‘I knew Churchill before I met Tonto’
Talented Nollywood actress Roseline Meurer, who was born in the Gambia, no doubt, set a pace in the Nigeria’s Nollywood entertainment industry. The beautiful actress and model has done quite a lot in the Nigeria movie scene since she came into the industry in 2010. Over the years, the actress who hails from a royal family in Delta state has worked with prominent movie producers and directors like Eniola Badmus, Desmond Elliot, Zik Zulu Okafor, Ini Edo, to mention a few.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, the actress accused of being behind the breakup of the marriage between Tonto Dikeh and her husband Olakunle Churchill said she’s never a Personal Assistance to anyone. She stated clearly that even Tonto Dikeh knows she has nothing to do with their marriage woes, among other issues…
What’s your relationship with Churchill and Tonto Dikeh, and how did you get working with their organisation?
I had known him before l started working with his organisation. He knew my family from when l was younger and later l got to meet his wife Tonto Dikeh who’s already a colleague I met once through Desmond Elliot. I met her again through her husband, we had dinner with my family.
I’m happy working under Big Church Foundation, and no doubt Mr. Olakunle is an amazing person whom you will always benefit from in one way or
the other if you are around him. Aside financial benefit, he’s knowledgeable. There’s always something you will learn from him that will make you better if you apply it to your life.
So, I just look up to him as a mentor. I have always been a fan of his wife (Tonto Dikeh) way back from when I was in Gambia but l just never had the opportunity to work with her. You know she had a child and obviously she’s a new mother and I don’t expect her to start working and going on set right now.
We never worked together but she’s been cool with me and my family. That’s just our relationship. Everything is just surprising to me. I don’t know what actually went wrong honestly. I’m more focused on my life, my career and how to get my brand stronger.
A lot of comments and reactions hit the social media about you being the cause of Tonto Dikeh’s marriage woes. What have you got to say about this?
Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I feel along the line people will get to know the truth. Yesterday (February 15) was my birthday, and l was so excited because it was my day. I celebrated with my friends and family that celebrated with me. To be very honest I don’t know what went wrong.
This is a family l love, admire and work with. I’m not even a personal assistant. Nothing in my resume says personal assistant. I was on set, minding my business, working hard to be an A list actress in the Nigeria entertainment industry and my phone is ringing relentlessly.
I’m between and betwixt about how I got into this. I still don’t understand what really went wrong. I just think some mischief makers got a hold of my picture and put it out there. I know I can’t say enough to extricate myself from this right not but there’s God in heaven who sees all things. I’m not worried.
It might be a tough time because I felt that my OMG moment was going to be when I’m in a blockbuster movie and my pictures will be everywhere but l have never in my wildest dream thought of something like this. But hey, it’s part of life. It’s one of the journeys in life.
I know someday, the truth will eventually come out. I’m not happy about it, I must say, but life must go on. I’m hale and hearty and that’s the most important thing.
Are you not bothered for the fact that it happened some days to your birthday?
It’s part of life. It’s one of the journeys in life. I do what I love to do, I’m passionate about acting. I’m passionate about charity. These are things that are close to my heart and these are things I’m solely concentrating on. Really I’m not happy about the news breaking very close to my birthday but life must go on.
Is it true that you work as a PA to Tonto Dikeh’s husband, Churchill Olakunle?
In fact, I cracked up and I was rolling all over the place when I heard that. I’m nobody’s PA. I have never applied as a PA. I have never thought of being a PA and it’s never one of my dreams to be a personal assistant.
I currently don’t know how that came about. It’s not a problem that I’m labeled as a personal assistant because that’s where a lot of people get their bread and butter but I’m an actress, a thespian. I’m in the business of movies. I interpret roles with my body and mind and I’m also a model.
So when I heard I’m the personal assistant, I was shocked. At least if you want me to be a PA then you should be able to pay me a very good amount of money to leave my career for a PA job. I was never a personal assistant, I’m yet to be a personal assistant and I would never be.
Why have you decided to leave Gambia and pursue your career here in Nigeria?
Nigeria is like the zenith of entertainment in Africa and I felt I should just go big or go home like they used to say. I have decided to go big for coming to Nollywood where everything is happening. I have decided to take chances and explore.
Desmond Elliot came to shoot a movie in the Gambia in 2009 and I had a role in the movie. It was towards the end of the year 2009, and in January 2010 I came to Nigeria. Desmond Elliot had a meeting with Emem Isong after she saw the work that I did with Desmond Elliot in Gambia.
