Judith Opara Mazagwu, a.k.a Judy, is a multi-talented actress in the entertainment industry, both in Nigeria and America. The single mother of two girls, speaks with SEYI SOKOYA and SEGUN ADEBAYO, on love and other issues. Excerpts:
YOU are a woman of many talents, how have you been able to combine them without a clash?
Yes, it’s very easy for me to combine my talents without a clash because showbiz is the love of my life. You know, when you love something, you will find it easy to handle, no matter the ups and downs.
You are a Nigerian, why did you decide to stay away from home?
Who wouldn’t want to stay away from Nigeria? Though I heard a lot has changed since 2005 that I migrated to the USA, judging from that time, nearly all Nigerians would like to stay away if they have the opportunities to. Then, a lot of things were going wrong in Nigeria. This, and the fact that I had to join my ex-husband in the USA, were my main reasons.
How has it been staying outside the shores of Nigeria?
It’s been a lot of struggle. In other words, it is not as rosy as I thought it would be when I was back in Nigeria. Even though there is constant electricity supply, maximum security, abundant food and drinks, and welfare assistance from the government, among others, life over here is still not easy. If you have to live a good life here, you have to work hard for it and that’s just what I do everyday, I work hard.
How did you meet King George Models and how has the experience been?
I met King George models at a commercial photo shoot which I took my kids for a project. He introduced me into modeling and acting but I moved on when I got into the limelight, because he did not pay me for one of the commercial projects that I did for Nexoderm, which was supposed to be about N170,000. I haven’t heard from or about him since I left Nigeria. No matter what, I still appreciate him for introducing me to this amazing world of showbiz.
How would you assess Nigerian entertainment industry compared to what obtains in the United States of America?
I must tell you, we are nowhere close to them in terms of technology and other things but we will get there one day. Nevertheless, Nigerians are highly talented people, we only need to put our minds into it, take it as important, if these are done, we will overtake the rest of the world. I am speaking from experiences, from what I have seen on movie sets over here. We have original stories, natural talents who do not need to go to school to learn how to act, model or sing but they still come out at their best. A Nigerian producer/director can make a movie with his low cost equipment and low budget productions, within just two weeks and sometimes it comes out as good as what their American counterparts shoot with millions of dollars and take over six months to shoot.
There is no way to replace our entertainment industry with the ones overseas, it is what it is. So, I commend them for their efforts.
How much would it cost to feature you in a movie?
Wow! That's kind of hard for me to disclose but if you have a job for me, we can discuss that in pri-vate, I promise it won't cost much.
Have you featured in any movie?
Yes, I have featured in six Nollywood movies over here, one speaking role in Hollywood movie and countless background roles.
How many films have you done so far?
I have done over 40 movies.
When did the music thing start?
It started in 2008, when I woke up singing from my dreams. And the song was my first single “Somebody Help Me”
Why did you choose Afro as your kind of music?
Afro is the only kind of music that can get me on my feet. Especially now that I hate love songs and slow music, it has to be a dance music before you see me on the dance floor.
Was the clash with your husband responsible for the hatred for love songs?
Somehow, yes but not exactly. I hate love songs because they distract me from focusing on my career. I am too busy with my career now, to think about love and I always think falling in love will stop me from focusing on what I do.
What is the idea behind the concept ‘Ikebe na moni’?
The idea came from nowhere but when I sat down and thought about it, I realised I could empower the female folks by reminding them to utilise their natural endowments, to be submissive to their men and in return, they will be pampered and well taken care of. I found out that most ladies do not know the powers God has given to them and cannot make good use of them.
What is the cost of your new album?
Trust me, it's nothing much for now.
Why have you chosen to launch your album in Nigeria and not the US?
I chose Nigeria because my main fan base is in Nigeria and my fans want to see me, so I felt I should use the launching opportunity to meet them.
Since you rose to stardom what has been your regret?
I have no regrets at all. I am enjoying the attention and I give all the glory to God.
You like to wear tattoos, why?
I love to wear tattoos because they beautify the body. Tattoo has been an ongoing trend for ages, I remember my grandmother had some kind of writings on her body. Then, I grew up to see that it became a trend in modern day showbiz, you get more jobs if you have a tattoo.
What will be your cost to pose nude?
Well, it all depends on what the company in question is offering but I tell you, it will run into hundreds of thousands.
What is the secret behind your hot looks?
‘Na God o,’ He is the reason I am looking like this. I only drink socially, I don’t smoke except in the movies, I don’t ‘play rough,’ I exercise, eat healthy foods, maintain a free spirit and think positively.
How have you been coping as a single mother?
I have been coping by the grace of God, it’s not been easy but I am handling it.
How was your childhood days like?
I had a very peaceful and happy childhood, with hardworking, loving and caring parents.
What exactly led to your crashed marriage?
Honestly, I do not like to talk about my marriage and the crash. I have moved on with my life and I focus on my career, I don’t want to talk about my past. I guess the marriage was not meant to be.
How did your parents react when they knew you and your husband had part ways?
They were not happy and they tried to fix it.
Are you aware that your husband and Jim Iyke are friends?
I am not aware but you told me now.
What was Jim Iyke ‘s reactions when he got the news?
I don’t understand why you’re asking this. Jim Iyke is not supposed to react to the crash of my marriage. He is just a fellow actor, he is not my boyfriend.
Will you ever fall in love again?
Of course, I will fall in love again when I am ready and it has to be with someone special.
How will your kind of music affect Nigerians positively?
My kind of music will take the industry to a greater height, it’s an eye opener and it will also help to empower the female folks.
How are you convinced that your kind of music will be generally accepted my Nigerians?
I do not expect my music to be generally accepted because my kind of music is not meant for everyone. But I have various songs for various people, so it’s up to people to pick and choose the one they like.
What is your greatest challenge in life?
The struggles of raising my children as a single Mom, with no help from their father.
As a woman of multiple talents, would you say you have achieved your set goals?
Not at all, I am still struggling and hoping to achieve them soon
How do you unwind?
I hang out with friends, exercise and rest.
Your background in brief?
My name is Judith Opara Mazagwu; a.k.a Judy O. I was born into the family of Late Nze Ogadimma Opara and Agatha Opara of Ikeduru Local government area of Owerri, Imo state, Nigeria, on July 12, 1971. I am an actress, model, script and song writer, a performance artiste, an independent producer, a medical billing and coding specialist. I also have an associate degree in Office Administration. I am a trained fire guard/security officer, the Chief Executive Officer of the INVISIBLE TWINS PRODUCTIONS LLC. My people call me “Jack of All Trades.”