The name, Uche Ogbodo, would definitely ring a bell to lovers of the Nigerian movie industry, Nollywood. She’s a pretty and gorgeous screen goddess who knows her onions in the world of make-believe.
Uche has been in the news in recent times for the wrong reasons. Her nude photographs have continued to grace pages of national newspapers and magazines. While many Nigerians are amazed, the actress has continually denied she was the one in the pictures. ‘‘Yeah, I play the bad girls’ roles in movies. But I have never played a nude role. Those pictures you see are not mine. They are the handiwork of my enemies. They are only out to tarnish my image.’’
If indeed, the enemies are out to tarnish her image, Uche has not helped matters with her outrageous sense of dressing. On a good day, she is dressed to ensure that passers-by and fans get more than enough dose of her cleavages and boobs.
In this exclusive interview with National Life, the down-to-earth, Enugu State-born actress reveals the reasons she is labelled a bad girl in Nollywood. She also speaks on competition amongst Nollywood actresses, her future plans and other issues.
The year has been good for me. I have been busy with shooting of movies. I have shot over 100 movies and still shooting. This New Year I have been moving from one location to another. I have been to Port-Harcourt and I would be going to Asaba for more production. My dear, it hasn’t been easy but I thank God for His mercies. At least, I work hard and get paid for what I am doing. I get tired and exhausted most times and reject roles but I’m really putting in my best, to give my best results in the ones I choose to feature in. My greatest achievement so far is that I have gained more ground in the industry. My name is now a household name. There’s more money, more fame, more beauty, more God… (laughs). Some of the movies that I shot are already out, like Samson and Delilah; Enemy of Progress and Point Agenda and more.
The recent ones I am shooting, I wont disclose the names, not until the work is completed and is out in the market. So, I have so many of them still cooking and yet to pop up. Acting is like a hobby to me, so anytime, I am shooting, I am so happy and fulfilled, doing what I know how to do best.
How I relax
Honestly, I am always busy moving from one location to another. I hardly have time for myself. But the little I’m able to eke out from my busy schedule, I use to sleep, because stress weighs me down a lot. It’s only enough rest that brings me back to shape, to regain my lost strength. If I don’t have time to sleep, then I face other house chores that I abandoned for my movie shoot. There is no rest here; it is only when I travel out that I find rest.
Yeah, I play the bad girls role in movies. But I have never played a nude role. I can act whatever role I wish. Because I am a versatile actress, but I can never act nude.
Yeah, because of my kind of roles, most people misjudge me for being capable of acting a nude movie. There was this particular movie I did, (Cruise) after I shot the movie, I never had any premonition that the producer will do what he did. He did a body double with a computer and placed a naked girl’s body on my head. So anybody that saw it would take it as my body because it was my face that they are seeing.
Nobody would believe that it wasn’t me. Right now, I am very mad about it. It gave me a bad name. Worse still, people don’t know that it wasn’t my body but a computer work. My friends have been calling to condemn and criticise me but I kept telling them that it wasn’t me. I have a better body than the girl that posed nude… (laughs). I have a more beautiful and attractive body to show.
So, even if I want to pose nude, I know that I have what it takes to do that. It’s crazy, because I didn’t even play any nude role on that movie. That movie cover really made people see me as a bad girl. It gave people a negative impression about me. In as much as press has been painting a nude picture saying that I can pose nude for any amount of money. My dear, it’s not that way. Even if I want to do that kind of pose, it is not in that way. It was so glaring and explosive. Uche can’t do that, I can show my cleavage, my boobs, but acting nude or being featured in a pornographic movie, I can’t do that.
I didn’t do anything about it because some other marketers begged me to let sleeping dogs lie. They apologised and calmed my anger because he is still a novice in the industry. He’s still very naïve and young and he’s just starting up. And with the way things are done here in Nigeria, if I take a drastic action against him, people would blame and condemn me more. They would be bitter with me for the revenge. It would even make me gather more enemies than I already have. Enemies in bigger places, if you know what I mean. And that wouldn’t be good for my career and future plans.
So I decided to let the guy be. He didn’t withdraw the covers from the market because the film was already in circulation and it was selling real fast before I got a hint of his mischief. I was so helpless because that was the first time such a thing would happen to me.
I am a devout Christian. I fear and respect God a lot. He’s the only source of strength I have, so why would I go against Him to act nude. I don’t do any pornographic movies. I kept hearing that from people, but God knows I am innocent. I don’t act such films. I can be a bad girl in a movie but aside that I am a good Christian.
I have never done and would never allow myself to be lured into such evil thing.
My bad girl roles
I play such roles and I play them well. I think that is the main reason other producers keep giving me the same type of roles.
I am not a bad girl in the real sense of it. But I put in my best efforts to play the role as one. Once in a while, I also play other roles, but most of my lead roles are bad ones. It is just the way the industry is established, once you are good in a particular area, they will keep bringing similar ones to you. I’m still insisting that Uche is a good and down-to-earth lady. Those who are close to me know that. I should not be judged according to what I act in movies.
Life outside Nollywood
For now, I am a full actress. I have other plans for the future. But when those things mature and are ready to bubble, I will let them out to the public. I have wonderful ideas and projects cooking, sooner or later, they would be out. For now, I just go from one location to another, to shoot movies, no time for other things yet.
I have a wonderful family. We are five, aside my parents. I am the second child, born and bred in my hometown, Enugu. I came down to Lagos after my secondary school. I joined the movie industry in 2006. Since then, it has been a smooth ride.
On my nude pose on the cover of the movie, my parents also know that, that body on my face is not mine but someone else’s. My parents are very understanding. They were all bitter though, but if I had my way, I would withdraw the poster from the market, but I’m so helpless.
My biggest fear in Nollywood
It’s just the jealousy and envy that runs through the veins of other actresses in the entrainment industry. They go about acting and posing as clogs in the wheels of other people’s progress. There is serious competition now on who would be the best and who would be the top actress. We came to meet the industry and we would still age while it would remain, so why kill ourselves for something that’s worldwide. Nollywood is not a one man’s business, there is chance for anyone to excel. But the way things are going now, I definitely don’t know what is going on amongst the female artistes.
The industry is too big and can accommodate us all. But lots of actresses would never rest until they ruin others. I am not a saint, but I can’t do such things because I like myself a lot, I know what I have got. I have all it takes to make a good actress, so why fight other people, or be an enemy to their progress? If I have a role to play and later it is given to someone else, I will never go to fight the person that would replace me. As much as I don’t interfere in people’s roles, I don’t want somebody to do that to me. Do unto others, what you would want others to do to you. I am on my own, yet they are fighting me a lot. I am happy when I see my colleagues who are doing quite well in the industry. I don’t envy them and I think that, that is the reason God has been blessing me and making me progress in all my endeavours. It is fine if you are jealous of me. But that would not stop me from moving from fame to fame. If we have love for another other, we would enjoy the industry and also have so much joy in our respective lives.
I’ll like to have my own firm. I still nurse the ambition to be a politician in future… (laughs). I am also into music, but I am yet to take it serious because of my job. Acting is really taking much of my time. So for now, I am focused as an actress until I have fewer jobs to do, then I can contemplate and face my other projects.
I want people to stop seeing me as a bad girl. I am not a saint, but I know what I have got in me. We are in a make-believe world. Most of these things we see in the movies are not real, but make-believe. So, I beg my fans to believe in me and in themselves also. Set goals for yourself and believe in God. I don’t like seeing people suffer, so I try as much as I can to make people smile.