Oge Okoye-Duru is a known face in the movie industry in Nigeria. But many would have noticed her absence from the movies for some time and she told ADUNOLA FASUYI that she took a break to deliver her baby, among other issues.
CAN you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in London and the only child of my parents. We hail from Imo State. I was pampered as a child but disciplined as well. I had my early education abroad and completed it in Nigeria. 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 a mother of two and married to an international auto merchant.
Why did you choose to have your baby in London?
I feel more at ease in London than any other country. Don’t forget that I was born there too. Besides, I want a better life for them.
Oh, so is it because of the citizenship thing?
Of course yes. I am British too. I just want a good life for them and also for them to be able to move around the world freely without hiccups. You know with their British citizenship, I believe they will have a better life.
Are you saying you don’t believe or have faith in Nigeria?
Oh, no please don’t get me wrong. I just know that the step I took for my kids on their nationality is the best for them. I know what I’m doing, honestly. Nigeria is a good country and there is hope of it becoming better but I have my reasons. My kids will all have British citizenship.
How do you feel now that you’re blessed with a boy and a girl?
I am so happy and thankful to almighty God for making me a complete woman. You know, the joy of every mother is to have a baby boy and a baby girl. Though, some parents love to attach importance to a particular gender, in our own case, we first had a boy and now a girl, we wouldn’t have wished for more. I feel so great.
How do you intend to cope with the pressure of raising two kids considering your career as an actress?
That’s not an issue at all. When I had my first baby, I got a lot of help from my mum and my domestic staff too. I never allowed the movie thing to affect the mother and child relationship between us.
I always come back early to make sure he was okay, though, my mum was around to look after him till he became a big boy. My children’s care can never suffer for my career, as much as the job is important, the home front is equally inevitable and must come first. I blend the two together perfectly such that none suffers for the other. So, having two kids cannot be an issue for me.
How soon do you intend to return to the screen?
I’m already back on the screen and in fact, better. Before I finally left the country for my ante-natal in London, I had more than nine scripts on my shelves. I was hoping I could do the movies before I left, but it wasn’t easy for me. Some of the movies have been shot now, while some producers insisted that I just have to come and play my role as soon as I deliver.
So, now that I have successfully delivered, I don’t have a choice than to hit the movie location as soon as possible. I returned to Nigeria in November and by December, I was back on location because I enjoy doing it and besides, many producers can’t wait to have me back on board. You know, movie to me is not about money, it’s more of a passion and fulfillment.
How many movies have you featured in since December?
More than 10. Right now, I’m also working on some others. In fact, I was on my way to work before you came in. So, I’m as busy as ever.
How many more kids do you wish to have?
The number of children I wish to have depends on the number of children God gives us. If He says 10, who am I to say no? Our God has the final answer to that.
How does Stanley feel about the development?
How else do you want him to feel? Happy of course! He’s extremely happy and can’t stop thanking God for taking us this far. He’s our pillar and refuge.
Was he by your side during labour?
That’s personal to me. My fans do not have to know if he was by my side or not, the fact remains that, he’s with me all the time, there shouldn’t be any special occasion, he’s with me all the times.
You are based in Nigeria while your hubby is in far away in Holland. Do you miss his presence and how often do you see or is it only when you want to make babies?
You are really funny with that question. Well, it is a fundamental question, so I will answer you. He is far away doing his business but we see regularly. I travel a lot to see him and he comes around too once in a while, so it is not only when we want to make babies that we see. Whenever I’m missing him, I travel to meet him and of course, we talk on phone regularly.
How will you describe your husband?
Oh, I am lucky and blessed with the best husband on earth. He is very loving and caring, a good friend at all times, understanding and God-fearing.
Can you tell us how you met?
I have said this before but I will say it again. My husband is from Imo State. He is Stanley Duru. I met him on a set while shooting in a club. The interesting thing is that at first, he thought I was a prostitute. According to him, he didn’t know we were shooting. When he saw me and what I was putting on, he was discouraged, but he told his friend, ah! look at this fine girl, I’m going to bring her out of this lifestyle and marry her. He thought I was a call girl, can you imagine that?
Then his friend told him I’m an actress and that we were shooting. They waited for us to finish shooting and one thing led to the other.
We exchanged phone numbers and that was it. Of course, I didn’t take him seriously then because it’s one thing to exchange phone numbers and it’s another thing to follow it up. I didn’t take him seriously at first, after all, people call my phone number every now and then, even those I don’t know how they got the number. He kept calling and after a while, I saw that he was serious and decided to give him a chance. And that was how it started and ended in marriage.
You seem to be a workaholic in this profession, do you make out time to relax?
You are right. I am a very busy person, no doubt, but 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 kids. I try to spend all the time with them 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 kids. We go shopping and we do some recreation together.
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? Club houses are meant to unwind and it’s not that it’s a bad thing going to clubs. I am a very busy person, so I don’t club often as people say, but once in a while, I do unwind at club houses with my friends. So, what’s the big deal there?
As a married woman and a responsible mother, moreso your hubby is not around, does your hubby feel comfortable with the clubbing habit?
As a matter of fact, whenever he is in town, we go clubbing together. He lives abroad and I grew up in London too, so we both have a better understanding of unwinding at clubs. When he is not around, I go with my friends. Of course, there are limits, and I don’t go beyond my limit, I am not an extremist on clubbing matters, I do things with moderation.
How many movies have you shot so far?
That is a serious one o. Honestly, I have lost count, I can’t even remember.
Which would you consider to be the most challenging?
All my movies are very challenging and good, but the one that I put more energy on was my second movie entitled: Sister Mary. It’s a thriller, a beautiful and painstaking work of art.
How true is the allegation that you are snobbish on location?
That is not true. I believe in professionalism, there is time for work and there is time to play. 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.
How far have you gone with your fashion label project?
Activities are in top gear. I hope to launch before the end of the year by God’s grace.
What trend will it take, will it be strictly feminine stuff or for both sexes?
Well for now, I plan to do just the feminine stuff, but with time, we might do men’s too, depending on the demand.
How do you intend to source for the fabrics, will it be imported or locally made?
Just wait till we launch, then you will see our stuff. But I can assure you, it will be world class quality.
How do you plan to raise your bar 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 onto 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.
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