What have you busied yourself with in the United Kingdom?
I have been very much involved in raising my family and I also went back to the university to further my education. I went back to study Psychology despite having a bachelor’s degree in Creative Arts.
Why did you choose to study Psychology?
I like to give back and since I have the skills, I wanted to do something that would benefit everybody. One of the things that I have noticed is that a lot of people, especially those in the ethnic minority are not well represented in the area of psychology, so helping people assess themselves in terms of their well-being is one of the things that I want to achieve.
How did you become an actress?
I started acting when I was young and it was Zik Zulu-Okafor and Alex Usifo, that made me venture into acting. He was already a part of the soap, Ripples and they needed somebody to play the role of Barbra Soky’s younger sister. People said that I looked like her and Alex Usifo, said the same thing to me at that time. We used to live on the same street in Surulere, Lagos in those days. He invited me for the audition where Fred Amata and Zeb Ejiro auditioned me. That was how I started my acting career in the early nineties.
What other roles came your way afterwards?
After my initial role in Ripples, the movie industry had started coming up and due to the fact many people had already seen me act, it was easy to get called for jobs. I think the first movie that I did was also the same one that Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde featured in.
Have you had challenges as an actress?
I am no longer in this environment because I don’t live in Nigeria anymore; I live abroad and I am doing something totally different. For many years, it was all about family ties; having children, raising them and learning on the job. Being that I am in another environment and I don’t have maids, I have taken a hands-on role as a mother. However, I am back to acting now. I have just completed work on a production with Tony Monjaro, called Nollywood Knocking.
You have been married for 11years, what has changed about you?
Just like every other thing in life, marriage is a learning process and mine is not an exception. I am learning as each day unfolds. Nothing has changed really.
How have you been able to sustain your marriage for this long in an industry where most actresses cannot keep their homes?
Can I pass that question? I don’t want to answer so I don’t want to go there.
You left Nollywood at the peak of your career, did you husband ask you to pull out of the industry or was it a personal choice?
I made my decision to leave the industry based on circumstances if I have to put it that way.
How did you meet your husband?
We met in London in 2003, I was in town for a show and that was how our paths crossed.
What has changed in the industry since you left Nigeria?
A lot has changed because there is more money in the industry now compared to when we were there, so I want to believe that artistes are better paid. There may be hiccups here and there but I think they are better paid.
Is it true that you advised women whose husbands beat them to tie up their men when they are asleep and retaliate?
I never said that. It was the handiwork of some overzealous blogger that I don’t even know. I put up something totally different on my Instagram page and it was just about a discussion that I had with someone. The person apparently had a rough time in her relationship and it wasn’t favourable at all, so she was now saying maybe if she had revenged during all the beatings, maybe things would have been okay. She added that her pastor said that if she sought a divorce, she is not allowed to marry any other person. Unfortunately, that blogger quoted me out of context. The post is still there on my Instagram page so anybody can go and verify. I never said that.
A number of people who read the post said it was a subtle way of telling your story…
Really? I am just hearing this for the first time, so I don’t even know what to say. I would want to pass on that as well because I don’t know what to say.
If you weren’t an actress, what other career would you have settled for?
I think I would have been a lawyer because I’ve always wanted to study Law. I don’t like any form of injustice and I always like to defend people’s good sides. I strongly believe that we are all good people, it is just certain situations and circumstances that make people veer off sometimes.
What are your dreams?
In the next 10 years, I see myself coming back home to hold seminars on well-being. The dream would be to encourage people and find ways to help them understand themselves better. They would have access to health information in whatever areas they seem to be struggling with. I hope to clarify myths about a lot of issues. For example, I always say, “Do not mix religion with common sense, if something is not working, check yourself and make some changes.’’ It is not everything that you would pray and pray about because I live in a society where there are Christians but the basic remains the basic and religion is religion, so you don’t mix the two. If you are looking for a certain kind of job or want to live a particular kind of lifestyle, you should be able to work for it and keep yourself up to the standard. Then, you can pray to also achieve your goals. You cannot stay at home praying for favour and you want to be a bank manager when you haven’t even stepped out to prove yourself. That is why most men of God have really confused a lot of people; they don’t know their left from their right. There is religion and there is science. They are two different things.
Who are your role models?
I don’t look up to anyone because studying Psychology has proved to me that what you see might not really be what it is. I might see you all dressed up, looking nice and thinking that you are all that when in fact you have a lot of demons on the inside. It is just like seeing a big man out there, you make him your mentor and somewhere along the line, you realise that he is a paedophile. I am always sceptical about who you say your role model is. As a Christian, I look up to God and I want to be who he has destined me to be. I am my own competition because I want to keep improving myself and be better than who I was yesterday. My role model is what I see in myself and what I want to be in the future.
What informs what you wear?
Simplicity is key for me, so I like to dress in a simple manner. I am not a magnificent fashionista. I am not into the wow effect that people try to create because where I live at the moment, nobody cares about what you are wearing. As long as my clothes fit and are comfortable, I am good to go.
How do you unwind when you are not working?
Is it possible to unwind with three children? It is not. Every spare time that I have, I play with them so they are always in my face. When I want to watch television for instance, they are there. For now, I really don’t think I unwind much other than stay with them.
Now that you are back in Nollywood, how do you plan on staying relevant in the industry, especially with the crop of talents on the scene now?
To be honest, there is no competition for me because you cannot be as short as I am and I cannot be as tall as another person. Each individual has his or her own set skills and how they deal with situations. The same is applicable to acting where each person’s interpretation is different. I think as individuals, we are our own competition.