My Life In A Nutshell By Regina Chukwu
I was very stubborn and I used to get into a lot of trouble. We lived in a face-me-I-face-you apartment throughout my childhood and I had varied experiences. We were not rich but we never begged to eat. I have always loved to appear on the TV screen even as a kid. At some point, I wanted to be a newscaster. At another time, I wanted to be an actor. I think I am living my dreams.
For my elementary education, I attended Alimosho Primary School, Alimosho, in Lagos. For my post-elementary education, I went to Alimosho Grammar School. I then proceeded to Lagos State Polytechnic for my tertiary education to study Business Administration, though I didn’t graduate.
I have always wanted to become an actress. When I met my late husband, I told him about my dream and he said there was no problem. However, he gave me the condition that I had to finish with childbearing before I went into the industry. We planned on having three kids but he passed on before I could start my acting career. After he died, I continued my business and I met someone who prevailed on me to act. I told him I wanted to but didn’t have the time. He kept on pestering me and I decided to give in just to get him off my back. He then took me to his brother who was in the industry and that was how my career started. The first movie I acted in was titled, Tori muri kan (Because of N20). I only had a cameo role in it. Now, I have lost count of all the movies I have acted in.
The first challenge I faced when I joined the movie industry was the issue of poor pay. One had to pay to join a caucus and you also had to prove beyond reasonable doubts why a role should be given to you. You had to fight for virtually everything. Nobody wanted to believe in me enough to give me roles. It wasn’t easy for me because I found it difficult to pay bills.
Even though I am Igbo, I act mostly Yoruba movies. I actually speak Yoruba more fluently than my native language. When I first told my late husband I wanted to join the movie industry, he said I would be acting English movies. However, at the time I decided to join the industry, the person who introduced me was a Yoruba actor. Even when I tried to get close to the English movie producers, they weren’t as welcoming as the Yoruba people. The Yoruba people’s structure is stronger. In the English sector, a lot of people would want to sleep with you before giving you roles.
I think my breakthrough came gradually. God decided to announce me to the world when I produced the movie, Akun, and that’s what most people know me for. However, a major part of the breakthrough also came when I shot my first movie, Ogusho; followed by my second movie, Idaro.
I have learnt that you need to have passion for your job. That way, when you encounter challenges, you wouldn’t stop. You also need to be patient and hard-working. Consistence matters a lot and whatever would be would be. You should be open to learning and be friendly with people. Every other thing would fall into place. I have passion for my job and I enjoy what I’m doing. I don’t compete with anybody.
I have produced about 10 movies. They include Ogusho, Idaro, Akun, Ebolo, Ewatomi, Stella, My Husband, My Concubine, Two Mothers, Bridal Shower, and Encounter. Production is another thing that I love doing. I love being in charge of the cast and crew on set. Kunle Afod has directed 99 per cent of my movies.
Fame has not robbed me of anything; rather, it has even given me more. I’m still the same old me. I play pretence for a living but off-screen, what you see is what you get; I cannot pretend to save my life.
For now, I do only acting and producing, and that’s what pays my bills. I wish I could venture into other businesses but I’m still looking into that.
My experience as a single mum has been amazing. I thank God for my parents, siblings and everyone around me. My children are no longer kids, so they can do many things on their own. They actually don’t live with me; they stay with my parents but we are all in the same area. I don’t want maids to watch over them; I believe they are better off staying with my parents. However, I make sure that we communicate well.