Florence Onuma, Flo, as she is popularly called, took to ac ting in 1994 and till date is still making waves. In this chat with Lucy Ezeliora, she talks about her life and choices as a woman and mother.
You are among the pioneers of Nollywood. How would you rate Nollywood?
We are still growing and will get there someday. Many things are still not in place but considering the age of the industry and where we are coming from, we are making lots of progress. However, there are still so many things that need to be resturctued in the industry. We are not really united. There is no love in Nollywood. Many of us are still envious of one another and that is why it appears as if the industry is static.
In some of your recent movies in the market, I observed you no longer play the motherly role you are noted for. Why the sudden divert to other roles?
That is what makes me a good actress; my ability to interpret roles effectively. The roles I play are determined by the producers. I don’t get to choose. When I started acting, I was seeking auditions but these days directors, producers call me for jobs whenever they have a role for me. As for the roles, we have new people in the industry, we the need to pave way for them to try their hands.
Let them also play the roles of mothers. Ngozi Ezeonu is there, Patience Ozokwu is there and many others. We are still there and we cannot be every where. We are also doing other things by the side. If I get a political appointment tomorrow won’t you celebrate with me? So that is what I am working at, not dragging roles with up coming actresses. I have played my part. Let them also try.
What do you like about being a mother?
Motherhood is a blessing to me. If you are a woman with children you will testify to this. I really love being a woman. Women have power, very strong power. All through history, the biggest and strongest of men have been brought down by women. Never underestimate the power of a woman any where.
We can get anything done on a platter of gold. We are very strong and multitasking as well. There are a lot of things inside of us. Men are just scratching the surface. How many men can do what a woman can do? The world should ideally celebrate women regularly as mothers, sisters, friends, lovers, and colleagues. I love being a woman.
Do you see acting as fun?
Yes. I see acting as fun. It is something that I love doing. I would describe it as money making while having fun.
You look younger than your age, what is the secret of your compelling looks?
Nothing spectacular! I owe my looks to God
What is your relationship with your colleagues?
I respect them all. You know female actresses in particular pass through more stress than men. We even go out of our ways to get roles in movies. So I really appreciate it whenever I see female actresses.
How can you rate your worth in Nollywood as of today?
I’m worth a lot more than I get offered. I have put a lot in the job but hardly receive what I am worth now. But I believe that one day people will look for me and testify about me.
Let’s share in your experiences so far.
Part of it is my loss of privacy. Sometimes when I go to the market to buy things, the traders believe that I have so much money on me; they would never believe that at times, I don’t have money. Another thing is my relationship with people, most times, your fans expect you to always give alms or play with them.
There are days one isn’t in the mood for pleasantries. Some of them will just conclude you are a snob or not the social type forgetting we all have our mood days. I don’t think I have ever had any sad experince. I cannot remember any as I speak with you. It has been good all the way. Sometimes on location, we would be told that there are logistic problems and at the end of the day, we would turn it into fun which is part of the job. I have never had any sad experience on this job. God has been so faithful to me and I must testify to that.
What is the most challenging role you have ever acted?
As long as I am not being myself in a movie, then any role can be challenging. But there are some roles that are tedious, energy sapping and intellectually demanding. I see all roles challenging in their own different ways.
What is your take on fashion?
I like being simple but sophisticated. I dress to look good and confident. Any outfit made with Ankara makes me unique.
What would you not be caught wearing and what is that role you won’t accept?
I can never wear a mini skirt and cannot act in a nude movie even if the money is out of this world. At this point in life, money is not everything. Besides it does not move me. Image is everything to me. I am very comfortable and happy the way I am.
Can you give us an insight into how you came into the industry?
I started in the 80’s not as a professional but as an upcoming actress. When I graduated from the University of Jos in 1991, I went into full time acting. I had a break when I started to have children, because they needed my attention and were very young. I came back fully into the industry in 1994.
Tell us about some of your movies and the ones that brought you the most fame?
Lies of Destiny was the movie that actually brought me to limelight. Bond, Christian mother, Last Kiss, Love and Courage and The addict helped in shaping my career positively
What do you have to say to your fans?
I want to tell them that I love them so much because without them, there would be no Florence Onuma. I appreciate them. I really thank them for making me what I am and promise never to disappoint them
Culled from Daily Independent