She was the reason people rushed home after work just to watch Checkmate, which aired every Thursday night in the early 90s. In Checkmate, Ego Boyo, known as Ann Haastrup, was the overconfident girlfriend of Segun Kadiri (Richard Mofe Damijo). Till date, Ego Boyo still makes heads turn at public gatherings. The name and the face still ring a bell, even though she’s in her own world doing her own thing as a producer. At a women’s magazine launch in Lagos recently, Ego, who’s still as charismatic as she was as an actress in Checkmate and Violated had a chat with Sunday Sun. Excerpts:
You talked about “character inside out” in your speech, could you elaborate?
Character is the essence of a being. Your character is the most important thing. Your character entails your beliefs; guiding principles and what you would do in private and in public. Your conduct should be the same always. All of those things are based on your character. Character is you sticking to a set of goals. These are the core principles of your life.
What’s your assessment of actors and actresses?
You can’t generalize. People aren’t the same character-wise. The industry on its own has a few gaps in terms of character just like the larger society, Nigeria does anyway.
What do you do right now?
I produce films. I’m a producer. I started producing while I was on the cast of Violated and I’m still producing now.
We don’t see you in movies again, what happened?
I haven’t been in movies for so long. Well, I haven’t really been in Nollywood; I have been doing more of corporate works. I have done a few short films, documentaries and adverts for clients. That’s been my focus.
You are somehow on the quiet side and people don’t get to see you even on the social scene. Correct?
That’s how it should be. I’m a producer, I don’t need to be loud, and my work should speak for me.
Are you done with acting?
Until I get that one challenging role, I’m sticking with being a producer. I don’t know, because it’s something I still think about.
If somebody offers me something really fantastic, I might do it, if it’s challenging and very interesting, but as I said, nobody has yet. Everybody wants me to play the same person, always the same person, Anne Haastrup with a different name.
I asked myself, if I did that for four years, so why should I want to keep doing it in different films? It’s very stereotypical.
How would you describe Ego Boyo?
A film producer, wife, mother, friend, sister and advocate of the arts and education.
What has life taught you?
Life has taught me to abide by my guiding principles; the principles by which I was raised and just stick with them. Among them is integrity. You just have to be a person that people can rely on and trust. People should be able to emulate you. You stick by your values.
Did your childhood influence your role as Anne Haastrup in Checkmate?
My childhood definitely had everything to do with it.
Everything about how I was raised by my parents, what values were inculcated in us in our household and that is what I have tried to be from then till now. Definitely, it has everything to do with it.
So, where did you grow up?
I grew up here in Lagos and I still live in Lagos.
I thought you lived in Warri?
Warri? I never did.
You’re still as beautiful as you were years back; what’s the secret?
I eat the right things. Like lots of vegetables and more of fruits. I also exercise and make sure I take my makeup off at the end of the day.
That helps to keep my face clean and neat. I moisturize my skin and I drink a lot of water, which also helps with cleansing.
Once in a while, I do facials but I don’t break out often. So, there’s really no need for facials. But when I feel my skin needs a bit of treatment, I do go and have facials but I think more than 50 percent of it all depends on good genes.
I do exercise often. My parents don’t look bad also. Most of it has to do with our genes.
I guess I inherited my youthfulness from my parents, but of course as you get older, you get to focus on a lot of things.