Nkechi Chima, Abuja
Gloria Okafor is a Nollywood actress and producer. The Nnewi-born role interpreter made her acting debut in God of Shiloh and went on to excel in Public Wife. In this interview, Okafor shares lessons she learnt from her heartbreak experience, among other issues. Enjoy it.
How long have you been in the industry?
It has been five years of acting on the big screen.
What have been your challenges as an actress?
It has not been easy getting jobs; though, I count myself lucky for the roles I play, which are commendable. However, as a fast rising actress, the rate of getting roles cannot be compared to that of notable stars, and the industry is engrossed in featuring stars more than young ones. So, I think venturing into movie production is an edge to hit stardom like most of my colleagues. Though, it doesn’t mean I must play the lead in every movie I produce or I have produced, my director cast me for suitable role despite been the producer.
Among the movies you have featured which would you say is your favourite?
I have played notable roles in movies including Husbands of Lagos and Public Wife. Though, I didn’t play lead role in the movie, the flick gave me recognition and I played a different character from the usual good girl role. However, I also featured in flicks like Lucy’s Dilemma, My wife and I, For the Love of You, Journey to Wedlock, Dusted, Primitive Dim ‘O ma (Igbo), Tears and Blood, Unveiled, Duplicity, Wanted Girl, and Chinelo the Shy Virgin among others.
You have acted with notable cast, which among them stands out?
Mercy Johnson-Okojie is an adorable actress who is dedicated to her career. Also, she inspires me a lot with her motherly attributes, and for maintaining a healthy family with her kind of job.
What actually spurred you to go into movie production?
As a dedicated actress who is passionate about her profession, my dream has always been to excel in the industry, and also to make an impact as a producer, giving others the platform to discover themselves and become productive in life.
Could you tell us about the movies you have produced?
I have produced two movies titled My Wedding Eve and Isije. My Wedding Eve is a story of a friend of mine who wasn’t honest to her husband. As her chief bridesmaid, I didn’t disclose his wife true identity to him, but consulted his close associates to guide him on how to handle his marital relationship. My second movie, Isije featuring Lilian Esoro, Seun Akindele, Arinze Okonkwo, and Gloria Okafor among others is a love story of betrayal, trust and friendship. It also teaches contentment and sincerity.
What have been your challenges as a producer?
Most times getting the right cast is a challenge, because of their engagement or involvement on other sets. Though, there is always an alternative cast, getting your proposed cast is a great challenge.
With your experience as an actress and producer, what would you say are those things affecting filmmaking in Nollywood?
My early experiences getting roles wasn’t an easy task but my passion for the job was my staying point. Thereafter, producers and directors were inviting me to play sub-lead roles in movies. As a producer, I would say I have made tremendous progress as an actress, because it gives me an edge over others. In fact, I’m happy been self-made and a movie entrepreneur.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
I look forward to becoming an expert in filmmaking.
There is a misconception about actors who ventured into movie production because of limited roles from filmmakers; would you say you fall into this category?
I don’t fall into that category, because most of the movies I played are based on recommendation. My mother would always tell me that, ‘acting will take me to where my legs cannot take me and millions of people will be watching me’. So, the producers or directors also discovered my talent by watching my works. However, I perceive movie production as another phase in the industry I need to explore.
Sexual harassment is on the increase in Nollywood, have you had your share of it?
Honestly, I have never been harassed in the industry. Though, I’m not saying it’s not happening, but I have not falling victim.
Are you saying no producer or director has approached you for a relationship or sex for role?
None! If you doubt me, then let them contradict me by speaking up.
How would you describe love?
Love is like a tree with different branches. Sometimes, you enjoy the fruit, then it falls off and also you have to water the fruit for it to grow again. For me, it has been weary and enjoyable. Though, I have experienced heartbreak, it’s a lesson for a healthy relationship and I don’t have any regret at all.
What are those lessons for a healthy relationship?
It’s simply unconditional love, trust and understanding. Advisable, ladies or married women need to look good and sexy for their spouses.
Could you tell us more about your experiences?
Sister, please it’s my private life (laughter).
Are you in a serious relationship now?
Let it remain private (laughter).
Who is your ideal man, since you don’t want to disclose him or are you not proud of him?
My ideal man must be God fearing and visionary to make a successful family.
So, do you like them tall or short?
As a tall lady, I like them tall.
Describe yourself in one sentence.
Gloria Okafor is a lovable and caring person, like my family and friends would attest.
How would you advise those aspiring for success?
To become successful and relevant in the industry, you have to remain focused and determined. Most importantly, keep striving; definitely your work will discover you.