By Rita Okoye
Beautiful plus-size actress-cum-social media influencer, Mary John, has opened up on her sojourn in Nollywood, her love life, unique selling points and other issues. Enjoy it.
How would you describe yourself and personality?
I am a strong and determined woman. I also see myself as a go-getter. Mary is fun-loving and easy going lady.
How long have you been acting and how has it been?
I’ve been acting professionally for six years now, but I have been on and off. This is because of my other activities and businesses. To be honest, in 2018, I became pregnant so I had to stop filming for two years.
How’s the baby doing?
He is doing very well. Thanks. He clocked three a few months ago.
So, how has it been generally? What are some of the challenges you’ve been facing in the industry?
Coming to the industry isn’t easy at all; you have to put in some extra work. To me, I am not all about the everyday movies. If I have two good movies a month that’s okay for me. However, I am okay and doing fine. There is no challenge that I can’t handle.
You took a break to have your baby, when you returned did you feel you missed out on some things?
Yes, I felt it, but seeing my baby’s smiles, I felt he is also worth the break. My baby’s smiles worth everything and more…
How does your husband react seeing you play romantic roles in movies?
Please skip this. I don’t want to talk about it.
As a plus size TV star, what are the issues you encounter on and off set?
For the kind of body I have, men were all over me. But due to my determination and drive, I didn’t give them the opportunity. I knew what I wanted, so I just waived off all the temptations that came my way. Many were coming for the body not because they were in love with me, but as an experienced woman, I know what I wanted and I stood my ground.
Have you had any embarrassing encounter lately?
Ah! A lot, but the recent one was this fateful day that I was walking on the road and people started taking pictures of my butt, shouting that it was too big. It was funny and embarrassing at the same time, but we move on.
What were your parents’ reactions when you opted to join Nollywood?
At first, my dad wasn’t in support, but when my movies began to show on Africa Magic he became a fan.
What are the main difficulties people of plus size encounter?
I can’t speak for anyone else because people face their own challenges. For me, none because I carry myself with so much pride. I’m me and I will never want to be anyone else.
If given a chance, would you like to go under the knife for your body?
Yes oh. Just to remove belly fat, no additions to or subtractions from any other part of my body.
Looking back, what are your regrets?
The only regret is that I got involved in a business that almost got me into depression.
Can you mention titles of movies you’ve done recently?
Adaku is out, Perfect Game is a series and it’s coming out soon. Perfect Marriage is coming out soon too. It was nominated for BON Awards. My other jobs aren’t out yet.
What would you say is your unique selling point?
My eyes, but most people will say ‘Mary is a liar, it is her bumbum. However, I’ll always choose my eyes and voice any time.
What turns you on or off in relationship?
My turn on will be a responsible, caring, God-fearing man, who allows his woman to be herself at all times. A man who understands the word ‘respect’. My turn off will be an uptight man who thinks he owns the world. A man who does not understand that a woman too can be busy. Some men are so insecure that when she doesn’t take his calls, she feels she’s with another man. That is a big turn off for me.
What kind of movie would you reject even if the pay is enticing?
To go completely nude is a no, no for me.
But you can play romantic roles?
Yes, but it shouldn’t be too deep.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Will Smith. I love him. But in Nollywood, it’s Jim Iyke, I so much love that guy. His gangster game should be studied in Harvard.
Who are those stars you’re looking forward to act alongside?
In Nollywood, Funke Akindele because she’s a strong woman with a funny character. She is a wife, producer, director and a business mogul. I respect her so much. Also, Mercy Johnson and Genevieve Nnaji. And for mothers, I like and respect Joke Sylvia and Ebelle Okaro because they are really strong women.
Aside acting, what else do you do?
I am a plus size model, an interior decorator and social media influencer. I am also into real estate, and always open to business collaborations.
Can you tell us briefly about your educational background?
My educational story is very deep. My mates wrote JAMB once, but mine was four times. Well, it’s not because I was not brilliant, but I didn’t know the forces behind me not passing. However, the last time I wrote JAMB, I got admission into a private polytechnic and I studied Performing and Media Art. That was how I started my career as an actor.