Going by her success in Nollywood, Ebube Nwagbo has, largely, proven that she is not beautiful without brains. The mass communication graduate of the Nnamdi Azikwe University, in this encounter with OLUSHOLA RICKETTS, speaks about her art, how she took to acting without parental consent, delving into movie production and about the men who have been trying to take advantage of her.
You are set to release your second movie. Did you recoup the money that went into your first production?
Yes, I did and I am still making money from it. The title of my first production is ‘Smile Again,’ which I produced in 2013. It was a family story and we made sure we did it well. With my new movie ‘Not Enough,’ I am trying to get to the next level and we hope it does better than the previous one.
Why did it take you three years to produce another movie?
It is not easy to fund a movie all by yourself. The truth is that I would love to produce everyday but do not forget that I am first an actor. Producing is something I am trying my hands on newly. I am still learning and I hope to get there gradually.
Also, I do not like to rush into things. I want to do things and do them well. I know the gestation period is long, but I have to take things step by step.
Is it a necessity to feature in any movie you produce?
I must not feature, but why would I produce a movie and I am not in it? Remember, other people pay me to be in their movies. I feel it is what I love to do and being part of it adds value to the movie.
Was acting your childhood dream?
I will not say I have always wanted to be an actor, but I have always loved to be on television as a broadcaster. But somehow, acting found me and here I am today.
When did it dawn on you that you would make a living off acting?
When I shot my first movie, after the heat, I disappeared. I told them I could not cope with it and I did not want to act anymore. They called me for a second job, telling me that I would be allowed to leave after that. Afterwards, they still lured me to do the third one. Somehow, they wanted me.
I ran away because I felt I could not deal with the pressure and drama. But, after sometime, I realised that it could be the right place for me. Now, I do not need anyone to tell me that it is meant for me. If I decide to leave Nollywood today, it is because I want to.
What has been your secrete to staying in power?
The industry is very competitive. What I have tried to do is to be myself. When you are yourself, it stands you out from every other person. I try to be me and I believe it is slow and steady. So, I would rather be here and steady than be forgotten so soon.
At the same time, I try to be relevant in the industry because it is the only way nobody forgets you.
My new movie talks about young girls wanting to get pregnant because it would make a man love and marry them. Sometimes, this is caused by the kind of people they mix with or the urge for young people to be adventurous. But I think when we set our priorities right, we will never get lost.
How did your background contribute to what you do today?
I come from a very strict home. Normally, my parents will not allow any of their children to do what I do today. I actually shot my first movie without telling my parents. People who knew me back home still do not believe I am an actress.
But being an actress has not changed me or given my parents reasons to regret allowing me to go into it. It has shaped me more and I do not forget where I am coming from. I am doing this for a reason and it helps me a lot.
Today, young ladies are increasingly getting pregnant outside wedlock. Where did we get it wrong?
I do not know really, but my new movie talks about an aspect where young girls of today want to get pregnant because it would make a man love and marry them. Sometimes, it is the kind of people they mix up with and sometimes it is just the urge for young people to be adventurous.
The world is a global village, everybody and everything is growing fast. I think when we set our priorities right, we will never get lost. When you want to move with the world, you will lose it. I would advise everyone to live their lives like there is no tomorrow.
How did you remain focused as a young beautiful girl?
It was not easy, trust me. I have had my own share too. This is why I am trying to talk about some of these things in a movie. It has not been easy, but somehow I have been able to learn from my mistakes. Coming to the industry at a very young age, there were lots of mistakes I made.
Was there any time you wished you were not famous?
Yes, I have felt like that many times. I always feel like quitting, especially when they write things about me that are untrue. I think I actually quit, but after a while I said to myself that why should I? Most people who judge me are people who do not know you and you cannot keep explaining to everyone that what they wrote about you was untrue. I have learnt to live my life and focus on what is important.
I think I have grown wiser and stronger. I just see some things as the downside of my job.
What is the major cooking blunder you’ve committed?
While growing up, whenever I made beans, it would get burnt. I do not do that anymore, but making beans then was scary. It would get burnt and undone.
How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as the lady who made an impact with her beauty and brains. People think that when you are pretty, you have nothing to offer. Even as an entrepreneur, I try to support young girls and encourage them that they could be beautiful and intelligent.
I went through a lot as a young girl; men will want to take advantage of you. Be who you are; being in the limelight does not make you a lesser person.
How did you deal with men wanting to take advantage of you?
Even now, I still experience it. Things like that happen every day, especially when one puts herself in a vulnerable situation. The truth is that if you throw yourself at people, they will want to take advantage of you. It is now left for you to be strong and disciplined.
As a producer, I have sought support from many men. They thought that asking them for something made me vulnerable and wanted to take advantage of that fact. I am one person who believes in me. You cannot put me in a position I do not want to be. Nobody should push you to do what you do not want to do because it makes you a lesser person. But when you believe in yourself, you will gain more respect.
A lot of people want to come into Nollywood, thinking it is a bed of roses. There is nothing that comes easy.
Don’t you think being pretty comes with problems sometimes?
Yes, because it attracts a lot of male attention. And sometimes, people think you are a beauty without brains. They think you are not good but for your beauty. I am trying to prove them wrong. You can be pretty and intelligent; you can be pretty and responsible and you can be an actress and be responsible.
Sometimes, your beauty is your pain but you have to make good use of it and look at the advantages of being beautiful. That I am pretty is not by mistake; God made me this way.
How would you describe your style?
I wear whatever I am comfortable with; I do not move with the trend. I live to wear everything, depending on the occasion I am going for. I love everything that has to do with fashion.
Are you in a relationship?
Yes, why won’t I have a man in my life? I am not a young girl. If I say I do not have a man in my life, people may think I am possessed or something is wrong. Yes, I want to get married but at the right time. I am not one of those people who do something out of pressure.