- Entertainment NewsEmeka OkoroEmeka Okoro is a versatile actor. The artiste, who spoke on his acting career and how the industry is growing also told Daily Sun recently that he has always dreamt of becoming a star.

The actor, who hails from Umuahia in Ukwuano Local Government area of Abia State, said Nollywood which is now a fast growing phenomenon will attain higher heights in a few years to come.

I have always dreamt of becoming an actor right from my childhood days. Whenever I watched American movies, I would say to myself that when I grow up, I will like to be an actor. I met a friend Emeka Kurimo, who told me that an audition was going on somewhere. I attended and luckily, I was chosen. That enabled me to feature in my first movie entitled: Dirty Deal.

It is all about determination, knowing fully well what I wanted. Despite the obstacles, I just have to continue, at least, compared to when I started.

I have played several roles in movies which I can’t even remember any longer.But I can still remember a few like The Senator, Occultic Battle, First Love, One Love, among many others.

Embarrassing moment
I don’t have any, because I detest living a fake life. I like to be what I am .

Most challenging role
It is the movie entitled: First Love. I played the role of a good and a bad guy. Switching from one character to another was actually challenging. At the same time, I was also on location for another movie entitled: One Love.

Kissing in Nollywood
It is not true.We call it make-believe, because there is a camera before you and there are members of crew all around you. So, there is no way you would go contrary to what the director is saying. We are only trying to be natural in order to convey a message. It may look real, but it is all fake.

The Nigeria movie industry is like a woman who gives birth to a child. You do not expect the child to attain maturity at once, it has to be gradual.The industry is actually growing considering Nigeria’s poor economy. People are making their living out of it.

Jesus Christ is my mentor. I respect people, the only person I recognize is Jesus. I read the Bible and follow Christ’s footsteps.

It is wonderful to be an actor, but before anything, one needs to be well prepared. Moreover, a potential actor should undergo a training programme and build his or her talent. First, if you have a talent, develop it, don’t wait until the opportunity slips. I will also advise people who want to make ends meet at once. It is not a good way of life, one needs to exercise some patience.

I’m yet to get married.


]]>, 29 Aug 2006 00:00:00 GMT
Caroline Uduak Abasi Ekanem, 24 May 2006 00:00:00 GMTKalu Ikeagwu, 24 May 2006 00:00:00 GMTUche Jombo, 24 May 2006 00:00:00 GMTOby Edozie, 24 May 2006 00:00:00 GMTZack Orji, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTShan George, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTIbinabo Fiberesima, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTDesmond ElliotDesmond Elliot is easily one of the fastest rising stars in the Nigerian home video sector. He shot into limelight through television soap operas and was soon to become a regular face in Nollywood movies such that tracking him down for an interview became almost impossible.

Elliot has also been to many parts of the globe, as his acting skills have made him a well sought after artiste. Besides, he has become a role model in Nollywood such that he often becomes first choice for every producer in search of artistes for romantic roles.

In a recent chat with Daily Sun, Elliot recalled how a friend lured him into acting. He also spoke about his ambition to become the executive governor of Lagos State in the nearest future and why he married an Akwa–Ibom woman:


I was born to a Yoruba father and an Ibo mother. I grew up in the Northern part of the country and I am married to an Akwa-Ibom woman. I had my primary education at Air Force Primary school in Jos from where I went to St John’s College also in Jos. I studied Economics at the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos and graduated in 2003.

It was a friend who influenced me to become an actor. My friend wasn’t an actor but he always felt that I was cut out for the entertainment industry. As a Christian, I felt that the best thing for me to do was to pray about it. I prayed and asked God to help me make a choice. It wasn’t easy but I thank God that He intervened and revealed to me that I should join the industry. I first started with soap operas such as Everyday People, One Too Much, Wale Adenuga’s Super Stories and Saints and Sinners. I still feature in Everday People but I moved into the movie industry gradually and today the rest is history.

Between Soaps and Video

Anywhere in the world, film and video have always been quite challenging and rewarding to practitioners. Even in more developed countries most great movie stars move from television to movies. For example, Bruce Willies moved from Moonlighting to movies and Will Smith went from Fresh Prince Of Barley to Men in Black. For me, movies are more demanding and rewarding than soap operas.

Becoming governor of Lagos

I am looking forward to becoming the elected governor of Lagos State in not too distant future, but definitely not in 2007. I want to serve the people of Lagos and I know I can do it. People say that politics is a dirty game, I don’t know exactly how dirty it can get but my intention basically is to serve humanity.

Why I run from women

Women chase me because I am an actor and if they don’t do that it simply means that I am not yet an actor. In fact, being chased is not the issue, what matters is that whenever I perceive that I am about to be chased, I run. I run because I have an ambition, which I don’t want women to ruin for me. I run from them if they want to go beyond the level of being my fans to another level.

Realising a character

When I receive a new script, I usually take my time to study it. Thereafter, I hold a discussion with the director on what is expected of me in the movie. Then I move on to develop a suitable character that will go well with what the entire production is all about.

Turn off

I don’t like people flashing me. I mean if you want to give a call, go ahead and do so, it is of no use flashing me.
I also feel bad when the up-coming artistes are not given the necessary opportunity to come into the industry and fully realise their potentials. Another thing that really puts me off is when some directors want to turn actors to zombies by casting them stereotypically into such roles as lover boy, gentleman, tough guy and all that. Personally, I like to see an actor take up different roles and interpreting them well.


The fact that the Nigerian movie industry is growing is what particularly turns me on, thanks to all those that are making it happen such as the marketers, directors, producers and others
Nollywood contributes to the nation’s economy because quite a number of people are involved and are earning their livelihood from it. The only problem is that our government is yet to fully realise the great economic advantage that lies in tapping into the industry. America and India have tapped into Hollywood and Bollywood respectively and the result is quite rewarding.
Government should come and invest in the industry, the marketers have done great jobs by investing their money to prove that the sector is lucrative.


First, I did not pay for this talent, it is a gift from God and whatever comes from God is mine. At the same time, God gave it to me and reserves the right to take it back if you fail to use the gift to make people happy and contribute to the good of humanity. So, there is nothing star in my dictionary. I don’t see myself as a star, rather I see myself as someone who wants to manifest God’s gift to bless people, to bless myself and everything around me. I want people to be happy around me, not just to call me a star.


I basically relax with my wife whenever the opportunity comes, especially if I am in town and not involved in a tedious job. I have a special form of relaxation, I just choose a suitable time and free myself from every form of stress.


My advice is that people should abstain from sex or be faithful to their partners. There is no alternative to it This may be difficult but it is the only way a young person can save his or her life in this era of HIV. The rule is not merely playing the so-called safe but to abstain.


Piracy is a crime that government and the people have to fight. It is unfortunate that the pirates make all the money from products they had no input in manufacturing. I also feel very bad when I hear or see a movie that I feature in being pirated.
Foundation for the less privileged
This is one of my strategies as a politician. I don’t want to be accused of corruption. I am looking at the vision of a Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwaznneger who both saw the need to put something back to society by leaving their glamour world for elective offices to serve the people.


Although people say I got married late but the truth is that I dated my wife for about eight years before we finally got married. My kind of job may have exposed me to the opposite sex but the truth is that my wife means the whole world to me. I appreciate my wife and I married her basically for love and nothing else. She is so understanding and caring. These are the two vital attributes I find lacking in most women of today.

Upcoming actors

The Bible teaches that anything that happens to a man comes by time and chance. So, I urge the younger artistes to aspire to be great. They shouldn’t lose hope or get frustrated. They should face their career no matter the obstacle they may encounter and keep working hard.
For example, many people frustrated me before I could get to the level that I am now. But any serious young artiste can also overcome the odds. Above all, what every youth should do is to keep a low head and when the opportunity to shoot into limelight comes, grab it.

A true Nigerian

I understand the three major Nigerian languages but I speak more of Hausa because that is the language I grew up with.


They include:Magic Moment by Infinity Films Production; Last Oath: An Okoro Ugwu film, which equally starred Stella Damascus Aboderin and Ngozi Ezeonu. Others include: True Romance 1 and 2, directed by Chico Ejiro but produced by Arinze Ephrian; With Love, a movie directed by Osita Okoli but produced by Vitus Nnebue. The movie featured other artistes like Rita Dominic, Hanks Anuku, Ashley Nwosu, Abubakar Yakubu and Mike Nliams. Another movie I featured in is Wild Rose, which equally featured Omotola Jolade, Shan George and Fred Amata.

]]>, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMT
Saint Obi, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTJoke Silva, 21 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTEnebeli Elebuwa, 15 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTClarion Chukwura, 15 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTChioma Chukwuka, 15 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTChidi Mokeme, 15 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTKanayo .O. Kanayo, 15 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTOge OkoyeDelectable Oge Okoye is one of the very few young rising figures in the Nigerian movie culture who got it right. Barely five years old in Nollywood, Oge has proven that her choice of acting as a career from childhood was not misplaced.
What has kept her shinning on the acting runway has been her unwavering determination to reach the top rung. Indeed today, her dazzling takes have singled her out amongst her contemporaries-'new acting kids on the block'.
Current industry ratings place her as one of the most sought after actresses in the Nigerian home movie sector. Recent statistics from Idumota, the seat of the popular movie market in Lagos confirmed that Oge appears the busiest now, of the youthful screen actress. Her face is most likely to grace the cover jacket of six out of say ten movies released in the Nigerian movie culture in a month. Indeed Oge seems the new pearl of most of the sector's producers.
Oge was born in London to the Late Mazi Okoye and Lolo Okoye, both devout Anglicans. It was from them that Oge imbibed the virtues of honesty, sincerity, courage and fear of God. A native of Nnewi in Anambra State, Oge, who was born under the star sign Scorpio, had her early education partly in London, at the University Primary School Enugu and at the Holy Rosary College, Enugu. In school Oge was engaged in a number of theatrical activities, which got quite a number of people, including her teachers, convinced that she was cut out for a career in entertainment.

After her primary and post primary education, Oge gained admission into the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Akwa, Anambra State where she graduated four years later with a degree in Theatre Arts. It was during Oge's first year in the University at Akwa that the inspiration to become a 'big time actress' heightened. She felt that it wouldn't be out of place to try her hands on her long held passion.
"I started acting when I was in the university precisely in my first year in school. That was when I did the job 'One Dollar' after which I did 'Spanner' and then 'Sister Mary'. But indulged in little dramas back in those days. So when I grew up and found myself studying theatre arts, I decided to just start acting. I was opportuned to find a platform as soon as I made my intention known to a few people who knew that my passion for acting was boundless.

" I really wanted to act but I didn't really know how to go about it. I had friends who told me that I had to go for audition and all that and I went for one and I was lucky to have been given a role. It was a sub lead. After the shoot, I was encouraged by the comments from the director and the producer who predicted that I would go far once I put my mind to it and work hard. After that movie, I started receiving offers. I am sure I handled my role in my debut performance well, because if I didn't do it very well, I don't think anyone would have called me up for another job."

But even as Oge was itching to be an actress, Daddy felt that she would be better off as a doctor. He had prepared her mind towards becoming a surgeon so she could save lives. "My dad is the strict type. You can't mess around with him. He really had a set opinion about acting because of the negative image actors portrayed then. It's really sad that he is not here to see the height I have attained so far. He died as soon as I started acting full time but he knew that my dream was to act.

"My mummy, who currently resides in Spain, also knew that I wanted to be an actress. She had no objection whatsoever. And really, my mum has always been with me. She has always been on my side to push me to any level I want to get to. I am like the only child of my parents, so all the pampering has been there. I mean she is not surprised at all about what I am doing. She has heard and read of my exploits and she is happy with me."

Oge's first shot at the home video turf was in the commercially successful comedy 'One Dollar' starring Patience Ozokwo and Victor Osuagwu. Though she played a supporting role, she drew attention to herself with her smooth interpretation and showed a lot of promise. "I didn't particularly do much, but many people called me up and were commending me. So that was how I knew that I was going to do some more work and even move higher."
After that outing in 'One Dollar', producers sought and engaged her. They all seemed to be in agreement that Oge was a good center to hang a story on. Today Oge has featured in over 50 movies with a dozen others at various stages of postproduction.
Of all her movie offerings, Oge picks her effort in the emotive movie 'Sister Mary' as her most tasking. "All the movies have I done have been tasking, but I found that particular movie tasking. I must say that it was that movie that brought me to limelight. I found it very challenging for the simple fact that I played the role as if I was really in the convent. I am not a catholic, but to convince the audience I visited so many places like the convent, bought books and made a lot of research. It came out well and so many people liked it particularly those in the catholic fold who thought I was Catholic. As a matter of fact I am an Anglican'

Indeed it was her performance in that movie that endeared her to a number of movie producers and movie lovers. She kept receiving offers and has not stopped receiving those offers till date.
Asked to name her role models, Oge says that they are legion. But she lists the Hollywood actress Julia Roberts, Nigeria's Taiwo Ajai Lycett, Liz Benson and the veteran actor 'Uncle' Olu Jacobs as actors that have had tremendous influence on her. She adds: "I love Uncle Olu Jacobs. He is like a father to me. He talks to me from time to time on how to be better.
"I recall that one thing that he told me that has sort of guided me is the fact that I must never strive to be like anyone but myself. That's my word for anyone who wants to come into the industry. My word for them is that they shouldn't come into the industry to be like my role model Liz Benson or like Auntie Taiwo Ajai Lycett. They should create their style and be themselves. They should do their own thing and aim at being better than those on the turf."

