EBONY skin actress, Anita Hogan is back on the block. Hogan disappeared five years ago after her marriage to her Dutch husband. She is ready to return to her pride of place with her enriched acting prowess. The mother of two adorable children had an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on why she left the scene a couple of years back, married life, her soon to air soap, Koko’s Diary and sundry issues.
You’ve been away for five years now, how does it feel to be back?
It feels really good, it feels very pleasant to be back. Thank God, I can still do what I love doing most again.
Did you at all miss Nigeria and Nollywood?
Yes, I did, this is home. There is a saying that wherever and whenever a bird is flying, the teeth is always pointing to the ground. It means, no matter the height, it will still land on the ground. No matter where I go, my feet are always pointing back to Nigeria. That is my home and my comfort zone. I miss home and of course, my work. What I studied is what I have always learnt to do.
While you were away, what were you doing?
When you get married to an European or when you migrate, you have to integrate, learn their language and culture, take certain exams. What I do and I am still doing is inculcating the Dutch culture, language and perfecting the language, studying the society, integrating into the society. I have done a couple of professional exams in the language. Also, I have my own family, it is still young, any child that is young requires time and dedication. So, I have to dedicate time for my children, my husband.
When do we see you back on the screen now that you are in Nigeria?
I just finished shooting my soap, it is still in the process of being polished up and presented to television stations for airing. So, very soon, I will be back. I also participated in it. I also have other talents in entertainment aside acting. There is a book I have been working on that is on the edge of being put out there so that people can have a feel of my personality. Very soon people who love me will start seeing me.
Now that you are back, what should we expect from the new Anita?
I can’t say that I am back and better, that means I was never good. I can’t say that, it is for the people to judge, of course, you have to keep polishing yourself to meet up with the changes in the industry. I will just say, I will upgrade the flow with the tide that is currently in place. It is still the same me, Anita Hogan.
Yes, naturally. I am a very witty person, I like to crack jokes. I like to add a twist of comedy to whatever I do, I have never gotten a role that put in that serious, no smile, no nonsense attitude, boxing me in a corner, bringing out that serious role in me. I have done a couple of action movies.
Are there roles you will reject now because you are married?
No, there are no roles like that. I can still take any role.
The industry you left five years ago is no more the same, how will you compare the industry you left then to what applies now?
I wouldn’t lie, the industry has seriously been upgraded. You can now see new faces, the industry is becoming an actual business, people are now taking acting serious. Before you could be an actress and still engage in other part time jobs. People who act now, do it as their major source of living.
You had a clique about five years ago that you were moving with, because of your absence for five years, how do you integrate back into the industry?
Truth be told, I do have friends but I don’t have a clique. I never belonged to any but I have some friends. Coming back will not be difficult because I never had a comfort zone. I will blend easily.
How will you describe marriage?
Marriage is fun and very challenging. I am saying this for all the young people out there who do fasting and prayer to get married. They should continue fasting and praying when they get in there, because the higher you go, the tougher it becomes. As a single person, you are free, nobody is questioning you but once you get married, that is when you have to be more prayerful because you have to be more active, more innovative, more creative. You have to pull out all the tricks on your cap to be able to cope. You can’t say you know it all because you have read all the books. To me, marriage is an activity that has to keep moving, it is a car that has to keep running. It is full of fun but very challenging, it is what every woman should look forward to.
Now that you are back in Nigeria, do you think the industry will affect your marriage?
Truthfully, it can if I do not put my priority first. But it is also the challenge of marriage. You just have to know how to play the ball, juggle everything together and if you notice one is affecting the other, you will adjust.
What is the best thing about being married?
The singular fact that someone is thinking about me. The fact that someone is worried about me, anytime my husband wants to make a decision, he carries me along. That for me is one of the best things about being married. A lot of people can think about you but it is not like this one, it is his duty, his job to worry about me and I think I like that.
No, I am not in that kind of marriage. Everybody has their role, he will come over when he’s required to come. Our home will be in Holland. I will be travelling often, and I need to come to Nigeria for one thing or the other. He is the man, I am following him, he will give me space to express myself and he has given me an ultimatum. If what I am doing is not bringing in money, I shouldn’t do it.
Do you feel vindicated because of the picture issue you had before your marriage? A lot of people thought the marriage will not work out but you are happy in it and the marriage is also doing fine?
Marriage is not something you can see at once, you can’t know it all. So saying I am vindicated should not come in. Marriage cannot vindicate me. It is me and my person that should vindicate me, how I am able to carry myself.
What is the greatest lesson marriage has taught you?
They are many, but the most important one is respect, being married to someone that comes from another culture. Respect for each other’s culture, way of life, excesses, we try as much as possible to practice all that. We have respect for every small thing. It has also taught me to be more patient, though I have never been an impatient person but marriage has taught me more patience. My husband often say, “Your ears are very beautiful but they are not functioning (laughs)”. So now, my ears function more. I listen patiently now. Marriage has also taught me to be very humble because my husband is an extremely humble human being, he is so simple. I am very content with what I have, marriage has taught me that as well.
How is the experience like marrying a foreigner?
Being married to somebody from a different background is really challenging, extremely challenging. A word in my language may have a different meaning in his language. So, we had to work seriously on communication because it was extremely difficult as well. Then the environment, you have to adapt to things in a new place completely different from yours.
What is the relationship between you and your husband’s older children?
I wouldn’t lie, sometimes back my father came to introduce his young wife to me, I was like let us see what she is up to. So, they were suspicious, at first they wanted to see what I was up to but when I had the first baby, the second, they changed their mind because they realized my intention. It is a relationship the two parties have worked on. They have proved that they love me truly and not just because of their fat her. Likewise me, I had to prove that I love them truly. We are very comfortable with each other now, my son visit his brothers, stay for weekend. We celebrate little parties, over the time we have gained the trust of each other.
Tell us about your husband.
He is a realist, he is not into fantasy. Sometimes I feel he is too real. He tells me that if he wants to love God that he can’t see, the only way he can do it is to love the people he can see. He loves his children a lot, I used to tell him that maybe where he came from he was an orphan. He makes sure he meets his children’s awake. If he should meet them asleep for some days, he will adjust his schedule to meet them awake. He is also a problem solver, he loves Nigeria a lot. He loves our culture but he says we should learn to take responsibilities, that we shouldn’t just put the whole responsibility on someone. We all must be responsible for our lives and actions.
Tell us about your soap, Koko’s Diary.
It’s about going through the diary of a house help. I looked at the society through the eyes of a house help. The help knows a lot of things, they are always available at home, they know all the children’s character, they know what oga is up to and so on. We have shot, we have done all the necessary things, it is now time to put it on air.
Should we be expecting more children from you?
I really would like that, but my economic situation doesn’t allow it. I have very adorable children, I would like to produce more. But I can’t afford it for now. If I have another one, then it means I have hit a jackpot.
Tell us about your children.
My first son is Munachi Mak, he doesn’t have a Dutch name. My daughter has a Dutch name but we call her Chizara, it means God has fulfilled my ultimate wish. My son is a charmer, he has a fantastic smile, whenever he passes by a mirror, he looks at himself over and over again.
- SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN
This story was first published in Encomium Weekly edition of Tuesday, May 22, 2012