I’m not under pressure to get married– Nollywood diva Adaorah Ukoh

She is one of the Nollywood actresses that have been able to withstand the storm of becoming a brand name in the make-believe world, especially as a plus-size thespian. In this interview with DUPE AYINLA-OLASUNKANMI, the actress speaks on her marital status, her projects and plans for the New Year. Excerpts:

HOW would you describe the year 2014?

You know there were lots of political issues. Well, I would say it was a good year. More so, when it comes down to my career, I would say, it was a beautiful year. Being on the set of Lekki Housewives, obviously added more to my profile, and I also carried out some projects which were quite fulfilling.

Like you mentioned, there were lots of political issues and activities, what is your take on your colleagues who have veered into politics?

I don’t have plans for politics outrightly, but I have sat down and figured it out, that acting and politics are like brothers. The two are correlated, and I think that is why some of my colleagues are going into it. Politics is not something I am thinking of going into, but I could give my support to whoever is on that power seat.

It is believed that the reason for this new development among your colleagues is for their personal interest and not for the people?

Well, it depends on what people mean by personal interest. As far as I am concerned, everyone who goes into politics is for personal reasons. And this does not fall under politics alone, because whatever we do in life is for a reason. If what they mean by personal interest is money laundering and others, then you have two things to battle with: being a celebrity and being a politician.

However, I believe that before any celebrity could decide to take up political post, I’m sure they know what they are going into, because they are under more pressure, as people who are already popular. I don’t think they will just go into any position and abuse it.

What are the things you are looking at this year?

Every day comes with its own blessings and issues. I have always had high aspiration for each year, but you know, it ends with how God wants the whole thing to be. You wake up and hear of people being bombed; they all have aspirations too for the new year. But that is just the way God works. But I am looking forward to having a good year; better than I did last year.  I want to do more projects and have a family and kids.

What would be the secrets of successful marriage, considering your kind of job?

Well, maybe because I don’t have kids yet, and I am not officially married, I would say it has not been difficult for me to get along with my career. But marriage is what I am planning now, and until then, my career is taking the front seat, especially until the kids start coming in. However, I will still manage to keep my career and family in one piece, because the two come first.

What would you say is delaying your getting married, considering Africa’s belief that age is not usually on the woman’s side?

As far as I am concerned, in recent times, the issue of marriage has been over rated. To me, it should be an individual’s race and not something you should do because people are subjecting you into it. I think this is one of the reasons people settle down for the wrong reasons. It is not all about the ceremonies that come with marriage; at the end of the day, marriage is the commitment between two people.

So, they should know what they want before going into it in the first place. I think we should look beyond the African sentiment, if one really wants to keep a good home, by having a good partner to settle down with. But it is something every woman should think of when the time comes. To me, marriage will come when it will come. It is not how far, but how well.

Are you saying you are not under pressure from family to settle down?

Well, that is the kind of family I come from; they don’t pressurize me in anyway, because this pressure is what pushes people in the wrong way. But I can tell you, I get advises from family and not pressure.

Could the rate of divorce in Nollywood be one of the factors holding you back?

Divorce is just the tool that the devil is using right now. And it is not just in the entertainment industry. But it is just a bit hard for entertainers because they are all in the face of everybody. So it looks like you have to live your life for everybody. So if you have a partner who doesn’t understand the rudiments of the job; that doesn’t want to take his ears away from gossips, then you have a lot of things to deal with. Because, if these issues come up and you don’t have a supportive partner; knowing that Nigerian men are king in marriage, it is a problem. I think it is one of the factors for most people, going by majority of the divorce cases we have out there. But I think it is better for you to be well and happy, than for you to be dead or unhappy in the home.

But is having a child out of wedlock an option?

At that point, that is where I come in to say when a woman gets to a certain age and the marriage does not come, maybe a child should. At the end of the day, the reason we have kids is to have a sense of responsibility; which also comes in the home, when marriage comes in too. As an individual, you get to a certain age and it is not coming up, you can decide to have a child.

