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Exclusive Interview with Nollywood STAR Collete Orji


Collette welcome and thank you for this interview. The first time you came to my attention was in Tchidi Chikere movie Street President. I was really impressed with your fiery performance. What we here at NollywoodForever.Com would like to know is how did you get your start in Nollywood? When, where and who introduced you?
Thank you very much Nolly, yea, when I first read your blog about me in that movie, I was really happy, I felt deeply appreciated. I told myself, Collette, this is commendable, keep up. Thank you for being very outright with words.
I arrived Nigeria sometime in late 2002, I think not long after the popular movie Ukwa. Then I walked into my aunts house one evening, and behold sitting and having dinner in my own aunts house is Stella Ukwuegbu, she played the lady cheating on her husband with the prophet in that movie Ukwa, and the prophet himself, both of them sitting, eating with my aunt and I was so excited, I did not waste a minute in telling them, I really have to start acting o, but that I just came in for studies. She told me, whenever, am ready and am willing, she will take me to the office and register me. That was it so; I knew how to get in, even though because of school, I did not get to really register till late the following year. So, Stella Ukwuegbu introduced me to Actors Guild of Nigeria, in Enugu state, and then at Naiko Hotels, Gariki, Enugu.
We here at Nollywood Forever know that you grew up in Cameroon, when did you leave and what prompted your return to Nigeria?
I was born in Cameroon, like you know Nolly studied and passed through every education there in Cameroon. After my higher education and advanced level, my parents had relocated back to Nigeria, and the whole family had come home finally to settle again. Getting admissions to the Cameroonian university was again halted initially because, my parents strongly felt, I should come back home somehow, and advised me that there were many colleges and universities in Nigeria, so coming to Nigeria for me at that time, was simply because my whole family had come back even though I always still went back for studies because, it wasn’t easy adapting at first.
Was joining Nollywood an ambition that you always had?
Yes and no. Yes because, acting to me is actually living life, it is me. I read sciences all through in school, geology and later on chemical engineering, ya, but acting to me is simply living. No because, I really didn’t know I could take it as a career, no, I thought I was just gonna enjoy the time, do some movies, laugh and have fun while doing it and make sure I become the best geologist and possibly masters in engineering, but no, acting, ate me up and look at me. What can I say again Nolly?
Do you have ambitions to act at an international level?
They say what is worth doing is worth doing well right? One thing I know is that, am gonna act, and act, and act until I don’t wanna act. Until you give me a reason not to act, am just living my life Nolly.
Who in Nollywood inspires you? Male and female? Why?
A lot of people do inspire me. So many of my colleagues. From artists, male, female, crew, theres so much to be inspired by. One female, I don’t wanna stop watching or getting inspired from is Stephanie Okereke, I simply love what she represents on the screens. For the men, theres always Ramsey Noah, Sam Dede, Kenneth Okonkwo.
The reasons cannot be far fetched as everyone can always agree with me or they don’t. They are professionals, they move into their characters and stay away from themselves. They know how to be a celebrity but at the same time still keep the media at arms length. I love them.
Who are the artistes that you are closest to in Nollywood?
Hmmm Nolly, wow, it just doesn’t work like that truly. I am close to actually lots of our colleagues, really lots. Then again, we try to still make it worth clicking, working and relating. Most times, the day you all meet onset again, the whole relating starts and as you all move into other sets or productions, everyones busy again. Without trying to avoid your question Nolly I will say that I am close to everyone I have featured in a movie with and have a way of making a working relationship be both professional and friendly. From Stephanie Okereke to Ini Edo to Chika ike, Ruth Kadiri, Junior Pope, Jim Iyke, Mike Ezuruonye, Tonto Dike, Seun Akindele, they are just lots of my friends and colleagues, to mention a few.
Do you watch all the films that you star in and do you harshly critique yourself?
I try to watch all my movies, I mean, they are not yet a hundred, so yes I can afford to watch all my movies and I do criticise myself a lot in them. I think that I am way prettier as Collette in the flesh than I appear in most of my movies. Then is also a soft tongue talking person with a soft female voice that I see and realist the need to strongly provoke my self to really speak up and always work hard on increasing my pitch, my voice notes…always.
How many movies have you starred in and can you name them?
