Search Results: love-life

Acting has been part of me right from when I was a kid - Oluchi Philips

by NMN (Staff) / 2,127 Views

Left to her mum, Oluchi Philips, a Nollywood actress, would have ended up in a fanciful vocation, where it would be easy for her to get married and live happily after but she had her way. Today, her mum is her greatest admirer and critic. Philips tells ADA ONYEMA about her life and the experience so far.


Childhood dream
Acting has been part of me right from when I was a kid. Right from my primary and secondary school days, I have been involved in drama groups. As I was filling my Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board form, my mum was saying, ‘You can’t study theatre arts’ because parents then thought that those who read such courses were good for nothing. She rather wanted me to be a lawyer, doctor and the rest. But I really wanted to be an actress because it is my passion and favourite course. I’m not into it because I want to make money, but because of the love I have for it.

Passion
Definitely, anything you do in life you are not making money out of is not business. After the monetary aspect of it comes the passion. I love to make money and at the same time, I have a passion for the work. Well, whatever you do well in life must have fame attached to it. I want to be famous and known all over the world, not just in Africa. It is not just for the passion and money, the fame is there too.

Opposition
So many people kicked against it, especially my friends. They were saying something like, ‘Are you sure you want to get married at all or live in someone’s house for the rest of your life?’ There is the misconception that actresses don’t get married and when they do, they divorce before you know it, not just in Nigeria but also all over the world. My mum made her position clear right from the outset by warning me not to kiss anybody on screen. But I refused to be discouraged.

I had to talk to my mum several times to make her understand my position. She accepted, but with some conditions. She reminded me that she is an Ezinne (a member of the Mothers Union) in the Catholic Church and didn’t want any scandal. It is quite natural for them to raise eyebrows, but it is up to you to make them understand the way acting goes. Today, she is my best admirer and critic and she is very proud of me.

Sexual harassment
In this industry, I’ve not been sexually harassed, but while in school, I was (harassed) several times. While in school, a particular lecturer made me to fail one course several times. At the end of the day, a change came and that was how I sat for those courses and made my papers. In Nollywood, I hear people say that and I keep asking how that is possible. Most of us push ourselves to the directors, producers to get lead roles. Most of us don’t believe in what we have inside of us. They think that the only way to do it is by getting closer to the producers and directors and by the time you do that, you are only paving the way for them to make advances at you. Apart from that, it is normal for a man to make advances to a lady, after all, we all passed through the walls of school. I don’t think it is a do-or-die affair. If you don’t want to sleep with him, he will never force you and if you don’t get the particular script, there are other scripts on the way. Some actresses go ahead to sleep with them, but they come out to tell us they are sexually harassed; it is not true because they were not forced or raped. Why would they come out and say they were sexually harassed? If you are good you are good.

Beginning
I started acting in 1998, and my first movie was the Lost Kingdom, which was directed by Ndubuisi Okoh. I vividly remember I was paid N5,000 and I was very happy because it was big money to me. Before then, I used to either collect money from men or I got a tip. The feeling was different; it was my first time of making money on my own. My friends came back one day and said they went to shoot the Battle of Muzanga, and I felt bad for not going with them. Next time, I went with them and met all the big stars we see on TV and it was fun.

Role model
Genevieve (Nnaji); the first time I met her in Enugu, she played a lead role, but was always keeping to herself and I have watched some of her movies. Any role you give her, she steps into the character and does it well. I keep praying to always be able to go into the character of any role that comes my way.

Traits/habits
Being a tomboy is a habit I learnt while growing up. I will say that I’m a tomboy and no. Yes, because I grew up in the midst of guys. I love the way my brothers behave and I took after them and their ways. I started making up after my graduation. As I got into the industry, I was made to understand that I’m a lady not a boy; that I’ve to act and dress like a lady. It has nothing to do with the roles I play. There is a lot of difference between being a tomboy and being a lady; for instance, the way I speak, act, those boyish moves. I thought it was normal and I followed them. But now, I’ve come to realise that those moves are meant for boys; a lady has to be calm in her way. It is as if I’m learning to live all over again.

Experience
My experience in the industry has been good. The industry gives you an avenue to meet different people from different backgrounds.

Another love
I’m an international business woman; I buy and sell.

Growing up
I’m the first girl from a family of five. My growing up was great. I grew up in the midst of guys, lots of male cousins. I come from a large family and everybody came home every Christmas. It was an interesting time. My mum was a teacher and while in school, we were expected to show good examples.

