Gloria Young needs no introduction as far as acting is concerned. Since her first role in Glamour Girls, she has not looked back. ENCOMIUM Weekly had a one-on-one interview with the versatile role interpreter and writer at her Oke-Afa, Isolo, Lagos residence, where she opened up on many issues affecting her career and the industry at large. She also spoke on her role in Tales of Eve, the new TV series…
What makes a good actor?
A good actor studies his lines, works on his character, understands other people’s characters and roles in a play. A good actor is a team player because acting is team work and if, you don’t get on with your team, it is either you fall or the orders fall and then it doesn’t turn out to be a good play. A good actor is a team player.
What is the greatest mistake young actors make?
They believe that everything has to be glamorous and life is not all about glamour. That is the greatest mistake they all make. There is no poor person in movies these days. Drama is mirror of life. There are poor people, rich people and middle class people but these days there are no poor people. Everybody is rich and glamorous. It doesn’t make sense at all. Even when they are living in a wretched house, as I have noticed.
What should a professional actor do immediately he/she gets a script?
Read the script from beginning to the end. Professional actors should not accept the script containing only his parts like some people do. Some producers give you script that don’t have everything. They just give you where your own role is. How will you have only where your own role is and understand what you are doing? It is a story and you must read the story. It’s either you collect the script and read the story and return it. If they cannot afford to make copies for you, you make your own copies yourself but you must read the script from the beginning to the end. You can’t concentrate on your own alone. You must know the story inside-out. It must become a part of you because you are a part of the story.
Should acting fee influence one’s choice of a job?
It should be part of it. That is a sort of motivation, especially in this country. It gingers one to work harder.
You have been in the industry for a while now, what will you say has kept you here?
I don’t like to be over-used. So, anytime I come over again, I am fresh.
Can you remember your influence on Nollywood?
Joke Silva has influenced me. She is a big aunty to me. Just by watching her, I have learnt a lot especially when she is on set.
I have been on set with her once or twice and she never failed me.
Onyeka Onwenu has also influenced me a lot. She interprets her roles well just like Joke. I like Joke’s command of English and how she handles that. So many people have influenced me but it is just those two that I can remember now.
What is new for Gloria Young?
I have a lot of things I am working on now. I write a lot. Most times, when I am not on set, I am writing. Maybe something new will come out in my writing by the end of the year.
You featured in a new soap, Tales of Eve, what is it all about?
Tales of Eve is a story about a young, innocent, naive girl in a village setting who was raped, got pregnant, got wrong advice, had the baby and she had to live somehow. No matter how she tried to put herself somewhere, she didn’t fit in until she came into her own. That is basically the story of Tales of Eve.
How would you describe the set?
Tales of Eve is different. Like what I was telling you, there wasn’t anything like expensive house. It was a story about people living in a village. Why would you put them in a city? The huts we worked in, one was older than my father. There was one that was actually built in 1926 and I couldn’t believe it and the inside didn’t have any roof. I didn’t believe that there are places like that in Lagos but we had to go into the interior to find them.
Were there any particular challenges while working on the production?
Basically there was a major challenge for me. It has always been challenging working in villages, especially when we have to stay in the sun with all the flies and everything but that was it. Everything else was just normal. I had a good team. I was a team player and everybody on that set was a team player.
What should the viewing public expect?
They should expect a beautiful story. They should expect to see the worries, the disappointments, the sorrow, the anger, fear, uncertainty of the young girl who got raped. They showed the family the boy that was alleged to have raped the girl. The boy was wrongly accused of raping the girl. It was very different. They should expect to see all these in the faces, reactions and speeches.
What role did you play in Tales of Eve?
I played the mother of the boy that was wrongly accused of rape. I played a very wicked woman’s role.
What’s next now that you are through with Tales of Eve?
I finished the soap sometime in April before I went to do something else which was a little different. It was a comedy entitled, Civilian Barracks.
What is your take on Nollywood?
I have been asked this question a lot. Where is Nollywood? They said to me that Nollywood is a state of mind but I think it should have a structure, something that we Nigerian artistes can call our own or somewhere we will call our own. Even if it is a piece of sack or tree we can call that Nollywood. What I really believe is that you cannot just call Nollywood and it is in the air. Where will you go, if you say you want to drop a message for Nollywood. If somebody comes from
America or any of these other countries and says, I will like to go to Nollywood. What you will hear is, wait until there is a show. I think there should be a place, an area, that is what I think about Nollywood. But if you are thinking about the movie industry, I will say that just like the name Nollywood, it will become something if we give it a chance, if everybody works at it, it will become something.
How do you think it can be better?
Like I said, when people work on it.
Will you allow any of your children to go into Nollywood?
Yes, I would. I wouldn’t mind any of my children becoming an actor. They can be actors anywhere.
In the days of Glamour Girls and what we have now, can you give us a comparative analysis?
The difference is that during the time of Glamour Girls, we didn’t have many movies, we didn’t have many people. There was lack of actors basically because Nigerians didn’t understand why they have to be actors in the first place. But now we have a whole lot of actors. Then people paid attention to each movie. If you are given a script, you have enough time to rehearse and you must have at least two weeks of rehearsals unlike now, you are given a script and they will just tell you when to come. Sometimes you don’t get to know who and who you are working with except if you ask and everything is done on phone. You just discuss it on phone, they send your money into your account and they tell you the time of your flight and you just go, take your flight to where you are supposed to shoot. There you meet people you are working with.
We heard that you once worked with Daily Times of Nigeria?
I travelled to America to study. When I came back, my first job was with Daily Times of Nigeria and after that, I worked for Classique magazine. I worked there as a writer and reporter.
Do you still write?
Yes. I still write but I don’t report. I don’t know if anybody can pay me the kind of salary I will like now. If anybody thinks he can pay me, why not? I can’t still do it. Now, I am a writer but I don’t report.
– CHIDIMMA OBIONWU
*This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 23, 2011