Will be back to regular blogging next week but in the interim, here is the Saturday Interview. This week is from the Vanguard Newspaper.
Delectable Oge Okoye is one actress in Nollywood who seems to have got her act right. And her seven years experience in the movie industry has proven that her choice of acting as a career from childhood was not misplaced.
This ravishing beauty from Nnewi in Anambra State bares her mind on the tedious task of combining
marriage with her acting career. She also speaks on her marriage and the supportive role of her husband whom she says doesn’t care if she is being kissed on set. Here’s Oge for your weekend enjoyment. Read on:
How is life treating you?
Life is good. We thank God.
How are you combining marriage with your tedious career?
It has not been very easy but I thank God for everything. Combining work with marriage is not an easy thing at all, you know that marriage takes a lot and your work also takes a lot of time.
So the little time when I am not working, I take the time off to be with my family and I also have my good rest.
Especially with the absence of your husband, precisely, how do you joggle the situation when you have to go out to locations?
I have a nanny that comes in the morning and goes in the evening and I also have a house girl and a houseboy that are able to take care of my kid when I am not around. Besides, my baby is a very independent boy.
Any time I am not working, I try to spend a lot of time with my family because they are all I have got for now.
How long have you been acting and how did you get into it?
I started acting in 2001. I have always wanted to act even to the extent that I had to read Theatre Arts in school because that was just what I wanted to do. I have always wanted to see it become a reality.
It is like a dream come true. On how I started, I went for auditions and God so kind, I got a role although not a lead which gave me a lead role.
The title of my first movie was Caesar to Caesar and my first lead job was a popular comedy by Nkem Owoh titled The Spanner. But the film that actually brought me to limelight is Sister Mary and after that, I have done several other movies.
You have played the role of a campus hard babe in several movies. Are you really a hard babe back in your school years?
Not really. It was just the character I was given and for you to be able to make out something good, you have to be very good in whatever you do and going out there with what is really good for the whole world to see. If you tell me I am a bad girl, then I will give myself the credit that I did very well in the movie.
How do you prepare for your roles? How do you fit into the character?
I do a lot of reading and research each time I am given a script. I go through the internet and I also ask questions from my friends and colleagues on the character I am assigned to play so I will know how to interpret the role very well. I also try to put myself in the shoes of the character I am to play.
How do you feel when you watch yourself on set?
I feel good although I don’t have much time watching my movies. I barely have the time. I just put things into place and sometimes I come in between movies and I just watch. Most times I watch to see where I need to make adjustments and see ways of improving.
Have you had any embarrassing moments for playing a particular role in the movie?
Yes. In the movie, The Corporate Maid. I played the role of a house wife of someone who had to retire from the US and decided to employ a maid through an agency which was why the film was titled Corporate Maid. So the maid who was Mercy Johnson, is a lesbian and now seduces me into lesbianism in that film.
Some of my fans that watched the movie thought otherwise. I was at the Galleria one day when a girl just walked up to me and said that she likes my movies and then she came close to me and whispered in my ears, ‘Are you really a lesbian?’ I was so embarrassed because it was the first time someone would walk up to me and tell me a thing like that. I just told her that she should come in and I scrammed. I have never experienced a thing like that in my life.
What are some of the challenges you have been faced with on the job?
Not really much. Only that we should try and improve on our equipment. We don’t have much to give the world the solid movie that it needs. We need to have higher hands. Also the issue of being embarrassed once in a while for playing some certain roles is another challenge.
Does your hubby watch your movies?
He does not even watch Nigerian movies. He watches more of foreign movies unless may be when he sometimes stumbles into it while kids are watching it at home and he’s just like ‘okay let me watch’.
For how long have you been married?
For about three years now.
So how is marriage?
It has not been easy but marriage is an institution on its own. It is all about understanding, tolerance, and know when your spouse is angry and how to go about it. You also have to love and trust your spouse.
What is one good thing that marriage has done to you?
Marriage has given me a sense of focus and a sense of responsibility and it has made people accord me a level of respect. You know in our society, people believe that being an actress automatically means you are a whore but being married has made things different for me and has given me a sense of focus.
You no longer think of yourself alone, you think of taking care of your baby, your husband and then yourself. It is much of a responsibility now.
If reincarnation is real, would you still be an actress?
Yes. I will come back as an actress because I don’t have any regrets at all being an actress.
Being a beautiful woman, you must have fans, especially the male fans and admirers coming in droves not minding the fact that you are married. How do you handle this situation, especially with the very persistent ones?