Oge obviously has no regrets engaging the movie run way. She says that it has been worth the while and adds that she is always overjoyed each time fans cheer at her and each time people stop her on the streets to appreciate what she described as her 'little effort' on the screen. "I am happy each time they appreciate me. And really I don't feel that I have arrived yet. Oge still has a lot of grounds to cover. But I appreciate all their love and concern they have shown and accorded me."

If there is one role that her fans have not found her playing, then it's the strip-teasing role. Oge says there is no rule to her not playing such roles. "No rule to it. I think as an actress, you should be versatile. You must not be tied to a particular character. You should be able to flow in any role you are given. You shouldn't be stereotyped.
"So if I have not done any daring role, it's because it's the job that I have been given. But there is a very daring one that would soon come out. Maybe I should just ask my fans at this juncture to bear with me and consider my role in that movie as just make believe. I am certain that they would see a different Oge in the yet to be released movie."

Oge loves casual wear because they give her freedom of movement. "I wear the best but it's the best that would allow me move freely. So I normally would go for the best. I mean that's one of the challenges we face as celebrities. You can't afford not to appear good always. So my dress code has to do with what exactly is happening but I prefer a lot of casuals except when I have like a dinner or official engagement. Then I would look for something else to wear. But I prefer being caught in casuals, like in my jean and my shirt.
"As for perfume, I go for designers like Angels and Obsession. For jewelry I prefer gold. I hardly put on gels because I am prone to burns on my neckline. I am not too much into make-up. I only make up when I am on set. And as for food, I like Semovita and Edikaikang. I can hold on a shooting session once I am battling with a plate of Semovita and Edikainkong soup. As for music, I love rhythm and blues. I like to listen to Tuface Idibia and Lagbaja.

Asked to state the most ridiculous rumour she has read or heard about herself, Oge recalls a tale, which suggested that 'she was dead and buried'. She states what would have necessitated such a costly tale: "It was one tale that swept me off my feet and to know that it was flying everywhere and was even published in a popular magazine and with my picture there. It has nothing to do with me. I think someone died after we shot my second movie 'Spanner' and the folks thought I was the one. So they went to the press without verifying. That's one of the challenges we face as celebrities.
"The other is being able to interpret a particular role. I played a role of an army officer recently. It was challenging for me because I was to live a role of an army officer who was to hand out orders and keep a straight face. I tried everything possible and I know it came out well. Another part of the challenge is the fact that people judge you by the works you do and that's a bad thing to do because our own job is to act. It doesn't really mean that that is the way we are and that's the thing we do because our own job is to act.

"I played a wacko role in a movie recently. I think it was in 'Separate Lives' and a woman came to me and was shouting on me at a filling station. She was just screaming and taking the role I played in the movie so personal. But apart from that, everything is cool and okay."

Although she does not believe in reincarnation, Oge says she would choose to come back an actress if given the opportunity to live life again. Indeed for her, this has been very fulfilling. "I don't think I would have been happier in another profession. It has been particularly fulfilling. I am comfortable with whatever I am earning as an actress. It has been able to pick up my bills. And of course, what I earn today is better than what we earned when I started. For me, it was not really about the money, because if it is, there were so many things one would have indulged in. So it was not really about the money. I just wanted to do that I had always wanted to do, which is acting. That was just it, even though the money is helping out somehow."
When not on set, Oge spends time reading, watching movies, 'catching some rest' and 'just chilling out with some of my friends and relations'. Asked where she would want to be five years from now, Oge quips, "Hollywood." She would also want to be married then, be successful, have her kids and live a stress free life."

]]>, 13 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMT
Omotola Ekeinde, 13 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTNgozi Ezeonu, 13 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTBenita Nzeribe, 13 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTPatience Ozokwor, 13 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTJim lyke
  • Watch Jim lyke in One Dollar
  • Jim lyke Esomugha was born in Gabon Libreville to the family of Mr. & Mrs. Stephen Esomugha. Jim Iyke hails from Enugu Agidi village of Anambra state Eastern Nigeria. 
    Jim circumstance of birth can only be livened to other great personalities. As a destiny child, Jim was placed between 7 other sisters making him the only son among other siblings of his father’s household. His early struggle to create a niche for himself was made manifest by his ability to believe and demonstrate his conviction at any
    given opportunity.
    After the completion of his primary and secondary school education he proceeded to the University of Jos in furtherance of his educational career. After his youth service, Jim lyke Esomugha relocated to Lagos in search of greener fleece but encountered frustration, setback and challenges; however, his early set back was cushioned by his contact with a Lagos based lawyer Barrister. Victor Opurum, who having identified the bundle of talent inherent in this enigma, encouraged him to continue the pursue of his dreams. Through sheer hard work, humility and unprecedented preservance, Jim survived all odds, excelled in his chosen career and has since proved to be among the best.

    Jim lyke has presently produced two intemational movies called Ebony and Good evening with internationally renowned actress Judy Shekoni and Tangerine Martins. Jim has continued to spread and propagate the ideas of his foundation in his recent 12 country world tour. He desire to give back to the community of which he was a product of is the reason behind setting up this Foundation. Given his background and the traumatic childhood experience, he believe that there is no greater good than to restore hope, lift up the smile and dreams of our children in dire need.

    At a tender age, Jim lyke Esomugha has realised purpose in his life and he has chosen no other platform than this foundation to pursue this eternal calling, we therefore urge you to be a partner of our children dreams to restore hope to the needy and humanity. Jim lyke, Actor, model, businessman and film maker, is the founder, initiator and driving force of Jim lyke Foundation for Children with special Disabilities. Jim lyke is one of Nigerian’s most popular actors with a history of over100 movies in his film graph in just five years. Renowned for more than acting skills, he is martial arts specialist and is celebrated for pioneering a lot of first in the home video industry. He is the first actor to produce a mainstream big budget movie abroad. As a businessman, Jim has considerable interest in Real Estate and resource

    He is an alumnus of the University of Jos with a degree in philosophy. In spite of the good looking charming playboy roles that movies seem to cast him in, Jim is a focused and disciplined young man who has allowed his passion for children, their welfare and the greater good of society to be expressed via the vehicle of his foundation.

    ]]>, 12 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMT
    Rita DominicWhen Rita Dominic closes her eyes she imagines herself strutting her stuff with the best top movies stars Hollywood has to offer. Rita aka silky skin who has a beautiful figure that suggests sensible eating and her fair share of spending time at the gym has certainly come a long away from her days of TV programs such as Children’s Variety, Junior Opinion, winning several dance competitions both at the local sports club and whilst at Federal Government College Ikot Ekpene where she gained her GCE 0-LEVEL qualification.

    Rita, Uchenna, Nkem, Dominic, Waturuocha who was born on 1 July, 1975 and has always reached for the stars, attributes her inspiration to the encouragement of her immediate close knit family consisting of her parents, two elder sisters and a brother.

    Especially her late mum who identified her obvious talent at an early age supported and nurtured her academic, social achievements and was very instrumental to her success as an actress.

    From when Rita Dominic was about three years old and attending YMWCA nursery school Aba to Constitution Crescent Primary school all in Abia State Nigeria it was obvious she was destined for fame, at the time, mostly because of her excellent and unique singing and dancing talent, Rita whose hobbies include acting, singing, watching movies, reading and traveling graduated from University of Port-harcourt with a BA (1-lonours) Degree in Theatre Arts in 1999 hails from Abiah Mbaise local government area in lmo State and belongs to the Royal Waturuocha family.

    Blessed with stunning and very attractive looks, Rita favours the indian rock cheek style and enjoys spending time with her friends and family when she is not on a movie set.

    She recently visited Sierra Leone with some of her colleagues and was overwhelmed by the turn out of fans at the airport, a lot of them wearing t-shirts with their names on them. The Nigerian committee in Dublin also recently presented her with an honorary award.

    Other facts about Rita
    Philosophy - Always strive to achieve your heart’s desire
    Can’t Do Without - Her Walkman or CD player
    Type of Music - Oldies to jazz sentimental
    Best African Food - Afang soup and semovita
    Beauty routine - Mild cleansers and face wipes
    Style of hair - I like the Afro hair because it sooths my face
    What she admires in people - She likes natural and humble people
    What I find attractive in a guy - Cool, polished, intelligent and 100% dress sense


    ALL MY LIFE 2004
    BLIND LOVE 2003
    BREAK UP 2003
    HERO OF LOVE 2003
    HONEY MOON 2003 PLAYER 2003
    STREET LIFE 2003
    TO LOVE A THIEF 2003
    FATE OF LIAR 1999

    HONEY MOON 2003
    LEAN ON ME 2003
    LOVE TEMPLE 2003
    PAINT MY LOVE 2003
    ABA RIOTS 1990
    BLACK SHEEP 1995
    CORNER TONE 1995
    TIME TO KILL 1990
    FUGITIVES 1999
    PLAY BOY 1999
    SOUL MATES 1999

    ]]>, 12 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMT
    Ini Edo, 12 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMTRamsey NouahRamsey Nouah in Power of love 

    Ramsey Nouah’s face is better known around the black and African world than the face of the president of Nigeria. Born in July 1973, his face has sold many Nigerian home movies at home and abroad. Ladies melt with love for him, especially for his numerous “lover boy” roles in romantic movies.

    This writer has chased him across three continents just to have this conversation. Ramsey was in the US at the inauguration of the Filmmakers Association of Nigeria, USA, and that gave editor Sola Osofisan an opportunity to sit him down. Now, let’s unwrap the Ramsey Nouah you have never seen.

    Sola Osofisan: Mr. Nouah, I see you here in the gym. Do you work out regularly?

    Ramsey Nouah: I try to.

    S.O.: And what does it do for you? Is it to keep the belly in (laughing)?

    R.N.: Oh yes. Absolutely. You have to like stay fit to be an actor actually. You must. In our profession, you can’t have (a) port belly or a paunch. It’s not good for the profession at all.

    S.O.: The staying fit aspect of it… Do you need energy to be an actor? Why is staying fit important aside of the looks and the physical fitness part of it? Why is it important?

    R.N.: As an actor, there are so many things you can be called to do. In Nigeria, we’re not big; the industry is not big enough to have a body double in doing some of your stunts and all that and some very dangerous parts. But if you’re fit, then you will be able to go through it. And then if you have the heart too of course.

    S.O.: What’s the wildest stunt you’ve done?

    R.N.: Oh, I can’t remember…

    S.O.: Just tell me one or two that you’ve done.

    R.N.: I’ve done quite a few. I actually tried… Zach Orji directed that one. It was in Ghana. I jumped from a story building down. Then I tried to like save a woman from an oncoming car and it was pretty risky. It was pretty close. And then in “My Lover”, I was thrown in a 15ft deep well, artificially dug well. What else? Can’t remember… I’ve done so many stunts: jump, fall, break, bruises and stuff like that.

    S.O.: Its all so risky. Do you think actors should be doing their own stunts?

    R.N.: I like to do my own stunts.

    S.O.: You love taking risks apparently.

    R.N.: Yes.

    S.O.: Is taking risk an outlook of yours to life? Do you take risks in things that you do?

    R.N.: Well, life is all about risks. In business, physically, however you wanna put it, it’s all about risks. You take risks sometimes you don’t even know. Sometimes you do know. The ones you know, you fear. And if you don’t fear, you go ahead and do it.

    S.O.: And do you fear anything?

    R.N.: Yes, God.

    S.O.: What role is God playing in your life?

    R.N.: The role that he made me what I am today and who I am and whom I will ever be till I die.

    S.O.: Your name, Ramsey… You’re Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah, Jr. Where is the Tokunbo there from? In addition, explain your name.

    R.N.: Yeah, Ramsey is my father’s name. He’s the senior. I’m the junior. That’s why you have Ramsey Nouah, Jr.

    The Tokunbo was… Of course my grandmother gave it to me. That’s my mother’s mother. I adopted the name when I was having problems with Nigerian government because they needed – for me to get a passport, certain business registered and all that – they needed to know if I was a true Nigerian or a foreigner because of the name. So I had to adopt Tokunbo.

    S.O.: But you know you look more foreigner than Nigerian.

    R.N.: Yes.

    S.O.: Has that worked in your favor?

    R.N.: Em… I wouldn’t know. A lot of people believe that colored guys are highly highly endowed as in God… It’s a mixture of two races and it shows that they’re always very very healthy and strong. Even scientists said so. Now, it’s helped me, yes, in that aspect of life. I hardly ever fall sick. I don’t know, but I hardly ever fall ill.

    S.O.: Has it helped you in your movie career? I mean the mixed race now…

    R.N.: Em, would I say “help”?

    S.O.: I really mean has it been useful. I don’t mean help in the actual sense of the word.

    R.N.: (HESITANTLY). Maybe. Just maybe. As a light skinned fella, you sort of like cut across somehow very quickly amongst the black race, you know, in Nigeria. Because I’m light skinned, in everything people quickly get to notice me. I mean if I walked alongside most of my colleagues, I’d be picked out by fans from a distance (before) they will ever pick my other colleagues like Emeka Ike, Jim Iyke… Because they are dark you know. Because I’m light skinned, I’m walking along – ah, that’s Ramsey Nouah. They quickly know me. So, sometimes, it’s good. Sometimes it’s not.

    S.O.: Have you ever felt like you’re in competition with some of the other big name actors in any way?

    R.N.: Competition, yes, possibly. Rivalry, no.

    S.O.: Okay, maybe competition is for the heart of the ladies? (Laughter).

    R.N.: (Laughing) I really do not know.

    S.O.: They call you “Lover boy”. What does it feel like? Even right here, there are ladies hanging around looking at you, waiting for a chance to talk to you… What does it feel like?

