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Nollywood lesbians avoid me, because I love men- Jenny Uzoma


Jenny Uzoma is not the typical actress, who lets Nollywood define her. She strives to define the industry on her own terms, which is why she has had a slow but consistent growth in her career, free from scandals.

The model, brand ambassador and thespian, shares aspects of her career, life and projects with NGOZI EMEDOLIBE.

How has it been pursuing this fantasy and career called acting?

Well for me I wouldn’t say acting is a fantasy, at this point in my journey, it is real, I may have mentioned it being a fantasy in the early stages of my career, it is a reality, has been a struggle and joy for me. I have been in the industry for years. Worked hard to get to the top, I have seen ups and downs, acceptance and rejection, but I kept pushing. It is a chosen career, not seen any other that will give so much joy though I am still looking at politics (that was what I studied in school) I would like to make use of my degree, above all I love acting which is my craft.

Will you say acting has helped realise some of your childhood dreams? And how has it done this?

It has helped to achieve some of my childhood fantasy, it is amazing thinking about it now never thought I would achieve so much, the naïve me went into acting as a kid not knowing the ups and down. At age 10, I used to partake in school plays like “The incorruptible judge” with my lines well taken, on TV, I will see Mama Patience Ozokwo, Genevieve Nnaji… seeing all that made me a big dreamer and reading books like Encyclopedia, helped a lot. I never thought I would be on big screens with these living legends in the industry I dreamt of shooting with.

Going back to the basics, how did this whole thing begin?

I started way back in school days, my love for art, fiction novels made me read a lot that I got into trouble in school reading, ‘Mills and Boon’ series and James Hardly Chase who had book covers with naked women. Some people in school thought I was reading porn. Basically, reading a lot and my participation in plays kicked-started my career, so to speak.

What things made it particularly discouraging for you and how did you overcome those?

My parents never approved of my career, I don’t blame them; they thought I would be promiscuous, wayward. It was quite discouraging also with the fact that we were under paid, my first role was a “waka pass”. I was so happy though the pay was N500. The big roles were not coming, so I was approached by predators in the industry who wanted to take advantage of newbies, who wanted to get into the industry, it was my decision to say NO to their sexual advances; it was one of the reasons I left the movie industry to work in the corporate space for a while.

You do both acting and producing, which are you most comfortable with?

I am first an actor before a producer, while I am comfortable with both; I am most comfortable with acting. Producing is a different ball game because you are overseeing the whole production from pre-production to post-production and then distribution, also I get to act in the movies I produce (double stress). As much as I would love to produce contents for VOD platforms like NETFLIX, AMAZON, SHOWMAX, I need a reliable team to work with to reduce the stress. I would still pick acting over producing.

The general belief is that being in the limelight could impede your love life. What’s your take about this?

Being in the lime light, affects your love life. I do not know how most of my colleagues have been handling it, you can’t tell who is who again, so many men will tell me they love me whereas they are only after my body, want to be associated with celebrity life, the thought of me having a fat bank account etc. I really do not know who is genuine.

Even after submitting to the relationship, they have so many thoughts in their head when you are away for work. That is why I pray for someone who is understanding, patient and respectful in my relationship and when I eventually get married, because there is no formula to a peaceful relationship or marriage.

Does being an actress expose one to the right or wrong kind of men?

Yes, being an actress attracts both serious and unserious men, the right man will come so will the ones with negative intentions will come for whatever reason because they want to be associated with me. I just pray for the gift to choose the right partner. There are lots of wolves out there.

What movie or projects are you currently working on?

As an actor right now, I am filming for other producers, I also just opened my YouTube Channel “JennyuzomaTv”, if you are reading this please like, comment and don’t forget to subscribe. With that I have to upload more contents so as to keep my YouTube active for my amazing fans. Basically, I have many projects to work on this year.

What future projects are you anticipating?

I am anticipating bigger projects that will be on platforms like NETFLIX, AMAZON, PARAMOUNT, DISNEYetc. Basically, I intend making impacts with my art and craft via international video on demand (VOD) platforms.

