Stream Insights | 1 April 2012 13:14 CET


By Ajibade Alabi

Rita Dominic is not only a front-line Nollywood figure; she is also a role model and an Ambassador of some sort. Born by parents of different origins, Rita has won the hearts of many with her brilliant interpretation of roles in Nigeria and beyond. She was crowned the most stylish actress in Nigeria in 2010 and although she is said to be one of the sexiest actresses in Nigeria, Rita feels flattered as she just does not see herself that way. In this exclusive interview with AJIBADE ALABI, the petite actress revealed a lot more about her career, passion and temperament. Excerpts.

You have not been acting for a while, why is this so?

Well, it has been a whirlwind of events. I have been busy but that does not mean I have been off the scene. Maybe the film(s) you are privileged to watch, I did not feature in them. Anyway I just returned from a trip abroad, so I have been busy.

You were once crowned Nollywood's most stylish actress; how did you feel about the award?

I do not know why I was chosen as the winner, because I did not take it seriously. The first question I asked was, 'Is it based on the movies or just outside the movie?' This is because, if I were judged by the movie, it does not tell anything about my being stylish and if it is outside the movie, I am still surprised because I am one of those who just wake up in the morning, grab anything I find in my wardrobe and off I go.

I was surprised and amazed that they could consider me as stylish. Do not get me wrong here because I like looking good but I do not go out of my way to be stylish.

Apart from being stylish, some people see you as sexy; do you see yourself that way?

I do not know how to answer that question because I don't see myself either as being stylish or sexy; I do not give any particular attention to my style. When you talk about shoes, yes, but with clothes, I am just like every other lady out there.

As for being sexy, the truth is that I do not see myself the same way people assess me. When I heard all these things, I took it as a compliment. I simply see myself as an ordinary person.

How would you describe yourself?

I am a happy-go-lucky person who loves to chill and get very serious when it is time to work. I play a little but work very hard. I have a temperament that I have been trying to control; Rita is very sensitive and passionate. I enjoy staying at home 24 hours because going out and trying to be the perfect star is just too much stress for me.

I enjoy staying at home with my pyjamas on, but the truth is because of my job, I have to attend events, go places, meet people and still conduct myself naturally otherwise. I am just your typical next-door girl.

You mentioned something about your temperament; are you really a very temperamental person?

You see, I do not want to talk about my temperament, but I know I am not the kind of person that gets angry easily but when I am realy annoyed I could become very temperamental.

What has been happening to your acting career of late?

I have not been acting as much as I used to do in the last two years. I have actually cut down on my workload because I want to get involved in more challenging roles that would stretch me as an actress. That is what I have been doing in recent times.

I would not say I am completely out of the scene because you have to understand that this is my 14th year in the industry, if I am not selective about the kind of work I do at this point in my career, it means I have not learnt anything all these years.

Basically in the last two years, I told my manager that I need to cut down on my workload and take up only challenging roles, which is what I have been doing. I do commercial movies once in a while. We have a few scripts that are good and I think at this point in my life I should be selective.

Since you took this decision, how would you compare the flicks you have acted in?

I still hold some of the scripts dear to my heart because I cannot say this is a movie I love or that I do not love. This is because the entire roles I have played were challenging. As a result of this, I hold all the films very dear to my heart including the ones yet to be produced because they are all different.

What really made your career blossom?

When we all came into the industry in the late 90s, we were people who simply had passion for the arts because there was no money in acting then; it was not even as glorified as it is now. We just loved what we were doing then. But when you do something consecutively you would want to be recognised.

Although it was initially a passion for the arts, after a while I left the industry for two years, and returned in 2003. A lot of people thought I was a new face but those who had been there all along knew that I was not. The passion for the job comes first and every other thing would fall into place.

What do you consider negative about the movie industry?

The not-so-good part of it is that my life is now a public affair because I have lost my privacy, which is why I was private about certain things initially when I got into the industry. I had a lot of problems with private issues and the press was not even making things easy.

But at a point, I had to find a way to accept and balance it because the truth is, if you are not good at what you do, people would not recognise you or talk about you. I just decided to keep the job I love because, whether I like it or not, people would talk.

When you are not on set, what is your day like?

My normal day is filled with just staying indoors and watching movies. I get up in the morning, perform my routine exercise, which has made me shed a lot of weight. After doing that, I watch movies a lot and I have a huge collection of them. I basically read a lot too.

But when I am outside, I have to comport myself because several people are watching me. As such, my house is my favourite hangout spot in Lagos. I find ways of getting myself engaged in the house, which is why I read books, watch movies, play games and sometimes invite my friends over.

You left Nigeria for Britain in 2001 and returned in 2003; what were you doing there then?
I am the last child of my parents and I was the only one born here in Nigeria. My siblings are resident in the United Kingdom. After so many years of being away from them, I was invited over to UK. The idea was for me to get into school and I had already started taking lessons in arts, which included music.

Actually I was unable to complete the course because I came to Nigeria for a two-week-holiday when some producers discovered that I was in the country so, coupled with the help of some friends, I was convinced to stay back and that was it. I never went back.

While growing up as a young lady, you must have had a crush on a guy at one point in time; who was that?

Definitely, I had a crush on Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown because when I was growing up, I had huge posters of them in my bedroom. May Jackson's soul rest in peace.

I have always nurtured the fact that I was going to meet him one day. I actually cried the day I heard he died because I felt empty and I felt part of my childhood had been taken away. I could remember the first kind of dance we learnt back then which was the moon-walk. I remembered then I used to tell people that Michael Jackson was my husband.

Tell me about the man in your life?

I would rather call a press conference than tell you the man in my life. Sorry, I cannot discuss my private life in public. I 'd rather not answer that question.

Precisely, when are you likely to walk down the aisle?

Why are you so worried Mr. Ajibade? You have published this story and so many things about me that I got married secretly or I am about to get married. So keep guessing. On a more serious note, when the time comes, you would get to know and I promise that you would be the first person to know.

Why didn't you opt for dancing instead of acting since you could do both at a very tender age?

I studied Theatre Arts at the university and when I was majoring, it was either I chose acting or choreography but I opted for acting because at that time, all the people in my class were going for choreography and I felt it was a challenge. I was the only person that majored in acting that year in my set.

How wealthy is Rita Dominic?

I thank God that I can feed myself, I can afford the basic things of life and I do not roam the streets begging for food.

It is believed that most actresses offer their body in exchange for fame, fortune and stardom. What is your take on this?

I think the first thing is that you must love the arts. I mean, you must have a passion for the arts and if you come into the industry with the sole aim of becoming a star, you might not last long.

I am sure you would not go far because the rule is you have to love what you are doing first, then every other thing would follow. If the talent and passion for the arts is in you, you won't need to offer your body to get a role.

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