She had a role for me. They decided to let me come explore here in Nollywood. I came here and l worked with Uche Jumbo, Ini Edo, Monalisa Chinda, Nse Ikpe Ettim, Desmond Elliot directed and acted. I worked with some very beautiful script writers as well. When l got here, it was beautiful and l felt like my dream has come true. Everything seemed really nice, but there were loads of challenges because of my accent.
I was trying to fit in Nigeria to be able to blend with how they speak and everything. The journey was very fun because l have always wanted to be like them anyway. So, l came here and did that movie. And after that l did another one for Emem Isong as well but then l had to go back to Gambia because l was way younger then. I was between 16 and 17, and I always got secretary roles. After that I went back to Gambia. My mother is a Nigerian so I come to Nigeria on holidays.
During that period, Zik Zulu Okafor saw my little sister and wanted to cast her to a lead role in his series Oasis. When he interviewed her and made her go through the audition she was very young and randomly they asked her if she has an older sister that looks like her. She told them yes and that was how I came in. I was very excited to work with Zik Zulu Okafor, I read the script and I was fully prepared. Luckily l was able to get the lead role in that series, Oasis which was sponsored by City of David.
It was even premiered at the church. That was how I started enjoying myself and getting comfortable. In the process on set, there were a lot of producers and directors that came on board. That was how I met some of them and from then l started getting calls. I started with minor roles but now I get lead roles.
I think they see something different in me. I also worked with Eniola Badmus, she made me her lead in her movie. Kamar, the movie was totally different from all l had done in Nollywood. Everyone gives me that fine girl role or young girl that’s flaunting or related roles but she gave me a razz pidgin speaking role and l had to blend with that by learning pidgin and I added my everyday pidgin to make it funny. It was a nice experience and I can’t wait for the movie to be released for people to see.
Eniola, shout out to you because the movie was bad. I have always wanted to do something like that and she just gave me the opportunity to do it. Right now, I’m still here, trending and trying to do more. I have a lot coming. I’m definitely going to entertain you, just watch out for me. I’m coming on to your screen large and bright.
Can you list some of the movies that you have featured in?
When l came into Nollywood for the first time, I worked with Emem Isong and Desmond Elliot directed a movie called Spell Bound with Uche Jumbo, I did another one in Uyo called Uduagbon. I have done Oasis, Red Card with Zik Zulu Okafor, I have done the Get-away with Emem Isong and Jim lyke, Ini Edo, Monalisa Chinda. I have done Kamar with Monalisa Chinda. I have done quite a lot of movies that I can’t even remember.
What has been the major challenge so far?
The major challenge would be the heat on movie sets. It’s very hard to work with the heat and the light on set since we can’t use AC. And my accent which a lot of movie producers love most about my acting. I’m trying to get comfortable in my own accent except l have to put up an accent for a particular role or character.
You just acquired a new Land cruiser, how do you feel?
I just felt l have worked really hard and l have saved a lot in this industry to get an official ride. Usually going on set is not really easy without being mobile but now l decided to get an official looking car that’s why l went for a Land Cruiser. I saved a lot for it and I thank God for making my birthday a success that l could give myself a birthday present this time. Something that would actually help me to move around and do more.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m the first child. We are three siblings: I have a younger brother and sister. I was born and raised in Gambia. My father is from Holland and my mum is a Nigerian from Delta state. My mum is from a royal family in Delta state, so, I’m also a princess. I grew up all my life in Gambia. Every major thing I did in my early days was in Gambia. I schooled, worked and even modelled in Gambia before coming to Nigeria to follow that career that I wanted so badly.
My siblings are students, they are in school and my sister, the most beautiful model in Nigeria 2016. She won the crown last year. They are all I have and they are all l live for. I just want to make them happy and want them to be always proud of me. That’s it about my family.
Aside acting and modelling, what more are you into?
I focus mainly on my acting and modelling. Another huge part of my life is charity, I’m an ambassador of The Big Church Foundation. I follow them around across the country to help the needy. Really that’s something that I do just because of my passion for other people, especially less privileged.
Away from that, business is another thing that l love. Though business is large, whatever business that’s legit and fetch me more money are the ones l love. I love to be happy and to see everyone around me happy.
– TADE ASIFAT and OLUWAFEMI SOEWU