Beautiful and sexy Edo-State born Nollywood actress, Christabel Egbenya, has done so many films since she came into the movie industry. She has talent and she has brought it on in many of her films but like every actor, there are some roles that still haunt or define their careers. For Christabel, her role in Room 202, where she got rather too cosy with Frank Artus hasn’t left the tongues of some people who believed the actress really turned on the fire.
Besides acting, what other business do you do?
I’m planning to open my own cosmetic shop and to produce my personal movie soon.
You don’t seem to hang out with your friends and colleagues?
Yes, because in the industry, when you start having a lot of friends, it brings you down, your name will get damaged and gossips will be flying. So I like staying on my own, when it’s time to work, we go and work. When I don’t have a job, I go back to my house and think of other things to do. If I have money and want to chill somewhere, I do that. I don’t really have time for all those coming together with other actors, sit down and gossip, because I have a future outside the industry. I plan to get married one day and have children. So, I like to protect my image, I don’t want all those dirty things, so I just have to avoid a lot of things.
Don’t you think that would affect your career, not mixing up with your colleagues?
No, I talk with them, we chat on BBM and all, but when it comes to hanging out together, I am not cut out for that. If for instance, I’m invited to an event, I go and we all laugh and talk together. But if it’s being very close to them, I don’t. It exposes everything about you and nobody will value you again, you won’t have personal secrets. When we go to events or while we are on set, we are friends, we do things together. But visiting our individual homes or travelling to places together is out of it.
Are you saying that actresses gossip a lot?
No, that’s not what I mean, though some of them do.
Is it true that Nollywood has been turned to a harem of prostitutes where girls come to showcase themselves for rich men?
I don’t know. The industry is very big, so some people can come in because they have the talent for acting, while others can come in because they want to show their bodies to men, it’s up to them. Personally, I came into Nollywood because I have the passion for acting. So far, in the movies I’ve done you’ll discover that I’m real. I act like myself, I don’t want to be like anybody. I don’t want to show my boobs and all. I just do my thing well the little way I can. And so far, if I get a job, I do it and when I don’t, I don’t go about bearing gifts and looking for favours from people to get roles. All I do is pray and fast everyday. When I get a job, I do it well the way I can.
You refer to God a lot; are you now a born-again Chrsitian?
(Laughs) I’m a born again o, I want to be close to God. A lot of things are happening these days and without God, you’re going nowhere.
How did you feel playing a raunchy role in ‘Room 202’?
When they brought the script, I read it and they told me the people I would sleep with in the movie. I just had to get into the character and I started acting it out. It was fun and those people are my friends.
How does it feel getting into character that involves a lot of kissing and smooching, don’t you get turned on?
I don’t get turned on because there are people there; the director and other crew members, so why will I get turned on, so I just act that part.
How real is the kissing?
It’s real. The kisses are real. In ‘Kingdom of Pleasure’, ‘Kingship’, Frank Artus and I kissed and touched very well because he’s my friend. We were always on set together and we talk once in a while, so we had to make it real.
What role did you and Frank Artus play in that movie?
In ‘Kingdom of Pleasure’, Frank Artus came back from America and he was asked to marry his late father’s wife, Ngozi Ezeonu who was much older as tradition demands. He refused because he wanted me. So, he used to come to town to visit me and we make love. In the movie, ‘King’s Throne’, I also did a raunchy role with Frank Artus where it looked as if we had real sex, like he was really inside me and I was enjoying it. Most people believed it was real, but the people who were in there know that we didn’t do anything.
Does it mean that being friends with the person you’re paired with makes it easier to interpret some roles?
Yes, it could; though, I don’t know about others. But for me, when you’re used to somebody it helps. There are some guys they’ll bring, you’ll do it (kisses and all). If they bring someone who is not attractive, you might not find it easy. But when they bring the likes of Yul Edochie, Mike Ezuruonye, Majid Michel, Joseph Benjamin, all these fine guys (Laughs), you’ll play it well, even when the director is cutting it, you wouldn’t want it to end. But there are some other people you’ll be reluctant to do such roles with.
How many movies have you done so far?
I’ve done about 60 movies.
What’s your biggest asset as an actress?
Before I used to say my boobs, but not anymore. Now, I would say it’s my bum. About two years ago, I noticed my bum just popped out from nowhere.
As regards mixing up with my colleagues, why I don’t associate with them is first of all due to the fact that outside the whole movie thing, I love being alone. I don’t live with my parents or anybody, I like staying alone. In Nollywood, when we have somewhere to go, I go with them and when there is no movie business, I stay alone. So, it’s not as if I don’t associate with them, I have a lot of them as friends. The mature ones like Mr. Ibu, Chinwe Owoh, Chinwetalu Agu, Joy Kalu, Francis Duru and others. I’m not very close with the young ones except during locations or on social network.