Photo: Sun News Publishing
Call her big and beautiful, you would be right. Call her bold and sexy, you would still be correct. Adaora Ukoh, the actress with a “massive presence”, speaks to SAMUEL OLATUNJI on life as a thespian and the controversy over her certificate.
You have your hands in many pies. Are you not satisfied with acting?
It is another way of making money for me. A lot of it is advocacy about democracy in Nigeria; for good things generally. When I got the contract, it was something different from what I was used to and I jumped at it. I have always loved advocacy.
What is your focus?
I have advocated the cause of mental patients in Lagos. I’m also involved in Project Alert, which is against women battering, child abuse and women empowerment in Nigeria. I also promote the cause of orphans.
Would you say acting has brought you fame?
Yes, it took me beyond my expectations and I am so excited about it all. We even got a call from the US Ambassador here in Nigeria. The embassy took the opportunity of our last movie to say something to youths and in a way that was way beyond my expectation. They loved it.
You are a plus-size and have added a twist of sexiness to it. How did you achieve that ?
It comes with the job too. People tend to look down on plus-sized people and the best way for me to get my mind off it is to be myself and look good always. Sometimes you should look at yourself and appreciate what you have.
Sometimes do you worry over being busty?
Nope. I like being me because this is me and sometimes I like to use what people regard as my weakness positively. I have always been on the big side, the best I can do is just to continue being me. I have counterparts all over the world who are proud of being big and maybe in Nigeria I will advocate the cause of the plus-sized.
Tell me about your journey in acting
Well, it started like a film and then it was fun basically, because I went for lots of auditions and I was given most of the roles I auditioned for. It wasn’t easy because I still had to get my parents’ approval. I needed encouragement from them. As I was getting paid, I started feeling like a big girl , because I was having lots of cash and it was cool being young and all that. I never knew I could put food on the table with it, so after a while I quit. It’s always like a story to me.
What have you been doing since you quit and why?
I went back to school full time because basically after secondary school, the university is the next thing. Before I gained admission I was doing my acting to kill time. By the time I got into the university, I thought I could combine acting with my academic work. But when I missed two exams after the first year, I realized what I was going to lose eventually. So, I decided to quit and face my studies because to me acting was like a vocation.
Is it true that you didn’t study law?
I have heard that too and I say doubters can come and take my certificate. Some people like to gossip about anything. Funke Akindele was my classmate and RMD was a year ahead of us and some other people like that. It was a gossip anyway, because people who know me know me.
I’ve not seen you in many movies . Why is that?
Yeah, I always scrutinize scripts . I look at those which work well for me. Another thing is that it’s not about how many movies you do but about their impact . I love doing movies but the way the sector is , you just have to tread cautiously so as not to spoil your name and rubbish the good ones you have done.
What’s your take about the entertainment industry?
Seriously, the industry is changing and at a point there was the leadership factor. Movie making is not what it used to be and a lot of people are not taking the storyline seriously . All they care about is dressing and actors featuring in the movie. If we can put all our acts together, it could be bigger and better. When it comes to production and we do it well, you will have a good movie at the end of the day. If the story is good and people really like it, they will promote it and keep telling each other that there is a good story. It will definitely sell.
Has life been fair to you?
Honestly, I thank God for this gift of life and for everything I have done so far and when I wake up every day I thank God for who I am and it is really wonderful.
Where do you stay now?
I live in the Ajah axis of Lagos.
But you used to be in Surulere
Well it shows that level ‘don change’, doesn’t it ?
No, I lived at Akoka as a student; close to UNILAG. I have graduated, so I should move to where I could better my lot.
How do you feel when people berate women who have actually earned their worth?
Well, when I’m the target , I allow it fly because people just talk sometimes. It’s really bad especially when you’ve earned it.
What’s the most expensive gift a man ever gave you?
Does it have to be a man? The most expensive gift I ever got was from a female fan in London and I know my fans are loyal. If I actually invited people to my birthday, I know I would be given more than I can take.
What do you think thrills a man the most about you?
I’m not going to answer that because guys are funny and at the end of the day it will be something else. I will say something now and I will be misquoted and that will not be funny at all. You know sometimes people just read headlines and don’t even bother to read the whole story.
Which actors do you enjoy working with?
Well, basically I like working with good people. I love acting with every actor that knows how to act and knows what he/she is doing.
So, are you dating?
It’s just a personal decision I took for now to be more focused on my job. I just want to be like this for now, because sometimes you don’t have that man that will take you the way you are. I’m not searching because I have decided to be on my own for now.
Some say there are no real men out there again and men just want to be boys these days. Do you agree with that?
I really don’t know but I have resolved to wait for the right guy. Right now, my mind is just focused on work, to build something solid for myself. I really don’t know about this “men will be men thing and boys will be boys” but I know there are still a lot of good guys out there.
Have you ever got your fingers burnt in the game of love?
Not really because I have always been careful
Are you afraid of commitment?
As a woman I shouldn’t be afraid , but if I’m into something that can burn me, then I should.
Why do you think marrying an actress is peculiar?
You know everybody is looking at her and she is always in the limelight. It’s peculiar and most especially when you know what you are doing, everybody wants to be with you. It comes with the job, the moment you are an actress you become a popular thing and that is something you can’t take away from it.
Has being an actress cost you a relationship?
No, it hasn’t
Why then aren’t you dating?
I just decided to be single right now and there is nothing to it. I just want to be focused right now.
Do you still remember your first kiss?
I think I have talked about it once or twice, but right now I just don’t want to say anything about it.
By Samuel Olatunji
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Source : sunnewsonline.com