Tall men thrill me–Nollywood actress, Adaora Ukoh

Adaora Ukoh Adaora Ukoh has carved a niche for herself in Nollywood, her big size notwithstanding. She told Daily Sun that

she is so busy to have time for her numerous male admirers because of her projects. Though, she is not in love at the moment, Adaora confesses that tall men thrill her. She spoke further:

Movie industry
I have noticed that the movie industry has gone beyond acting, it is about branding. I have a TV programme called Divas Dynasty to promote women who are outstanding in their chosen fields and have worthy stories to tell. The programme also empowers the youth in Nigeria. I am also putting plans together to run my fashion line called ADAORA for plus size individuals. It would kick off with women first.

Raising funds
Divas Dynasty is already in motion. I have shot over 11 episodes and hopefully, it would go on air soon. Raising funds for the fashion label is no problem because the designer is a friend. That makes the job a bit easier. I am projecting the image of the fashion line now but the funds would come in through the official launch. It would be a patnership thing. Anybody I partner with will contribute to my dream as well as I would. The label would be launched during my birthday in April.

Early days in Nollywood
It was not too tough, though I started as as a teenager in 1997. I am a very bold person and that helped me get into the movie industry because I felt I could do anything I wanted. My size gave me an upper hand then because I looked older than my age mates. It was like a joke. I was using it to while away time before I gained admission into the university as I just completed secondary school. I took a break from the industry to study Law at the University of Lagos. When I came back, I discovered the industry had moved and a lot had changed. Making acting a professional job was where the real challenges started. It was more of a stiff competition but then, I was able to pull through.

Did you feel like quitting at any point?
Yes. At that point, the industry didn’t want to accept the plus size woman. They felt I didn’t fit into some of the roles in movies. This situation kept taking roles away from me. But a few people who believed in me gave me roles and I built my career again. So far, so good.

What keeps you going?
My passion for the job keeps me on because my life is centered on entertainment. As far as I am concerned, if you do the right thing, no matter what you see on your way, you will truimph because the path to success is not straight.

Was acting your childhood dream?
“No. I picked it up along the way because of the attention an actress, Jennifer Oliseh was getting then in my neighbourhood. I wanted to be like her in every aspect because she was treated like a star. She actually brought me into the industry. I walked up to her boldly, indicated interest in acting and she took me to an audition. I featured in my first movie, Evil Genius, in 1997. From there, I moved from one audition to another getting roles and making myself a better person in the process. I dabbled into acting. My dream as a child was to become a banker because they were highly respected then and it seemed to fetch a lot of money and the good things of life.

Parents’ reaction
They didn’t like the fact that I was acting because I never told them initially. They found out through their friends and that infuriated them especially my father. He would always warn and beat me not to attend auditions or act anymore, but I just couldn’t stop.

Assessing the industry
I have lots of issues with Nollywood. The AGN crisis and the issue of poor storyline, as well as poor distribution framework drive me crazy. We don’t know if we are going forward or backwards or stagnant. We have to go back to the drawing board because we have missed it along the way. We also need to restructure to make a head-way. Right now, the industry wants to move whether we like it or not. We need good stories with tight storylines like some of the ones premiered last year. I was so proud to be a Nigerian after watching them.

Which movie brought you into the limelight?
Black Bra gave me prominence though it was not my first movie. To me, it was just one of the movies I acted. To others, they loved my role in the movie. They felt it was my best job.

How are you enjoying stardom?
What would one do? We just have to cope well. It is not attaining stardom that is the issue but maintaining it. It is nice to be a star and tough at the same time. People so much look up to you and monitor whatever you are doing. We don’t have private moments because we are under the beam all the time, but its cool all the same.

High and low moments
I wake up everyday and each time I do that, it is a high point for me. I am happy to be alive amidst all the problems in our society. My lowest point in life was when I lost my father because it left a vacuum in my family.”

Have you been attracted to an actor on set before?
No. Professionally, I don’t see it happening.

Do you believe in love?
“Yes, I do.

Are you in love now?
No.

Have you been in love before?
Yes, while growing up. It was an interesting experience because the guy was all that mattered then. Along the way, we both grew up and went our separate ways because it didn’t work out any longer.

How do you handle male admirers?
They used to come, but these days, I don’t even see them. The reason is that I am so engrossed with my projects including producing my own movies that I don’t have time for distractions of any kind. When you have opportunities to utilize in realizing your dream, the male aspect would have to wait.

Does it mean you don’t have time for a relationship?
Yes. Not now. Except the opposite sex is adding value to my life and my projects financially, mentally, with support and helpful contributions. Then, he would be very close to me on a platonic level and not for romance. Right now, all my energies are directed to making my projects a huge success. There were times I was romantically involved and it didn’t lead to marriage. I have left that part for now and when it happens later, I know I am moving to the next level.”

Would you act nude in a movie?
No. No matter the amount of money involved.

Has acting rewarded you financially?
Yes. I am also fulfilled as an actress. I can’t really do any other thing aside acting. I love entertainment and would study Entertainment Law in my masters programme. I would go into music production. I have a flair for good music because it is my first love. When it comes to music, I love being at the background giving constructive ideas rather than singing.

How much are you worth in a movie?
That means you are asking me to tell you how much I earn. I can’t do that because it is personal. It is enough to keep me going.

Growing up
It was interesting. My parents were loving but at the same time, quick to discipline us. I felt on top of the world because of the way my father and I got along. My siblings and I remember our growing days with joy because our home was filled with laughter.

What qualities thrill you in a man?
I love tall men who are real gentlemen. A caring man as well as one who will make his woman a better person.

Describe yourself in three words
Big, bold and beautiful.

Upcoming acts
They should have passion, be bold, focused and improve on the job. They should acknowlege God because they can’t be anything without Him.

Message to fans
I will always love them. There is never a ‘me’ without them.

Future plans
I want to get married, have kids and a good home. I want to reap the rewards of my labour with my children.