Nollywood actress, Chinazo Ekezie, will tell you she was born with the acting DNA in her system even though she has struggled so hard to rise through the ranks in the movie industry.
In this interview with Star Tracker, she talks about her take on the Nigerian movie industry, sexual harassment, premarital sex, love and sentiments people attached to marriage.
BY ROTIMI AGBANA
How did the acting craft begin for you?
I started acting as a child. I started doing stage plays when I was about 8 years old, so I’ve always acted. But I started acting professionally between 2009 and 2010. Before then, I had done some school plays and gone for some auditions, but between 2009 and 2010 I decided that this was what I wanted to do.
Since you started acting professionally, what has been your fascination with the movie industry?
Well, I can’t really tell but what I can tell you is that in recent times there has been a lot of growth in Nollywood, it’s no longer the normal things that were obtainable. Nollywood has grown, it has opened up and it’s opening more, it’s giving more young people the opportunity to do their thing, it’s no longer one sided unlike before. Film making generally fascinates me, I didn’t really have the flair to be a film maker until maybe three years ago, but now whatever I look at I want to make a movie with it.
Is it true that the movie industry has been taken over by prostituting actresses?
Well, I can’t know about every other actress, I just know that some people take this job seriously, it’s a career for a lot of people, so if there’s any form of prostitution going on in the industry I don’t know about it. Once you say you’re an actress, the next thing they ask you is how many people you have slept with. I seriously don’t know if it’s happening.
You mean you have never been sexually harassed by a producer or director?
No! Nobody has ever sexually harassed me, but there are a couple of people that have asked me out on a date, including directors and producers. If that is sexual harassment then I don’t know because they did it properly. I’ve never found myself in that position, and maybe that’s because I don’t rush things, I also don’t plan to be in all the jobs, I get what I get and the ones I don’t get I’m okay with it. Desperation can make anyone do that but in my case it has never happened.
Have you dated an actor before?
No, and I cannot because I have this thing for privacy, yeah, I love privacy a lot, and my job has made it that I have to be out there, so I don’t want to be with someone who is out there too. I would want a safe place where I can run back to all the time; you know, I see it that I should be with someone who is not into entertainment at all, someone who is not even interested at all, that’s what I like.
What’s your ideal man?
A man who listens because I can talk a lot sometimes (Laughs). He has to be a God-fearing man, if he fears God, there are some things he can’t do. A God-fearing man doesn’t mean a man who is going to church but a man who has fear of God. I also want an understanding man; if he reads something bad about me in the papers or on the internet he won’t conclude, he would like to find out first, and when I say something about it to him he would believe me.
Can you marry a poor man?
Are you talking about a man who doesn’t have money at all for basic things or what? (Laughs) No, I can’t marry a poor man, it’s not right to marry a poor man; I am a woman, I need to be taken care of, I need to be cared for. When I say I need to be taken care of I don’t mean I want to be travelling around the world all the time. When a woman depends on a man, when a woman has a shoulder to cry on, when a woman has someone she can talk to about things that hurt her and stuffs like that, it makes a woman a better person. Women are just created to be cared for, yeah, believe it or not.
We function better when we have someone who can at least help us out with 70% of our daily needs.
What is your take on premarital sex?
You want my pastor to call me on the phone, right? But I will tell you the truth now, growing up, we were always taught that we shouldn’t have sex, we shouldn’t do anything before marriage, but now that I know better, or now that I’m grown and with the kind of experiences that I’ve had, and that of other people, I think it’s kind of important to have premarital sex. Seriously, because you have your lifetime to spend with this person, so I think it’s important you need to find out what they like, how they like it, if they like it, if they are teachable, because some people will tell you that if you don’t like how your husband makes love to you then you teach him.
A lot of men are not teachable, a lot of men think teaching them how to make love to their wife is a crime. Yes, a lot of men think it’s a crime for a woman to say don’t do it this way, do it that way, aren’t you a woman, why should you have a preference? A lot of couples’ sexuality don’t match, no matter how hard you try, and once you marry and you are not having good sex I don’t think you will be happy.
I don’t think any woman would be happy if she’s not having good sex with her husband, it’s crazy. And if I’m to spend the first 6-7years teaching you how to have sex with me, I’ll be frustrated.
What would you do if after marriage your husband becomes impotent?
Marriage is for better, for worse, because I expect that if I get married now and I have issues with fertility, my husband will stand by me, so yeah, I will stand by him. When there is any situation, no matter how tough it is, it’s sorted by love, family pressure is secondary, if you let family pressure affect you, you might even lose your love for your husband. I think two people who are ready to work things out, ready to spend the rest of their lives together should build a wall around their relationship.
What do you think is responsible for the recent urge for actors wanting to produce their own movies?
Nollywood has opened up, there is opportunity for people to market their movies without going through people anymore. Now, you can do it yourself, you can even have your own YouTube channel. It basically revolves around making money. I’ve have co-produced a movie, but it’s not out yet, I also intend to produce a movie someday, but I need to be to be very sure that I’m ready.
Have you ever found it difficult to come out of a character you played in a movie?
Yes, it happens to me a lot. There was a time I played the role of a stutterer, after we finished shooting the movie, I kept stuttering for a whole week, I couldn’t stop it, I found it very difficult to. There was another role I played where the girl was always tilting her neck to one side, after the movie shoot, I kept tilting my neck for like a month just the same way I did while playing the movie role.
What are the most challenging moments of your acting career?
I remember as an upcoming actress, and I mean way back, when we were nobodies, when we needed to prove ourselves that we could act; back in the days when they had to pair us in a room, three or four girls in a room, I had to put up with a lot. You can imagine being in a room with four other people and at some point not getting paid after a stressful job, producers will tell you “What is your problem?”. The not getting paid part is quite sad; I won’t lie to you, because we had to make money out of this craft. But a lot of people still don’t believe that someone who plays one or two scenes should be paid, that is one thing I would love for us to correct in Nollywood. But then again, that was my challenging stage as an actor, when you don’t have enough money but you still find a way to rush to the audition ground and then rush to the location and you’re thinking that by the time you are done with 3 or 4 scenes you are going to get money, nobody will answer you, but not any more now, I get my money before I leave my house, (Laughs), with the price of fuel! Hell no!