Nuella Njubigbo, fondly known as Ella, is an actress and a script writer. An indigene of Anambra state, and a graduate of government and public
administration from the Imo State University, Nuela has featured in over 13 movies in her four years of acting. Some of her hit movies include Life’s incidence, Lord of marriage, Evil project, and Heart of a slave. She has also been privileged to work with top artists like Van Vicker, Jackie Appiah, Jim Iyke, Nonso Diobi and lots more. In this interview with Funmi Salome Johnson, she speaks on her career, her love life and her greatest wish for the moment.
How is the acting profession treating you?
Acting profession is okay, no problem, we thank God but we pray for better things to come this year.
How long have you been acting?
I have been acting for over three years now.
How many movies do you have to your credit?
I have about thirteen movies now but some are yet to be released.
Why acting of every career in life?
I have always wanted to be on TV ever since I was a kid. I Thought I will end up a TV presenter or a broadcaster but in my third year in the University, I was watching a movie and I was like, I can do this thing, then I got a number from somebody and I called and the person I called happens to be a family friend and he is also a director and that was how he introduced me to other people and I started going or auditions
Who is that person?
Which was your very first?
My first movie was royal destiny but lord of marriage came out before it but I shot Royal Destiny before it.
Was it a lead?
Royal Destiny was not a lead role, it was a sub lead.
What was the experience like, acting for the first time alongside professionals?
I was so tensed although I have done other jobs before then but I did them on stage. You know while in school, I used to go for school production and I act with the Theater Arts student but this time it is doing it in front of the camera, so I was tensed. But somehow I did the first one and the in the first one I did, my heart was actually my mouth; I was breathing very hard but finally I guessed that one turned out better than I expected; not so good though but it was better than what I thought I thought it would be. I did the first scene, the second scene and then the third and that was it.
Were you a theatre art student?
No I am not; I only did a certificate programe in creative arts, so that was how I had that experience and that was how I started mixing up with them so even when I left to go and do my degree programe in Imo State university I was still in contact with them and whenever they have anything to do, I still go there and work with them.
Which of the professionals did you work with?
I worked with uncle Olu Jacobs, Mike Ezuruonye, Chiwetalu Agu and a host of them like that.
How did you find working with those of older generation, was it fun?
Yes it was fun and they were very supportive and they knew I was new and they were ready to help. They made me know that I could do it and if they see somewhere I am not doing very well, they were there to correct me; I really love working with all of them.
What is your perception of the Nigeria movie industry, do you think we are going places?
Yes, sure because we have not been so long in it, yet we have come this far, talk less of when we are a hundred years or more in it. To me, we are doing very well, e are doing very fine.
What do you think could be the hindrance of Nollywood not catching up with Hollywood?
Fund is one of the major reasons we are not catching up. We need more funds because if we can get more funds, we will be able to do more than we are doing now. We get the movie produced with almost nothing so I feel fund is the first hindrance we are having to actualizing that goal. If we can get fund then every other thing can come.
Why do you think the fund is not coming, could it be piracy?
I really thing piracy has a role to play on it but if the government and the bid industries can come into the industry and help us with funds, we will go places.
Have you ever been sexually harassed?
No I have never been sexually harassed
But is it real in the industry?
I would not know because I have not had a personal experience on that, so I can not say.
How far do you intend to go in the acting field?
I intend to go very far with it by the graced of God and with him (God), all things are possible.
How do you prepare for your roles to fit in to the character you are to play?
I look at the script, I meditate on the script and I try my best possible to bring out the point of the director and what the writer of the story want from the character I am to play. I make an image of it, create that image and out it around me. I work on it and I pray about it first because God is the one that gives inspiration for you to carry out anything at all. So it is about praying first of all, then looking at my scripts very well, day n, day out, I don’t ever get tired of working on my script. I can look at my script, just stand in front of my mirror, work on it for like four to five hours at ago and not doing any other thing, I just keep working on it till I start shooting.
What do you not like about acting?
