Nigerian Actress Oge Okoye celebrates 10 years in Nollywood
Nollywood actress, Oge Okoye, has been acting since 2001. Born in London, the actress cut her teeth into the movie industry while in her first year studying Theater Arts at the University. Since then, she has starred in over 50 movies including “BlackBerry Babes”, “Blood Sister”, “Marry Me”, “Lady Gaga”, “The Girl is Mine” amongst others. Married, and mother of two children, Oge has played a wide range of roles.
From reverend sister to prostitute, from classy executive to poor widow, her roles have been versatile and her appearance in movies has been consistent. She spoke with Adeola Adeyemo about her marriage, career and aspirations.
What is it about this trend of actresses shaving off their hair in Nigerian movies? Why did you do it?
It takes a very good script for someone like me to be able to shave my hair. I did that for the last movie I acted in December. It’s not out yet but the working title of the movie is “Royal Widows” but I’m not sure if that’s what it is going to come out with. I’ve never acted that kind of role and it was a good experience for me. I scaled through. I leave the fans to judge when the movie is out.
How much did you get paid to shave off your hair?
It’s not really about the money, but about the script. Let’s just say I got paid very well.
Do you feel self conscious walking on the streets with a shaved head?
I don’t feel shy. I was at first. I was like how am I going to face the world? Am I going to go bald like this or should I just put on a wig. But I asked my husband and he said I looked good. I sent him some pictures through BB and he was like “Ok, you look good, why shouldn’t you flaunt it” – He gave me the courage.
Talking about your husband, you are based in Nigeria while your husband is far away in Holland. How often do you see each other? How are you coping with a long-distance marriage? Any plans of you two coming together in one location soon?
Honestly, it’s not a problem for us. We understand ourselves, we love each other, we know when to draw the line, we are like brother and sister. It’s all about the relationship, it’s all about communication. He calls me almost 10 times in a day.
For example, he just called me now and he would still call me again. Every night, I must talk to him before I sleep, it’s a must. It’s not much of a problem. I’m always there, and if I’m not there, he is here. Next week, he would be around so it’s not much of a problem.
As a star, there is significant gossip and media reports about your personal life – we know it comes with the territory, however, there have been constant rumours of marital issues between you and your husband. Are the rumours true?
It’s not true. That is what amazes me. I really don’t know why people would be breaking our marriage and bringing it back, breaking it up for us. I really don’t get it.
The Nollywood movie industry is very competitive with rumours of spats between actresses. There have been publicized rifts between you and follow actresses Ini Edo and Chioma Toplis. Concerning Chioma Toplis and I, I wouldn’t want to say and tell us about the movie you shot recently in the USA?
It’s not out yet. The movie “Turning Point” (Directed and produced by Niyi Towolawi and co-produced by Egor Efiok) was just God’s plan for me. It happened just like that. I got to know about it just two days to the time I was to go and shoot the movie.
When my manager told me about it, I said it wasn’t possible but she encouraged me. We negotiated, I wanted to use the price to scare her away but she insisted. So I went for the movie and thank God, the production came out well, everything just went so perfect. It was my first time doing a Hollywood movie, a big one at that. There were other Nigerians, and Americans in the cast.
Many accomplished actresses are now diverting into directing and producing. You’ve been acting for a decade now? Why haven’t you followed this trend or are you just bidding your time?
One thing with me is that I’m one person that likes to take my time when I’m doing things. If I’m going to produce a movie, I shouldn’t do any half baked type of movie or just do it like fast fast because I want to produce a movie. I want to do something that in the next 10 -20 years, you’d still refer to it and say it was a good movie. I really want to take my time.
So what is the next level for you then? What should we be expecting from you this year?
Expect something big. I know that before the end of this year, something wonderful would happen. I already have 3 movies lined up for this year and I’m making plans on writing my own book soon.
When and how did you meet your husband? When did you get married?
It was really not love at first sight, I personally don’t believe in love at first sight. I believe in working it out, knowing ourselves, if we are compatible, so that is what exactly what happened between me and my husband. We were friends at first and it was going on like that then the marriage came. I got married in 2005. I met him early 2004.
What is one good thing that marriage has done to you?
Marriage has made me more matured in life. I am so matured that sometimes when I am having a discussion with my very close cousin who is like my sister, she would tell me that I’m talking like an old woman. Things about that because it’s not necessary, so no comment. It’s a new year, we shouldn’t be revisiting stuff that happened in the past. Let’s just forge ahead and talk about new things.
Ini is still my friend, I still work with her. We still have that working relationship and we are not quarelling. What do they mean that we fought on set because it never happened.