Tuesday, 27 November 2012




When success stories are written in the annals of Nollywood, Oge Okoye’s name cannot be overlooked. Gorgeous and gifted, Okoye, who hugged the klieg light in 2001 with the movies, “Caesar to Caesar” and “Spanner”, not only conquered Nollywood, she captivated and wowed her fans with blistering and daring acting, so much that her memory continues to linger in the minds of movie buffs. Today, after two kids, the star of numerous blockbusters remains evergreen. She is not only relevant in the industry after about 11 years, but has also broadened her horizon to become multifaceted and a sought-after diva. 

In this encounter, the soft spoken entertainer went gaga and revealed her other side when asked an innocent question about her sexual appetite. 

“What kind of question are you asking me?...How I make love…that is my personal life and I think personal things should remain personal,” she fumes. 

Okoye who was recently honoured with a Doctorate degree by Wisconsin International University, USA, further bared her mind on other germane issues and sketched a broad outline of her real self. We present the riveting interview, raw and uncut. 

What has kept you so busy in recent times?
I’ve been working on my personal project. It’s about my foundation which is christened Positive Life for Children (PLC). The foundation’s major objective is to enhance educational quality for the less privileged children and children with special needs. I found out that most people that really want to give back to the society always focus on motherless babies homes; they tend to neglect the other set of deprived people, especially children with special needs- those suffering from different kinds of ailments like Down Syndrome, among others. 

This set of people also need our love and hands of fellowship.  And they can only get this love when we all come together, create out time to be with them, dance and have fun with them. In the aspect of the less privileged ones in public schools, in as much as some of these students might come from a state where free education is in vogue, what about other school related issues like textbooks, uniforms, sandals, school bags, and all that?  They also want to be like other kids but their parents don’t have the wherewithal to provide all these for them. 

So by the special grace of God, my foundation is going to lend a hand of assistance to this set of people by providing them with basic school needs.   It’s all about making them live a positive life. We will also be involved in seminars and other initiatives where these young ones can be assembled and taught a whole lot of things, impacting them positively.

When exactly is the foundation taking off?
By the special grace of God, I intend launching it before the end of this year or early next year.

You have already made a name in the industry; why did you wait this long before thinking of giving back to the society?
There is always a time for everything in life. Though before now, I have been doing little things like going to public schools like the ones in Makoko, Ajegunle and other areas to give back to the society in my own little way. It’s just that I want to carry it out in a more elaborate way so that others in so many other places would also benefit.

You recently featured in a Hollywood movie, how was the experience like?
Honestly, I must confess it was spectacular. As a matter of fact I was shooting in Owerri when I got a call for the movie. I asked the producer when they wanted to shoot it and I was told it was the next week, I told them it wasn’t possible. I was like ‘how can you be calling me for a Hollywood movie without any time for preparation’. I later accepted it. The movie, Turning Point, was just God’s plan for me. It happened just like that. Initially, I was so nervous; in as much as acting is something we do all the time, but going to act in Hollywood was quite something else-trying to socialize with some other great filmmakers I had only seem on the screen. But I muzzled the courage, and behold, it was a wonderful production.  We also had Jackie Appiah and other Americans in the movie.

Before then, were you dreaming of going as far as Hollywood?
Really, everybody wants to step up his or her game, even without knowing how to go about actualizing it. The feeling would always be there; everybody wants to diversify and get to another level, and that was actually the case with me. I had been dreaming of going to Hollywood and acting alongside their great actors and actresses. But to the best of my knowledge, what I did in that Hollywood movie-Turning Point- was just a starting point. I’ve not gotten to where I want to be. My best is yet to come.

Having experienced both industry-Hollywood and Nollywood-let’s compare and contrast the two.
Really I must confess that there is no much difference. The only difference I see is in the aspect of technology, which I believe they are far ahead of us. They work with already worked out set; they build their set based on the script. Most of what you see in their movies, like oceans, and so many other wonderful scenes are built; they could build an ocean in a studio.  That is why I said they are ahead of us, but I know we will also get there soon.

