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REVEALED: How Genevieve Nnaji and I broke Nollywood jinx – Uche Jumbo

Super Nollywood actress, Uche Jombo-Rodriguez, returns to screen years after taking a brief leave. Naij.com’s Michael Abimboye caught up with her in Lagos recently for brief chat where she spoke about motherhood, her career and the current girl-child marriage.

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Actress and producer, Uche Jombo-Rodriguez

 

You have been away from the scene for a while, what are you currently working on?

We are actually promoting a film by Omoni Oboli, wives on strike. It is about a group of village women who got together to protest about something they thought was wrong and their agitation was successful in their own little way. The women felt that it was wrong for a grown man to want to marry a child. They felt the child needed to be protected and when they voiced out, nothing happened so they decided to go on strike. There are other components in the movie that show that the movie is not fully comic in nature because it passes a strong message to the viewers.

I believe it is God that delayed the release of the movie till this time because we shot the movie in 2014. Child’s right act and the protection of the girl child is something people are talking about especially because of the Ese story. The movie is opening people’s eyes because there are so many cases like that but they are swept under the carpet. The movie shows what women can achieve if they come together. It is an advocacy film with comic relief.

As a mother how do you feel when you read stories on child marriage?

Each time I read about such stories I feel broken. There is the need to protect the girl child in our country. Before I became a woman and a mother, I was a girl child. We don’t need to tell anyone that a child must be protected. The girl child law is there and it should be implement and taken seriously in all states.

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These children need to be in school. We owe it to the children to enroll them in school. That is my personal opinion. I don’t think any right thinking person should have a contrary opinion.

Let me shock you, the senate recently dropped a bill that would enable gender equality. What is your opinion on this development?

I don’t have anything to say to the senate yet because it is sad that they would drop such a bill. They owe it to the people who put them there to actually pass the right bill. I have always known that being a woman means that I should always work twice as hard and I have always encouraged other women to have this same mindset regardless of your profession.

Personally, I would want women to excel were men fail. I may sound biased but that is the only way to get ahead in this situation. If you do not pass a bill on gender equality it means that you are in directing telling me that I am a lesser being so I have to work twice as hard. If you have that mindset, you would know that it is an advantage being a woman, because you are a woman means you should succeed.

There was a tweet Chioma Chukwuka-Apotha posted where she claimed that people who she thought were her sisters weren’t, somehow you were part of the rant, was it for publicity stunt?

I have a publicist and I would want him to earn his pay, I would not make his work easier by creating a publicity stunt. I always tell people, if you are involved in the serious problems facing Nollywood, you will not have time for such rubbish. If you are a Nollywood investor who is thinking about how to sell your content and beat piracy or broaden our distribution network you would not think of such nonsense.

Having said that, it was a small misunderstanding blown out of proportion but I like that people saw it as a publicity stunt. That is probably a better version than what really happened. It was a misunderstanding. Chioma Chukwuka-Apotha had an agreement with somebody and it did not go as planned. She did not see herself in the situation she was supposed to be, she said something and someone else reacted and that was it.

How has your relationship been with Chioma Chukwuka-Apotha ever since then?

We have a very good relationship. I know that the Nigerian media wished we had a beef but the truth is that there is no time for that. There is really no permanent enemy in this industry. I really wish I had the strength for that but I do not. I don’t have that much time on my hands.

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Has it always been your dream to become an actress?

I wish I was one of those people that would say that they have always wanted to be an actress, but that was not the case with me. I am not one of those people that did not really know what I wanted to do in life. I would say my case was a typical example of opportunity meets favour and also being at the right place at the right time.

I went to deliver something for somebody around a place where an audition was taking place. I was mistaken for an actor and I was given a script to read. I read it and I was chosen but I was not paid a dime for the job.

So your first job was done for free?

Not just my first job, about five other ones I did after that were done for free.

At what stage did you begin to earn money from acting?

I guess I was just consistent. I was an underdog for a long time and what took some people about a year or two to achieve, it took me about six years to become a household name. The movie, games men play, shot me into the A-list level.

How has motherhood been?

It is an awesome experience. Nobody prepared me for the kind of love and affection I would have for my child. When I felt saw my child I thought he was switched at birth because he was too fair. When they first gave me my child I looked at him and I was dazed because he was literally white.

I wondered whether they had switched my child when my husband was not around but the nurse that was nearby seemed to have read my mind and she told me not to worry that my child would still turn dark after some days. They tell you about the love but nothing really prepares you for it, it is very overwhelming.

How did you cope with the changes in your body due to the pregnancy?

To me at that point, Mathew’s pregnancy was a miracle because I had given up about getting pregnant. When I realized I was pregnant, I was not really particular about the changes my body was going through; I was more or less scared. I lived in fear for about six months during pregnancy because I was scared of having another miscarriage so it was not really about how I looked. To be honest I really did not care about my looks.

Is that why you lashed out at a fan who made comments about your weight on your Instagram page?

I would not say I lashed out on anyone; it was more like a ‘no time for nonsense’ reply. It is my page and I can’t say I would not read comment that people post on my page because that is how I interact with my fans. If I go to a blog and read negative comments about me, I can blame it on myself. If you want to post a negative comment about me, go to a blog and do so and not on my page.

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For two weeks, this person persistently mentioned how fat I am anytime I post a picture as if I do not have a mirror or a scale at home. I know where I am coming from and how hard I have worked to improve on myself so I don’t need such comments on my page. I have never been a slim person in my life.

The slimmest I have ever been in my life is a size 8 and I am a size ten right now so how is that a problem. I just need that to stop. If I am promoting a film I expect that you comment on my work, it is my page and I decide what goes on there. So it is not as if I lashed out at a fan, I would say that I did that to reset the person’s brain.

Since you were born a fat person, did you decide to shed some weight because of your work?

Yes, at the beginning of my career I was a plus sized person but I decided to shed some weight because I knew I needed to stay trim and fit. I had to discipline myself. It was easy because I know my body type. The same way I tell people that when it comes to fashion, you don’t have to dress because the item is invogue, dress based on your body type. That is what I do. I know my body type and I dress according to what suits me.

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Have you ever considered bleaching your skin?

No I have never considered such. I can never do such because I know how hard I fought to be where I am with my skin colour. Do you know how hard it was for dark skinned actresses to play lead role during the early stages of Nollywood? Then when we have now started playing lead role, I would go and bleach? That is like slapping the faces of people who gave me that opportunity. Back then it was very rare and difficult for dark skinned ladies to play lead role and it is wrong because it is misdirecting the younger ones. I can never bleach my skin.

So it was tougher for a dark skinned person to bag a lead role?

Initially in the beginning it was. I think Genevieve and Uche Osotule broke that jinx. At that time, that was the norm in Nollywood. They just preferred light skinned people but with time it was no longer about your skin colour but what you can put on the table. Before if you were fair in complexion, even if you cannot act, the role would be given to you and that is why I said that Nollywood is a revolving industry.

 

The post REVEALED: How Genevieve Nnaji and I broke Nollywood jinx – Uche Jumbo appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read on NAIJ.COM.

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