    R.N.: Its just the same way they would like to have a chance to talk to Jim Iyke, Emeka Ike, RMD and the rest of them. We’re TV personalities. I don’t think there’s anything special to it particularly (smiling as the ladies around freak out) that they’re really interested in or something.

    S.O.: But it’s very flattering?

    R.N.: (Playfully modest) Maybe (Laughter).

    S.O.: He’s being very modest. (laughter). Ramsey, back to your name briefly, there are different spellings of it. Give us the real spelling of your last name.

    R.N.: Nouah.

    S.O.: So there is a “U” there.

    R.N.: There’s “U”.

    S.O.: Good. Let’s wrap up this issue of the mixed race before moving on. Your mom is from where and your dad is from where?

    R.N.: My mom is from Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria – and my father is Isreali.

    S.O.: And you grew up in Nigeria or where?

    R.N.: I grew up in Nigeria, on the streets of Nigeria.

    S.O.: What streets specifically? Maybe we can go to that area to pick up the talents that you have…

    R.N.: Ebute Meta for a start. That’s where I started. Then I moved on to Surulere.

    S.O.: Surulere… I grew up in Surulere too. I never met you.

    R.N.: I was inconspicuous at the time. (Laughter).

    S.O.: You walked into this Ralph Nwadike soap opera and you just walked into the lap of stardom. And over the years you have grown as an actor as you got more experience. Tell us the story of your evolution from that soap opera – was it “Palace”?

    R.N.: No, it was “Fortunes”.

    S.O.: I saw that episode when you came in. I saw the beginning and I see you here today as a different person. Tell us the story of that evolution please.

    R.N.: Alright. Em… I had this fan… I still have the fan. She looked at me and said… We get to talk and laugh a lot and Jill can crack all kinds of jokes. And then she looked at me and said “Ramsey, you’re just an actor”. She’s always saying that you know. Sometimes I go ahead and I tease her and I look at her and I laugh. She said I could act in one of these soaps in Nigeria. And I said “me, Ramsey? Why would I want to act in Nigeria? Abeg. If I was going to act at all, let me be in Hollywood, let me look at my idols at the time you know: Stallone, Schwarzennegger and the rest of them”.

    She now said something that really motivated me, something that actually changed my point of view, which was “Ramsey, charity begins at home”. Now, that’s a very normal phrase and line. Apparently, it worked perfectly well for the scenario at the time and I looked at it and I said to myself, “that’s true. If you’re going to do something at all, you have to start from somewhere. You have to build it from somewhere”. Like Johnnie Walker says, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.

    I went over to see her again and said “this soap opera thing, let’s go”. Alright. We went and we did some few things and all that and that was in 19990. In 1991, she took me to Ralph Nwadike’s – then, it was Zeb Ejiro’s office somewhere in Oyekan Street, in Aguda. And then we walked in and there was this soap going on for “Fortunes” at the time. It wasn’t running. We we’re about shooting the pilot. And they said okay they wanted this role and I performed and Ralph Nwadike just screamed like “this is the guy I’m looking for. This is the guy I’ve been waiting for”. Well, I laughed.

    S.O.: I can picture him saying that.

    R.N.: And so that started my fame, my stardom, what I am and what I’ve become today. So we got into the soap. The soap… We shot a pilot in ’91 but the soap didn’t get to go on air until like ’93. It ran for just a year due to logistic problems and all that, and then it became defunct. And then, about two years thereafter came the advent of home video. And then I was in (some) home videos.

    S.O.: Which was the very first one you did?

    R.N.: Well, I did a few which were not like major roles (before) I now hit my major, which was “Silent Night”. After “Silent Night”, I now shot another major which was “Blind Trust”.

    S.O.: A lot of people remember “Silent Night”.

    R.N.: Yeah. It was a fantastic story and movie.

    S.O.: Over the years, you have exploded in terms of your acting capabilities, range and depth. How did this come to be? Is it that you have had more experience or you were able to dig deeper to become characters? What happened?

    R.N.: Fortunately for us, we shoot movies like no man in the world, you know (laughing). We churn out movies and that gives you very quick adaptation to professionalism. I shot quite a number of movies and with each movie, I grew, became matured and got professional. Now, within all these times, I learnt along the way mannerisms, gestures, eye contact, lines, modulation and several other things that makes you a good actor and makes you deliver properly. That is how I have come to become what I am.

    S.O.: I look at you and I feel envy. I mean you have everything: fame, you’re well paid so you have some fortune, you have a family you’re happy with, and you have all the girls. (General laughter). What does it feel like to have everything?

    R.N.: (Laughing). It feels good to have everything. But sometimes, it’s usually not always good to have everything. Trust me. If you walk a mile in my shoes, then you would probably hand me back my shoes. (Laughing).

    S.O.: Is there anything else you’d like to have that you don’t have right now? Something you would like to be able to do that you’re not doing right now?

    R.N.: Well, I wish that I could have my privacy, my life back without the fame. Yeah, I wish so.

    S.O.: Why would you want that back?

    R.N.: Well, because… I don’t know. Somehow, I’m not enjoying the life of stardom. You have no life. You live for the people. You live for everybody. You live for everybody. Nobody thinks about you. Nobody cares about you. They just want from you. Particularly where I come from where we do not have enough money and fortunes to take care of certain needs and stuffs, it’s a bit difficult. Some people might enjoy it. Some of my other colleagues might like it, but for me, it’s not really rosy. I just wish I was an ordinary… Maybe a businessman, a pilot, engineer, whatever… Who gets his salary, does his work, has his family, and lives a normal life without the fame.

    S.O.: Ramsey, there’s a whole load of people out there who would like to be what you are today.

    R.N.: Oh yeah, like I said, I would like them to walk a mile in my shoes.

    S.O.: Is this like what… The price we pay for fame?

    R.N.: You could say that. You could say that.

    S.O.: Are you happy?

    R.N.: Yeah, I am. I am. I try to be. (Laughing). I mean I have no choice. If I think about… It’s not as if its that bad. No, its not as if the fame is so terrible and all that, its weighing me down, no. Its just that I wish, I just only wish I could have my normal life back without the fame. There’s something about we humans, alright? I long for my life without fame, but at the same time, if I go out and I’m not being recognized at certain times, I feel bad sometimes. It’s just the human nature, but deep down in me, I wish I wasn’t recognized sometimes in places.

    S.O.: So fame is a lot of hard work?

    R.N.: Yes. I mean in Nigeria, yes. From where were starting from, the recognition we have supercedes what we have as a financial base. It supercedes it absolutely, so the fame is a lot much more than what we have.

    S.O.: An initiative like this, the Filmmakers’ Association of Nigeria, USA, event that brought you to the US hopefully will help repatriate some of the money spent on Nigerian movies here to the producers in Nigeria who will now be able to pay actors better. Is that how you also see the FAN event?

    R.N.: Oh yes, I see the FAN event without a doubt creating a new avenue, you know… I mean this is a new horizon to the Nigerian home video. I wanna thank them most profusely for the event, for taking this step, the Nigerians who got together in America to try and make our community and our industry and culture grow. It’s a big thing. It’s very very big. We’re hoping. We’re not looking right now at what we will get from it like financially. We’re not looking at that. We’re just looking at expanding our horizon away from the African continent and beyond. That’s what we’re doing. If it does increase the artistes’ fee, to God be the glory.

    S.O.: Talking about expanding your horizon now, how far do you want your acting to take you?

    R.N.: Oh, take me? (Laughing).

    S.O.: I think you’ve already conquered Nigeria and Africa. So what else would you like to do as an actor?

    R.N.: Okay, as an actor, I think I’ve gotten to a point where I’m satisfied and sufficed with what I am and what I’ve become. As a director, no. I want to direct movies. I want to make impressions, you know, pictures and do stuffs like Mel Gibson did with “Passions of The Christ”. He’s an actor and now he’s directing and he’s a great director. And he directed “Braveheart” too. It was a fantastic movie. Tremendous movie.

    S.O.: Is this always a natural progression - for the actor when he gets to a particular point – to want to become a director?

    R.N.: (Laughing) I do not know. I really can’t speak as regards that. Now, like you (know), Denzel Washington too has directed too, you know. Its just that as an actor, if for you, you’re lucky to have a bit of directorial ability in you, as an actor you see certain shots from particular points of view that some times, whoever is directing you will not see and you wished you could ask for that shot, and you wished you could make that shot possible. Do you understand me? So, given all these indices, you now look at it and say ah, alright, let me do it. Let me see if I can do it myself. With my contribution to the industry in all these years, I’ve been able to learn things and tricks along the line. I can very well say when I do go into directing, I’ll probably become a success.

    S.O.: So when will you go into directing?

    R.N.: When God calls.

    S.O.: And when God calls, what would we be seeing differently from your directorial perspective? What would you be doing differently from what they are doing right now?

    R.N.: Well, as it were, virtually everything is done. What would probably be different would be your story…your storyline. Technically, I mean God! What else? Except I want to go sci-fi. (Laughing). And we don’t have that yet in Nigeria.

    S.O.: Ramsey, you speak Yoruba?

    R.N.: Absolutely.

    S.O.: Say something to us in Yoruba.

    R.N.: Ba’wo le se wa? Ki lo n happen? (General laughter)

    S.O.: Your new movie, Tade Ogidan’s “Dangerous Twins”, is hyped all over the place. I hear there are huge billboards all over the place. I hear they’ve already spent 4 million Naira at least on publicity alone. Tell us about it.

    R.N.: Tade is one hell of a risky businessman and director, but I like him. He’s a fantastic director. In fact, I could say categorically, that he’s the best director in Nigeria – technically and artistically. It’s very rare for you to get a mixture of both in a director in Nigeria. They only have good technical director or a good artistic director. But having a mixture of both is rare and Tade is one of those directors that are like that.

    And he’s also a very risky businessman. Tade is putting so much and everything he has in that movie. We’ve always known him to be like that because even when he did “Hostages”, he sold his father’s cars and he almost sold his father’s house under him too to publicize the film. But one thing I know about him is that he believes so much in himself, which of course is a stepping stone, which of course is a great way of putting yourself in confidence that “yes, I know what I’ve done. I know if I even take everything I’ve got, I will get it back because I’ve done something good”.

    “Dangerous Twins” is an awesome movie. It’s off the hook. Its beyond the Nigerian imagination, beyond the Nigerian movies that you’ve already seen and all that. I’m not boosting this movie out of its proportion in any way. I’m saying it categorically that even when some of maybe Hollywood’s very good, technically strong director sit down and watch “Dangerous Twins” and they hear its from Nigeria, Africa, they will probably stand up and give it an applause because its quite a good movie. It’s the first movie of its kind in Nigeria where you see two characters – I mean two guys, the same guys, standing one in one –

    S.O.: Yes, the promotional CD was brought to me by some of our guys who came in from Nigeria. How did you guys achieve the effect of Ramsey talking to Ramsey?

    R.N.: Well, I don’t know. (Laughing) It’s Tade’s trick.

    S.O.: Okay, acting-wise, how did you achieve it? I mean you had to play the other twin, the mannerism had to be different, the acting and expressions, not just the costumes… What was that like for you playing two people in the same scenes simultaneously?

    R.N.: That is the most demanding job I have ever done in my 14years in this industry. It was so tasking. It was so so exhausting. You know I was – I don’t know if I can explain it to you and you will probably understand. We’re talking about you standing on this side and talking to an empty space, right? You have a different costume here and a different make-up. And then you have different gestures and different mannerisms.

    Now, you come back – on the same shot! You do not change the shot – you go change to the other guy, come back here and answer to everything this guy has said. And then you change back to that one… That scene probably takes you a whole day. The scene where the two characters are involved, it takes you like a whole day. So sometimes you have to take a break because it’s so so demanding. I doubt if I will ever play a twin again.

    S.O.: Someone said to me that you said in passing – and you just confirmed it now – that the role in “Dangerous Twins” is the most challenging thing you’ve ever done. Is it just because you had to transit from one character to another that makes it so challenging, or the range of the characters now?

    R.N.: The range of the characters themselves. Yeah, physically, it was quite exerting, but now I’m talking about the range of the characters because that way of course you show your ability, your versatility as an actor.

    S.O.: And you shot scenes in the UK for several weeks?

    R.N.: Yeah, we shot in different parts of the UK.

    S.O.: Then you shot in Nigeria too.

    R.N.: Yes.

    S.O.: This is the first time you’re working with Tade Ogidan. What are you taking away from the experience that’s different from what you’ve done with all the other people you have worked with?

    R.N.: I’m taking away another side of professionalism. Tade taught me a lot on set. He is a very very patient director. He is not in a hurry to achieve and get the best. That also goes to say that possibly, you can also say that he has the money to take his time. But even if he doesn’t have, he will still take his time. And that’s one attribute I’ve learnt. It’s better to be calm, take things easy and get the best than rush and then bring out some rubbish.

    S.O.: Wrapping up now Ramsey. There’s a lot of crossover work going on. People are doing Yoruba movies, doing this and that. I don’t know if you’ve done any. I’ve never seen you in any.

    R.N.: I’ve done a Yoruba movie. I was the first crossover actor from English to the Yoruba sector. And it was a tremendous success. I’ve been called several times after that, but because I saw that it was very successful, I now said to myself, its better for me to shoot my own Yoruba film and make the money instead of me making the money for all these producers. And so I refuse to do other Yoruba movies. That’s why.

    S.O.: This is your first time in the US?

    R.N.: Oh yes. My first time.

    S.O.: Have we treated you right? Have you had fun here so far?