You’ve remained evergreen since you hugged the klieg lights; what has been the source of this success?
I think it’s God that has brought me this far. The fact that I’ve fans looking up to me is another thing that has been propelling me to work harder. The motivation I get from the family cannot be overlooked; being the only child of my parents, my mum is always there to encourage me. Again, the impact of my husband and my two little kids combine to make me who I am today. Though it has not been easy, but God has been faithful.

Let’s talk about how this journey started.
I had always wanted to act so I went for audition. My mother would always say that since I was young, I was always saying I wanted to be a super star someday, that I used to walk up and down the house doing fashion parade as a child. She thought I was going to be a model, not an actress. I love everything about drama; I was involved in drama back in the church. At first I was reading Accountancy in Enugu State University of Technology. I did that for a whole year and I was like, God in heaven, you know this is not me. 

That was how I persuaded my parents and I left for Nnamdi Azikiwe University where I studied Theatre Arts. I started going for auditions here and there. As God would have it, I got a minor role in a movie entitled Caesar to Caesar, which was in 2001. My performance in that movie got me another movie role in Spanner, where I starred alongside Nkem Owoh and Chinedu Ikedieze. Initially I was nervous acting with Nkem Owoh, and it ended up as a memorable experience. After that, I had a lead role in Sister Mary, and that was how it continued.

What quality of yours was responsible for your first movie role?
I don’t know what the producers saw, but I know I was ambitious.

As a mother of two kids, how do you cope with your career?
It’s really hard, but it takes a whole lot of hard work and a lot of sincerity. You go extra mile, you want to stay with them more even though you want to be at work and all that so you are like caught in the middle. But one thing I just don’t do is I don’t let anyone suffer; my job, my career, my family. I try to create a balance. As much as the job is important, the home front is of foremost importance to me. I blend the two perfectly, such that none of it suffers for the other. I have been coping well.

So when and how did you meet your husband?
It was really not love at first sight, I personally don’t believe in love at first sight. I believe in working it out, knowing ourselves, to see if we are compatible, so that is what exactly happened between me and my husband. We were friends at first and it was going on like that till we got married in 2005.

How does he feel about the romantic scenes you play in movies?
He has never complained. I really don’t know if he feels bad, but I know that being a human being like I am, he might be feeling bad inside but he is not showing it. He encourages me a lot; he is always there for me. Besides, he doesn’t watch my movies.

At a point your marriage was widely reported to have hit the rocks; surprisingly, you didn’t come out to clear the rumour, what actually happened then?
I don’t have business responding to such falsehoods. I don’t know the people peddling such rumours and I have no business with it.

So are you saying the marriage is still intact?
What do you mean? Is like you have another mission! Why won’t my marriage be intact? Please nothing has happened to my marriage. I really don’t know why people would be interested in breaking our marriages; nothing like that exists. It amazes me the way people go about talking about a marriage break up that does not exist. I’m happily married and I don’t want to discuss my personal life.

Since he is not living with you here in Nigeria, how do you cope with the numerous male admires?
Of course everybody knows that I’m married; I wonder what anybody would still want from me.

So how do you relieve when you have feelings?
What kind of feelings are you talking about?

Sexual feelings, to be specific.
I think that is my personal life. What kind of questions are you asking me? I think you will soon ask me how I make love with my husband. Basically, that is my personal life and I think personal things should remain personal.

One should have expected that you attend an event with your husband whenever he is in Nigeria so as to clear the numerous rumours of broken marriage trailing your person, why don’t you usually do that?
I don’t think that is necessary.

So where is that lucky man from?
He is from Imo State and I am from Nnewi, in Anambra State.

What is one good thing that marriage has done to you?
I think it has made me more mature.

Your last born is about two years, how soon are we going to be celebrating the arrival of the third one?
I believe God’s time is the best.

But would there be anyone by this time next year?
Actually, we are not ready for any other one now. We are taking a little break from child bearing.

After two kids, you still look youthful and sexy; what is the secret behind this?
Really! Maybe because I’m slim naturally. Apart from that, I exercise a lot. I do all kinds of exercises from cycling to normal stretching. I think that is what has been helping me to stay in shape.

So many of your colleagues have drifted towards producing, why haven’t you followed this trend?
Just as I said earlier, God’s time is always the best. And one thing with me is that I’m one person that likes to take my time when I’m doing things. If I’m going to produce a movie, I shouldn’t do any half baked type of movie all in the name of wanting to produce my own movies. If I must produce, it must be something that will last long in the memory of movie lovers. All the same, I like what my colleagues are doing.

