Her name may not readily ring a bell to most movie lovers, because she is not based in Nigeria, but not to the entire Nollywood members in London where she is a household name. Caroline Okorie has taken part in numerous theatre productions and educational documentaries which included the channel documentaries 'Get Rid of the Royals' and 'Sexy and Eloquent'. In this interview with Adunola Fasuyi, the international actress opens up on her life and other issues. Excerpts:
How would you describe your background?
Well, I'm a University of London graduate, where I studied Political Science, born in London ; I came from a loving Nigerian family from Oguta, Imo State, though originally from Arochukwu. I was raised with Christian values and with the understanding that with hardwork and perseverance, I can achieve anything and that in all things, enjoy life! That is what my folks tell me and with this belief, I keep myself happy.
Where did you grow up?
I actually grew up in the leafy suburbs of west London. I love green spaces, so I loved the area.
Did the environment you grew up influence you in any way?
The environment I grew up taught me how to be strong and have a thick skin, especially within the London city school environment, where you need to be strong and really learn how to stand your ground and know what you stand for.
The acting career you have chosen, was it by accident or design?
I think it chose me, and I am grateful for that because it is one of the most exciting, rewarding, yet challenging careers out there.
What would you personally consider your major achievement in life?
Every time I am on stage or performing, I consider it a major achievement, but personally, being seen as a trusted friend and adviser to young women in my community is a huge achievement for me.
Who is your kind of man?
A man that is Godfearing, ambitious, affectionate and hardworking.
Have you found this quality in any man?
Oh Yes! Of course.
So, when are you tying the knot?
Ha ha ha, now you are probing too much. But never mind, it would be done at the right time.
What other talents do you possess beside acting?
I love music, I love singing and anything performance related, i'm actually a great presenter. I also write, I will never forget when one of my short manuscripts was placed in the local library when I was a young girl in middle school. I felt really happy, you know how that feels when you know people out there are reading you, it feels great.
What is the next item on you agenda?
Well, I'm actually in South Africa at the moment doing some work, but with regard to my next step, let's just say that Nigeria will be hearing a lot more from me. Nigeria is my country, I promised they will hear from me soon. We will collaborate to lift Nollywood higher.
What are your regrets in life?
I actually have none, that's my rule. No regrets, be happy!
What would you have become if you have not been an actress?
Probably a broadcast journalist. I just love anything broadcast, anything that will project me and my values and help me impact a change for the better in my environment.
What is that thing you detest so much that you would not be caught doing?
Feeling sorry for myself. That is why I hate regrets. Try to do the right things always and you will be happy.
How do you cope with pressure from your numerous admirers?
You learn to deal with it, its not really pressure, its a sweet and fantastic compliment.
Considering the environment you grew up, would you say you are deeply religious?
I am not really a 'religious' person per se. I just enjoy a simple relationship with God. The important thing is to have a beautiful relationship with your God, understand Him and He understands you.
Can you recall your most embarrassing moment?
I have some. One day, I was roller-skating down a high-street and wasn't paying close attention and I rode straight into a lamppost and fell on the pavement in front of all the traffic. That was very embarrassing! There were a lot of such moments, but let's just pick that.
What is your take on Nollywood generally?
My take is that Nollywood has evolved so much from the early days for the better, however, I know that we have a long way to go in terms of quality, content, production and distribution, but we are getting there. I just hope that there will be more opportunities for fresh talents to break in.
Can you make a comparison between Hollywood and Nollywood?
I do not see any similarity at all, in fact, sometimes, I feel that we in the Nigerian film industry need not always look up to Hollywood for inspiration with regard to scripts for example, or movie titles, but rather draw out and develop our own creativity because it is there. Nollywood is an entity on its own and needs not underestimate itself.
If you get offer to come over to Nigeria and contribute to the growth of the industry, what would be your first assignment?
I'm not sure, I wouldn't mind actually dipping my toes in some script writing, but for now, it would be a privilege to be in Nigeria in front of the camera portraying fantastic characters and bringing great scripts to life. I'm interested, lets move our country and industry forward.
Can you act nude? How much would you collect to act nude?
Oh God! Don't even think of it. There is not enough money in the world. Honestly. I have great values for womanhood!
When not acting, what else do you do?
I am a fun-loving young lady that enjoys the company of close friends and family. I love to travel, I love to write. This lady you are talking with laughs and enjoys meeting new people. I enjoy good human relations. I especially love working with young women in order to inspire them to reach their personal goals and to help them realise their true worth, through organising various retreats and socials.
I am making wave in the modeling corridor with my good vital statistics, I also spent time recording materials in the United States. I just returned from South Africa and Ireland where I went to seal one or two deals which will soon be the industry. I am so passionate about Nollywood, where I intend to put my wealth of experience to display.
Which of the male actors do you have any secret affection for?
If I tell you then, it would no longer be a secret. Not so?