    R.N.: (Laughing). Well, you could say I’ve had fun. I’m still trying to adapt to (US time) jet lag and all the rest of it, but I know I will adapt to it. It’s fun. America is not like Heaven like most people think in Nigeria. Its everywhere, you know. I’ve been around… I’ve been to some parts of the world and this is my first time in America and I could say America is just like one of those other countries I’ve been to. Nothing spectacular.

    S.O.: And the fans here… Are they any different from the fans in Nigeria? Are we crazier?

    R.N.: Well, yes. The fans in Nigeria are already used to me, so they don’t go “Aggghhhhh!” over me like that, you know (Laughing). The ones here are not used to me and they just see me in the movies and now they see me in life so I expect a reaction. It’s okay, yeah.

    S.O.: You have a wife?

    R.N.: I do.

    S.O.: What’s your wife’s name?

    R.N.: Emelia Philips-Nouah.

    S.O.: And you have a son? Daughter?

    R.N.: A son.

    S.O.: What’s his name?

    R.N.: Quincy Camil Nouah.

    S.O.: I know that information is going to break some hearts out there…

    R.N.: (Laughing). No, if I had the chance and if I had the money, I would actually marry all my fans. (More laughter).

    S.O.: Ramsey, just say anything you like to your fans out there in the international community. Remember that they are all over the world.

    R.N.: Oh yes. To all my fans, to all my loved ones out there, I wanna thank you. Like I’ve always said, without you, there is no Ramsey Nouah and that’s a fact, for real. I wanna tell you that you have to believe in something. When you believe in that thing, never give up on it, and that way, you will have a breakthrough. We all need a breakthrough in our lives. Everybody needs a breakthrough. Thank God for me, I have my breakthrough already. I know you will get yours if you just believe in it. Thanks and Shalom!

    S.O.: Thank you Ramsey.

    R.N.: You’re welcome Sola.

    ]]>, 12 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMT
    Stella Damasus

    Watch Stella Damasus-Aboderin In We are One

    I have interviewed many people in my time. I have had extensive conversations with the likes of Hayford Alile, Sunny Kuku, Raymond Dokpesi, Chinweizu…But I have never had the pleasure of interviewing someone as obviously unpretentious as Stella Damasus-Aboderin. The star of movies like DANGEROUS DESIRE and NEVER SAY GOODBYE, Stella has a passionate following among the lovers of Nigerian movies scattered around Africa and the African Diaspora.

    That is all the introduction you’re going to get. Read the rest. It is a joy...

    - Sola Osofisan

    Sola Osofisan: Stella, you are called Damasus by some, Damascus by others. For the record, tell us the correct name please.

    Stella Damasus-Aboderin: It’s Damasus. D-A-M-A-S-U-S. There’s no “c”.

    S.O.: I’m sure you must have grown tired of correcting people by now.

    S.D.A.: Oh, I just let them call me whatever. I’ve heard worse. I’ve heard “Damastockings”. I just let them call me whatever, but everybody knows they’re talking about me.

    S.O.: Damasus is an unusual name. What part of the country are you from?

    S.D.A.: I’m from Asaba, Delta State. Damasus was actually my grandfather’s first name. It’s a Greek name. The family name was actually Ojukwu, but when the war broke out, the Nigerian Civil War, a lot of Nigerian soldiers mistook my family for the real Ojukwu himself, so a lot of things happened to my family members until my grandfather came and said look, instead of them killing our people thinking we’re Biafrans, let’s just change our name, so we’re safe. That’s how the name became Damasus.

    S.O.: And it has remained the same ever since?

    S.D.A.: yeah.

    S.O.: Interesting. You grew up in Asaba or in Lagos?

    S.D.A.: I grew up in Benin City actually. I only lived in Asaba for about three years when my father was transferred from former ACB Bank in Benin to Asaba Branch.

    S.O.: So you did all of your schooling in Benin City?

    S.D.A.: Yes. But my JSS 3 to my final year in secondary school I did in Ibusa, in a private school in Ibusa about 15mins away from Asaba. But from the time I was born to that time, I did most of all my education in Benin.

    S.O.: In what way did your childhood prepare you for a career in the entertainment industry?

    S.D.A.: I think it was basically my mom. My mom used to be an opera singer. She used to be a stage actress. When we went to church together, she used to make me sing with the junior choir and all that. And then whenever we were in school and they wanted to do a school drama, she would tell me to go for it. Since I was in primary school, she was always there making sure that I did one drama piece or one song or something.

    And when I was growing up, they bought tapes of Boney M, Abba and she made me sing along and things like that. I would actually hold the electric kettle cord as my microphone and all that in front of a mirror. Ever since then, she just basically knew that I was going to do something in the entertainment world and she just kept encouraging me to do that.

    S.O.: That is also unusual. The typical parent in Nigeria would never encourage you to go into the entertainment business.

    Stella: (pix: Olaolu Afolabi)
    S.D.A.: Yeah. My mom’s case was different because she was in it. I had a problem actually (with my father) when I started acting because of the impression a lot of people had about actors. My mother was always supporting me and she was there telling him its not like this, have you forgotten how we met, though I was a banker but then I was doing my singing and acting on the side so let her do what she wants…

    And my parents are very liberal people, you know, so they let their children be who they want to be. It was easier for me because my mother was already an entertainer before I joined them.

    S.O.: Wow, you’re one of the lucky few.

    S.D.A.: Yeah.

    S.O.: It appears you did a lot more acting work in 2003 than any other year… What happened?

    S.D.A.: I honestly don’t know. I can’t say for sure. I just know that each one I did, people just kept calling me. I won’t lie to you, the money got better and bigger, so it was difficult for me to say no. As a fact, I used to say let me take time off for my kids or let me take time off for… Last year, it was just like a blow out. Everybody remembered that I was around. I also realized that the scripts that came my way were very good and they were characters that would project me more. So, I guess that’s why. But I can’t tell you why they wanted me all the time. I don’t know.

    S.O.: What kind of roles do you accept?

    S.D.A.: It has to be something that is based around me, something that makes me important, something that challenges me, something that will make me really work. I cannot just take a script, look at it and just go and talk. Something that will make me rehearse in my house, look at my mirror, have someone to read with me at home, something that will make people to be blessed, so every day and say please can we break down these scenes and let’s do a character analysis, something that moves me that I don’t really need to do anything artificial, something that will make me bring out the best from the bottom of my belly, you know… Something that will make me work like the one I’m doing right now… Its really making me sweat. Scripts that make sense. Scripts that will talk to you - as you’re reading it, you’re imagining it and you’re going through the motions with it, not just any story, you know? Stories that you can relate to, that you know that whenever people see it, they will remember you for doing one thing or the other… That’s it.

    S.O.: Which is the one you’re doing right now?

    S.D.A.: Dangerous Twins, the one with Tade Ogidan.

    S.O.: I know they shot a series of scenes in England. You’re not in the England sequences?

    S.D.A.: No no, I’m the wife of the other twin in Nigeria.

    S.O.: Dangerous Twins id promising to be an explosive thing.

    S.D.A.: Oh yes, oh yes it is. And then with the cast as well, it’s going to be fantastic. We have Sola Sobowale and Bimbo Akintola also in the movie. It’s going to be very nice.

    S.O.: And Ramsey Nouah?

    S.D.A.: Ramsey Nouah is a fantastic actor. He’s doing so well. In fact, I’m really really complimenting him. I do that every day because it’s not easy playing a twin. You wear one costume, play all the lines of one person, wear another costume of the other twin and start doing all the lines and remember what the other person said and how he dressed, and you know things like that. And he’s been doing it so well. I’m really really impressed with what I’m seeing.

    S.O.: What is it like, Stella, to have two talents? I’m talking about the singing and acting now. Do you get pulled to explore one more than the other?

    S.D.A.: Em… Maybe. I’ve been doing both together at the same time. I think I prefer it like that because I don’t want a situation where I would have to choose between the two. I manage my time very well. My husband and I, we have a band called Synergy, and we have a lot of shows. Private shows for weddings, launching and things like that. And then I do my movies as well, but if you ask me to choose between (two) of them, I will tell you I probably can’t because I love both of them and they complement each other. You know, now I’m being offered scripts to play as singer in a movie and I’m telling them the highest bidder will take it. If people are planning to use me as a professional singer… I have something that I perceive as being an edge over a lot of other because I can do – and I’m a dancer as well. So I combine all of these things to try and make me a perfect actress, you know… At least the best I can be.

    S.O.: You sing, you dance and you act?

    S.D.A.: Yes.

    S.O.: Interesting. So how did you sharpen all these skills Stella? At the professional level, did you have any special training or did you just start doing it? How did you get into it formally?

    S.D.A.: I’m a theatre arts graduate. I’ve been doing theatre arts for (long distance gabble). I’m doing a part-time course. And in these five years, I think I know a lot. As a theatre student, you must have (more long distance gabble). The acting, to be a theatre arts student, you have to go through different acting techniques, acting styles and people that have propounded a lot of theories about expression, movement, bodywork and things like that. So I guess I try to put a lot of that into practice whenever I do a movie or anything else because I try to translate what I have read into practicals – into motion. I read a lot of books. I love to read, so I try to educate myself… Each character I play, I try to talk slightly different from what I have done. I try to change my style of acting, my style of walking, things like that… I think its basically my education that really helped me. And then my husband used to do movies as well. He used to be an actor as well, and since he is more experienced than I am, he helped me out a lot when I was starting. I guess I do try to improve in everything that I do by reading more. I’m studying other foreign actors as well cos I have this artist that I like a lot – Cicely Tyson. I think she’s fantastic so I learn a lot from her.

    S.O.: Aside of Cicely, is there any other person you would call a role model?

    S.D.A.: Jack Nicholson. I love him as well. And I think they’re fantastic because I’ve seen them do these same roles and they’re so convincing. I mean Cicely Tyson played a role…She played the role when she was a very young girl and she grew up into a great grandmother and she was so fantastic because her voice changed, her style of acting changed, everything changed, so for someone to do that, it takes a lot of work and I respect it…

    S.O.: Are there roles for instance that you would not play?

    In Obaseki (Pix: Sola Osofisan)
    S.D.A.: I don’t think so. I think I can play every role because it’s my profession and if I play a very bad role or a loud role, it means I am doing it to correct something. The script has to be right. If I’m just going to play (for instance) a prostitute just for the sake of being a prostitute and it doesn’t make sense and the story is not centered around that particular person so she’s able to change at the end of the day and make people realize how bad it is, then I don’t think there’s any point in doing it. But if I’m playing roles like that where I have to really loud but at the end of the day there’s a message, a positive message, that’s going to be passed across, that people need for the ills of the society. Then I probably would do it. You have to learn different acting styles and techniques to be able to play things and make them convincing without being extremely vulgar or do things that are very extreme that people will frown at. There are ways of doing different things that I try to learn every day, so I don’t think I will shy away from any role. It just depends on the director I’m working with and how we can work together to bring it out without having to irritate people or be vulgar about it.

    S.O.: Let me ask you a vague question. What’s the most challenging thing that has ever happened to you?

    S.D.A.: Oh my God, what do I say? I think that it’s being a young wife. Because of who I am and what I do, its not easy, because in this part of the world, its not easy to keep your home intact because when you in-laws, you have families and then there are some things that you would probably not accept or take and because of the negative publicity we get and things like that… I think that’s my greatest challenge because sometimes they hit on us the females who are married and it takes a lot of work to try and repair the damage and also a lot of work to try and make sure that your spouse trusts you enough to stand by you and believe you… And also to be that wife that your in-laws expect you to be, no matter what, even if it breaking your back or killing yourself. I think its more challenging than any job or anything I have to do outside because if you regard something as the most important thing in your life, I think that is the think you fight hardest to keep intact. Its more difficult for an entertainer – an actress - to keep her home, especially when herself and her husband are very young and are going through a lot of things and trying to be adults and trying to be mature and trying to be role models and parents and all that. I think that’s basically my greatest challenge in life and I am determined to succeed. Really really determined.

    S.O.: You briefly addressed my next question in your last response. I was going to ask you what it is like to have the husband and wife in the entertainment industry? How does it impact on the home, the children and everything?

    S.D.A.: We have a way of doing it. We always make time out for the kids. We never abandon them. And we found out recently that whenever we have shows outside Lagos or outside the country, I find that I stay back so that he goes and I stay with the kids – or sometimes, if I have to travel on location or something, he stays in town. But if both of us have to go, then there must be a family member who will stay with them. And its not easy, you know. It’s not easy… That is where we fight the most… Because we work together, we don’t always agree on things. Of course we’re two different people. He’s a human being; he has different views and things like that. I’m a human being; I have my own set rules and principles, even though I try to do what the Bible says… You must submit to your husband. Of course I try to that, but at the same time, there are some things that I will need to stand on or grab on to and say no, this is how I want it and he may not like it and we fight a lot. But being in the entertainment world together is one of the most – in fact, I’m very lucky because even though we have our problems when we fight, we find that we always have something to talk about, something to bring us back together, you know… If there’s a problem in your house, and we have a show tomorrow, what are we wearing? Okay let’s do this and before you know it, we’re already talking. I have a movie… Okay, let’s read it together.

    And again, it’s easier for me to go, shoot, stay out late, come back and he understands because he’s into it as well. We basically try to help each other out and do our work, but he’s still the same person that says if you have to do this job, do it well. Don’t say because of me you will not do it to the best of your ability.

    S.O.: Do you see your kids going into the entertainment business?

    S.D.A.: My first child, no. My second child, probably. I think she’s getting because she cannot stay in one place if she hears the slightest sound. She would stand up and dance or do something. My first child is more subdued. She’s more of a technical person. She like remote control, she likes cable, she likes phones… She doesn’t like toys actually. She doesn’t like things that are entertaining. She likes things that are very technical like the computer; she likes working with her father, things like that… So, I’m still watching them to see what will happen.

