Dec 4, 2013 – Nollywood Actress Adaora Ukoh Battles Weight Gain “Skinny Girls Make Me Sad”
Plus size star actress Adaora Ukoh has opened up on her weight gain battle in an exclusive interview with Magazine Club Nigeria.
The talented actress said she has tried to lose weight severally to no effect. She also discussed how her constant weight gain has affected her career due to increasing number of skinny ladies entering the Nollywood movie industry.
Interview excerpt below:
I feel a certain kind of excitement during December that even the typical anticipated Lagos traffic and all-round madness may not be able to quench. Like every young lady, I am a sucker for love. But I have grown, and as every year passes I learn one new thing about how to love, how to receive and how to give entirely to whatever it is that gets your blood pumping at that moment – it may not be a lover; it could mean a business idea, a project that has taken off already- anything!
At the moment, I’m not sure what it is that is getting my heart racing. But beyond any flippant excitement, I am always truly in love with my brand.
Ok. Let me take this time to talk about my brand a bit.
You see, I got into Nollywood when it was still a dribbling toddler, barely able to stand, speak or co-ordinate its thoughts. It was a dream for me because I’d always wanted to act. So through getting a degree in Law from The University of Lagos, I engaged part-time in acting, until I had my feet firmly on the ground to be a full-time actor.
There was a time I actually did think that I was getting the right kind of growth and progression in the industry. It seemed slow but I was grateful for the jobs I got and I gave them my very best shot – oh yes, I pushed myself to the limits when it had to do with interpreting my roles, and I was glad with the, “Isn’t Adaora such a good actor?!” comments that came from fans and even from colleagues. But then…I’m not sure what happened really, but it seemed I met a brick wall, or my career was a stalemate. I grew from confused to angry to confused again to bitter to sad, and then to prayerful.
I tried not to focus on the cliché reasons of being a plus-size actress therefore being naturally limited to “good, more promising roles”, but it was hard not to get miserable over that excuse. I realised when the jobs came, they were tied to particular kind of roles that had to do with playing a mother, or an over-fed bitter sister-in-law, anything but the major and glamorous roles.
I’m not even going to pretend and say I shrugged it off. I tried to, yet it still hurts like an open sore. I know we live in a skinny world, with skinny people taking all the cream. How we got there, I am not sure….oh wait! Of course I’m sure: blame it on the glossy covers of magazines that celebrate size 0 women, making it hard for a young woman to eat a healthy plate of eba and ofe nsala without feeling guilty (LOL!). I heard once that a lady had to take slim-enhancing tablets just so she could keep her job in front of the cameras. Women are anorexic, vomiting food after digestion just to stay a size 0. Men would look past the chubby girl and rest their lustful stares on the slimmer woman.
Let’s just say it’s a tough world for plus size people!
And in all of this, I have tried so many times to lose weight, just so I can ”fit in” (not sure what that means anymore) but I have come to realise that I am who I am; what would the world be like if we all had to be slim? Where is the variety of life if God created us all the same?
I was hungry for challenging roles as an actress, and a more focused career that is beefed up with endorsements and sort, just like anyone with proper ambition would think for themselves; and to be hampered because of the way-you-look…aaaah! It just kills! But anyway I have gradually grown beyond it, and the healing and complete acceptance of who I am continues despite it all.
Now I am focused on things that will succeed regardless of how big or skinny I am! That is the life I have been able to discover. And that, sometimes, is the blessing that comes out of a situation you cannot handle. If you let people’s judgement of you come between your dreams and true abilities then you have become a slave to them and would live a life that satisfies them; and what a miserable life that would be! I am finding a lot of “new” love for my career and for things I can birth out of just being who I am.
So in the spirit of love, I would say: find the kind of love that keeps your energy alive. We all deserve love, but not all of us will experience that I’ll-climb-mount-gilbrata-for-you kind of love, but you are surrounded with love- one way or another, even when you are totally unaware of it.