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CLASSICS: ‘I’m not a porn star but a daring actress’ – Uche Ogbodo

Uche-Ogbodo-October-2013-BellaNaija

NOLLYWOOD actress Uche Ogbodo came back to the spotlight recently after a brief hiatus. The actress has shed the ‘good girl image’ transforming into a fiery looking African siren.  She recently came back from a shoot in Asaba, Delta State.  ENCOMIUM Weekly spoke with her on her career and more…

 

What has Uche Ogbodo been up to?

Nothing much.  My usual career.  My job. I just came back yesterday so maybe I’ll pick up another one by next week. That’s just basically what I do all the time.  So, each time people ask me what have you been up to, it’s the same thing, over and over again.  Yeah.

Uche Ogbodo

Uche Ogbodo

You were in Asaba all through last week, what movie were you shooting?

I did two jobs.  Actually, one was just a completion of a job I started that I couldn’t finish due to some circumstances but thank God I’ve finished them now, the movie will soon be out.

What’s the name of the movie?

Maybe they are going to name it my character name, Rebecca.  She’s a village girl suffering in the village, no money and all that, all the challenges, loss of parents and all.  The usual thing we always see but this time, I put in all my best so I’m sure it’s going to be something to look up to.

You’ve changed your image from how you looked before, what inspired this new image?

I’m trying to do a lot of rebranding and re-invention of myself because as an entertainer, you must be in a certain spot.  You pave the kind of place you want to people to associate you with.  I’ve been in a particular place for a very long time so now I’m ready to take the world by storm.  I’m ready to re-invent myself and be different.  I am not that quiet, naïve, calm girl.  I am not saying that I am crazy but what I’m saying is that I’m spontaneous and I love life so I’m ready to live it.  So, I just signed into a new management and everything will soon be official, I’ll let you guys know the people later.  They are repackaging me so expect more.

You recently said you can go as far as acting nude in a movie?

When I granted that interview, I wasn’t basically saying that I could act nude in any movie, I am an actress.  Why I said what I said was because I was trying to drive a point home, that I could give everything it takes me to be a good actress.  But people do not understand some certain things when you say them.  I said I couldn’t act nude if my culture or tradition was against it.  I am an African woman and I act my movies in Africa.  I know there are some barriers.   I’m not a Hollywood artiste.  There are some things that I can do that my people will frown at, that a Hollywood actress would do and nobody cares.  When I said that I could act nude if my tradition and culture wasn’t against it that means I cannot act nude because presently my culture is against it.  Given that I’m a Hollywood artist, given that I am outside the borders of this country and I’m doing my profession, I can do whatever I want.  I can act nude if my pay is good enough for me to do it. But here, it’s something that so many people frown at.  I am having so many enemies for twisting a bit of language, I didn’t say it directly but if you look beyond what the reporters write, this is exactly what I’m saying.  I am not a porn star.  I don’t know why people would refer my acting nude to acting a porn movie.

Do you think Nollywood limits actors and actresses in terms of how they allow you to express yourself?

It’s not Nollywood, it’s the culture.  Our culture limits people because we are not really free enough to express ourselves the way we would love to.  Some people have role models, not in Nigeria.  Some people have role models in Hollywood, people that they look up to and then, those people would like to put some of those acting skills that make those other people who they are, in their own career to liven it up. But because of where we are living, the society does not give you that chance.  It bounds you to

UcheOgbodo

UcheOgbodo

a certain level of acting and that way, you cannot be free, you cannot express yourself, you cannot be who you are, except you don’t care, except you don’t want to hear what people are saying.  Some people in Nollywood would say if she’s doing this then she’s that. They categorise you, they make you a certain person that people should run away from.  That you’re demonic, or this or that. It’s a cake.  It’s too backward for me.  I think the society basically is what limits people not Nollywood because as an actress, nobody tells you what to do; they just want you to give your best.  There are actresses that don’t care.  There are actresses who just do their thing because it’s on the inside.  Acting is passion not that you’d just come and say you want to be an actress.  You don’t have any passion; you just come and start copying people. It comes from inside. Its original so if you’re able to bring it out from deep down inside of you and want to explode, the society holds you don’t do it, don’t act nude, don’t show your body, don’t dance in a certain way, don’t do this, don’t do that. When I first started, I had this accent thing going on with me.  So many movies I wanted to do.  Some people don’t even cast me in some movies because I speak in a certain way.  They say, ‘This is not Nigerian English, you have to come down to Nigerian English.  Don’t speak this English.”  There’s something like phonetics in a course.  It’s like a course. I learnt Phonetics. It’s inside me. I cannot stop it anymore. It’s uncontrollable for me.  But then, when you’re here trying to do your thing, somebody is saying you’re faking, don’t fake it, don’t fake it.  So, if I say one word I have to breathe and try to calm down to speak another word.  When you are being yourself, they don’t want you to be yourself. So, there are some little limiting factors.

