Beauty combined with versatility, that is how to describe tall Nollywood actress Oby Edozien who has been acting since her debut, ‘To love and cherish’ in 1997. Oby, in this no-holds-barred interview Funmi Salome Johnson, speaks on her career, her love life and reveals why she is not married.
How is the acting career treating you? It is all well and good, we thank God.
What about music? (Laughs) Ah, it is a sound track of my movie; it has not really started, by next month, I think it should be in the market.
Since the movie has sparked up the musical talent in you, are you hoping to move further with music? Yes I will. I am traveling soon and probably when I get back, I will probably produce another movie and then I will also sing.
What kind of music do you play? I play sentimental music for now, may be I will sing probably later but for now it is R&B.
Can you give a synopsis of your upcoming movie? The movie is the story of three girls trying to make it in their musical career; they went through hell and at the end of the day, they succeeded and fame got into their heads and they started smoking and engage in lesbianism and the rest. The movie itself is party, it has musicals in between. The girls died in a plane crash; I survived, didn’t go with them and the producer refused to open the studio again, and I moved on with my life. That song you saw on air is in the movie, if you buy the movie when it comes out, you will see it in the movie; you will not see Obi Edozieh but you will see the name of the character I played there. So I now decided to package it and play it on air.
So it was actually the movie that gave birth to the musical career Yes it is.
How do you hope to survive the competition in the Nigeria music industry today? In music or acting, you don’t have to compete with anybody, I can never be them and they can never be Oby Edozieh, so there is no competition, it is all about moving ahead in life and making it and being yourself. You don’t have to look at another person and say this person is this and so you have to be that. You just have to be yourself and you don’t have to be jealous of anybody. Being yourself and prosper, that is all.
How difficult has the acting terrain been? Acting has been fun and it is what I will do till the last days. You know when I am old, they have roles for old women, so kids will say to themselves ‘see that aunty when she was young’ so I am ready to act till old age. I am ready to die an actress.
Can you share with us, why you chose acting above other career?In my school, Sola Fosudo was a lecturer; I walked up to him and told him I will like to be an actress and asked him how to go about it. He explained to me that there is something called audition and he gave me a note to Zeb Ejiro and I went to Zeb Ejiro’s office. Then, they wanted to start Candle Light, so he invited me for the audition, you know those days that you will go for auditions and you see the whole Lagos , there was no GSM. I met some other people there and that was how it all started and the rest is history today.
Which was your very first movie? My very first movie was ‘To love and to cherish’
Was it a lead role you played? It was a lead and in that movie and I was Keppy Ekpeyoung wife, you may probably not know I was the one, he used to beat me and all that and I took him to court and I was in the marriage because of my kids. It has been long because that was in 1997.
Aren’t you lucky, getting a lead role the first time? Yes I was and the film was directed by Mathias Obidikwe, but it was produced by Keppy (Ekpeyong) and Mathias Obidikwe. It was a lovely story.
How do you feel, being your first time alongside professionals?It was nice and the movie was shown in the cinema in Benin and where I knew I actually did well was that a lady actually cried at the cinema that she was apparently going through the same thing.
What was your experience starting off, with all the stories of sexual harrasement in the industry?Let me just tell you how I started. When I go for auditions, any audition I go for, I am always picked, I was always given the lead role script to read and at the end of the day, they will bring in a celebrity, Sandra Achums of those days, then there was one that they brought somebody and I refused and the producer begged me that I have only one scene and that I will play the lead in the part two of the film.
I thought they were deceiving me, I said I have been coming for this audition everyday, I have been reading lead and you are giving me one scene at the end of the day and you are telling me it will be lead in part two and I walked away. My colleagues then would tell me ‘Oby, you never do one, you come dey select’ but that is just me. So this thing about sexual harassment, I believe happens to people that are desperate.
At times they say it is the producers and directors that chase these girls but the girls actually chase the producers and directors. Producers and directors are humans and they could ask you out, can’t you marry a producer or a director but as per sexual harassment, I don’t think there is anything like that. And if there is something like that, probably it is the girls that gave way to that because it is how you present yourself that they will take you. I did not really go through it because, most of the times, I go for auditions and they give something good.
Tell me one good thing that acting has done to you? It has done several good things to me. It has opened doors for me, anywhere you go to, they know, they appreciate you and all that.
You have played several roles in movies how would you describe the real Oby Edozieh? The real Oby is humble, romantic, God fearing and very blunt. I am a very blunt person.
What is your perception of the Nigeria motion picture industry? We have improved tremendously. Check out the costumes, the story lines, the movie itself, the production, we are far, far better than where we used to be, we have improved. We are not Hollywood and we cannot be now, but given ten, fifteen years to come, we will get there, but it can’t be now because we don’t really have the facilities needed to do that now. Here, we shoot a movie in seven days to two weeks, but abroad, it takes probably a year or months to shoot a movie, they take their time. But here under seven days or two weeks, look at what we come out with, so you can imagine what we will have if we take our time and there is enough fund.
How do you take care of this gorgeous body? I diet, and I think I have added weight now, so I have been starving myself. At times I go to my dentist and tie my mouth so I just take liquids and fruits. That is basically it.
How do you handle advances from male fans? Those days I used to be rude to them on phone when they disturb me, but now I am usually nice and good to them and they will get tired at the end of the day.
Who is the lucky man in your life at the moment? You will know that, the day I get married.
How soon will that wedding bell ring? Whenever God says because I know God has a day for me and on that day everybody will know.
Is he very romantic? I don’t know because Jesus is my man.
Jesus is your man? Yes, Jesus is my man, my all in all, my beginning and my end.
So this special man of yours, does he watch your movies? Does God… ah! God sees everybody , what are you saying
Stop being cynical I say God sees everybody. Leave dis man matter, I said on my wedding day, everybody will see him; I will introduce my husband to everybody.
But does he watch your movies? Does Jesus watch movies? I am married to Jesus for now, he is my love, my number one love.
For a hundred million dollars, would you play nude? Not for the whole money on earth, I will never play nude.
Why? I can’t because I am African, because I am Ibo, because I don’t want my father to turn in his grave.
Talking about your folks, were they supportive when you started out as an actress? Yes, I had their full support, especially my father. May his soul rest in peace, he supported me very well. As a matter of fact, when my first movie came out, he said; “did you not know that you have to buy many copies so that I can give people to watch?”, I had his full support and my mom too.
What was growing up years like for you? I grew up in a Christian home, my father was a disciplinarian, he was not too hot, he was not too cool, he was simple, firm and at the same time a no nonsense man. He was a lovely man and he is the best daddy in the whole world.
Apart from English and your native language which other language do you speak? I speak Yoruba, I do Yoruba movies. I have featured in a number of Yoruba movies and the latest one is Gongo Aso.
How do you unwind? I travel a lot, watch movies and I read my Bible
What advice do you have for upcoming ones aspiring to be like you? They should be focused and persevere and they should not be desperate and they should believe in God.
What is your groom taste like, are you a designer freak? I am a jeans girl and I dress according to occasion.
What about your jewelry taste? I wear all sorts, gold, accessories, anything you can think of, depending on what I am wearing.