Shapely actress-cum-producer, Nazo Ekezie, an indigene of Ozubulu, Anambra State hit Nollywood 10 years ago and has starred in several movies. In this chat, the actress tells Entertainer the challenges of being a first time filmmaker and opens a can of worms on backbiting and jealousy among members of the fairer sex in Nollywood, Flawed, her latest movie and why she no longer wears undies.
Tell us about growing up
Growing up was fun. I’m the second of four children. My father is late but my mother is still here.
Which movie brought you to the limelight?
There were a couple of movies I did. Two or three scenes, sometimes five scenes and then I went back to school but Thanks For Coming, produced by Uche Nancy brought me to the limelight. After that I did another one entitled Assassins with the likes of Mike Ezuruonye and Chacha Eke among others. There was a couple of others but Thanks For Coming was the movies that made people begin to take me seriously as an actor.
Recently, you went into movie production, what inspired that move?
I developed this love for filmmaking along the line. At some point I wanted to try something new. Actually, it’s been there for a while. So in 2018, I produced my first film, Flawed, featuring Ebere Okaro and my humble self among a host of other amazing actors.
What were your challenges as first-time producer?
I think doing a movie as a producer and also acting in the same movie should be for only superheroes because it was not easy at all. I had to think for everyone to make sure that the production went well; it was not funny at all. I had to think from every angle to make sure everything was okay. I had a very good production manager but I really got myself worked up.
Well, some people said it’s because it’s my first time, that soon, I’d get used to it. Another big challenge I had was location issue. I paid for an office space in Lekki, Lagos, and then a day before the shoot, the man in charge of the space called and said we couldn’t move in because the office was locked. The reason he gave was that some government officials locked the place up. And then he wouldn’t refund my money on time so I could get another space. It was very tough but I refused to be discouraged. We just changed plans and moved on. The good thing is I have learned my lessons. Now I know what those other producers face and what they pass through and I understand them better. I have learned that anything can go wrong during production. The stress was fun; I loved and enjoyed it.
What message is the movie passing?
Flawed is trying to say that people have reasons for doing what they do. We all are not perfect. No matter how good and perfect we seem to look from the outside, there are lots of issues we still have to deal with on the inside. There are certain actions that people take and nobody would truly understand why, until he or she gets close to realise the reason behind that action. Nobody, male nor female should sit in one corner and criticise anybody’s actions without knowing what prompted it. Everybody struggles with something. No matter how popular you are, no matter how great you look, there’s a demon you’re fighting within. The movie also teaches that love conquers all and makes everything right again.
These days, everyone especially celebrities are always online showing off, what’s your take on?
I can only say that it depends on who and what you want for yourself. I think my biggest problem is realness. I don’t know how to fake it or pretend. I can’t even snap besides someone else’s car because there is no gain in it. In fact, I’m real to a fault. Although, society expects more from us as celebs, a lot of actors are pressured by the society. Nigerians are conflicted, they want you to be humble, then the next minute, the complain you are too humble. These problems are often created by women. So, if people tend to live fake lifestyles, I won’t blame them, it is because they have to meet up.
Are you saying it’s a case of women against, one-another?
Women don’t like each other. Please, quote me. Nollywood is one of the worst places to have female friends. Truth is, most female actresses see genuine compliments as something else. The worst are those who are doing better and well paid; I’m talking about endorsements and all. Despite their fame, they still say rubbish about other actresses in the industry. Every battle I have faced in Nollywood revolved around women; it’s that bad. They believe that once they have made it, nobody else should. These big actresses (the A-list) are scary. Seriously, you’d be in your corner, thinking they are all made but they are the ones that are more jealous and insecure even on set.
I have heard from someone in the industry that some actresses use juju to get roles, how true is that?
I’ve heard stuff like that but I don’t think I’ve come in contact with such.
Are you in any relationship now?
I’m very very single and available.
In terms of physical looks, what do you look out for in a guy?
Well, I’m not a physical look kind of person but then, if you’re after my heart, you shouldn’t look like masquerade. I want an okay looking guy who’s average. And most importantly, the acceptance that I’m talking about. Your brain and how your mind functions is more important to me.
What about the pocket?
That one, it’s so important. I’m not looking out to marry a Dangote but he needs to be comfortable. He has to be able to provide for me. These are the issues.
Those that can’t provide are now going for females underwear, how do you secure your pants these days?
(Laughter). It might sound cliché but I don’t wear pants anymore and that’s because I’m not going to joke with my destiny and if there’s anywhere that I’m taking my clothes off, my underwear goes straight into my bag.
If you don’t wear panties, what do you replace them with, especially when you wear gowns?
(Laughter) There are other things you can wear; trust me. You don’t have to go out naked. At first I took it as a joke but now it’s a very serious matter. So, no more pants.
Who are those acts you really wish to feature in your movies?
There are people I really want to work with. Bisola of Big Brother Naija is one of them. She is so special. She’s very real to the core. She make films so relative that you’d think it’s happening for real. I will do something good with her someday. However, I haven’t come across that script that would suit her. Also, I still hope to have my greatest role model, Bimbo Akintola in my movie.
What are your plans for 2019?
I have plans mapped out but that would kick off after the elections. We can’t wait for the next person in charge to make life better for all of us.