Tonto Dikeh Gives an Exclusive and Revealing Interview
You shot into Nigerians’ consciousness on the set of the Next Movie Star, you didn’t clinch that star prize and one would have thought that would have been the end. What happened?
I think the person who won is my friend and I’m happy for him, I just try to be a winner on my own since I didn’t win then and that makes me a winner now.
Since you left that house a lot of things have happened in your life, if you look back now, where would you say your career is now?
It’s in a very good place considering the fact that I’m just six years in the industry, nobody has come this far in six years in the history of Nollywood, asides I and Mike Ezeronye, it’s a big deal for me but I am totally not satisfied at all.
What do you think that you did differently?
I am not sure, I have seen great artistes in the industry, I have seen people who I look up to and I try to feel what they do sometimes and they are not there anymore, so I can’t really say what is it that makes me kind of , I just do it. That’s me.
People believe that you are weird and wild?
I’m weird and wild? That’s a double, I don’t know what it is that makes people say that I am weird and wild, I guess that you are talking about my movies or some of my movies because I have done a lot of movies with roles that are like that, I don’t think that you are talking about me personally, weird I don’t know but wild I understand where they are coming from.
So who is Tonto then?
I’m just me basically, I just love to work hard, be me, feel free, I don’t owe anybody anything, I don’t want to be scared of anybody, I’m just a very strong woman and I have passion for my job.
Have you always thought of acting or circumstance brought you into acting?
Well, it wasn’t really circumstance, I have actually really loved acting but never saw the dream coming true because I was in school already when this thought came and I was doing a very good course which was Chemical Engineering, so I did not see myself in a thousand years leaving it for acting. Also I looked at it as impossibility but I just found a way to combine it and it worked for me and that was all.
Your lifestyles even in movies keep intriguing a lot of people that one is wont to ask can Tonto be tamed?
(Laughs)… Can Tonto be tamed? Yeah, I can tame myself.
Are you sure? Can a man tame you?
What do you mean by ‘can a man tame me?’
I mean can you be in love, a lot of people see you as a strong woman, too strong to fall in love?
Everybody can be in love and most especially the strongest people that you think are very strong in the heart. They fall in love more you know, right?
Yeah, what about you?
I love to love. I love to love. I can’t deny love, anytime any day.
So that means a man is actually in Tonto’s heart?
No, I have no one really.
Tonto you are too beautiful to be single?
It’s not that I have been single for a very long time or that I will be single forever, but I took a decision and this is my decision.
Is it that you are kind of choosy?
No far from it, I am not choosy, we have some certain things that people don’t really actually appreciate. These are very little things that matter in love not the big ones.
There was a report you claimed that you can’t marry an Igbo man?
Well, I never said that. I think that happened on or it was generated on April Fool’s day, I think somebody used that to mess with me as in ‘see what Tonto said,’ but it escalated so much that nobody could say it was April Fool’s thing anymore. I never said that. My mother is partially from Igbo. I don’t hate any tribe. How can I hate a human being?
Where is your mother from?
My mother is half-Canadian.
It was also reported that you had quit smoking?
Yes I did.
How and when did you start smoking?
At the age of 13, I started smoking.
Have you quit for good and what made you quit, could it have been your health?
No, I didn’t quit by myself. I was watching a programme on TV by Prophet T.B. Joshua and he was laying hands on people and healing people, I love to watch his programme and when he is praying, he says lay your hands on the TV and I just laid my hands that day and I actually needed something else from God but not to quit smoking because I loved smoking, seriously I loved it and after praying I sat back and I think I slept off and I took a stick of cigarrete and I felt like crazy that I never could imagine that I took it up to smoke in the first place. It felt like poison.
It takes long to quit smoking, I learnt it is a gradual thing, how did yours happen so suddenly?
From the little I have told you it wasn’t natural.
Have you ever encountered TB Joshua before?
No but I am always on his tail, I watch him every day, I write him every time I can, I tweet on him, I love him. I think that he is a person that influences my life positively in a lot of ways just through the TV alone and I can imagine myself being in his church, Oh my God!
You don’t want him to touch you?
Of course, I want him to touch me but you know people just have different movements when under the anointing and the other thing kind of takeover. I am not saying that it is a shame to be delivered but I wouldn’t want to share that with the whole world, I would appreciate if someday I could see him privately
You seem to have a different impression of that man of God; compared to what is in a section of the media, what do you think is wrong?
First of all I have a very good Christian orientation and something that I know that the Bible has taught me is that we don’t have to talk about men of God, no matter what they are doing, whether it is wrong or right it is not in my place. I am following him because I think he is following Jesus so whatever it is, I don’t know. I just love him because he is a man of God and he has specially affected my life and my friends too not just me.
So I will be right to call you a TB Joshua disciple?
Oh yeah, but I am Pastor Chris’s daughter, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome.
That’s great; you seem to have controversial men of God as your spiritual leaders?