What of the stigmatization that comes with it, before eventually finding true love?

At the end of the day when you find someone you fall in love with, the love should be able to cover that. Your partner should be able to accept the child. You know you are asking me questions based on societal values (laughs). Yes, it is difficult for some men to accept both mother and child, but also the fact that you get married doesn’t add that a child will also come in. I know of couples who are married and this issues of child birth has become a problem. And at the end of the day, it still becomes a reason for the break-up. So you see, whatever we do in life, you should just follow your heart. To me, you can’t tell a woman who is at a ‘sexual age’ not to have sex. And when the issues of child come in, why would you want to take it out? Like my mother would always say; pick someone who is good for friendship, in case of marriage time.

One of the projects you had was a pageant for plus-size women, what inspired this?

I just wanted people to see the good side of something perceived as negative.  Plus-size had been a major challenge for me through my career. But over time, I have become a brand for plus-size. Not that I have not tried to lose weight, but there is always need for consistency. But sometimes, I lose the weight and see myself doubling back. The point is we are all created differently. I used to know of a friend’s girlfriend who eats a lot and yet, very skinny.

And we keep wondering where the food goes to. When I did that show, I got a lot of side talks and comments, like I was trying to promote obesity and other stuffs. What I did was to let every woman know that regardless of their shape and size, they need to embrace their nature. So I decided to move to plus-size because I have been like this all my life. It is now that I am in my 30s, that I am even looking my age. I used to look a lot older before, and that is because my bones are big genetically.

So, the best I could do for myself is to embrace myself and be the person I could be and to also try to teach other women out there to be comfortable with their body size. The fact that, you are a plus-size does not make you less sexy.  The project was just to preach confidence, and this was what spurred me on. When the press started calling me Big, Bold and Beautiful, and my fans started increasing and commending me, I just tried to speak a little of me out there. I would say I started the pace, because I noticed that after that, a lot of shows on plus-size started emerging. The truth is, there is a market for plus-size, it is something every woman deals with at some point in their life.

But you seems to have put an end to the project..

No, I didn’t put an end to it. It has to do with you as a career person having a lot to deal with. And the truth is, you also have to put in a lot of funds to be able to put it out there. The Nigeria we have today, you have to work and sweat it out to get to that point where you want people to see what you have, before anyone could endorse you. All these little challenges slowed it down, not that it is totally out. It was something that I needed to set a pace for myself and also grow my brand as a plus size person. It is suppose to be an annual thing, but it is something dear to my heart. But I am talking with people now that can take over the brand and do it right for me. I have other projects like my production company. And even when you give out projects, you still have to keep your eyes on things.

Like you said earlier, you had to fight it out as a plus-size to become a brand you are today. How did you do it?

I did that by paying deaf ears to every negative comment. Like some would say ‘go lose some belly weight’. I could look myself in the mirror and say it is a good advice. So the best thing I do, whenever I hear a comment, is to get myself in tune with it, and think of the positive side. It was not an easy thing to do, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. And I also see challenges as a stepping stone to head on. I also watch my counterparts in Hollywood like Queen Latifa, she is one of the plus-sizes and she is doing her thing.

There was a period you completely shaved off your hair. How did you like it then?

I actually did it twice; one it was personal, because the project I did it for, a short film where the lady had cancer was a personal project. The second time, I was actually paid to have it shaved. It was a different experience for me, because to me, it was time to loosen my hair from bonding and extension. I was the lead character, and over time it became a trend. After a while, it became popular and it suited me and it was what I also used in shooting Lekki Housewives.

The good thing then was knowing how it was done. I had to know how it was shaved off completely. They had professional hair barber in the east; oil had to be applied on the hair first before it was done. I was jittery at first, because I was supposed to be crying as the hair was being shaved off, so it really helped me to deliver the character. But I cried more because my hair was being taken off, but I also remembered that I was being paid for it. But immediately it was off, people started taking pictures and were commending me for the new look. That was what spurred me and got me to have a photo shoot. But at a point, I got bored and had to grow my hair back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.