A fast rising Nigerian actress from the South-eastern part of Nigeria has spoken on her journey in the entertainment world thus far as well as her personal life.
Read Ijeoma Agu’s interesting interview with the Punch below:
I spent my childhood in Edo and Lagos states and it was a wonderful time for me . I am the first of five children, and I used to sing , dance and act from an early age. Back then , we didn ’ t have a television in our house, so my sisters and I had to entertain ourselves. My dad was also artistically inclined , so he often allowed us to express ourselves. I think that was the genesis of my career as an actor.
I studied Biochemistry at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, but I had always known that I would end up in the creative industry. I also attended the Royal Arts Academy, Lagos.
My first role was in a TV series produced by Fidelis Duker titled Eldorado . Over the years , I have featured in several other movies and TV productions including Hood Rush , The Choice of Aina, Finding Diamond Jo , Oko Ashewo, From Within , Misfit, David ’s Fall , About to Wed and Flower Girl to name a few. Acting is a gift that is freely given by God ; it is not something that you struggle for . I’m also constantly observing people, my environment and life in general as an artiste because I could be called upon at any time to replicate the behaviours or mannerisms of any of those people. I have never played any challenging role and I can work with anybody though I cannot stand people who do not have passion for the job.
I admire some talented and hard-working actresses such as Genevieve Nnaji, Joke Silva, Liz Benson , Meryl Streep and Edith Jane Azu. I love them because they have managed to remain at the top of their career by being consistent, dynamic and professional.
The production outfit, House 5 Productions, which I run with my husband, Daniel Emeka Oriahi, has produced about 10 movies including Beyond Blood, Jimi Bendel, among others. To get funding to produce those movies, I wrote proposals and submitted them to clients and investors.
One of the major challenges I face is accessing funds. Getting the proper facilities to support production could also be a Herculean task as there are no basic infrastructure like electricity, proper sets, and even crews.
I have had to do a lot of things to fit better into roles but I wouldn’ t consider them as sacrifices. For the movie, Taxi Driver, I had to cut my hair. I have also had to kiss people on set.
During recession, people have more need for entertainment. Funnily enough, I shot more films last year than in the time of economic boom. I don’ t know the mathematics or the reason behind it, but the recession has not affected the movie industry.
I first met my husband when I auditioned and was cast for one of his movies . He also attended a one -man stage play which I acted in and produced , after which he invited me for another movie role . We soon discovered that we are both down-to -earth people and share the same ideologies.
There is no way one can strike a balance between motherhood and acting . One of them would definitely suffer from time to time. However, I have been managing and I don’t think I’m doing badly. I take my daughter on set with me , and now she even understands when the director shouts ‘action’ and ‘cut.’ She has also acted in a movie with me . Considering that my husband is also in the same industry , we are able to make things work.
There have been some scandals attached to my name over the years but I don’ t care . My family members know the real me, so they are not swayed by stories concocted about my person.
I can accept a script that has some aspects of nudity if it is tastefully done and is passing a message. Acting is make -believe and it is not a reflection of who you really are.
Fame has not robbed me of anything. I still do whatever I want to without inhibitions.
I know next to nothing about fashion, and I can wear anything provided that it fits me. I don’ t have a beauty routine either; I just like to be simple and classy.
When I want to relax , I watch movies at the cinemas or in my house.