    S.O.: Synergy… You guys only perform in exclusive circles?

    S.D.A.: Yeah.

    S.O.: Is there any special reason behind that? Or is it the kind of music you play?

    S.D.A.: No, it’s not just the kind of music. We started out playing regular shows in places like Jazzville, Eko Hotel and places like that. But as you grow older and you expand your band, you find that you need to grow more because you find that in Lagos it is when you play private gigs that you’re respected more and you’re paid more. When you do regular shows at the Jazzvilles and Eko Hotels, they pay you just a little bit of money to get by. In everything you do, you try to expand and move up and earn more and gain more and be more recognized. I guess we moved up and people started accepting the fact you cannot just come and see us every week. We are only at exclusive places where you must have really paid well for and things like that. Its not just the kind of music, cos my band, we do copyright songs most of the time, apart from our own songs. We play highlife, we play funk, we play disco, we play oldies, we play all sorts of music. We even play at traditional weddings. We’ve played at a Nikkai before. We’ve played at even Owambe. We have different people in the band that specialize in different types of music, different genres of music.

    S.O.: Sounds like you guys are having a lot of fun.

    S.D.A.: Well, we’re trying. It’s been a lot of years of hard work, but we’re getting there.

    S.O.: Did you know your husband before you started acting?

    S.D.A.: No. I started acting… I’d done two movies before I met my husband. I’d done… My first major movie was really my breakthrough. The name of the movie was actually Breaking Point and that’s how he recognized me the first time he saw me. So I was already in the movie industry before we started dating.

    S.O.: And he did not know you could sing when you met?

    S.D.A.: The first day we met, I actually grabbed his microphone. I went to Jazzville (with) one of my friends. And he was on stage with his sister and his sister’s husband. I got on stage, I was carried away… I loved the song they were doing. I got on stage, grabbed his microphone and started singing with them. And at the end of the night he came to me and said look, I like your voice. I hope to set up my own band. Are you interested? And I said why not? So, we started working together. The first time he saw me, he knew who I was. That’s how come he let me take his microphone like that on stage. By the time he heard me sing, he saw another side of me and he liked it. That is the side he prefers. He prefers me as a singer because he says I’m a better singer than I’m an actress. He loves my acting but he believes that I’m a better singer than an actress.

    S.O.: So the poor guy saw you on stage and fell head over heels in love.


    S.D.A.: Well, I always tell him that, but he still tells me that I was the one that fell in love first. I’m not gonna argue because I actually tripped when I saw him.


    S.O.: How sweet. Jaiye (that’s your husband’s name, right?), I read somewhere that he composes in French, Spannish and in Yoruba and English. Where did the French and Spanish come from?

    S.D.A.: He studied languages. He’s French graduate and he lived in London for a long time so he did Spannish in London. He studied that and a little Italian as well. Then he came down to Nigeria and got into Unilag and he studied French, so he’s actually a French translator as well.

    S.O.: So are you picking up any of these languages?

    S.D.A.: Well, sometimes, when we’re in a place and he doesn’t want people to know what we’re talking about, there are some words in French that he has taught me, so when he says any words like that, I know what he’s talking about. I’m not very good with languages, but sometimes when he says things, he says something in it that makes it easier for me to understand what he’s saying. I didn’t pique interest early enough, so I guess that’s where my problem is. I can read French, but I might not understand what I’m saying. And then I can understand a little Spannish, but I don’t speak very well.

    S.O.: Your husband is obviously comfortable with you acting because he’s also in the entertainment business, so this rumor on the Internet that he wants you to quit acting is just a rumor?

    S.D.A.: I don’t know what they’re talking about. I have a husband who always tells me that he loves women that are hardworking and have a drive. He tells me if this is what you’re meant for, if you’re very popular because you’re an actress, (then) make the best of it while you’re young. He doesn’t stop me from doing what I like to do. Judging by the kind of negative publicity that I’ve got, the things that some people have written about me, if he wanted me to stop acting I would have stopped a long time ago, a long time ago… He believes in me. He has faith in me and he knows that I will go places if I work hard at what I’m doing. And he’s not one to stop your dreams or put a stop to your career because he feels or she’s my wife, she can’t be seen doing things like that. He wants me to really really be big and he encourages me, he helps me. So he has never told me to quit acting.

    S.O.: How does the acting part of you facilitate the musical part of you?

    S.D.A.: When it comes to music, my husband is more popular than I am. He’s the one that people know as a musician. He’s the one that they know as a family of music people because of his sister and the others. So his fame gets more job for us when it comes to the music aspect than my fame, because – don’t forget a lot of people still don’t know that I am a singer. It’s just recently that we released one of our videos that people got to know. So they know him as the musician. But when they see me performing with him, they say aha, that actress o, she sings.

    S.O.: A couple of questions from the members of my website, you’re a mother and working lady. How do you manage to remain so good looking?

    S.D.A.: I don’t know, really. It’s God. I don’t have any special routine and I’m not a designer freak. I probably don’t know the names of these facial or body things… I think I stay trim because I work round the clock. If I’m not shooting a movie, I’m going to school or I’m running Synergy or I’m running my African shop. I sell African things. I’m doing one thing or the other every given time. Whatever comes with it, I believe its God because I know I have good skin and I don’t do anything special to maintain anything. I just try to be very clean. I try to wash my face all the time. The products that I use are basically the Ginseng products and Vaseline. I don’t have any funny thing that I do in the morning. I’m sorry, I might not be of help on that because I think its all God.

    S.O.: Another question from the website: Rattlesnake 4, is it going to be released anytime soon? And are you still in it?

    S.D.A.: I’m still in the part 4, yes. But I don’t know when they’re going to release it. I have no idea. Amaka Igwe will be able to answer that question. I shot a lot of things and it is not all of them that came out in the part 3, so I’m thinking that they’re going to put all that in a part 4.

    S.O.: Okay. Can you tell us about your African shop?

    S.D.A.: Yes, Monafrique. I like to make things. I like to create things and design things. And I’m also someone that I don’t know how to buy gold or silver or diamond or things like that, but I like a lot of beads and I like African fabrics, so I just started traveling to Cotonou, Ghana, Lome, and I just buy fabrics from all these African countries, come back and design things – bags, table clothes, earrings, moccasins – you know things like that. But I found out that when I started wearing them, a lot of people liked them and they would come to me: How did you get this? And I’m like I made it. And they say instead of buying all these boutique clothes that they tell you buy one for 15 – 20,000 Naira, why don’t you make something simple for me, something nice, and make an African handbag that will go with the fabric. And I started making it for some of my friends. Before I knew it, a lot of orders started coming in and things like that. As I am now, I don’t even know how to satisfy all my customers because so many people have been calling me and I don’t know how many I can make at a time.

    S.O.: You’re having a very busy life. What’s a typical day like?

    S.D.A.: Frankly speaking, I don’t have a typical day. I know that from the time I wake up in the morning till about 10-11, I must make sure that in that space of time, I try to see my kids for at least one hour. The rest of the time, I’m either shooting a movie, I’m at the office working for Synergy or I’m designing one thing or the other for clients of Monafrique or I’m doing a write up for something I want to send on the ‘Net, because there are some people that sent me mail from London and tell me I want you to write this for this magazine or things like that… I work on my computer. I’m always busy. I always have one thing to do. And it’s not just about the money. I think I’m a very restless person. I can’t stay in one place a long time and I always want to do something to keep my mind working and keep busy. I buy a lot of books… I don’t have a routine life. I’m a very spontaneous person. I can wake up and say okay, I’m going to Ghana to buy fabrics.

    S.O.: The movie industry in Nigeria is growing and that is a good thing. But from all you have said so far, one can tell that if anything happens to the movie industry, you have so many other options, so many things you can do…

    S.D.A.: You can say that because I have a thousand and one other things that I do on the side, but believe me, if you asked me, deep down inside, I would tell you that the one that I really really really think I love most is the acting and that’s the movie industry. I really wouldn’t want anything to happen to it and I doubt if anything is going to happen to it cos I want to be part of it. Really really grow big and go international, you know… If you asked me to choose between acting and everything that I do, I probably will choose acting, although acting is the one that doesn’t guarantee a steady income per se. But it’s the one that I love most. At the same time, I get regular income from the other things that I do, more than the acting thing. The movie industry is very peculiar and I don’t like to slot myself in every movie, so I try to do one in like two months so people don’t get tired of seeing my face on every poster. So when I do that, you know the income is not going to be as regular as the next person who does movie after movie after movie.

    S.O.: What does the future hold for Stella the actress and Stella the singer?

    S.D.A.: Stella the actress and Stella the singer is really going to be big by the grace of God. I want to be a source of inspiration to everybody. I want to come to London and say I want to do a show and people will say Oh God, Stella is having a show, I must see the show. It’s not just about popularity. I want to be able to affect the life of people positively. I want to be able to affect the life of the youth. I still see me being someone who is looked up to, someone who does things just to better the community, the society and things like that. Of course I want to be rich. Believe me, I want to be rich. If not for my sake, at least for my children. I just want to go all over the world. I want to be remembered as that person who was really really really good. I just want to be a good person.

    S.O.: When you say you want to be rich, what is your definition of wealth? How much is rich?

    S.D.A.: I can’t tell you in numbers, but I know that wealth to me is being able to afford anything that I want. I’m not naturally a materialistic person. I’m not flashy, I’m not extravagant or anything. I’m very simple. Rich to me means I can sit down and a thousand and one people can come to me and say we need to pay school fees, I need this, I need that… I want to be able to say oh, take money. Do whatever you want with it as long as it makes you happy. I want to be able to take care of my parents. I want to be able to take care of my cousins. I want to be able to spoil my kids. I want to be able to tell my husband happy birthday and give him the key to a car that he has been dreaming about or talking about, you know? Things like that. I want to be able to surprise my sister and tell them I’m giving you – your husband and your children – an all expense paid trip to Hollywood or Disneyland or something. I just really want to make people happy. I like to be happy and I like people around me to be happy, that’s it.

    S.O.: Stella, I try to give every star I interview a chance to react to stories in the media or anything that’s been written or said about them that they feel is untrue and they want to give their own side of the story. Is there anything that has been written about you that you would like to react to?

    S.D.A.: I don’t really like to respond to such things because my life will definitely go on. People won’t think about me every day. I got tired or trying to defend myself. Like a few weeks ago, there was (a publication) that came out that said that on the 11th of December (2003), I was at the Bar Beach and I was making out with Richard Mofe-Danijo. And I thought that was so crazy because it was on the front page and they gave date and time. That date that they gave, my husband was with me at the beach. He was there with the driver and (lost in phone static). They needed to fly to Abuja and he called me and asked me where are you? And I’m like, I’m shooting at the beach o. Will you come? And he said no problem. And he came there. On that particular day, I was there with all our friends and I didn’t enter this particular car that they were talking about and you know there were a lot of people on set. You had the director, you had the cameraman, you had the technical crew, you had the other artistes on set. …Where was the town that we did whatever they said we did? My lawyer wrote them a letter demanding a retraction or we would take them to court and I just turned to the lawyer and said how many do you want to fight? After that one, other magazines picked up on it and started writing rubbish. And people just expected me to break down or cry or things like that. Eventually we got home and laughed over it because it was so crazy that the day they decided to pick was the same day that my husband was with me all through. People will always talk about. Be good. Be bad. They will still talk about you. And it looks like they need me to sell their magazine, well fine, if they think that I’m that important. All I just say is that I’m glad that the people that matter most to me know who I am and they’re always supportive, they’re always behind me. Things will come, temptation will come, the devil will try to use people to bring you down and destroy you. If you’re a child of God, as long as your conscience is clear and you know that God sees all, just put everything in the hands of God. As long as your husband needs you and knows that whatever it is, you’re in it together, and he supports you, I don’t need any other person to vouch for me or anything. Because it will continue, not matter what I do or what I say or how many court sessions I go for. They will still write whatever they want to write. You can’t kill them and you can’t stop them. I think it will be easier moving on.

    And believe me, since that publication came out, I’ve been twice a popular as I ever was. Nowadays, people are coming to me wit scripts, with jobs… I’ve had people from London telling me they want me to be their representative, they want me to provide local programs for them. I’ve had people telling me I want you to be my editor in chief, I want to start an entertainment magazine. You know people said they read about this thing and everybody wanted to know who Stella was. And when they met me, its like ok I want to do something with you actively. So it actually opened doors for me that I didn’t expect. So I’m like okay God, if this is the way this has turned out, I’m grateful.

    Sola Osofisan: Thank you very much Stella.

    ]]>, 12 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMT
    Charles OkaforBackground
    My name is Charles Ezechukwu Okafor. I was born on the 23rd of July, 1960. I hail from Umuleri, Anambra State. I am the fourth in a family of six. I attended Araromi Primary School One, Olodi Apapa, Lagos after which I proceeded to St. Gregory College, Ikoyi. I read Theatre Arts at the University of Port-Harcourt and graduated with a Second Class Upper degree in 1993. After that, I proceeded to the University of Lagos to pursue a masters degree in Political Science and International Relations. I worked briefly with the Security and Exchange Commission, following the completion of my national youth service. After spending six years in S.E.C., I resigned voluntarily and went into full time acting.

    Journey into acting

    (Hmmn…) You see, acting is a tiny compartment of a larger world of art. So, I tried not to be pigeon holed into acting. I ‘d rather prefer you asked me what motivated me towards the arts to which acting belongs. Art is an innate sensibility. In other words, we are configured by God that creates and builds the sensibility of the artistic. We are born with a talent inside of us. So if you ask me, I will actually say that I was born with the talent. But if you talk about professional acting, I have been in this for over a decade and two years.

