To award-winning diva, Genny Uzoma, Nollywood is not only for showbiz, but a platform make to excel. The graduate of Political Science from the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, in this interview, speaks on her sojourn into acting and why she can’t wear a tattoo. Excerpts:
How has your acting life been?
Acting life has been a joy so far and a bit of a struggle. Though that is also what makes it fun. It is awesome growing and learning everyday in the field. I am really enjoying the whole process. For me, it is not so much about the destination, but the journey. I have also made up my mind to give my best in the game, as well as set a standard in the industry.
What have you been doing lately in the field of acting?
I have been busy taking different roles, even challenging ones that keep my adrenaline pumping. I’m versatile and focused with my acting career to improve and enhance on my craft.
How did your sojourn into this profession start ?
I have always loved and fascinated with arts. I did really well in Literature and English in school. So, I found myself drawn to the entertainment world and I signed up in 2004 with the Enugu branch actors’ guild and the rest is history today.
How have you been able to carve a niche for yourself in the industry?
I would not exactly say that I have carved a niche yet. The little I have achieved certainly is as a result of hard work and persistence. Truly, I feel like I haven’t even started at all. There are still more bridges to cross. My desire is to become a household name and I also want to learn more in the industry. In fact, I am planning to branch out to do other things in this field such as getting behind the scene and doing stage plays, which I have never done. It is just basically to be flexible and not restricting myself to screen alone.
What is your assessment of the industry?
I think we aren’t there yet but, the industry is doing pretty well, trust me. We’re stepping up and improving everyday and I’m proud to be a member and a stakeholder in this promising and creative profession.
Do you feel threatened as a young lady among popular actresses?
Threatened? (Laugh…) I don’t look at anyone but me. Trust me; I’m too busy watering my own grass than looking at someone else’s. More so, there is room for everyone to shine.
Which caucus do you belong to, especially among female actresses?
I don’t do groups. I like my own company.
Who are your friends in the industry?
Seriously, I’m friends with nobody and with everybody.
Who among the male actors would you always want to share roles with?
No one in particular, but I will tell you this; I love working with seasoned, more experienced colleagues as I learn tips from them, I pick their brains and watch them as they do their thing. It is easy to work with people who know better than you.
You dumped a telecommunications job for acting. What formed your decision?
The actual fact is that I was already an actor and had done several movies even before I got that job. Yes, it was juicy and stable, but to be candid, I was unhappy and unfulfilled for a long time with the job. So, I just summoned courage, banished the fear of the unknown and went back to my first love.
Have you had any regrets since the switch?
Not once I ever regretted my decision, even when things became difficult and money wasn’t flowing in as before and I couldn’t pay rent for a while. Even the roles were not really coming at first and it was like going back to square one when I returned. But I held on and kept the faith and before I knew it, things started forming shape gradually and got pretty normal now.
How is life outside acting?
Life outside acting is pretty, much normal, especially like the girl next door and boring. In fact, there is no diva behaviour one bit. I live the life of a normal girl.
Would you say your physical endowment fetches you more roles and even paved way for your easy ride to stardom in the industry?
My ride to stardom may seem easy to the average eye, but it is not at all. Physical endowments may be helpful sure; after all, it is showbiz. You got to look good, but that is not all. Many things such as, talent, hard work, attitude, networking skills, among other qualities are involved in getting ahead in the industry, so, I will say I have been able to display all these qualities to a large extent.
How many movies do you have to your credit?
I have lost count. If I say a number you might get scared. I have appeared in about 150 movies, but remember I started a long time ago before I took a hiatus.
What is your experience with producers so far?
My experience with producers has been good. I hope to be one myself soon. There are lots of them and it is not possible to work with everyone.
Is it true that some producers always want to take advantage of female actors, especially the up-and-coming ones?
I honestly don’t know about that. Like I said earlier, there are many producers. If as an actress you’re harassed s3xually, go to another person’s audition. If you’re good and you persist with prayers you will certainly be noticed with time. Shortcuts won’t take you anywhere, but lead you straight back to where you started. Don’t burn bridges. What seems like a hopeless failure may turn into a glorious success.
Which role do you think you would never accept?
I could do any role offered. An actor is meant to be versatile. I would gladly accept if it is tastefully done and relevant a story.
Are you saying you can take a nude role?
I don’t have to bare all; there are ways to get it done and a character is nude yet not s3xual. I don’t put a fee to my acting. I don’t act because of money, but because of my passion for it.
How did you win your parents’ heart to get their support for your acting career?
My parents opposed it at first, but I rebelled. I mean I was already in the university, so, it is not as if I abandoned my studies. They came around gradually when they realised I just wouldn’t stop.
Would you say that you are now successful with this choice of career?
I’m doing alright, but still praying and working for the big glorious success.
Is the Actors’ Guilds doing enough to support actors?
I’m sure they are trying their best. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Nollywood can’t be structured in a day; it takes a gradual process.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
It was on a faithful day I went to an audition for an Igbo movie and I couldn’t answer the questions thrown at me in Igbo language. I was asked ‘what is zero’ and other random stuff and the director asked if I’m sure I’m Igbo. I was helpless dumbfounded, because it was embarrassing.
How is your single life treating you?
I’m fine with my single life for now till the right person comes along.
Are you getting married anytime soon?
When the bell rings, it rings. No rushing in and rushing out.
What is your kind of man?
I want a respectful, accommodating, God-fearing, richer man, who is taller than me, as well as ready to pamper me. He must also be a person that would accept my career. I certainly don’t want to date a man I’m richer than to the extent of begging for money constantly. It has happened before and it got irritating at a point.
How do you handle your male admirers?
I appreciate and love them. After all, half of my fans are men, but I always make my stand by letting them know that I can’t date everybody.
What is the secret of your beauty?
Water; you can’t go wrong with water. I is always good to keep hydrated.
Greatest physical asset?
My entire body is my asset.
You don’t wear tattoo or is it hidden?
I don’t wear. I am not a tattoo person, especially with the fact that I don’t like pain.
What is your growing up like?
My parents were middle class and they did their utmost best in raising up the family well. I grew up pretty fast to the extent that I became a graduate at 20.
How do you unwind?
I read books, watch lots of movies at home, go to the cinemas. But, I am more of an indoor person really, though hanging out is fine.
Cc: SEYI SOKOYA