Every profession has its own disadvantages and acting is also like every other job that has their demerits. What I don’t like is that your private life is not yours anymore you find it hard to do things that you used to do before. A lot of people are watching you without your knowing but it still feels good to know that you have fans that wish you well.
How supportive were your parents the day you made your choice of acting known to them?
At first, they had their reservations but at the time my first and second movie came out, they had no choice than to support me. They are my highest critics and my highest fans…may be when I am not doing something right or when my make up is not properly done, they are the first to call me and tell me ‘ah what is that I saw on your face, that make up is not good or you should have done this or done that’. They are my highest fans and my highest critics.
Having tasted the stage and the home video, as a professional, which of them will you prefer?
The stage is that you have to bring out everything at once, everybody is there; there is nothing like editing, you know you are giving out your best at once. You are kind of more conscious on stage compared to camera but to make a choice between the two? The two of them are okay, camera is also good. I find it difficult to make a choice. I love both of them.
What did you study is school?
I read public administration.
Who is that special man in your life right now?
I have a very good friend, someone I am very close to but I don’t have a boyfriend.
Why don’t you have a boyfriend amidst all the male advances that come your way?
Of course they come in droves but it is not about having toasters but it is about getting what you want, so may be I am yet to get the right person for me.
So who is your kind of man?
My kind of an has to be God fearing and he has to be a man to the core, he has to know what to do at the right time, he has to be able to give me security, although God is the one that gives security but when it comes to man made security, my man should be able to give me the security that I need. You know when ever I have something to think about or something that bothers me, and I remember him, I will be like ah, my man is there.
What if your guy to be compels you to make a choice between him and your career, what will be your choice?
I don’t pray for such because any man that comes my way now should love the kind of job I am into so he shouldn’t tell me to choose between him and my job. If anyone tells me to chose between him and my job, I don’t think such a man wishes me well. If I am to stop my job for any reason tomorrow, it should be because I want to, not because my man stopped me. Any man that loves me now will not want to stop me from doing what I know how to do best.
For a hundred million dollars will you play nude?
For a billion dollars, I will not play nude.
My culture does not allow it, my faith does not allow it and besides I am a Christian, I can’t do that.
How religious are you?
I am religious.
I am religious, I don’t know about very but all I know is that I am religious.
Which part of your body can you say is your selling point?
I will say it is my eyes.
What is it about your eyes?
I don’t have to say what it is about my eyes, you are looking at me and you should see what it is about my eyes.
Which other part do you think sells you?
You can see that my lips are very interesting.
As a woman, what is it you don’t like about yourself?
What is your regular day like?
If I am not on location, I am an indoor person, except there is somewhere to be. I love to be at the right place, I don’t just go out because there is somewhere to go to. I go out because I have something to achieve from where I am going to. So most of the time when I am not going out, I am indoors either thinking and working on the script I have to do or writing.
Do you have a role model?
Yes, I have people I look up to home and abroad. I love Jennifer Lopez, she is an actress and a musician, I love her very much. Here in Nigeria, I love Genevieve Nnaji and I love people like Dora Akunyuili, Ndi Okereke and every woman that is contributing positively in the society. The fact that they are able to impact positively on the society is what trips me and I aspire to be like them.
What about under wears?
Yes I love bright colors too, like white, turquoise blue, pink, I love to play with colors.
How romantic are you?
I should not be the right person to know, when I get married, my husband will tell if I am romantic or not.
Can you have an affair in the industry?
It depends on who the person is. It is allowed to have an affair, if I see you and I like you, I want to date you, I can, there is nothing wrong with it, there is nothing wrong with dating anybody in the industry. I am not saying I am dating anybody in the industry but there is nothing wrong with it.
What is your greatest wish for the moment, career wise?
I will like to get to the peak of my career despite any obstacles, I have to get there and after I have made it in Nollywood which is where I come from, I hope to go out, I don’t even mind having to work along side Hollywood artists but first of all I have to make it to the top in Nollywood.