Genevieve Nnaji has paid her dues as an A-list actress in Nollywood. Her impact as a seasoned actress is enormous and beyond measure. 'Genny' as her friends fondly call her, dazzles millions of movie lovers with her sexy and curvy physique.Apart from acting, she has also delved into music, modelling and fashion. In this interview with AJIBADE ALABI, she spoke about the film industry in Nigeria and why she has remained single.
You have been acting for close to 15 years now, what have you gained from your exposure?
It has opened doors and given me a sense of fulfillment. I am glad I have been able to do what I have done so far; it has kept me grounded and I must say it's been fun. I am grateful for it.
You started with acting, and then music and modelling. Are you just discovering your other hidden talents?
No, not at all. I would say it has always been there. What happened is that I am unveiling them one at a time. I believe there is time for everything. There are still more things I am capable of doing that you are unaware of, but with time, you would get to know.
That I started with acting does not really mean that is my major talent. It only meant that it was the first thing I did. I love music and fashion too. I have been designing since I was in primary school. For me, fashion is fun; It is a way of relaxing for me. I enjoy it because it is more of a hobby than work. I am relaxed doing my own design for my clients and people who have similar taste.
Let’s get back to acting; it’s been a while you acted why is this so?
I am still in the industry. I am just a bit strict in selecting scripts. I believe everybody needs to grow to that point where they have to make up their minds what they want, especially from their jobs. What I want is creativity and professionalism.
I think that should reflect in the kind of movie roles I play. I am very selective and into so many other things that a script must be really good for me to be a part of it.
Are you working on any movie now?
I am not working on any one at the moment. I have been reading some scripts, trying to settle for something. If I don’t see any one that I like, then I will not work.
What would get you working like before?
Creativity, it doesn’t have to stress me. It could be a simple story-line and simple character. Creativity from the person that is writing is the key. I like a complete work, something that has a beginning, middle and an end.
Even if it is not new, the key thing is how different can you make it? One of the major complaints of Nollywood viewers is lack of content and sometimes, professionalism on the part of the artistes.
Now that Ghanaians are gradually taking over the industry, what is Nollywood doing to improve on their movies?
I don’t think Ghana is moving in. We are the ones inviting them to be a part of what we are doing here. I see actors as contractors. If I am here and Ghana calls me to do a movie, I don’t see that as anybody’s business.
It is the business of the producer and me. And I think actors should have the right to work wherever they choose to, whether Nollywood, Bollywood, Hollywood or whatever wood. It is an open market. We all have one thing in common which is acting. It is not about me as a practitioner.
What about the issue of interference of marketers?
I don’t know what they are doing. I am not a marketer or producer I am an actress. My part is to come in when the whole production has been put together; but still, I try to give my honest advice wherever necessary.
I also pray that everything works well. There is nothing more I can do until I am ready to go behind the scene, which I am not ready to do for now
People believe being a producer is where the money is. Is that true?
I did not get into this profession for the money in the first place. The money came to me. I am here for the passion and that is still what drives me. For me, when I am bored with the passion, maybe I will move in for the money.
Can you mention one actor or actress that has the same passion as you?
I can’t mention anyone now because I don’t really know them.
How would you describe a professional?
A professional is someone who puts his/her job first. Every other thing is then negotiated. I think if you love your job, it will love you back in some way without you losing a finger
You are above 30, but you look younger than that. What is the secret?
I guess it is good genes. Genes from dad or mum or from both of them.
Did your parents support your acting career from the onset?
Well, I wouldn’t say it was immediately, with time they realised that it was something I really loved and was passionate about. Right now they are my best fans.
It is common knowledge that once a woman clocks 30, especially in Africa there would be pressure to get married. Are you going through such pressure?
No. My parents have other children to focus on. I am only one out of eight. For me, if marriage comes, fine. It is not a priority and has never been, but it is a good thing every woman desires. So, I am not shying away from it.
But then, I would go in with my head straight, I would go into marriage for the right reasons. Not for money, fame or to satisfy the world. I don’t want peer pressure getting involved in my settling down, or trying to prove a point that I can settle down.
I don’t need that. I am here to please my God and myself, and as long as my parents have no issues with it, I am fine. When I find the right person, I would surely settle down.
What is that fashion accessory that you would do anything to get?
Diamonds and handbags.
How many handbags do you have?
I have lost count.
How much does the most expensive bag you own cost?
I will not tell you that. But I can tell you the cheapest, which is the one I got from Zara. There are other cheap ones I have that are unique. I just love handbags.