How difficult is it to cope with being a movie star in terms of finances?

In terms of finances, I am doing great. As an actor we have to keep up appearances, people will say as a celebrity you should not be repeating clothes, I don’t believe in such statements. I am very simple, as far as I bought the cloth with my money I will wear them any time I feel like, the goal is to look good and not to break the bank.

Do actresses sometimes come under pressure with themselves when they read about colleagues acquiring expensive cars or houses?

For some actress, yes. When they read about other actresses buying houses, cars, they say “the pressure is getting weightier”. For me it is nice to acquire all these assets but I do not think that we should go to the extreme in other to acquire them. For me, if it is done legitimately, it is fine but for me to go out of my way only to be praised or seen as a rich celebrity is one thing I will never do. Some of my colleagues acquire assets illegally, then they come to rub it on our faces, knowing other people will want to emulate them.

They say, ‘Fake it, till you make it”; that saying makes everyone to live an expensive lifestyle so as to be regarded. I am always genuinely happy for my colleagues who acquire these assets while expecting God to do mine, is not like when I do not have all these things I will die, I live a non-competitive life, because I know what is meant for me, will definitely come my way.

Which personalities within and outside the industry do you owe your success in the industry to?

In Nollywood and outside Nollywood, I owe my success to a lot of people, if I should start mentioning names I might not finish. Well in Nigeria I love Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, a veteran actress who was in “King of Boys”. Her eloquent pushes me to do better, Nse Ikpe-Etim is also someone I look up to, her resilient speaks aloud, I love Genevieve Nnaji, though it sounds like a cliché; I really do love her personality. Outside Nollywood, I look up to Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Angelina Jolie etc.

They are quite a number of them, I also love black American actors like Viola Davis, her beauty is extraordinaire, Angela Bassett even at her age was nominated for an Oscar award, Michelle Yeoh who has been in the industry for so long and just got her Oscar award, Jennifer Coolidge has been in the industry for so long but she is just getting recognition.

A lot of actresses who have stayed for so long but are just making impacts. I am also a late bloomer, my journey started back in 2004, I did a bit, went to finish school, then I went for NYSC, it took a while before going to the corporate world, then I came back in 2014, it has been a slow progress but steady which I am thankful for. I know a lot of my colleagues whom we started together but gave up the career along the line. Despite all the huddles, I am still here. Well those are the icons I look up to.

Is it true that lesbianism is rampant in Nollywood? Have they tempted you before?

That is a very funny question, you know we are all different and people do what pleases them. As for me I am not homophobic, I don’t judge anyone because Bible says “Judge not, that ye may not be judged”, everyone with their sexuality preference. I have been approached before but did not give in because I am straight and I like men, I grew up to like men so I don’t see myself going the other route, that doesn’t mean I will look down on anyone who chooses to have a certain sexual preference. As for me, I am straight.

What will you tell a young woman who want to be like you?

I would tell a young lady who wants to get into the industry to study the industry, coming into the industry without a plan just like I did when I first started acting, then I had no plan and was just going with the flow, nowadays things aren’t the same way it used to be back in 2004.

The person should have a mentor, for the minor they must have a guardian. You also have to be intentional and deliberate.

Know the craft, read up and always strive to improve on your talent because that is what will be nurtured over time. So many people come into the industry for different reasons, so for you to be able to stand out, you have to have something different from others.

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Taking acting courses and training is important in improving your craft. You don’t have to be there for so long without being noticed which was what happened in my own case. You also need hands on deck; manager, social media manager, and PR experts, these people know how to help you navigate, but if you feel you can do it alone, that is fine.

What message do you have for your fans?

To my fans, thank you so much for your efforts and for supporting my brand Jenny Uzoma. My new fans, old fans who have been with me for a long time, I appreciate the support. Please follow me on all my social media handles and subscribe to my YouTube channel Jenny Uzoma TV. Watch out for more amazing content from me.

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Ada Ada

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