Educational background
I have a BA (Hons) in English as first degree and a diploma in Theatre Arts from University of Uyo.

Love life
Nothing is really going on. I don’t have a boyfriend; no I have. I don’t know why you people can’t cut this relationship thing out. He is kind, warm; I don’t know how to describe him. He is just wonderful. Everything I will ever ask for in a man is complete in him. I didn’t want to discuss him. We hope to walk down the aisle soon. He understands my profession and knows that it is a make-belief. He is human though so it hurts at times.

Depth of love
If my man asks me to quit my career for him, I will not consent to that but I believe in dialogue and I will make him understand. I won’t want to quit but will also respect my husband. I can quit my career, but will not be happy quitting my passion for my husband.

Stardom

Being an actress is not easy; we’re always afraid to do certain things. We’re not comfortable when we go out, but always on edge because you will not like to be caught unawares thereby living a fake or false life. Read more »

AS A WIDOW, MY LOVE LIFE IS EMPTY -Chisom Oz-Lee (Actress, Producer)

by NMN (Staff) / 2,208 Views

Since 2006, pretty Chisom Oz-Lee, the Nigerian-born US based actress/producer has been making her country proud and hoisting her flag higher with quality film productions. In fact, one of her spellbinding movies, Lost Maiden, made history when it gloriously premiered at the UN headquarters, a couple of years ago.



That epoch making event, according to the widowed thespian and practicing nurse, was one of the happiest moments of her career and life. The mother of four is already adding finishing touches to the two movies she recently shot in Nigeria with Emem Isong , alongside some Nollywood greats. As an international film producer, the Anambra State born entertainer said she’s optimistic that both efforts would immensely help to reposition and rebrand Nollywood and Nigeria, respectively. In this hearty dialogue with Daily Sun, the proud widow bared her mind on life in the US, challenges, men, marriage and passion for Nollywood as well as other germane issues.

How often do you shuttle between Nigeria and the US to produce your movies?
I come as often as time permits me. I came in recently to star and co-produce two movies, back to back with Emem Isong. I was the executive producer of both movies and also acted in them.

We entitled one of the moves, Mortal Attraction and we shot for 14 days with big names likes: Ramsey Noah, Uche Jombo, Desmond Elliot, Monalisa Chinda, myself and several others. My role in the movie was that of a mean sister in law, it was also a very challenging role. I was full of wickedness, frustrated and vindictive in that role. In brief, the movie vividly captures the plight of widowhood and how your late husband’s family members treat you. In the movie, the innocent widow was so much maltreated that God sent an angel in human form to save her. It’s actually a true life story and little bit of it related to me, because I’m also a widow. I’ve been a widow for close to 10 years now.

So as a widow you’ve been through a lot?
Widowhood is not easy and will never be easy for anybody experiencing it, but thank God I’m a very hard working person, trying always to be very independent of men, in laws and other distractions. So, I work hard for me.

Thank God, I’ve been surviving and can afford my basic needs. I have been around and surviving with my children since my husband left us. The movie will move many to tears and people will also learn from it.

Aside being a film producer, what else do you do in the US?
I’m a professional and registered nurse, based in New York, US. I’ve lived in the US, for over 13 years. But my passion for entertainment began before my nursing career.

What’s the nexus between acting and nursing?
People always wonder about the connection and how I cope with stress coming from both tedious jobs.

Nursing for me, is more like a charitable work, being able to help the sick and those dying, while acting is more like a passion for me. In essence, I can’t do without each, because each part of my body yearns to do both works passionately. I’ve also tried to marry both professions in such a way that they have complemented each other as well. My last movie, Lost Maiden, which was hugely premiered in the US at the UN, is still a reference point. We are planning to release it here soon. At the UN, they found the theme of the movie very topical and relevant.

The movie talked about female circumcision and our right to say no to it and other forms of ill treatment meted out to us in the name tradition and custom. Mind you, I wasn’t paid, it was purely an NGO thing, public education, and several institutions over there are now approaching us wanting to use the film as research works and materials. It’s an educational movie. I was so happy when the movie went to the UN. For these new movies, we are planning to see if we can release them this year, although no title yet for the second movie. My producer, Emem Isong and I, are still discussing it. Hopefully, soon it will be out, because I want to commence the shoot of another movie in the US.

