By Tony Ogaga
She is a force to reckon with in Nollywood having garnered various awards and accolades. But once upon a time things were so rough and tough for actress, movie producer, blogger and model, Judith Audu that she almost quit the motion picture industry.
However, the AIFF 2016 Best Female Actress opened up to TONY OGAGA on her challenges at the Silverbird Galleria, Abuja, venue of the 13th edition of Anglophone Africa’s longest running film festival, AIFF, founded by Fidelis Duker.
“My husband has been very supportive. I would say he is the reason why I am standing here today,” the thespian who is renowned for her role as Mofe in Tinsel gushed moments after winning her award. “At a point, I actually thought I couldn’t take it anymore. But he was the one who kept pushing and saying I had to do what I loved doing. He is highly supportive and is always pushing me to be better.
The star of House Apart further recalls: “The level of unprofessionalism was alarming back then. And because I had a master’s degree, I felt like I could always go get a job. But deep down inside I knew I did not want to get a job. I wanted to be an actor, I wanted to be in the industry because this is what I love doing.
“I never really wanted to be a celebrity. I am here because this is where my heart is. So, when it got really bad, I was like maybe I should just go and do something else, maybe I should just quit. But then, my husband always encouraged me and I picked the pieces together again and continued.”
However, due to persistence, hard work and dedication, luck finally smiled at her. Recalling the events that redeemed her career, Judith, who hit Nollywood in 2004 stated: “I had to question God at a point because I couldn’t get my mind off acting. I said ‘God, if I have to go back to the industry I have to be sure what I am getting into’ and that was how I got on Tinsel in 2010. That was my turning point! And then I got another job and yet another and then the jobs just kept rolling in. That gave me the assurance that I was in the right place.”
Though, this is not the first award the actress is winning, she is grateful to the organisers. “There is this exquisite feeling that comes with getting recognition and being accepted in the industry,” Audu says as she describes her joy at winning the 2016 Best Actress award. “So, it means a lot to me to be recognized as best actress among a host of so many great acts that were nominated in the category.
“I am trying to look for the right word to express my joy. I guess it means that I am doing something right and I am on the right path. This is a challenge for me to do better and step up my game.
“I want to say a very lovely thank you to Uncle Fidelis Duker for this award and for putting up such an awesome platform for filmmakers to meet and also to say thank you to every single person that supports the motion picture industry, because if not for them, we won’t be here. I just want to say thank you. They should keep supporting us and we will keep getting better.”
Today, Judith is happily married. How does she strike a balance between her career and the home front? Hear her: “I just try to find a balance. My marriage comes first and then my acting and then my producing. I just find a balance and then I try to prioritise. I don’t let any suffer. However, I call myself a lazy blogger now because a lot of things have been happening and I don’t blog like I used to anymore.
Judith says she is living her dream and does not plan to quit any time soon: “It has always been my dream to be in front of the camera. How I will get there I did not know. It is funny now that I am in front of the camera and now I want to go behind the camera. I have always wanted to be a broadcaster but I used to be really shy, so somehow I found my way here and here I am.”
Are you a youngster out there dreaming of becoming a TV star? Judith has a word of advice for you: “Be very patient and consistent. Be hard working, humble and never for any reason stop believing in yourself.”
Despite the success she has recorded so far, Audu is not resting on her oars. She is currently working on a couple of projects that include a documentary that will take her to five states.
“It is an all female crew affair and it will be shot in five states. It is huge. I am currently sourcing funds for the project. Nollywood buffs should watch out!”