General News | 15 March 2008 14:42 CET


By Funmi Johnson

'U.K', as she is fondly called by friends and colleagues, started off as a model when she was an English Language undergraduate at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Today, she is left with a broken marriage, and a child. The pretty actress came into the movie industry when she starred in Nneka the Pretty Serpent (Part II) as a goddess, and later had her break when she featured in Glamour Girls Part II.

In this interview, she speaks on the agonies of her broken marriage, plus her secret wish to have a man who will love her unconditionally.

How are you?
I'm fine. I'm great. God is good. Without God, really, there is no strength that we have as a human being. God has been my strong hold.

What is your latest movie?

There is one in the market now. It's called Bird flu and it has been out since the last 10days now. There are lots of them.

You are called the Sharon of Stone in the movie industry....

Well, I guess it's because I'm a good actress and a very talented one. Another reason may be because of my sexy and beautiful outlook. Looking at the American damsel who is called the Sharon Stone. She is a wonderful and great artiste and she is also a beautiful, intelligent and talented woman. So, if

I'm compared to her like, I think it's a good honour.

As a star, you have a son who is a sickle cell patient , what really happened?

The answer to that question is quite complicated. Because one, I married my ex-husband out of love, not considering any implication that may arise. I never knew he was an AS person because there was no genotype test conducted. May be, I can say, it was a blind love or lust of the flesh.

I would not want to reflect back to memories because if I do, it will cause more havoc, especially in the life of my son. Rather, it is better for me to look at it from the point of view that God is using my son for me to get closer to him everyday. As you can see, my son is healthy and intelligent.

I think that is enough to put away my sorrow but I know with God by my side, everything is well. Although, I fell into the wrong man, that does not mean that I am having the wrong child. I do not want to say he is a sickler.

I would rather say he is a child of God and of the Holy Ghost and God is going to use him to perform miracles in this time. God of Raymond, my son, is whom I believe. I would not advise anybody to go into marriage without proper procedures like taking the genotype test and other things that can cause problem in future, especially with a man that is not worth it .

Were you under any pressure to marry him?

I would not say I was under any pressure to marry him. You know, sometimes, when you're in a relationship with the opposite sex, the pressure might not come from your parents, but the man himself.

Sometimes, a man could actually pressurize you to marrying him, may be for his own selfish reasons and for the woman. She might not see some of these things. I could remember vividly that he used to say, 'don't leave me. If you leave me, where do I turn to?' and I was like,' okay let's do it right' and we got married.

And you did not do a genotype test either?

I have known my genotype right from secondary school. Although, I have passion for people, I really didn't wish to have an SS. People may blame me for my act but I know, it was my love for my ex.

And you thought it was true love?

May be from my own point of view, I thought it was true love but for him, it was not really true love.
Did you both decide to separate?

We both did not decide to go our separate paths because for me, I was already in the marriage and I don't believe in divorce because up till today, my parents are still together after many years of their marriage. My mind set was that we were there already. What has happened has happened and there is nothing we can do about it.

Let's just hang in there, that may be with togetherness, the burden will be easier and lesser. It was not like there was a mutual agreement that we were going to separate.

He just left and to me I give God the glory because I believe God will not give me a burden that will be too heavy for me. I did all my best to help him when we were together, but he proved to me that he really doesn't need us.

How do you cope with your taxing career and the home front?

Really God is my strength and my provider and he has been wonderful. I don't know what I would have done if God has not been blessing me, because if I could put down the cost of drugs that my son has to take on a fortnightly basis, it is more than what I earn.

But God has been faithful. I am also using this opportunity to say thank you to all my producers and all my executives, especially, those that God has put me in their minds to remember to give me a job.

They have been blessing me unknowingly. Being a single parent it is not easy. Most of the times, I have to be close to my son alone and whenever he is sick, of course, I can not go to work. Some weeks ago, before his sixth birthday, he was ill and we spent close to two weeks in the hospital and I really spent money.

Although, all my friends rallied around me, my pastors were praying for us and all that. It wasn't easy at all but by God's grace, I have been taking care of him and I thank God for his mercies. All I'm wishing and praying for is for God to send me a helper and the right man.

What is your choice of man now?

A man who will appreciate me, a guy who will not be intimidated by my success and fame. Man who will not be intimidated by my intelligence and who will honestly love me for me, who will take my son and me and love us and be there for us. A man I am not afraid to wake up and see that he is not there.

I want to wake up and know that my man is beside me. I want to wake up knowing my man will love me unconditionally, not because I am a star or because I am beautiful, because someday, beauty will fade and one day I might not be able to star movies.

I just want a man who will honour me and be proud to have me as his wife. A man who I can call my friend and my soul mate. For now, the Lord is my husband and my succour.

Are you into any relationship right now because I know a lot of men would have been making advances to you?

(Laughs) I am still searching. I have not seen what I am looking for, I wouldn't call it relationship, but I have people that have been proposing. You know, once bitten, twice shy. I know what I am looking for, they have been coming but I have not seen what I'm looking for and I hope what I'm looking for will come soon.

What is your turn on?

I love intelligent and humorous people. I like neat people who put in effort to take care of themselves, it doesn't matter if you are fat or slim. I love broad-minded people who think far and deep into the future, who will not be inhibited by culture or society but someone who could look across.

What about turn offs?

Liars, deceitful people who backbite and backstabs. People who are lazy, who want to live off people and do not want to work hard. People who think life is a bed of roses and think money falls from heaven, such people turn me off.

Who is your role model?

Christ has always been my role model but when it comes to human beings, I would not want to call them my role models but they are people I admire for the work they have done and are doing. One of them is dead now and I wish she was alive. I'm talking of Pastor Bimbo Odukoya, she was a great inspirational speaker and writer. I used to read her columns back then and it was wonderful.

What is your favorite food?

I have a couple of favorite food. I like spaghetti and beef sauce. I like vegetable soup with pounded yam and I like eponkwo, it's a Calabar delicacy with a lot of vegetables and I like fruits a lot.

What about beauty routine?

I know as a woman I must take my bath every morning and night because you must make sure you clean off your make up before going to bed. Another thing is that I drink a lot of water, I'm like a fish.

I must moisturize my skin and I don't believe that the beauty things you use has to be very expensive. Some times they might be very cheap and they work. Like I tell my friends, I don't put on a face cream, what I have been using since my school days is Silver Rose, some call it Shirley.

That is what I have been using over the years and when they see my face they will like, oh your face is great, and that thing sells for about seventy naira but now it's hundred now twenty naira. Also, I try not to change things, what ever I have been using, I maintain.

If you have a chance to effect change, what will you change in the Nigerian entertainment industry?

I will like for the artist to be paid better. I know that it might not really be so because the payment for the artists are coming from individual's pocket.

Some people misunderstand our jobs and say, you people are making money and I tell them that the banks are not sponsoring the movies, the big corporations are not sponsoring the movies and the government is not sponsoring these movies.

The movies you see on the stand are being sponsored by individuals who feels okay, they can risk five million, six million, ten million and you get the producers, the artist and they gather all the artist and they pay them.

We only work within the budget of what the individual puts down on the table.These men and woman who gather the money to make these movies are wonderful because without them putting this money together, there will be nothing like Nollywood today.

So what I wish is that the government will come in and break grounds, the banks will come and sponsor movies and the big corporations like Chevron and a host of them.

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