That is really left to me. I have been handling it since I was single, otherwise there would have been a lot of scandals about me. But there are some very persistent ones and they can be real pain in the neck. I had to switch off most of my phones and left only one on.
The one you called me on. Some of them will call me at twelve midnight and I am like ‘excuse me, why are you calling me at this time, you know I am married’ and they will say ‘does your husband not know you are an actress and that you have fans?
They can call you at any time.’ Some stupid ones will just not want to understand. I have been trying to manage the situation the best way I can.
What is your husband’s opinion on your acting career? Is he supportive?
He has been very supportive. I think that may be because he does not want to come between me and my job or something because before he met me, I was an actress. He does not have anything against my acting.
How does he feel when he sees you being smooched or kissed on set?
He does not really care because he knows and understands that it is just a job.
There was a particular film I was shooting and he came to see me there on set. He was there while we were shooting, so after shooting, he was like ‘so is this the way you people do it?’ and I said that is it. So he knows that it is not just you and the person.
There are lots of people. But people don’t understand. When you see them in the movie, you just think, it is just the two people.
But it is not like that. I also don’t give him room for any suspicion and after all, is it not when you have time that you will engage yourself in silly things? I don’t have the time.
What is your vision for your career?
I really want to go farther than Nollywood. I want to take it further to the international level. God being by my side, I want to get to Hollywood or even Bollywood because there are good movies there as well.
I just want to go higher and by then, I would have had my kids and concentrate on myself and have a life of my own because even as a mother, you should have a life of your own and that is what I see in the next five years.
Is sexual harassment real in Nollywood?
I don’t know.
Have you been sexually harassed before?
Hell no, I have never been sexually harassed. When I was just starting, I always hear stories about some girls telling stories of how they were being harassed but funny enough, I have never come across it. It has never happened to me so I don’t know about the next party.
How would you rate the Nigerian movie industry?
We need to improve but I am not referring to the artistes because we are trying our best. For us to be able to give out what we are giving now, we are really trying. We need a medal for it because we don’t have much but the little we have, we make do with.
We want corporate bodies like the banks and top corporate organisations to come into the movie world.
The movie industry should not be a one man thing, they should be in it and the government should also help out.
Even some of these politicians, they come back to their houses and they watch movies with their wives and children. If we can get the necessary help, I think we will improve, I think we will get there.
Apart from acting, what else do you do?
Nothing else for now but I am planning on something quite on a low tone but it will be out very soon. It is just round the corner.
Would you describe your husband as being romantic?
Yes. He is a care-free person but very romantic.
What attracted you to him?
His real nature was my attraction for him because I am a girl that is so real. I hate fake lives. People that lie a lot, I don’t like them. I love real people who are sincere. That attracted me to him because he is a real person and very blunt in nature. He does not care whatever anybody thinks or feels about him.
He is just himself any day and that is the kind of person I am too.
But you will not see all of these qualities the very first time.
No, you would not see all of these the first time because it was not as if it was love at first sight thing.
I don’t believe in love at first sight. It was as time went on I saw the real person in him and the emotions started getting stronger by the day. That is just it.
Do you have any role model?
Internationally, I love Victoria Beckham and locally I love Joke Silva. I love her a lot and I have so much respect for her. I also love Liz Benson.
I was with her some few weeks ago in Calabar and I just can not do otherwise than to admire her. She is just like a big sister to me. I have been watching her in movies right from when I was very young, long before I ever dreamt of getting into the movie world.
Are you a designer freak?
I am, but I dress according to the occasion. I don’t overdress; I am just simple, classy and good looking.
Who are your designers?
Locally, I have Tiffany Ambers and internationally, I love Gucci bags because I am a freak for bags and shoes. But clothes depend on where I am going to. I am a simple dresser that deals in tops, shirts, or cool colour T-shirts or when I have an evening event, I wear my evening dresses.
What about perfumes?
I don’t have any one in particular. I do a mix up of perfumes because I hate it when I come and people will say oh this is the perfume she is wearing. So I just do a mix of perfumes so you cannot even make any fragrance of what I wear.
What about jewellery?
I like accessories. I can freak out for gold, but it also depends.
What is your favourite food?
My normal eba or semovita with vegetable soup because I love vegetable a lot.
What should your fans expect from you soon in terms of movies?
Some movies I did are yet to be out but they are going to be out soon. There was one where I played a Fulani girl because it is a Fulani movie that I shot in November.