NOT many Nollywood buffs would deny her face. From movies to musicals, this actress in her late 30s has always been a face on the tube around these shores.
Termed to be one of the screen goddesses produced in the industry, Jummai Joseph cannot deny that she has been missing in action for sometime now.
With a new stature, which explains why she was absent from the movies, she declares, ”I am now a mother and I have just weaned my baby. I was away because of motherhood and I don‘t think there is need to make noise about a natural occurrence.”
She excitedly talks about motherhood – her baby, the weaning process and the fat acquired during pregnancy.
If you expect her to talk about her marriage like that, then you are wrong! She declines, saying, ”My husband or my marriage is no issues to be discussed on the pages of newspapers.
”Why should I talk about my husband? He is not an actor and has no business with movies. I‘d rather talk on me as Jummai Joseph and not anyone else.”
Remind her that most actresses who claim to be married have their spouses abroad, and is hers staying abroad too? She quickly retorts, ”I have said I would not talk about him.
”That is what the Nigerian press want; they would write about your life, marriage and about all that you did not do. I would rather talk about my career.”
Now fatter but still pretty, Joseph, who was a constant face in Nigerian movies, is also a producer.
Confessing to have lost count of the films she has featured in, the Igala, Kogi State born actress remembers,
”I have been in this industry for almost 13 years. Before now, it was not acceptable in most families to have a child who is an actress.
”They were termed as prostitutes and never-do-wells. Even the area where I come from, people frowned on it.
”Fortunately, I had a father who understood me and what I wanted to do. He encouraged me and whenever anyone criticised me, he would reply that those acting are other people‘ children, why wouldn‘t I act like them?
”He is a policeman and then we were living in Lagos. I can‘t remember my first film, but I had lots of encouragement from my family.”
Now resident in Abuja, the delectable actress confesses to have moved to the capital city two years ago.
She says, ”I am more comfortable here and I don‘t see why I have to be in Lagos. Lagos is rowdy; you can hardly shoot a film without stress which is unlikely in Abuja.
”That does not mean that I am not in Lagos to shoot films, I still do and was there recently with my crew to shoot a film. I think I have fallen in love with Abuja.”
Or could she have left Lagos to avoid the many scandals that would have been written about her?
”Do I have scandals?” she queries. ”I don‘t have skeletons in my cupboard and whatever scandals anyone had written in the past was to malign my image.
”I can beat my hands on my chest and declare that those scandals written were mischievous works of my detractors.
”I decided to move to Abuja for personal reasons and I have always been in Abuja anyway. When I was in school, I was staying with my uncle in Abuja and mind you, my father was also transferred here.”
Talking about scandals, she adds, ”The media would always look for what to write to sell their papers. Anyone is entitled to write whatever they want to write, I don‘t have any problems with that.
”Now, I am back and I want to concentrate on my works.”
Is that why Joseph will not talk about her spouse? ”He is not an actor and we met even before I came into the industry,” she replies.
”I would not want to say anything about him on the pages of newspapers. Can we talk on something else please?”
Then, she should talk about herself. ”I grew up in a barracks and I was living with my parents even when I was an actress,” she recollects with ease.
”My father is very strict and I only rented an apartment after he was transferred out of Lagos. I had a military training and I have always been a Daddy‘s girl.
”My father knows me and what I can do. That is why whenever scandals are written; my family would not believe it because they can predict what I can do.”
If Joseph could handle negative media properly, has she done that with men, who would desire her in their beds?
She says, ”I am now married and would not bother about any man chasing me about. I am married and I don‘t think any man should be interested in me.
”Even when some fans try to be nasty, I make it known to them that I am married and not available.
”Being tempted depends on individual principles. If you are not given to it, you would not do it.
”You ward off such men by telling them the truth about your marital status and politely declining any invitation. For goodness sake, I am married! What else am I looking for?”
Quite fashionable and bent on getting her figure back, Joseph says she is like any Hollywood star who will spend a fortune on her wardrobe.
”Though I dress as the occasion demands, I am more of a jeans person. I wear dresses for evening outings and native when required.
”Already, I am losing my fat because I have stopped breastfeeding and I am now back to work. An actress must keep in shape and look good always. I would not say if I am a designer freak or not, I think the basic thing is to look good always,” she says.
Any dream? ”I really want to be the best in every job I feature in because you are as good as your last job,” Joseph offers.
”I am coming back big but if another pregnancy comes, I would not mind. I looked so beautiful while pregnant that doctors advised me to take in immediately!”