    Who led me into acting?

    It is very unfortunate that people have that impression that they are led into the arts. I hold a different view. My position is, however, predicated on the fact that for one to be a success from whatever venture, he/she must easily identify the divine propelling force. Such an individual must ask himself, Where is he being led? Has God created him to be in this or that? So, my involvement in acting has been divinely inspired. I could see some people who are role models but I made up mind to become an artiste long before they began to influence me. It might be a complex thing to understand but I will break it down. I remembered that when I was young, I was told by my uncle that I will gather children and tell them stories. I cannot remember when I did that because then I was very young. My Uncle would also tell me that he knew that I would end up a dramatist. I am a career actor and I see acting as an extension of social commentary and I am a social commentator. I am going to correct a cliché that somebody must be a link or a motivating factor. It is wrong. We seem to be giving the glory to man, whereas the glory is supposed to go to God. Actors are not made but born. That is why there are people who have been in the business of acting long before my father was born yet they did not make any success of it. Why? Because they did not decide, identify or determine if they were called. We are not all called to be actors and that is why I insist that I am a career actor and not an ordinary actor. As a career person you are focussed; you have your training; you have everything clearly defined and you want to build on it.
    Career is developmental. It is not like because someone burnt down my spare parts shop in Alaba, I should, therefore, end up in acting. There are many cases like that, and that is why mediocrity thrives in the industry. You might have spent 25 years in the acting industry only to discover in the 26th year that you are in the wrong profession. It is not all about the link but the fact that one has not identified his or her calling.

    First day on location?

    Beautiful! Exciting! Interesting! It was like when you have read for an examination, burnt the midnight oil and walked into the examination hall. One feels confident. So, for me it was a mixture of excitement and confidence because the opportunity came for me to practicalize all that I have learnt. You see, I featured in 142 stage plays from my first to my final year. Stage is the real thing. Television is a plastic thing as they say. I looked forward to when I was going to be on the tube but I played a lead role in Memorial Hospital, a soap opera, while I was still in the Security and Exchange Commission. After I have done all that, I looked forward to a time when I would join the movie industry.

    Nollywood is an ambitious drive; an ambition driven on a weak leg. Nollywood is a statement of the copycatism that is affecting every Nigerian which explains why we are finding it very difficult to penetrate Nollywood with quality works. For Nollywood to really come to stay, one must deal with the mediocrity in the system.

    I might have people whose works have inspired greater challenges in me, I prefer saying it that way. So, when I acted in an epic film titled Igodo, I actually put myself in the hue of Charles Elston when he was banished from the presence of Pharaoh. In chains, he walked out of the courtroom. If you noticed his strides, and the manner in which he walked, that was exactly what I did when I played the role of Agu in Igodo. The truth remains that there are acting styles that are recognised universally. As a graduate of Theatre Arts, I should identify with and reconcile the job with the universal principle of acting and also be judged on that principle.

    Movie that made me popular
    I must confess to you that it will be difficult to remember the first one. But I can give you a range of three, Journey Hell, Oracle, Obsession by Zeb Ejiro and Rituals. I think these were my very first movies.

    A millionaire actor?

    I am very comfortable by the grace of God. I won’t count myself among the rich and I won’t call myself a millionaire. But cumulatively, I have made a multiple of millions but I have never been paid a million naira for any job. I have never received a million for any job and it does not make sense to lie. When I read it, I laugh because we know the tricks that go underneath. People in their estimation or strategy give themselves publicity so that marketers would think that they are up there. But that is all false living. I know that I have never been paid a million naira for any job neither do I have a million naira in in my bank account.

    My absence from Nollywood.

    At a point, I stopped accepting acting roles because a time comes in one’s life that you have done quite a sizeable chunk of everything and you suddenly decide to be doing something different. What am I talking about? In 2000, I think this is the first time I am giving an exclusive revelation. In my outfit C&E Productions, on a particular night, I woke and asked myself what have I done? I was under the tutelage of late Professor Ola Rotimi. He was my teacher and in many ways, my mentor. I recalled one of those days when I was in my final year, we started talking about Aristotle’s poems and somewhere along the line, the discussion changed. At a point, he just told me, you have to take charge. He also said something that is very eternal and that is why we have to wipe off mediocrity from the industry. He said that creativity is elastic and that is why you can kill an actor if you ‘type’ him. There are people that you would see in 35 movies last year, it is the way you would have seen them in 2000. I decided to go beyond entertainment acting to what we call advocacy acting. Advocacy acting is about using the instrumentality of play nay methodology to advance the cause of conflict resolution in Africa and in the world. That was what brought about my advocacy movie entitled: Called by fire which I produced in Accra, Ghana. I took featured artistes from Nigeria, Ghana, Britain and Australia. The project received endorsement from Ghanaian government. It was a dream project in which I invested everything that I had.
    However, Enugu State governor, Chimaroke Nnamani, supported our cause with a million naira.

    Any plan to do another movie?

    Yes! The work we do are capital intense because it is advocacy-driven. When you are doing something beyond entertainment, there are messages couched in it, it is a research kind of work. If I want to talk on cancer of the liver, I will meet with experts not just gloss over the topic, it is like doing an indepth story.

    The synopsis?

    I can not! And that is not to say that I am scared of giving it to you but you see, the work have to go through four drafts before the final copy. Before the end of the year, I promise that I will be able to give it to you.

    Are you back to acting?

    I did not go on sabatical, I have always been in acting. I went to do serious work, Called by Fire (laughs). Beyond Called by Fire, I have done other works in the realm of acting. There are three Ghanaian projects which I was involved in.
    Marriage is a gift from God. The Bible says: “ He who findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtains favour from the Lord." Thank God for Jesus. I will be getting married next month.
    Can you tell us who she is?
    She is not an actress, that is all I can say for now. I need to respect her privacy and not divulge information that she might not like. She is a very good company, we found ourselves.

    How we met?

    Incidentally, she was in my premiere at the Muson Centre. I won’t say that it was love at first sight. I did not meet her at a singles forum as some would think. Even the singles forum is one of the lies of the devil to pull Christians down. We met and I think I liked what I saw, and I fell in love with her.
    Future actor turned preacher
    Every Christian is a potential preacher. As an actor, I am a preacher. It is just that everything I do now must glorify God.

    My vision and mission

    My mission is to distinguish myself within the environment, culturally, socially, historically. We can make a statement of conviction due to the talents God has deposited in us. That is why I quarrelled with the word, Nollywood. It’s a product of our subservience to other people’s culture. Visit Hollywood and see how things are going on, every department is handled by professionals.

    ]]>, 12 Apr 2006 00:00:00 GMT
    Osita Iheme, Chinedu IkediezeUntil 2002 when they had a chance meeting during an audition, neither Osita Iheme nor Chinedu Ikedieze knew he had a lookalike who equally shared his acting career and small physique.

    The two short but matured comedians had gone to a popular hotel in the heart of Enugu for audition only to start glaring at each other in the presence of other artistes.
    And like Luigi Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, the duo of Osita and Chinedu formed the centre of attraction during the audition.

    They in fact turned into living characters for the directors present, even as a smart producer shortly afterwards invented a script featuring the two with a title, Aki na Ukwa (Two Mischievous Kinds). The movie expectedly launched the two into the entertainment world and ever since then, they continued to rise with an increasing record of movies both locally and abroad.

    Recently, Daily Sun visited the actors at their Enugu home where they shared their experiences. Chinedu is a graduate of Mass Communication from the Institute of Management Technology (IMT), Enugu while Osita is currently a second year student of Mass Communication at Enugu State University. Although they have so much excelled in comedy, these talented actors now crave for more challenging roles, noting that mischief is not the only thing they dramatise:

    Chinedu (Aki)
    I was born into the family of Mr and Mrs. Michael Ikedieze Ogbonna. I hail from Iluoma Nzeakoli in Bende local government area in Abia State. After my primary and secondary education, I proceeded to IMT Enugu where I studied Mass Communication.
    Acting is a talent that God deposited in me right from the cradle. For example, during my secondary school days, I was a member of the Art and Dramatic Society. My greatest opportunity came in my first year (August, 1998) at IMT, where I met a friend whom I told about my desire to become an actor and to discover more about the Nigerian movie industry.
    I told him about my desire to be part of the industry and as God would have it, our discussion coincided with an audition slated somewhere the very next day. He promised to take me to the place and the following day, we went to the venue of the audition at a popular hotel on Ogui road in Enugu. The audition was for a movie titled Evil Men, One and Two and luckily for me, I got a role. That was exactly how I started and since then I have been actively involved in it.

    Role model
    The first time I watched Living in Bondage, I was so much inspired by Kenneth Okonkwo’s true to life acting. Although his role elicited so much hatred from members of the society, due to the terrible things he did to Merit his wife, something in me kept asking me, "how did this guy turn this make-believe to something close to reality than fiction?" I was really bothered for a long time and after a while, my admiration became a source of challenge, which made me to enhance my own acting skills. Other talented artistes who inspired me include Nnenna Nwabueze (who hails from my town and who played the role of Merit) and Andy Okonkwo

    Immediately I joined the industry, there were some artistes who paraded themselves as tin gods. Going for an audition then was like writing Cambridge examination. First we were asked many questions in the presence of big stars and we were bound to feel very intimidated.
    And after going through the rigours, one would be asked to call back in the evening or some other day for the names of lucky actors. Oftentimes, one would get a role in the crowd scene as a Waka-pass. This is all because one wanted to get involved. I remember the first time I took part in a movie, I went to town, telling all my friends to watch out for the movie because they would see my face in it.

    Sometimes too, while on location, one may have to continue shooting and due to spill-over from previous shots, you are told to go and come back later on another day. While doing this, one was spending so much on transportation and feeding, all for the meager artiste fee that would be paid.
    I had my major break in 2000 with The Last Burial. After the movie, I went to Port Harcourt and people wanted to literarily steal me. This was before Aki Nu Ukwa, which eventually brought me to limelight.

    Osita (Pawpaw)
    I hail from Mbaitoli Local Government area of Imo State.
    My parents are Mr Herbert Iheme and Mrs Augustina Iheme, I come from a family of five; four boys and a girl. I attended College Primary School in Abia State. I am presently studying Mass Communication at the Enugu State University. My role model in Nigeria is RMD and on the international scene, Al Pacino and Will Smith are my role models. I am working on my musical album, which would soon be rounded off in the studio. I am also into modeling and stage performances.

    The making of Aki Na Ukwa
    Recently, Prince Emeka Ani told me how the story came about and that he was supposed to have been the person to have produced and directed the movie but somewhere along the line, Amayo Uzor Phillips came in and convinced the Executive Producer that he could use as little as N700,000 to do the film and for that, Amayo got into it and I can recall that from time to time, whenever I see Amayo, he used to tell me that he had a story for me. He kept saying this to me until the movie Aki-Na-Ukwa brought us together and it was a huge success.
    How we met
    We met for the first time, about three weeks before the shooting of Aki Na Ukwa and I believe God ordained it. We met at Macdevous Hotels in Enugu a place where actors usually go to for auditions and other information. On the first day we set eyes on each other, it was so dramatic that every other person in the Hotel left what they came for and started looking at us. We felt the same way too and I think it was during that first meeting that a smart person thought about the concept that finally led to Aki Na Ukwa.

    For anyone to succeed in life, the person must make room for people to cheat on him here and there. Each time we remember how much we were each paid for Aki Na Ukwa, we felt cheated but we are also consoled by the fact that it was the same movie that paved the way for the success that we enjoy today

    Advice to younger artistes
    You have to be the best of what you are; what makes a man is self-control. A man must be dedicated to whatever he is doing, you must be ready to tolerate a lot of things because without all these, you are heading to nowhere. I remember those days, even as a student there were many times I had to sneak out from lectures to go and attend auditions – although I know exactly how to catch up with whatever I missed while away.
    Most often, when I was on campus, I usually buried my head in the library and also read ahead of my mates, knowing that there may be times that I would not have the time to come for my lectures. Despite all these sacrifices on my part, there were still many times that I will go out for auditions and come back empty handed. But despite the above, I did not give up, I persisted, I insisted on being part of Nollywood, I insisted on living above the frustrations. So I kept going from one audition to the other.

    We are just unique
    People don’t make fun of us because you know, we are just unique in our own way, we dress well, we are good looking and we go the extra mile to take care of ourselves so anywhere we go, people just want to be our friends. They come to us, "Edu, Osy how far now?" And even the producers and directors court us to their side. People jostle to have us come to their rooms. We have not forgotten and will never forget how much love we have received from such people.

    We cannot say that we are rich but we can confidently tell you that we are comfortable.

    New York Academy
    We wanted to make a successful switch over. Here in Nigeria, producers and marketers were complaining that our films are too many in the market and that people are complaining (although this is a way of bargaining) we do not want to be caught napping. So we took out time to go NYFA to prepare ourselves for a possible switch over to Hollywood. Why did we go to school if we cannot prepare ourselves for any unforeseeable circumstances. We resolved that we are not going to end up like other stars in the past that were used and dumped. So when our manager suggested that we should go to NYFA for a crash programme in acting, we accepted it. We are too mature to be tossed around so we decided to prepare for the rainy day even though our sun is shining right now.