What year did you produce your first movie and what was the title?
That was in 2006, it was entitled: In Strangers Arms. I brought virtually all my crew from the US, to shoot this movie; even my director was flown in from the US, ever since I have not looked back.

What got you attracted to Nollywood?
Actually, my passion for Nollywood didn’t start in 2006, when I produced my first movie, it was something I’ve been nursing and waiting for the right time to launch. Before the advent of Nollywood, I had been around staging plays and dramas with some of the pioneers of the industry, before I left for the US. While leaving for the US, I had it at the back of my mind that at the right time and with the right resources, I would come back, which is what I’m currently doing now.

Considering the fact that you operate from the outside, what would you say are the major challenges you often encounter whenever you are in the country to work?
Sincerely, electricity has always been an issue, each time I’m home and working on a set. The noise from the generator gives us sound problems in our movies. Another challenge is getting the right equipment at the right time. Most times, you have to wait for days for particular equipment. These are all hindrances. In the US, it’s a different ball game. Traffic is another big challenge. Most times, you spend the whole day navigating through traffics trying to get your cast and crew together, it’s terrible. These are the major challenges I face each time I come home to shoot my movies. But I’m optimistic that it will get better someday.

Do you have plans of relocating to Nigeria fully as an actress / producer any time soon? Truth is that there is no place like home, eventually I will be back to contribute my quota, but not now. I love my country and its people, no matter what people say or think about us. In fact, each time I come home and ready to go back, my heart skips, because my staying abroad is not really a choice, but a necessity. I love to be here all the time, but I just can’t for now.

Is the acceptance and perception of Nollywood movies in New York, where you reside a thing of joy and encouragement or …?
When it comes to Nollywood in the Diaspora, Now York is the strongest place, and then followed by Maryland, Texas, LA in that order. We have built markets for Nollywood. If any movie is released there now, you’re sure of getting nothing less than 5000 sales. We’ve been very supportive of New York, unlike other countries, where they either rent or bootleg our movies, because, they don’t have markets there. We are already forming bodies and a lot of unions in the US to protect Nollywood and make sure that our filmmakers survive. We are also trying so hard to fight piracy in the US.

My four movies, namely: In a Strangers Arms, Lost Maiden, Mortal Attraction and the yet to be entitled one are being closely monitored. Another challenge I think we have in Nigeria is scripting, we should improve on our stories and how we tell them.

We have a lot of stories to tell in Nigeria, but most of our scriptwriters are fond of always copying foreign storylines, originality is lacking in most of our stories, which is very bad and sad. Good stories thrill me a lot; again we do not have the technical ability to produce some kind of films. It is so because an average filmmaker does not have the financial resources to do it like his foreign counterparts. Badly, the government has turned its back on Nollywood, and they know very well the millions of job opportunities that Nollywood had created and still creating for the nation on a daily basis. Government should adequately fund Nollywood, so that it does not die. We all know that the Nollywood of today is purely driven by individual efforts and funding. And no matter how we try, it can’t get 100% better, until the government comes in to help fund and support us.

Like how much was expended shooting these two movies and how did you source the funds?
We spent a lot for both movies; a rough estimate should give us something in the region of N12m per picture. Funny enough, I have not made money from my previous works, but that has not deterred me, because I have an undying passion for Nollywood. With time, I hope to also make money because it’s an investment. I will never be discouraged, no matter what happens.

How did your path and that of Emem Isong cross and what was it like working with her. Again, do you look forward to working with her again?
She’s been my good friend for over five years and we worked together in 2006, on the set of Lost Maiden. She produced Mortal Attraction for me, and we had fun on set working together. Why not, I look forward to working with her again.

We would like you to share more about you and your background?
Okay, I’m Chisom OZ-Lee, from Oraukwu in Anambra State. I’m a widow and a registered nurse living and working in the US. I’m also a filmmaker cum actress; I live with my children and my mum in the US. I’m an English Literature graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN).

As a beautiful widow, how come you have never thought of re-marrying, are you scared of men or men are scared of you?
I think all of the above are part of the reasons. For me, remaining a widow is not bad and the company of my children makes me happy every day.

How has it been coping with men?
No big deal, I cope well with them, for me; there is nothing difficult in handling them.

Is there any man currently rocking your world?
I have friends, besides, I ‘m a very busy person, meaning I have plenty things to do. Mind you, it takes time and energy to keep a man. My love life is empty and I love it that much. My husband died while battling Cancer of the Leukemia. His death was what led to my going into nursing. And we miss him every day. Read more »

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