Many a time, I’ve tried to quit Nollywood but for some reasons Nollywood won’t let me (go). Somehow, they want me to come back.
Starting out in 2003, Ebube Nwagbo has steadily built a name for herself in the movie industry. With over 150 flicks to her credit, she stands as one of the most successful actors to come out of Nollywood.
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However, with success comes a need for expansion, and Nwagbo is taking this cue quite seriously with the launch of her fashion line, PoshedUp by Ebube Nwagbo, a mid range fashion outfit designed to meet the everyday need of fashionable ladies.
In a chat with the screen diva, she takes us through her journey as an actress, talks on family life, spills some relationship values and goes ahead to elaborate the vision behind her newly launched outfit.
How long have you been active in the industry?
Since 2015, that’s 15 years now
What would you attribute to as the factors that kept you going, being relevant?
Many a time, I’ve tried to quit Nollywood but for some reasons Nollywood won’t let me (go). Somehow, they want me to come back. I would say the fans and the public still want to see me on TV. Many times, I’ve said that I wasn’t going to do this anymore and I’d leave, but there’s always a request for me to come back.
What were some of the factors that made you want to quit the film industry?
I grew up in Nollywood basically… The press wasn’t really a bright place for me to be at that time. Then, we didn’t have Instagram and all that; it was print and other media. I was young, doing my thing; everybody wanted to know what I was up to. Sometimes, the pressure gets to me, and I’m like, ‘no, I can’t do this, it’s too much; I’m in the news today for the wrong reasons’. I couldn’t handle that pressure very well like I can now. It took me a while to realise that this is a place I want to be and it is left for me to manage it.
How do you cope as a public figure and being in a relationship?
It’s me! It’s me talking to myself, saying ‘this is what you have chosen, this is where you want to be, so deal with it’. Sometimes it’s not fun; sometimes we lose it, but when you talk to yourself, trust me, you are the only person who can talk to yourself. You chose to be in the industry; nobody brought you in. You chose this path, so deal with it. The moment you realise that… that’s the only way you can cope. Once upon a time, I tried to run away from the drama, the Nollywood industry, the limelight, thinking that was it. I just had to tell myself that this is what I want to do. Choose your hustle and stick to it.
Where does family come in all of these?
My family supports me but I need to be in that position where they can support me, because if I am not there, they can’t do what they have to do. I started this thing (acting) without telling my family, it was along the line they found out I was doing this. All I needed to do was prove them… not to give me reason for letting me do this. They knew it was what I wanted, so they supported me. I’ve not given them reasons to allow me do this.
What was their reaction discovering that you had starred in a couple of movies without any foreknowledge?
They were quite shocked. If you knew me before now, you wouldn’t even dream of seeing me on TV, you wouldn’t think that about me. My family was shocked; people around me were shocked. I had to explain to them that I was whiling away time, but Nollywood took me seriously, and this is me today.
A decade and a half later, do you think you are where you should be compared to your colleagues with whom you started out?
I believe that, as long as you are alive, you have to keep moving and pushing. If (Aliko) Dangote was where he thought he wanted to be, he still won’t be doing what he’s doing today. So, as long as I am alive, as long as I am breathing, as long as I have good health; I will keep doing what I am doing; keep being me; keep doing what I love to do: acting, producing, touching lives, creating fashion brands, doing everything I love, and being relevant.
Between your early days and now, your fashion sense must have changed. Were you always fashion trendy or was it a bandwagon effect for you?
No. Growing up as a kid, I remember back then, my… I think my dad influenced my fashion sense. Growing up, as little as I was, when we came to church, people would look out to see what I’m wearing to church. My parents made sure I stood out from the little kids, all the time. People always knew me as the little girl who always dressed up.
Between your mom and dad, who do you think is more fashionable?
They both are. My mom loves large sunglasses just like me. My dad has got good taste. I took this from this person, took that from that person; so, they both actually influenced me. I grew up to like good things; it mustn’t be expensive though. Then I met people who loved fashion as well. In fact, I learn from people. There is a fashion sense in everybody. I pick what I can.
Where do you see PoshedUp in two years considering the start-up period the toughest?
In two years, I want it in all leading malls in Nigeria, for a start; and then take it outside the shores because now we are just online. So, in two years, I should have branches in and out of Nigeria.
Understanding that they are ready-to-wear pieces, are there any African-inspired items in your collection?
It depends on what you mean by African outfits, my ready-to-wear…
I mean having a dash of African vibe to it.
Of course, I am collaborating with Nigerian designers as well and not just my own thing. Nigerian designers I’ve worked with were creating something but I still have to reflect my personality. Yes, there will be a dash of Africa to it.
Relationship and business are set on a balance, where does the scale tilt?
It’s hard, but you just have to create the balance or else both suffer. Sometimes the business suffers; sometimes the relationship suffers. So, it’s left for you to decide which one would suffer.
So, how is your relationship?
Right now, I’m focused on business. So, let’s say the relationship is suffering now.
You were quoted in the past as saying you hate people who tell lies in relationships. Has that happened to you in the past?
Yes, of course, not just relationships. When you are dealing with people and they are not being honest; the same thing applies to when you are in a relationship, which is more intimate; and you think it’s someone you can share your feelings with, so when the person isn’t forthright, it’s really hurting. Yeah, it happened to me but I’d rather not delve into it.
What’s the worst lie anyone has told you?
Lots. People tell you good morning and they are lying, when there is nothing good about the morning. Come on!
Your past venture on weave on, was it so successful that it prompted the launch of PoshedUp?
At that time, there was a rave and crave for human hair, but it was quite expensive. I was like, what do I do to make people wear this, without breaking the bank? So, that was how I came about my hairline. People accepted it; it even went beyond my imagination. But now, everybody is into it, so I’m trying to diversify by doing other things.
The world is going ‘black’; everyone is going natural with hairdo. How do you think this will affect your weave on brand?
Even with the natural hair, you can still do what you want to do with the weave, because some people can wear the natural hair but still want to make their hair sometimes twisting up, and making it look like they are wearing something fuller. So, once in a while, you need little pieces from us.
Are you single or seeing someone?
That’s very difficult to answer. If I tell you I am not seeing someone, you will be like ‘oh that’s strange’. I’d rather not say.
Recently, you visited Candlelight Foundation and made a donation to feed 200 less privileged persons. What actually inspired this gesture?
We know, as Nigerians, what the society is all about regarding hunger and poverty. There are lots of people out there that don’t have anything to eat. They can’t feed. They don’t have anything to put in their stomach. So, I was happy to be at Candlelight Foundation. It’s a nice place, and obviously, the people there were so happy. It’s a lot doing something and putting a smile on someone’s face, and I’m glad I was part of it.
What advice do you have for people who plan on going into Nollywood, having hopes of becoming big stars?
Being a big star or being in Nollywood is not a joke. It’s serious business. Before you come in, you have to take yourself seriously and be sure this is really what you want to do. Don’t come because you think it’s about the lifestyle, the hype. No, it’s bigger than that. You need to dedicate yourself to this thing, pay your dues, have a flair for acting, be sure you are good at it because a lot of people are doing it, there should be something about it that stands you out from the next person before you come here. It’s not a joke; it’s a serious business.