    Two sides of a coin
    There is no way you can know a person by the appearance of the face. People are wicked, and the devil you hear of everyday, don’t be deceived, is a human being. We know that a lot of people have made moves to see how they can come into our midst and tear our friendship apart. They wish they can create enmity between us, but we believe that when God says yes, nobody can say no, because our coming together was destined by God and God made it at the appointed time.
    Aki: If this stardom had come when I was a student, it would have retarded my academic progress. But God in his infinite wisdom made it all to happen at His own appointed time and again the day I met Osita, I was already considering leaving the country, so God made everything to be possible at his own chosen time.
    Ukwa: Although I am still in school but by the grace of God, I am coping.

    How old
    We are in our 20s, let’s leave it like that.

    How producers arrested us
    In 2003, we were arrested by some producers at 1.00 a.m and detained at a Police Station here in Enugu till the following morning.
    What led to the whole problem was very simple. Producers would come to us with an offer and when we tell them that we already have jobs at hand, they would say that they wouldn’t mind to wait until we were free. So they made some advance payment as a kind of commitment fee. It was not that we refused to do the jobs. No, but in between the jobs, we had a show that was to take place intermittently for about five days in Ghana and you know the Ghanaians to an extent are more organised than us. We have been paid six months in advance before the show and we have signed all relevant contractual agreements.

    So, when some of them heard that we were travelling to Ghana, they teamed up to embarrass us. We pleaded with them that we are Nigerians; and that we were not running away. We were only going out for a few days. We also told them that when we return, we would do their jobs. These were the same people that begged us to take their deposit and that they would wait till it was their turn on our schedule. Before we traveled, we lost count of days and even the months. It just dawned on us one day and we asked, ‘is this September?’ And they said yes and I exclaimed, ‘God, we have a show in Ghana!’ So we called them and told them that ‘please, we were going to Ghana for a few days; when we return, we shall finish your movies.’ To our shock, they gathered themselves and accused us of trying to run away.
    They took us to the Police Station and at the end of the day, we spent the entire night at the station, they made us part with N900,000 as compensation. They insisted that their films have stayed for too long in our hands. They also claimed that the show we were going to in Ghana was going to fetch us N13million and for that they said we should pay them N3 million as compensation. It was our lawyer that negotiated for N900,000.

    On arrival, we did their job and there was none of them that paid us more than N300,000. If it were not because of the legal implications of our not going to Ghana, we would have insisted on not paying that money. It was a clear rip off. The films were Village Boys and Husband Wahala for Vaseco and Maurry’s Not by Height ‘1 and 2’. Solid’s movie was Big Daddy 1 and 2’ despite the fact that we did not sign for parts one and two in our contract agreement. A – Z’s own was Shine Your Eyes. It was strange that when they heard that we were going to Ghana, they all teamed up to see if they could stop us from going there. All these are now stories but we can never forget it because it keeps piercing our hearts. Although they did not ban us, you see sometimes they do all sorts of things and nobody is there to ban them or even caution them. They see themselves as the Alpha and Omega of the industry but it should not be so. We are all supposed to work like a team.

    Nigerian marketers
    You can imagine producers banning an artiste because according to them the artiste demanded for certain privileges when on location and that they don’t come for recording on time. I know that we are not Hollywood actors but for Christ sake, we are the very best in Africa and it is appalling that our marketers don’t value us. In South Africa and Europe, we are superstars. Outside Nigeria, some ladies do flung their breasts and beg us to sign autograph on them! When we went to Ghana, there were so many beautiful ladies carrying banners at the airport to welcome us; old men and women, children and top government functionaries. They all trooped out to welcome us. The same thing happened in Sierra Leone and USA (Virginia, where I went to spend time with my uncle after my studies).
    If we are paid about $8,000 here for a movie, it is really nothing. As far as we are concerned, what we receive in Nigeria as actors is among the poorest in the world, although we are not complaining. You see, when we go for shows outside this country, they pay us up between $20,000 and $30,000 for only some few minutes on stage or for a product endorsement. I mean, there is no way you can compare this with the peanuts we receive as Nollywood actors. We know that the Nigerian producers made us but it is better we all see it from the point of yam and oil. We made each other; it is a vice versa achievement.

    Instability in Nollywood
    The industry is somewhat shaky; most of the marketers are complaining that movies are not selling as they did some few months ago. We pity them but one way or the other they are the cause of the present state of the industry. You see, it may sound strange but the producers pirate one another’s movies and how do you expect the other person to make money from his work if his own is pirated by his colleagues? Besides, the distribution network is so poor. We have 36 states in Nigeria. Why should they restrict themselves to just Lagos, Onitsha and Aba.? They should open up to other major towns and even in other countries in Africa. Nobody can pirate them if they have outlets in many places and release their movies on the same day in all these cities. We have over one million video rental clubs in Nigeria. If the marketers get their acts right and make sure that each buys from them directly, they would make their money instantly.

    We are presently working on our website and the floating of our foundation. Presently, arrangements have reached advanced stage for us to take part in a Hollywood movie and we know that with God, all things are possible. If we can get into Hollywood, we hope to influence Hollywood producers to come and invest in Nollywood. We need to learn from Hollywood.

    Greatest regret
    (Aki) I think that was when I lost my grand mother and another time was when some producers arrested us. The incident was so painful. Imagine the humiliation, taking us to the police and detaining us there.

    (Aki) I am not married. Although I am in a serious relationship, I am not yet married. My marriage is only in the figment of a junk journalist’s imagination. They just want to write and sell their magazines. I have enough money to marry whenever I wish to and there is no way I would get married without letting the whole world know.

    ]]>, 19 Oct 2005 00:00:00 GMT
    Liz Benson on her new life at 40Her appearance in the television serial, Fortunes, in 1993 changed the course of her life. The TV soap brought her fame and fortune. At about the time of her spectacular rise to stardom, the Home Video as a medium of entertainment had become popular. Coming to movie prominence with Glamour Girls in 1994, Liz Benson has appeared in so many home videos that her face is better known than that of any other actress. Some of the movies where she played the leading role include True Confessions, Shame, Yesterday, Evil Men 1 and 2, Trial, Pureman, Scores to Settle, Izaga, Chain Reaction, Sunset in Africa, Stolen Child, Burden and many more.

    A resolute and courageous lady, Liz lost her husband when she was in her mid-20 and unlike some women whose world would crash after the demise of their husband, she has faced life struggles and successfully raised the three children all alone as a single mother. She has
    made a huge name for herself in acting. In this revealing interview, which took place at the Kensington Hilton Hotel in Holland Park, West London, Liz Benson bares it all,from her life as an actress, a widower at a tender age, her children, her acting career, to the rumours about her true age.

    You have been away from acting for a while. Why?

    I have not really been away from acting. I am still there. What happened is just that I haven't been playing what will be termed as a lead role. I've been very busy. But once a year I try to do one film.

    Give a rough estimate of the movies you have starred in ?

    May be fifty and above.

    Can you let us into your production experience in Morountodun and Banking and You?

    Oh God! Morountodun I have found a sweet thing! It was a sweet experience. It's something I did for my association then, that's NANTAP- National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners. The experience was awesome. I played the role of Titubi. (She laughs) that was the lead and it had to do with the Agbekoya's, the warrior groups. I have done a lot of productions but that one was great.

    Talking about Banking and You, it was a finance programme I co- presented. It was another experience completely. The programme kept me in tune with the corporate world. It was a totally new experience for me.

    How was it when you started out in Fortune?

    The pilot episode was shot in 1990. And the first episode was aired (I think) on the 3rd of October 1993. It was very good.

    What about your first acting role?

    It was Circle of Doom. But I played just a minor role. It was produced by Paul Oke Ogunijofor, alias Paul O who acted in Living in Bondage.
    After that came Glamour Girls, which was the first major home video thing I did. That was in 1994.

    How and when did you interest in acting begin?

    It began as a child. From a time I realised who I was and people can ask me: "who are you and I could answer Elizabeth '.

    That should be at what age?

    I am 39 now. You could imagine when that would be. May be when I was five year old.

    What is the highest money you've ever been paid as an actress?

    I don't think I want to discuss that?

    Do you derive fulfillment in acting?

    Oh! Greatly. Yes, I do or else some of us wouldn't be in it.

    Why are we not seeing your face frequently in movies anymore?

    Because it gets to a certain stage in ones life you need to take a break, take stock, recoup and refocus.

    Would you take off your clothes in front of a camera and what would it take?


    Genevieve Nnaji seems to be the hottest things in the Nigerian movie industry today.Do you feel threatened by her dominance?

    Oh no! She is a wonderful actress. Like I keep telling people when I came into the movie industry, I never felt threatened by anybody because there were people there. That was the notion a lot of people who are coming into the industry now need to get out of their head. The sky is actually large enough to contain as many stars as possible. Even if we don't have stars in Nigeria yet, she is one person that
    is good at what she does. She is just herself. And there are just few of us like that in the industry.

    You have done well for yourself:did you see yourself getting here when you set out?

    I saw myself beyond where I am now. If Nigeria were to be like Britain, Europe or America of course, you know what would have been happening by now.But with God's grace we are getting there gradually.

    What sacrifice did you have to make to get where you are today?

    For me everything has been perseverance and strong will to pursue what I believe in and where my interest lies.

    Have you bee sexually harassed or pressurised by a producer or director?
    No. When you know what you have and you believe in yourself I don't think you have to submit yourself to that. No I wasn't.

    What are the downsides and advantage of being a celebrity?

    Well, it brings you fame but fame without the finances is nothing and that is what happening in Nigeria. So you have to be very focussed to be able to gather the finances and make something out of it while the heat is still there. Of course we enjoy good and bad press. I think it all
    comes with the job. As you know everything in life comes with both the good and the bad.

    Apart from acting what else do you do?
    (She laughs) I used to be very active in business but a Iot of things changed so I am just watching at the moment.

    If you were to change a specific thing about yourself; what would it be?

    I don't trust people that easily: I don't make friends that easily, then I would want to change the way I try to reach out to people. My perception of civility is really not what a lot people view it to be. 1 would probably want to change that. So that when I get into a place and somebody is talking to me, I will know where to draw the line. I am very much into myself. But my job has made me to open up a lot more. 1 wish I can change that, that is, go back into myself and just be me.

    How do you like to dress ?

    Mine comes with mood. With colours 1 am very subtle. I am not a loud person. When it comes to dress, 1 like casuals a lot because they make me very comfortable. I could go for a formal dinner in the State House in my Jeans and T -Shirt, if I had my way.

    What do you do when you are off set?
    I take a walk.

    How do you feel about bad press?

    It hit me hard sometimes ago. Like 1 said earlier on, you just have to live with certain things. That is one of the things 1 have to live with in the industry l am in, I have taken it that for those who know me, my family and those who call themselves my friends, they know me better and they can draw the line about what is written about me.

    What was ever written about you personally that hurt you most?
    I think it is the perception about my age. The first time that I was hit by bad press was when they wrote that I was 36 and was dating someone who was 26. That wasn't correct at all. The guy was in his 30s and I was in my 30s as well. That was long time ago.

    Who was the guy?
    Abbey, he used to be a musician. 1 think this misconception about my age has to do with the role played. I remembered that in True Confession I played the role of an elderly woman. But it seems they forget that I also played a young woman in roles. There are so many things that have been written about me that are untrue, about pregnancy, about marriage. 1 think a lot of people just open their mouth and say things that are not true. There was once a story about my being dead. And of course I wasn't dead.I am still alive, 1 think it is better to clarify things before going to the press.

    Take the robbery incident that happened sometimes ago.1 was taking my mother to the church, when it happened. People were there and the police recorded it. But surprisingly a national newspaper came up that 1 was coming from a party. Yes, I could have been coming from a party, but this day I wasn't. This is something that happened on a Sunday morning in Apapa between 8.00am. What the reporter needed to do was go to the police station and get the fact. That report gave people different view and perception about what happened. I felt really bad about the report.

    Did you ever perform any secret marriage with Greg (real name Mike Nwankoni) as it was once reported?
    I never did. At this age I want to believe that if l should get married it wouldn't be a hidden affair. There was nothing like that.

    How best can you describe yourself?
    Crazy! I am crazy. I know a lot of people will be wondering what she means by that. I am just me. I get very upset. I can be very temperamental. I think I have been able to sort that out. My mother told me that you should talk more when you are upset. Talk to people about it instead of bottling it up. Before, I could bottle it up and just avoid the person and continue with my life. These days I open up more. I think I am a very friendly person. But because of the job I do some people feel threatened by my presence. So you've got to warm up to me first or else you will find me as cold as ice.

    Away from acting, how do you relax?
    I like travelling. So I travel a lot because it is when I travel that I have time to relax. I also go to the beach and stay in water. For me, staying in the water is like a therapy. When my children are around, I like to cook. I enjoy reading. I do a lot of films and barely have the time to watch them but whenever I can, I watch one or two our movies.

    Who are your close friends in acting?
    I have none except Rosemary Ingbi.

    What has been the most challenging period of your life?

    I have many.1 view myself as a single parent. And there are times even after so many years I could wish that I have my late husband around, especially when I need to make decisions about the children. To be honest, it is difficult and challenging. Trying to bring my children up single-handedly is the most challenging period of my life. Every other things that happened to me apart from my children I just take it as part of life.

    How was it then when you became a widow in your mid 20s after the death of your husband,Samuel Gabriel Etim?

    You know when you are young you really don t know the weight of certain things. You can't comprehend certain situations you find yourself You just try to carry on with the reality. It is normal to cry. It's normal to be cheated by in-laws, its normal for people to want to take advantage of you, but there again if you were brought up to be independent like I was, you stand on your feet and say no, my kids are going to be where I am. And you can do anything you want to do for them through me. I knew the person I was married to could help any and everybody. He was a very open- minded person. With that I know he loved his children so much and he loved me equally. That gave me the strength to go on and go through every thing and be there for the children.