Who’s your role model in Hollywood?

I’ve always loved Angelina Jolie. I love her.  She’s daring, she’s a very wonderful actress.

Afro Candy recently said she wanted you to star in her new porn movie, how do you feel about it?

It’s her life.  She’s a Nigerian but she lives abroad. That’s what I’m saying about the barrier.  She couldn’t do all that when she was here in Nigeria living in Ikeja but now she’s in America, she feels she can do porn if she wants.  So, it’s her life.  It’s what she wants. I’m not judging her.  It’s what she wants to do.  She knows who she is.  It’s always good when you know who you are so that if anybody tries to argue with you, you say, “This is who I am, take it or leave it.”  So, I don’t have any issues with her being who she is and doing her thing and becoming a star.  I don’t feel good that she called me to cast me in a porn movie. I am not a porn actress.  Like I said in my press statement, I am not a porn star, I am an actress.  I am just a daring actress. I am daring, but I’m a decent girl.  Outside the movie, I know who I am.  You cannot drag my name to the mud or try to force me to be you, I can never be you.  I know myself, I am doing my thing based on the custom and tradition of my people and where I’m living. I cannot go above limit except I leave the society.  So, don’t make me who I’m not.  Do not drag my name to you because we can never be one.  I can never do porn in my life. I can never do it because I am a woman who knows that I want to someday get married and settle down in Africa or wherever it is. But it’s definitely going to be an African man.  So, there are things that hold me back from being that kind of person. I cannot do it. I am not a lousy, randy unaccustomed human being. I am not.  Outside the movies and the whole razzmatazz, I am not.

Have you ever met her before?

I’ve never seen her, but I just heard gist that she used to live here.  She used to live in Ikeja. I read some of her press stuff so I don’t know her. I’m sure if I had known her, I wouldn’t like her lifestyle so I wouldn’t live it.  I don’t know her. I’ve never met her.

What new things are you bringing to Nollywood in terms of acting?

I’m bringing new things because this time I do not want any barrier, I don’t want anything to hold me back. I am going to dig and research.  I want to be the best so I’m going to work hard, see what it takes for me to get up there.  I don’t care what challenges that I face, I don’t know who wants to discriminate me. I don’t care who wants to rubbish my name.  What I want is to just be the best.  If my people do not understand it, what I’m bringing to the table then I’m sure people from outside would probably understand it and appreciate me.  It is God who makes stars not really human beings but when you’re trying to please all the people all the time, it’s not possible.

You’ve been in and out of relationships, have you found the lucky guy?

I’m still praying that I meet him.  Maybe I’ve met him, maybe not but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’ll let you guys know as things materialize.

What happened to Mr. Cross whom you were once engaged?

That was then. It broke off so everybody went their separate ways.

A lot of people are still insinuating that you are in a relationship with Harrysong?

Me and Harrysong are not dating.  Harry is just my friend.  The episode you want to know about happened on his birthday.  We were getting high and drinking and having fun and just laughing and playing, so it was just like, ‘let me give you a kiss for your birthday’ simple.  Just a small kiss.  People took pictures, it came on the internet.  I’m not dating Harrysong (laughs).

What do you cherish most about him as a friend?

Harry is a very talented person, he’s very creative and he knows where he wants to be. He’s a hard worker. I love men that work hard and men that are creative.  He is a talent undiscovered yet.

Can you ever go intimate with him?

No one knows tomorrow (laughs).  I don’t know tomorrow.  Tomorrow knows itself. I cannot say. If we probably get attracted tomorrow to each other, you never can tell. I don’t know.  So, it’s God that knows.

What’s your view of Nollywood in general?

Nollywood is a very big industry and a very big market for our country.  It’s an avenue to showcase our talents, who we are, our culture.  It’s a very good labour organization for undergraduates, post graduates, everybody.  It’s a very good industry that helps Nigerians in so many ways and I pray that we do not bring it down.  Rather, we should all put our hands together and promote it more because it’s going to get better.

What are fans expecting from Uche Ogbodo this year?

I’m sure my fans are expecting me to have more jobs.  I’m taking on more challenging roles; I’m rejecting some scripts that are not up to what I want.  I will put all my effort, they are going to see more of me as an actress, probably more of me into the music, then more of me in production because I’m probably going to start doing some jobs of my own.

Are you releasing any single?

I have done singles but I’ve never put them on air.  But now maybe I’m going to try again.  Stop laughing, I might be better.  I know what you all say when it comes to a Nollywood person singing but you never can tell. I might be the bomb.

THIS INTERVIEW WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN ENCOMIUM WEEKLY ON TUESDAY, MAY 28, 2013

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