‘I never collected N5 m appearance fee from Rivers’
STAR actress, Mercy Aigbe-Gentry has rubbished the tale that she is savouring a juicy romance with Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi. The Benin, Edo born thespian reacted to this and much more, including the rumour that she is quitting Yoruba movie genre that made her, when ENCOMIUM Weekly had a Blackberry chat with her on Monday, June 16, 2014.
How would you describe your career now?
It’s fine. I am doing well in my career at the moment. Over the last two years, I have won many awards, including Best Actress, City People Entertainment Award 2013. My movie, Komfo also won the Best Indigenous Movie at 2014 African Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA) and a lot more.
How does it feel winning these awards?
It feels really great. I feel humbled and overwhelmed. It’s an indication that I am doing something right in my career, and people are appreciating it. I give God all the glory.
You have been an all time relevant actress since you shot to limelight eight years ago, what has or have been working for you?
First, I give thanks to God for everything. But what I think has been working for me are hard work, professionalism and total dedication to my career. That’s the reason for constantly waxing stronger in my career.
What’s your candid assessment of the industry right now?
The industry is moving forward. We’re all doing very well. I give God all the glory. Nollywood is one whether you’re in the Yoruba or English genre. The industry is growing and we’re all growing along with it, especially with the advent of cinemas all over. Quality of movies have improved. If you look at the type of movies we’re churning out nowadays, compared to those produced about five years ago, you will see that we have really improved in terms of storyline, technical aspects, location and everything. In fact, things have improved tremendously.
A lot of people are saying you want to dump Yoruba movie sector that made you for English genre, how true is it?
No, that’s not correct. I have only decided to cross to the English genre of Nollywood because of the fact that I want to create a balance in my career. So, of recent, I have been working more on English movie sets than that of the Yoruba. Recently, I have worked on some English movies, including The Needle, produced and directed by Famous Otakpomwen and Lancelot Imaseun’s movie, The Other side of a coin, to mention a few. Although, I started my career with English genre before moving to Yoruba sector where I have been for a very long time, and I thank God, I am doing well there. But now, I am back to English movies again. That does not mean I have left Yoruba movie genre. After all, Nollywood is one. We’re a very big family. The fact is that I just want to concentrate more on English movies this time around.
Does it mean Yoruba movies are not doing well again?
No, Yoruba movies pay off. Everything is still okay in the Yoruba movie genre but just as I explained to you, I am only trying to pay more attention to English movies now. That doesn’t mean I am quitting Yoruba sector. In fact, featuring in both English and Yoruba movies make my job easier and more exciting. And it even gives me more recognition among my colleagues. Very soon, I am going to be on the set of a Benin movie by Lancelot Imaseun.
Do you think the emergence of different associations is the solution to the leadership problem in the industry?
I don’t think so. What we need is to come together in unison and speak with one voice. So, the way forward is for all of us to come under one umbrella, position ourselves properly, set common goals and work towards achieving them as one big family.
A lot of people believe you should have had another baby, what is delaying that?
Nothing is delaying anything. Why should the people believe I should have had another baby? Are they the ones planning our family for us? My husband and I are okay with the number of kids we have, thank you.
But you only have one for him?
Yes, but we are okay because between the two of us, we have five kids.
Does that mean you are through with child bearing?
We may change our mind later, never can you tell. Besides, I am still very young. So, anything can still happen. But for now, we’re okay.
What’s the relationship between you and Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi?
I only know him to be Rivers State governor, and from his performances so far, he has proved himself to be very sensitive when it comes to the plight of his people. He has worked tirelessly to give them good roads, improved healthcare, etc. He has also alleviated poverty in the state. That much I know because I have family and friends who live in the state, and I hear from them regularly the way he governs the state. And how people sing his praises. Although, I have not had the privilege of meeting him in person, I have heard much about his achievements since he became the governor of the state.
But it was rumoured that you collected N5m from him to feature at the 2014 Children’s Day celebration in the state. What’s your reaction to that?
There is no iota of truth in it. I never at a point collected a kobo from him. I don’t even know him one-on-one.
The rumour also has it that both of you are in a sizzling romance, that’s’ why you were invited to the May 27, 2014 celebration?
It’s not just untrue but laughable.
But were you truly the only actress invited for the ceremony and did you actually attend?
I wasn’t the only one invited. What happened was that there was a book reading session organized by Best of Nollywood in conjunction with the Rivers State government, and celebrities were invited, among whom Alex Ekubo, Yomi Fash Lanso, Dayo Amusa, Olaitan Ogunbele and others. I was also invited but I was out of the country then. So, I couldn’t attend. I think it was the initiative of Rivers State government. I wasn’t the only actress invited for the programme. So, I don’t know what could have informed such rumour.