    How are the children doing now?Is it true that Roseline will be pursuing her university education in UK?

    Yes, Roseline will be studying law at the University of Essex and the other two are in school at the Republic of Benin.I feel feel wonderful about the children. They have been fantastic. Excellent I must say. I don't have any regret at all. I will go to any length I to make sure that they whatever they want in terms of education.

    How come you never remarried after the death of your husband?
    Marriage is not something I want to play with. I respect the institution very much. And I don't want to rush into any. I had a fantastic relationship with my late husband and I don't know how I would have handled it. Moreso, the children have been uppermost in my mind. So I just don't want to gamble. The man will want attention, likewise the children. But my children come first before anything.

    Are you fulfilled as an actress?

    Yes I am.

    And as a mother?

    Very much

    Are you in any relationship?

    Yes l am.

    Who is he?

    Very personal.

    You are 39 but it seems you are only in your late 20s,what is the secret of your looking young?
    It is God's grace.I exercise a lot.Without exercise I probably would have been three times this size.I exercise not because of my weight but to keep fit.I have a trainer and I jog round the estate three times a week very early in the morning.My trainer wakes me up at 6 am.

    You will be 40 in April,what are you doing for your birthday?

    I don't know yet.

    ]]>, 19 May 2005 00:00:00 GMT
    Chico Ejiro: Agric-Economist turned Movie Director, 19 May 2005 00:00:00 GMTPhotos: Omotola Jolade Ekeinde, 12 May 2005 00:00:00 GMTModupe Ozien Ozolua, 08 May 2005 00:00:00 GMT‘Omotola, you are our long, lost daughter’, 01 May 2005 00:00:00 GMTGames women playOnce again, I must apologize for my inconsistency in sustaining this diary column. It all boils down to my busy acting schedule. I must confess it hurts me each time I am not able to fulfill my part of this covenant of writing every week and connecting with my fans through this medium.
    For quite some time now, I have been away from Lagos. I am writing this diary from Asaba where I am shooting two explosive films. Yes, explosive. And I mean every word of it. They are two films set to take the nation by storm. Don’t start telling me: "They have come again o. Na so-so promise." Take my word that these two films are blockbusters.

    I know you are wondering what are the titles of the movie. Wait a minute. I would tell you. But it is worth noting that producers are secretive about hastily naming the titles of their forthcoming movies. Producers keep their titles secret for fear of it being stolen from them.

    As an actor or actress, you could be starring in a movie and you don’t even know the title of the movie. The producers would keep it in wraps from everybody. The producers would keep it secret. If you leak your title, someone else can stage a coup on you and take the title from you.

    Long after I acted in a film and even forgotten about it, I could be driving along the street and see my face on a poster with the title of the film supplied. And I start dreaming and asking myself: When did I get involved in this project?

    Most films I am involved in, I don’t usually know the title until it is out in the market and noise is being made about it and they mention Omotola on television or radio advert on the film.

    But these films acted in Asaba, I know their title and I can boldly announce them without incurring the anger of the producers. The movie titles are: Games Women Play (GMP) and Masterstroke. These movies parade powerful casts and beautiful scripts. We hope you’ll love them.

    Games Women Play features three of the so-called G-Five. The three G-Fives are namely: Omotola, Stella Damascus and Genevieve. And there are three deep role interpreters namely: Zack Orji, Bob Manuel and newest entrant Desmond Elliot. Getting excited already?

    Masterstroke parades powerful method actors: Justus Esiri, Alex Osifo, Gloria Young, Bob Manuel and my humble self, Omo-T. Waoh! And Asaba played host to all these stars. Can you imagine how our presence transformed this quiet town?

    I personally found Asaba quiet and void of activities, save for the Grand Hotel where we lodged. Let me seize this opportunity to thank the wonderful staff of the hotel who made sure that there was no dull moment for us. I thank Lizzy especially. She was just a fantastic hostess.
    We did not quite feel the warmth of government during our stay in Asaba unlike other states we visited. Like when we visited Enugu and Calabar.
    In all, Asaba is not a bad place to visit. It is a nice place to bring your family for relaxation. The people are warm. And there are beautiful hotels to accommodate you.

    To go to Asaba, you have to hit the road. There is no airport yet there. From Lagos, I went through Benin and the whole thing takes between three to four hours, depending on your speed. As soon as I got to Asaba, I was rushed to hospital, cause I was so ill. I was taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Asaba.

    And there to attend to me was Dr. Mike Modebe and his staff who were very ecstatic to see me even in my condition and couldn’t resist the urge to touch me. In my pain, they pumped me with volleys of injection. Enough to last me a lifetime. The doctor and his staff later confessed to me that they are my fans. Wow! What a way to show their love!

    I love you all. Let me also thank the staff of Asabana Hotel. I love them all. On June 9, I was on board the plane via Benin back to Lagos, a place I call Eko Ile. Once again, sorry for my inconsistency in keeping this column. I’ll try hard to meet up. Catch ya next week.

    By [ ]
    Saturday, July 3, 2004

    ]]>, 01 May 2005 00:00:00 GMT
    Its a woman’s world, 01 May 2005 00:00:00 GMTIs Hollywood ready for Genevieve?, 01 May 2005 00:00:00 GMTFace of Lux -Genevieve earns N20mThis is the best of times for sultry actress, Genevieve Nnaji. A global brand, Lux is now having her beautiful face on its wrappers. With her new status, the world stardom that Genevieve so much craves through the sliver screen may have just fallen on her lap, wrapped on a tablet of Lux.

    According to the Managing Director of CMC Connect, Mr Yomi Badejo-Okusanya, for the first time, a Nigerian has emerged as the new face of a global brand like Lux soap.

    He says: “Lux, a global brand is for women of passion and beauty. Having Genevieve, an actress as the new face of Lux is a challenge to the entertainment industry. It is a new dawn, a fresh start which will take the industry to the next level.”

    For Genevieve, it is an opportunity of a lifetime to model for a soap that is sold in over 100 countries of the world: “I thank God, my parents and the press for this great opportunity. I feel honoured to be selected as the new face of Lux. I am neither the best actress nor the most beautiful woman in Nigeria. I am representing not only Nigeria but also Africa. It’s a great responsibility. I promise to be a good ambassador.”

    Now, Genevieve has joined world acclaimed divas like Catherine Zeta Jones, Marylyn Monroe and Patti Boulaye whose pretty faces have graced the wrappers of Lux.

    But Genevieve has not only embraced international stardom, she has also hit fortune. Blockbuster learnt that the soap deal had fetched Genevieve a whopping N20 million

    ]]>, 01 May 2005 00:00:00 GMT
    Omotola J. Ekeinde: Biography of Omotola J. Ekeinde: complete with pictures

    Omotola J. Ekeinde

    NAME Omotola J. Ekeinde
    STATUS Married with four kids
    HUSBAND Capt. Matthew Ekeinde
    CHILDREN Princess, M.J, Meriah and Michael

    I am from a family of five (5); Mrs & Mrs Shola Jalade (both late) and two brothers Tayo and Bolaji Jalade. I attended Christland Nursery School, Opebi, Lagos and Oxford Children School Santos Layout. I then proceeded to Kaduna for my Secondary education at Command Secondary School. I am currently undertaking an HND course in Estate Management at Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos.

    I got married at the Ikeja registry on the 23rd, March 1996, then later had a beautiful white wedding on board a DASH 7 Aircraft flying from Lagos to Benin, on the 19th April, 2001.

    Besides acting, I also sing and have an album soon to be released. I feature as a writer for the Saturday?s SUN ( Omotola?s Diary). Occasionally I get involved in Social Services for women and the homes.

    -- --

    omotola movies




    "This is one of my favorite images"

    This is my column Where I play god and you are my subordinates. Sorry, what that means is that I will not hesitate to make my views felt in this page and of course it's mine so I'll say what I want. Dig? Any way don't get violent on me because I will be lenient but frank

    It is the page where I tell you the true situation of things against what's been written in the papers, both about myself and my other colleagues.
    To my Family:-
    What will I do without your support, never complaining always encouraging...I love you all
    sometimes sweet Sometimes bitter, but you have been there fore me when I needed you the most, and sincerely I appreciate you. I wouldn't be here without your help.
    My Fans:-
    What can I say about you guys?. You have made me a better person and I strive to please you all the time. I love You.

    Culled from:

    --]]>, 13 Feb 2005 00:00:00 GMT
    Stephane OkerekeStephane Okereke She is one of the newest actresses who has emerged as one of the best in the movie industry. This chocolate-skinned star actress won the Best Actress Of The Year Award and Best English Actress of the year 2003 of Reel Awards. A graduate of English from the University of Calabar, she is endowed with a nice height and sexy figure that draw stares. No wonder, she was the 1st runner-up in the 2001 Most Beautiful Girl In Nigeria pageant. Very emotional, she is said be at her best when her story lines are centred on love.She drives a Toyota sports car and a convertible Golf.

    ]]>, 11 Feb 2005 00:00:00 GMT
    Genevieve NnaijiGenevieve Nnaiji: She is rated today, as one of the best actresses in the Nigeria home video industry. She is also probably, the sexiest and one of the most beautiful actresses in the English movie genre.
    Genevieve Nnaiji

    She is rated today, as one of the best actresses in the Nigeria home video industry. She is also probably, the sexiest and one of the most beautiful actresses in the English movie genre. Although she swims in controversies every now and then, but that has not in anyway negatively affected her performance. This dark-complexioned star actress has been dominating the movie industry since 2001 and somehow,she has managed to sustain the tempo till date. Infact, any movie released without her face on it's jacket is accepted with skepticism. No doubt, acting has been good to her. She now powers a Rav 4 Jeep and lives in an eye-popping duplex at Victoria Garden City (VGC).

    ]]>, 11 Feb 2005 00:00:00 GMT
    Omotola Jolade EkeindeOmotola Jalade-Ekeinde: She is another actress who has proved that she is also one of the best around. She hit the limelight with her role in "Mortal Inheritance" years back and also proved her worth in Kingsley Ogoro's movie, "Prostitute", This mother of four is endowed with a good height and good figure. She drives a BMW with a personalised number plate, "Omotola 1" and a Chevrolet Jeep with a personalised number plate- "Omo Sexy ". She lives with her husband in their eye-popping mansion at Iba Estate.

    She is from a family of five (5); Mrs & Mrs Shola Jalade (both late) and two brothers Tayo and Bolaji Jalade. She attended Christland Nursery School, Opebi, Lagos and Oxford Children School Santos Layout. She then proceeded to Kaduna for her Secondary education at Command Secondary School. She is currently undertaking a HND course in Estate Management at Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, LagosOmotola Jolade Ekeinde

    Photo Gallery

    ]]>, 11 Feb 2005 00:00:00 GMT
    The rise 'n' rise of... OluchiNot only has she boost the face of Africa event, she has made New York based modelling agency's take keen interest in Nigeria in their source for leading models.

    Three years ago, Sunday Times tipped her off as being the new black hope on the catwalk, with her highrising profile she may be fufilling that prediction.

    Since her life turned into fairytale come-true four years ago, there has been no stopping for this young girl. Seeing her, you would almost believe she has been an uptown girl all her life. Indeed, this young girl has achieved a phenomenal success for her age.

    At 21, she has sashayed down the runway for some of the most prominent names in the world of fashion. Big names like; Gucci, Gian francofere, Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, Gap, DKNY, Victoria Secrets, Feregamo. Tommy Hilfiger, Channel, Jean Paul Gaultier,Gian Versace have hustled to have her do their campaigns in order to capture more attention for their designs. Oh yes, only the sleek svelte look of our dear girl can beef up those designs and give them the attention they deserve.

    Her whirlpool career only means one thing, this girl is making mega-bucks from her busy schedule. There never seems to be a low season for her, she is still very hot-hot-hot. If she is not being branded as the face of Gap today, she is being happy for Clinique.

    She is straddling her tall elegance for Banana republic these days, displaying outfits for the fashionable boutique on the pages of IN-Style magazine.

    Its not surprising to turn on your television sets these days and see her as guest to leading talk show host like Oprah winfrey.

    The elite model star has turned into a most sought after model and is being ranked with such big names like Naomi Campbell and Alek wek. Will she be another icon like Iman? Designers like Frank Osodi who have worked on the international scenes are willing to place their bet on it. He opines that, "as long as she keeps a clear head, and stays humble she will stay on top. Oluchi has a face that will withstand all the challenges of the catwalk , from her face you can get ten other faces, she has a face that can be transformed, you can change her looks to achieve whatever look you want to achieve, which is what the other face of Africa girl Bevinda Mundenge did not have. Oluchi has an enduring look that will see her through. " He confidently says.

    Today in Nigeria, young girls are aspiring to wear Oluchi's shoes, the reigning Miss World Agbani Darego had attest to her being one of her role model's. Indeed this youngster has made a mark not only in the international scene but in the hearts of the teenage girls in her country. She has proved that, it is indeed possible to rise to the top in a white dominated runway and her success has given hope to many young Nigerian girls.

    Despite her busy schedule, she is still very much a home girl. She sneaked back home last month to take a break from the catwalks. But, rebuffed every attempt for an interview, saying she was home to rest. Lets hope the soaring heights of her career has not gone to her head. The next moment she was on the catwalk again for the London and New York fashion week which took place barely three weeks after her visit in Nigeria. Must be a real tough job jetting across continents. From being a school girl in a surulere grammar school to being a paragon of elegance showcasing haute couture for Christian Lacroix and the likes. Without any doubt, our dear girl is a bonafide star for the new generation model. S-h-i-n-e on girl.

    ]]>, 11 Aug 2004 00:00:00 GMT