How far can you go to interpret a role, especially the ones involving nudity?

I do everything within my capacity to ensure that I perfectly interpret my roles. But one thing I cannot do is to go stark naked.  But I could do other sensual roles but for nudity, I wouldn’t. Our society abhors it.

So how does the inspiration come for your role interpretations?
Acting is something I’ve grown up to love and cherish. I will say it’s the grace of God that has over the years enabled me to interpret my roles. Besides, I believe acting is in me.

What do you do to enhance the inflow of the inspiration?
Am I supposed to do anything? What are mine supposed to do apart from just exhibiting the talent that is already in me? I don’t think I do anything.

What about such things as smoking, as some of your colleagues do?
Why should I smoke? Has anybody told you that I smoke? I don’t have to do that, I don’t do it and I don’t think I will ever indulge in that if that is what you are asking.

But some of your colleagues do; do you see anything wrong with it?
I think that is their personal business. I don’t have anything to say about that. I don’t interfere in someone else’s private life, as much as I don’t want anybody to interfere in mine.

Most of your colleagues are said to be into lesbianism, how have you been coping with their amoral advances?
I’ve never encountered one. I don’t want to doubt the existence of such but I’ve never encountered anyone. So I can’t be talking about what I don’t know about.

Generally, what is your view about the act?
You and I know is wrong; I don’t think it’s something anybody should be practicing.

If given the opportunity to erase anything in your past, what would you’ve erased?
I think the only the thing I would’ve loved to erase is the death of my father. It was such a bad experience that haunted me for years. He was such a lovely father anybody would pray to have. It’s been long, so I’ve tried to put it behind me.

What kind of man epitomizes your ideal man?
My ideal man should be hard working, must look good, and at same time have the fear of God

Are those things what attracted you to your husband?
I won’t talk about what attracted me to my husband. What attracted me to him is not something I would want to start talking about. It’s personal.

Since your marriage is still intact, what effort did you put in to sustain it till date?
It’s all about loving someone unconditionally, trusting the person and at the same time being tolerant. These are the ingredients of a lasting relationship, and I think they are part of what has sustained mine as well.

Are these ingredients lacking in the failed marriages recorded by your colleagues?
I don’t know what could have caused their failed marriages. It’s only the person that wears the shoe that knows where it pinches. It is their private lives; I don’t know what caused their breakups and I don’t think is something I would want to know. Just as I like keeping some things private, I also like allowing people their privacy.

Unlike your colleagues, you got married back in 2004; were you under pressure to marry since you are the only child of your parents?
It wasn’t because of that. I fell in love with a man and we ended up getting married. Nobody ever pressurized me into marriage.

How did you go about settling your rifts with your friends, Ini Edo and Chioma Toplis?
Who told you there was any rift? As far as I’m concerned I don’t have any rift with anybody.

Does that mean you’ve settled with them?
I don’t know what you are talking about, and please I don’t have an answer to that question.

If you had known all that you know today, what did you do in the past that you would you’ve done differently now?
I don’t really know what I would have done differently; I think I did everything I’ve done based on the prevailing circumstances. I don’t regret anything I did in the past. I know I must have made some mistakes, but I try not to remember them because I have already forged ahead. Whatever mistake I made in the past has been confined to history, I’m now looking ahead to what the future has got to offer.

What were these mistakes?
There you go again. I think that is my personal life, which I would want to remain personal.

Share with us what life has taught you over the years?
Frankly speaking, life has taught me to be independent, to never give up no matter what I’m facing, to always believe in myself, to work hard and always remain focused.  I’ve come to understand that everybody can be a better person, and everything anybody needs to succeed in life is in that person.

Most producers are currently lamenting on the evil effect of piracy; does the menace affect what you are currently paid for jobs?

It hasn’t. I feel that whatever I’m getting is what I’m supposed to get. But the menace is a very big challenge to the industry; you find out that before one’s film is released someone somewhere would have already released a pirated copy, it’s painful. I believe there will be a change if the government finally puts an end to it; it’s something that must be collectively fought against.

-Source: E Express Nigeria

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