FAIR skinned actress and entrepreneur, Amaka Okere has every reason to be thankful. She rolled out the drums in celebration of 40 years on earth on Tuesday, April 7, 2015. Friends, fans and well wishers graced the colourful soiree.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with her on life at 40 and sundry issues.
Thank you very much. It is just like yesterday. If not for anything, I thank God for life and good health. I give God all the glory.
Do you feel 40?
I don’t. I don’t even look it. I still feel like a young chic on the street. My daughter tells me I am no longer young.
What are you most grateful for at 40?
I am grateful to God for everything, for life and peace. The only thing I feel is lacking is the fact that I am not in a man’s house.
Any regret at your age?
I don’t have any regret. The only thing I am not happy about is the fact that I celebrated my 40th birthday alone, instead of doing it with my family (husband and children). But in everything, I give God all the glory. I am grateful to Him for everything.
What is the greatest lesson life has taught you at 40?
I have learnt a lot. I am careful of the kind of friends I keep now. Some call themselves friends but they have nefarious intentions. A lot of people come around saying they love you but it is what they want to take from you they are looking for. I don’t want to keep friends anymore. I have learnt to be focused and to be myself. They say life begins at 40. If I have made any mistake this is the time to make amend. So far, so good. I think I have done well for myself.
Your greatest achievement at 40?
That I am able to get to 40 is an achievement. My younger brother did not live up to 40 years, he died at 36. I am grateful. I have three lovely kids. I am healthy, my children are healthy, it calls for celebration.
Tell us your happiest moment in your 40 years of existence?
I have so many happy moments. I have a lot of them. Being with my daughter makes me happy. She makes me laugh every moment. She is a source of joy to me. When I had my first child, the joy of being a mother is another source of joy. My daughter fills the gap. The two boys left me, their absence does not make me happy. She is my best friend, she shares opinion and she is very matured.
What about the saddest moment?
The fact that my boys don’t stay with me. They are with their father, it makes me really sad.
Will you say you are fulfilled at 40?
What else do I want? The most important thing is life, good health. I can live in a good house I love, I have my business. I am a landlady in Lagos. I may not have billions but I am grateful to God. I appreciate God for the little He has given me. I know He will do more for me. I am still moving forward. I am really grateful to Him.
What will you say has changed about your perception of life?
So many things. My outlook to life is different, my lifestyle has changed. No friend can come to drag me anywhere. Before, a friend can tell me to follow her here or there. I don’t jump around anyhow again. My dress sense has also changed.
How long have you had your dreadlocks?
Since 2006. I got a movie role, they wanted me to be on dread. That was how I started and kept it since then.
You have been a single mother for years, wouldn’t you give marriage another shot?
Yes, I will. Why not? By the grace of God, this year will not pass me by.
Does that mean you are in a relationship already?
I am not yet in a relationship but I believe God it will work out this year.
How old are your children and what are they doing?
My first born is 16, my second is 15 and my daughter is 12. They are all in secondary school.
Have you been previously married?
Yes, I was. But I don’t like talking about it. It is in the past now.
Why are your boys staying with your ex-husband?
That is the way he wants it because they are boys, men like male children more.
He must be God fearing, loving and caring. I don’t care about his looks, looks are deceptive. He must love me genuinely with his whole heart.
We understand you are into property?
I am not into property, I am into interior décor and I own a beauty salon. Business is doing well, I give God the glory. Though things have been slow since elections started, most people would tell you after the election.
It seems business has affected your acting career?
It is not as if business is affecting my career, the industry is in a lull. There are desperate girls out there, they pay producers to feature in their movies. Producers also don’t want to pay again.
When last did you feature in a movie?
This year, I have done like three movies, one is out already. I accept scripts when I see it is okay for me. I see acting as a hobby, I don’t live on it. If it comes, good. If not, I have other things I am into. I cannot sell my body to get roles. In 2003, when I started out, it wasn’t like that.
Maybe you can share with us how acting started for you?
I have always loved acting. I had a beauty salon a long time ago. Someone just walked into the salon to make her hair. She is also in the industry, so, I asked her how I could join Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), and she put me through. I was slim back then. When I got there, they were admiring my stature and looks, they gave me a good role. I can remember the title of the movie is Dirty Crime. That was how the journey started.
How many movies have you acted?
I have lost count.
– SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN