Popular actress, Oge Okoye, is no doubt an embodiment of talent, intelligence and beauty, and has impressively made her name to the top list in Nollywood. The soft-spoken actress, in this interview with Adunola Fasuyi, speaks on her life, career and other issues..
I was born in London, I am the only child of my parents and from Imo State. I had my early schooling abroad and completed it in Nigeria. I had my secondary education and I’m a product of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University where I graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts. My growing up was fun. I am married, a mother of one and married to an international auto merchant, Duru. Having made excellence and commendable appearance in my second movie, Sister Mary, now I have lost count of the number of movies I have featured in.
Acting for you, was it by accident or design?
Though I studied Theatre Arts, I never wanted to take acting as a profession in life. It just happened. I actually accompanied a friend to a location to rehearse a role, then the produce saw me and encouraged me to try out a role. Since I have acted drama in school before, I took up the challenge and that was it. The producer said I acted well and I just brushed up. So, that was how it started.
Some of your works in Nollywood?
Some of the movies I featured in include Corporate Maid 1&2, Against My Blood 1&2, Angels Forever 1&2, Beyond Dreams 1&2, Crime Planner 1&2, Daytime Lovers 1&2, Last Offence 1&2, The Snake Girl 1&2, Total Crisis 1&2, Untapped Gold 1&2, Beyond Passion 1&2, Black Bra 1&2. Others are Desperate Love, Eagle's Bride 1&2, Emotional Battle 1&2, Face of Africa 1&2, The Girl Is Mine 1&2,trinity 1&2, Trouble Maker, Arsenal 1&2, Spanner 1,2&3 to mention but only a few.
What movies are you working on at the moment?
Well, at the moment, I should be travelling to Asaba, Delta State to continue with the new movie I am fixed to do. It’s yet to be titled but I can bet that the best of me is yet to come as the storyline of the movie is something a lot of lovers of Nollywood would applaud.
You seem to be a workaholic in this profession of yours, do you make out time to relax?
You are right. I am a very busy person, no doubt but in as much as I am busy, I still make out time to relax. I do relax anytime I am not working. Not that I am complaining anyway, when duty calls, you need to attend to its call. So at anytime it calls, I should be there. Though, I deal with life the way it comes, but anytime I am not working, I try to spend it with my boy. I mean my child, I try to spend all the time with him because I know I am not always there. You know, work takes me round the city all the time. When I need to relax, I relax in the comfort of my home with my little boy. We go shopping and we do some recreation together. Once in a while, I can take him out and probably see one or two friends around.
Your husband seems to be missing in your relaxation, why don’t you relax with him?
He’s not around for now, whenever he’s around, we are always together. He stays abroad attending to his business. We are one big family, whenever he’s in town, he, our baby and me, are inseparable.
How often do you see each other?
We should be taking our vacation next month; we are definitely going to be together soon.
When do you plan to have your second baby?
Hey! Adun, you shouldn’t ask about that common, I am not God. At the right time, God who has blessed us with one will also bless us with two, three…
Anything you won’t like to be caught doing?
Hmmn, I can’t be caught exchanging words with someone in the public. Even before I became a known face, I try to shy away from confrontation with people in public, not even now that I am a celebrity, it doesn’t speak good of me. I avoid embarrasement and anything that will belittle my personality in the public, I am very cautious of that.
Why do people think you’re a club freak?
I don’t understand what you mean by a club freak…does it mean I can’t unwind or what exactly do you mean?
Thy say you love to go to club without your husband and that you sometimes come back late at odd hours. As a responsible married lady and mother, how true is this?
I still can’t place their idea of me going to club. Club houses are meant to unwind and it’s not that it’s a bad thing going to clubs. In fact, saying I go to clubs all the time is baseless because I am not always in town and you know I am a very busy person; I am always busy at locations. But whenever I am around for like two or three days, I go to unwind with my family. Even if I have to go to club, it must be probably that a friend is celebrating something or there is a special event which I needed to attend.
How many movies have you shot so far?
I have lost count, seriously, I can’t even remember.
Which was the most challenging?
All my movies are very challenging and good, but the one that I put more than enough energy on was my second movie, entitled Sister Mary. It’s a thriller, a beautiful and painstaking work of art.
People say you snub when on movie locations, how true is this?
Very, very false. Location is meant to act and for business strictly and that’s what it should be for and that is exactly what I do there.
Your favourite food and drinks?
Semovita with Edikaikong and for my drinks, aside water, I love champagne and red wine.
Besides movie, is there any other thing you are working on?
Yeah, I am working on my fashion label. I have been on it for a while now and very soon, it’s going to be in the open.
Very soon, you will be the first to know.
How do you choose your friends?
I am not really good at making friends. I hate lies and any friend who is not trustworthy, I am not game with such friends. A true friend should always be there for you no matter how bad the situation, that’s what friends are for. So, I am really choosy with my friends.
How do you intend to stand out in Nollywood?
How I intend to step up my game is to come out with good movies and not just be on the set for every movie, good or bad. I intend to stand out for excellence and perfection. Right now, before I move into any set, I will look at the script very well and if I am comfortable with the story, I am in. You don’t expect me to show my face in any quack movie that may later have a bad effect on my personality when released into the market. By so doing, I entertain my fans in a way they will love to be entertained, so I try to keep my game up in the industry. One thing I know is that such wishy-washy movies will only degrade you and since I’m not in the industry just for money, I will be choosy about the films I feature in. If I had entered the industry because of money, I would probably be acting anything for huge amount of money. The purpose of shooting a movie is to teach people some moral lessons, something that will have positive impact on people, something very meaningful that they will make something useful out of it.
What has kept you going this long?
What has kept me on till date is because I am very versatile. Not only that, as a professional in the business, the nitty-gritty of the business is what I understand perfectly. My fans also are another factor that has kept me going on, their appreciation, attention and love for the roles I play and my person, all these are enough reason for me to still be relevant in the industry. Without my fans, there wouldn’t have been me and the fact that they enjoy what I do and I also on the other hand enjoy acting, has all given me the course to play on, forge on in spite of any distractions or challenges. I keep going and keep pressing on because of my fans and my passion for the career.
How would you rate Nollywood vis-à-vis quality of production?
We’re getting there. I don’t believe we’re there yet because we still have some people bringing out some craps as movies. But, if we have to rate the industry, for now, I think we are a little bit above the average.
What is causing derail in progress in the industry?
Piracy, mediocrity and lack of finance are the axes that have cut down the considerable progress in the industry. If corporate and government establishment could form an alliance and support the industry, the better for us and the nation at large because entertainment and Nollywood is a goldmine for government, great revenue can be generated from the industry only if the infrastructure is there and government sincerely helps to curb piracy to the barest minimum. Just take a look at these telecommunication outfits that have now shown interest in our people, anointing them as ambassadors. It’s a good thing and it will give the industry a face that every lover of the industry is craving for. Their gesture is a wonderful encouragement.
Word for your fans?
I love them all and I will keep on loving them and I can never stop because God has used them to make me, Oge Okoye.