You call them controversial, I call them spiritual, (laughs).
Tell me about your passion besides acting?
Those are dreams that one has that one would say just hold on a little bit, that will come out soon.
What spurred your decision to give scholarships and gifts to hundreds of children sometimes ago?
The idea was actually initiated by Mr. Seun which I bought but it’s not far from what I always do, but it just came in a different package that instead of gathering multitude of children which I always do, we could actually give back to these ones who have done extremely well, educationally, so that they can have something to look forward to and spur them if they go back to school this year and say “ I want to read hard so that I could get this scholarship again from Aunty Tonto or if I could get this from Aunty Tonto then I need to work hard.”
So it was more like encouraging them because I found out that when you don’t appreciate people especially kids once they do something like their school work better. I think they ought to have gifts and everything for their education when they do well, it helps improve your ability in whatever you are doing that you are appreciated, that you are worthy of somebody appreciating you. I wonder why we Africans don’t really do much of that. I am not saying charity works, I am saying personally but we learn every day.
Something that intrigues me about you are your tattoos, what did you have at the back of your mind when you had those tattoos?
I have a lot on my mind.
You love tattoos?
Like how many do you have on your body?
I have stopped counting a long time ago. I have stopped counting. (laughs)
Are they permanent?
Yes, they are permanent
It must have cost you a fortune to do that?
Most of them, most of them are really expensive.
Let’s talk about the new movie you are on the set now, what is it about, I mean you are looking different now?
This movie is called The Rebels and it’s just another way to show you the huge gap between the poor and the rich, in this case we used the politicians, their duties and how they affect us, then the beggars, the destitutes on the street, and you know when money is assigned to take care of these people and they come to the street and they pack them up and put them somewhere that is really rough and they are deprived of good food and they are being maltreated especially deprived of their happiness and everything that makes them is being taken away and somehow these people gathered enough strength and fought for freedom although a lot of them lost their lives but it’s something that they will sit back and say that they fought a good fight, it’s a wonderful film. I love it so much.
How do you feel you being made up like a destitute?
I feel normal, I have been like this for like 12 days, I even took a picture I think the 2nd day when I was on set
I follow you on twitter, and saw that you tweeted that you hope some people would not use some software mechanism to acquire votes, who really were you trying to get at?
Yes, I tweeted that and I was not trying to get at anybody personally, I just tweeted what I felt.
Ok, you wish people should just be honest?
Yes, that’s right.
How honest are you?
I try to be honest to people that deserves it, people that deserves my honesty.
A lot of people believe that you were trying to talk to Ini Edo there?
That’s what people thought, I don’t know why they should think that way, Ini Edo is a very good colleague of mine.
You have been around for a short term and you have made so much impact, is there anybody that you wished to co-star with in Hollywood and in Nollywood?
In Hollywood a lot of them, but I love Julia Roberts , she would be my first choice but if I have my way, I would want almost all of them. In Nollywood, it would be Aunty Joke Silva, everybody who acts with her comes out never the same, everything gets better, their acting gets better. I think it’s high time I worked with her too. I love her; I want to work with her.
Will Tonto marry an actor?
That might not be an impossibility, but judging by the way I work, it might be too much for a family to handle but definitely someone that would understand me would only or naturally be from the industry because we all do the same thing but it just can never happen because of the tight schedule unless it’s an artiste who is not working so much, even at that, there would be problem.
Where would Tonto be in the next five years?
I don’t know I just wait for God to carry me there.
Do you watch football and if yes, do you have any team you support?
No, I don’t watch football.
You play a lot of games on twitter, puzzles and the rest, how did you come up with such an idea?
Sometimes I get bored, sometimes I want to make friends happy, sometimes I just come with a mixed feelings within and just throw a game. They are happy, I am happy.
Do you go to church?
Yes, I do go to church
For some time, I have not gone to Christ Embassy, I go to a church very close to me which is the Fireman Church but Christ Embassy is my church. I can attend any church but I’m a disciple in Christ Embassy.
How religious are you?
I am not religious, I’m just God’s child.
Lastly, you seem to be a car freak, you have got your Hummer here and a Range Rover Sports there and another sleek white SUV, what automobile do you have in your mind to acquire again?
I don’t know really..
What wont we catch Tonto wearing?
Back in the days, I would say a really long skirt but now I wear long skirts and it’s really sexy. I can wear bikini, I can wear anything, I can tie a wrapper. I tie gele, I wear track suits. I wear everything.
Well, a lot of actresses do go under the knife for one reason or the other, would Tonto do that and what part of your body would you like to do any implant or surgery?
Well I don’t know, it’s not something I want to talk about.
Some will do b00bs, some will do their bums?
One can do it, if only it will make one happy, we only have one life to live and if that would make you happy, do it.
Do you plan to do one soon?
If it will make me happy.
What part of your body will go under the knife first?
I don’t know, I didn’t say I will consider it, I said if it makes me happy, I will do it.