NOLLYWOOD actress, Yvonne Jegede took a long break from the Nigerian movie scene to Cyprus in 2007 to further her education. She hit limelight for her appearance in 2Face’s African Queen video as well as her roles in several Nollywood movies before her hiatus. Yvonne Jegede recently caught public attention when pictures of her surfaced on the internet revealing little too much cleavage. In this exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, she talks about what we are to expect from her and the journey so far.
What have you been up to lately?
I have been working on my own project and doing other people’s jobs, so I’ve been very busy lately.
You recently got back from Cyprus, what were you doing there?
I was in school. I was in American University studying International Relations.
You studied Law at LASU, why did you go into International Relations?
I really had not much interest in Law so that’s why I didn’t go further with Law. I loved international relations.
When did you start your acting career?
I started acting in 2003 with the TV series, Blades of Glory, Behind the Sage. I started acting proper in 2004 in films.
Who is your biggest inspiration in acting?
There are a lot of people I admire their works. I would say Halle Berry and Genevieve Nnaji. They are the two I can think of right now.
People know you for your appearance in 2Face’s African Queen video, what other videos and movies have you done?
I’ve done Ego in Djinee’s music video. I was Ego in the video. I have done quite a number of movies. I did one music video back then before I did African Queen. People don’t even remember that now. Mr. Kool Ibe’s music video.
What movies have you done recently?
I’ve done Haunted Souls, Twitter Babes, Village Babes, My Honey Pot and Transformers, that one is not out yet. I’ve done See Through Me, that one was shot in Uganda, James Town, a cinema movie that’s undergoing post production.
Back then, my most successful movie that a lot of people knew me by was African Baby. I played alongside Kenneth Okonkwo and Desmond Elliot.
Are you currently working on any movie now?
Yes, I’m supposed to go to Accra to shoot a film next weekend. I have a couple of projects coming up. Then, I have my own project I intend to work on.
What is your most memorable moment?
In general, I would say the day I graduated. That was one of the happiest days of my life. That is, February last year.
You recently released some pictures of your birthday. Some people believe you had your boobs enlarged abroad?
No. My features have always been the same from time immemorial. The thing is a lot of people have always seen me as that naïve, vulnerable girl who likes to cry a lot because those are the kind of roles I used to get before I left. The roles I got were roles I have to be a nice girl in the village, a girl who is begging to be loved, a girl who has made a mistake and who desperately wants to repent, a girl who people will feel sorry for, a girl who is from a poor home. So, I have my own personal life. What you see on TV has absolutely nothing to do with me. I will not cry for a man and grovel and be on the floor in tears with mucus all over my nose. No, I wouldn’t. But if the script says I should do that, I would. I’m very surprised people judge me by my pictures. There was a blog that said, ‘Oh, we thought she was decent.’ I’m like because I’m taking pictures doesn’t mean I’m not decent and because I cry in movies does not make me decent. People who cry in movies that does not make them decent and because someone takes off her clothes on TV does not make her indecent. It is the way you now react when there’s nobody watching that makes you what you are. It was my birthday so I just went to the studio, trying to feel nice and I took pictures and that is all me, no surgery or implant.
As an actress, can you take on more daring roles?
I intend to. I’m back to prove my worth because a lot of times, some directors or movie producers would see me and they’d be like, “There’s this role I wanted to give you, one nice girl.” I don’t want people to come across a script, a girl who has to cry from beginning of the movie to the end and Yvonne Jegede pops into their head. I don’t want that anymore. It’s been like that for a long time, even before the pictures and before people started saying stuff. When I came back, I already said to myself, it has to stop. I was in Abuja to see a friend and I was asking her to take pictures of me in front of a house and her neighbor walked out and said, ‘Oh, I didn’t know you talk.’ I turned around and said, ‘Excuse me.’ She said, ‘No, because you’re very nice, you’re always crying.’ That was when I said to myself, is that how people see me? So, that was when I said ok, I wouldn’t do movies that have me crying all through.
You want to shed the ‘good girl’ image?
I’m still a very good girl because I have lots of respect for my dad. I will never do anything that will hurt his feelings or otherwise, but I want people to know me as a good actress not a good crier.
How far can you go for a role in a movie?
I would go as far as proving the character, making that character come alive, but I would not do anything that will have me bare my entire body.
Which actor do you look forward to working with?
I’m looking forward to working with Naomi Harris. She’s the black girl in Skyfall, the new James Bond. She did a Nigerian movie, Blood and Oil, she did a Kenyan movie and I think her career is really blossoming. She started very small in the United Kingdom and then she’s all over continents shooting movies, so that’s the person I want to work with or work like. In Nollywood, I’ve worked with Genevieve once and she was a sweetheart. I would love to work with her again.
Are you currently in any relationship?
That, I don’t talk about. Whether I’m in a relationship or not, I will not say yes or no. It’s for my own sanity.
How was growing up?
Growing up was nice. I’m from a large family, so I had too many people to play with. I had too many people to run around with, I had a very strict father. He was really nice, loving, caring, I grew up with so much love.
How many are you in your family?
We are nine children.
What’s your philosophy of life?
My philosophy of life is just take life easy. Just live it, live life as it comes. Don’t stress it, just live it the way it comes.
What are you most passionate about?
The thing I appreciate most about life is having children. I’m passionate about kids, I love kids.
How do you deal with your male admirers?
(Laughs) So many experiences just flashing in my head. I handle them well, by the grace of God. I’ll do what I have to do, I’ll do my best, be nice, but I won’t take rubbish. I know when to draw the line.
What more should fans expect from you?
They should expect me to do what I love to do best. Apart from acting, I’ve got my personal live, I’ve got things that I would go to the end of the world for. I’ve got things that I haven’t explored. I’m not going to say this is exactly what it is but I’d like to surprise them.