-ordinary I did, I think it was the only way they could show me love. And I appreciate and love them too.
You seem to be very popular amongst movie producers and musicians, yet people do not know you. Can you tell us how many movies you have featured in?
I have done like fifteen movies.
Can you mention the movies...
Yes, I featured in Emotional risk, Untapped Gold, Desperate need, Day time Lover, End of discussion,
Ghetto language and so on.
Out of all these movies which one will you consider as most challenging?
I can tell you that I see all of them as challenging because it is not an easy task to play the role of Miss A, B or C, as long as it is not the real me. I'm not stereo-typed in a particular character so trying to fit into different character in different movies is challenging.
As challenging as you see acting, do you still enjoy what you do?
Yes I like what I'm doing, I enjoy it. I'm only saying that playing a habit that I'm not use to is challenging.
I think you have made more mark showing on musical videos, can we talk about them?
I have friends who like me to join in their music videos and when they approach me, I have accepted from the likes of Orits Wiliki ,Ollie Gee and Righteousman.
What is the thing that brings you close to these people?
I think I carry the kind of personality they like and I'm very friendly person who tries to appreciate the people around me especially my colleagues.
A lot of people think academics is a major problem that has hindered you from becoming the star you should really be..
All the thespians in Nigeria are not all educated so I don't think it has anything to do with my level of education, may be it is not yet time for me to shine.
Don't forget that many Nigerians don't watch movies and even when they do, they only want to see may be Ini Edo, Omotola and others who are already there. So it's natural that when I feature in movies, some may still not see me because it is not me they are looking out for. But I thank God I still have my own fans.
Back to education, I'm not an illiterate. I'm an undergraduate of Business Administration at the Lagos State University.
How long have you been in this industry and how long do you think it should take for you to become a very hot actress?
I've been in it for like four years now and as for becoming a very hot actress, I think it is only God that can guarantee that.. There are some who have been there before me and they are not making any headway and there are others who came after me and they are up there already, it doesn't mean that I'll not get there.
Don't you think you've been restricting yourself from auditions since it is part of what gives you lead roles?
I've attended some few auditions before now but these days the venue for auditions seems to be too far for some of us, last time the audition venue was in Badagry and you can agree with me that it's not many upcoming actresses that can afford to go that far just to be auditioned and I also know that “some people pay their way to be auditioned''.
So you can see that people actually cheat just to get roles in a movie which is not right, I believe in merit. Auditions should be put in a central area for people to be able to attend.
Talking about the sexiest woman in Nollywood recently organised by Vanguard Media, what do you think about the concept and the winner?
”Oh why didn't Vanguard make me the sexiest woman.” I witnessed the event so I can speak for what I saw that day, the concept is superb, excellent and laudable.
Weeks before the event I was buying Vanguard Newspaper and each week Genevieve got the highest vote so it wasn't like there was any sign of being partial. She may not actually be the sexiest among the last three girls but majority they say carries the vote.
Personally I think she deserves it, she merits it because she's put in so much in Nollywood just like the others so she's fortunate to have been crowned the sexiest woman in Nollywood.
Do you think such things should continue?
Oh yes. I want other oganisations to copy such ideas that Vanguard has started since it is aimed at promoting and celebrating our own stars.
When I watch E-entertainment and see the way Hollywood stars are celebrated, I envy them because such promotion should be encouraged.
I also want to use this opportunity to thank all the organisers of that event and Vanguard Media in general, I'm equally asking them to continue in the good work they've started so that one day I may equally be crowned the sexiest woman in Nollywood (Laughing).Well done The Vanguard Media.
Outside acting, what else do you do?
Like I said earlier, I'm a student, I do business. I'm into buying and selling and I also do marketing for companies.
What was your first pay for playing a role in the movie world?
(Laughing) Do you really want to know, the first time I acted we negotiated N7,000 but the truth is that I was never paid.
And now that you have improved so well, what's the pay like?
The pay is Ok. but I've still not gotten that lead role I've always craved for. The highest I've received, no, I can tell you that. It's my private business okay..
What on earth will you not do in the name of acting?
Simple, I'll never sleep with anybody to get a role because I know very well that every business person wants to make a profit so even after sleeping with either the producer or director and they don't see me as the right person for that particular role, I'm sure they will not want to give it to me so it will be stupid for anybody to think that sleeping with these people can earn him/her a role in a movie.
Even if I get a lead role after sleeping with them, how long will they continue to give me such roles because I know there are producers who produce once a year. If I have to sleep with any man, it should be because I like him naturally. Secondly, by the time I sleep with all these people and manage to get to the top, then what happens. I must have sold my respect before time, so for me it is not worth it.
Looking at the entertainment world, who would you choose as your role model?
All of them, because they are all good and unique in their own way. I may want to speak fluently like Aunty Joke Silva, Onyeka Onwenu, Eucharia Anunobi etc. I just can't single out anyone of them because they are a million in one package.
In the little time you've spent in Nollywood, what will you discourage about the movie world?
First they should try to have better story lines, do more research before coming up with a story. Again they should learn not to stereo-type people to a particular character. They should also be able to give different roles to people in different movies so that people do not start thinking it's the persons natural right..
Lastly, people should be given the opportunity to showcase their talents so that younger stars can come up. Sometimes when they call for audition, they don't allow some people to express themselves. Either they say, you are too fat or short so you won't even be auditioned. And just like that, the talent is killed and buried which is not good for the growth of the industry.
A good example is the AMBOI winner Hadiza Sadiq who the producers claim is too short. Everybody thought she was going to the top but because of her height, we no longer hear about her. I'm pleading that all this discrepancies should stop because acting or inter-presenting roles has got nothing to do with physical appearance, but how intelligent and naturally blessed the person is.
How did your parents take your acting career initially?
My dad didn't find it funny, he insisted on my going to school and graduating first. I started acting like child's play. It all started as a result of incessant strike in our schools so whenever there is strike we just stayed at home and read, sleep or visit friends.
And instead of visiting friends here and there, I decided to use the opportunity to go for an audition because I knew I was free at acting and expressing myself (Shakara). And as God will have it, I got a role. As for my mother, she wished me good luck.
What is your philosophy of life?
I like being around people and meeting people. And most times people expect what they can not afford from others so my philosophy of life is be a news maker and not a news reader.
Are you in any serious relationship?
Yes, I am but wouldn't want to talk about it.