I have stared in about 30 movies. More or less 30, am sure about that. Yes, I can very well name some. The cat 2004, Black Bra 2004, The Sinners 2005, a Million Madness 2004, Dying For Love 2005, Two Aside 2005, Across the Bridge in 2006 from Magic Movies. Then, it was school again all through and I missed my Nollywood till I stormed in 2008 with the movies that now speak for me. Movies such as: Hidden treasure from Oj Production in 2008, Paulicap and Perpetual from the stable of P.Collins in 2008, Bad Blood, from OJ again in 2008 as Ini Edos twin sister behind the camera. Then of course Street President in 2009 from Great star, Nolly, that’s where you finally caught up with me, that’s exactly where I started reading about myself in the newspaper and on the internet.
Then more movies I did are, Beyond Conspiracy from Magic Movies in 2009, Dust and Ashes 2009 from Magic Movie, Strength of a Woman and Diary of a Player in 2009, then Blue Blood in early 2010, Princess Rihanna in 2010 from Pressing Forward Productions, Rihanna Returns 2010 from Pressing Forward, Implication and its sequel Above Implication in same 2010 from Pressing Forward once again. Then I did Female Kidnappers 2010, and Land Of Kidnappers from Global Update productions. I also did Widows Tears and End of Widows Tears from DeKross movies same 2010. We are in the year 2011 and the few movies released so far this year are: Raindrop, Every woman from Great Star Production, Two Can Play The Game, Best Player from Road to Success Productions, Amaka Mustapha from Ulzee productions and the most recent and newly released title Room 202 from the stables of All Mark Movies.
Expect more movies from me for this year as ive been in and out of several locations from Coruma, Mega Movies, Simony, and more.
Wow looks like you’ve been a busy lady! Who are the producers and directors that you feel bring out the best in you?
Producers who make me know that I have to remember why am still around and why they keep giving me chances to excel are so many. There is OJ, Pressing Forward, Okey Oneowo, Solomon Apete, just lots of them and then there are directors like Lancelot [Oduwa Imasuen], Tchidi Chikere, Jaja Micheal, China Chidebe and of course Frank Rajah, Afam Okereke. Nolly, these are the names that make you wanna keep taking chances and excelling at each opportunity.
Is there anyone that you have worked with that you would not work with again?
No, I don’t really think so, rather there are so many I would still like to work with.
Nollywood actresses never seem to want to divulge their age, why is that and how old are you?
I don’t know about that. Truly for me, it’s no big deal. I was born on the 10th August 1983. I think my date of birth is everywhere.
Ok so you will be 28 in August? What are your hopes for your future in Nollywood?
I have so much on my mind Nolly, and so much more I just wanna keep bringing out ideas and ventures like running tap water, but take this from me I have not even started, infact I have just began; Nollywood will mark my name in grand occasions. There is so much for me to explore. I am not going anywhere anytime soon. Hahhahaha, yeah, yea, am so so available.
Many actors and actresses, such as Desmond Elliot, Ini Edo, Ruth Kadiri and Nuella Njubigbo are getting involved in other aspects of filmmaking such as producing, directing and writing, do you harbour any of these ambitions?
I write Nolly, I really do write. I give out very few of my scripts to producers for now. Two just got filmed and will be out say 2012. My stories are not copied or borrowed, They are purely created from my imagination. I want to produce most of these stories myself. They are all sentimentally and deeply emotionally attached to every step I take daily, so yea I am going through varying processes in Nollywood. Trust me; very few folks are just idle. They are busy brains. Also I am looking at more entertainment stuffs, then there’s always business, that’s one huge thing, I can never take off the list.
Let’s talk about life outside Nollywood. What were you doing before acting and is acting now your full time job?
Before acting, I was just a student. Going to school, taking pocket money from home and just fantasizing about life so yea, that’s it. For now, apart from writing and a little business here and there, yes acting is my full time job.
What are your passions outside of Nollywood?
Hmm, Nolly, for now its Nollywood, its entertainment, its show biz, its Collette and its living. I keep thinking about my masters every now and then, hahahhahaha, but I need to get some things settled first.
Let’s talk personal life. You are a pretty lady and must have many male admirers. Is Collette married, engaged, boyfriend?
Personal life like you said, it’s personal huh….hahahhaha, yea, it wont be personal anymore if I tell you right?
Okay, I’m pretty, yea thank God, male admirers, yea, sure…I should have, I do have and I love it hahahhahaha. Boyfriend? Right now I think the answer to that question is No, engaged? No. Nolly so hahhahaha, yea ask me again sometime soonest. hahhahahaha
Do you feel being an actress and therefore not always in one place interferes with your personal life?
Yes, it does. There’s one big word synonymous with me or us actresses. Acceptance. People tell you they understand you, they can cope with you, they say anything to really be your friend that understands your job and just one call when its really needed, they fail to still accept that they do understand you. Anyone can say what they like, but being an actress and coping up with both friends, life and especially a boyfriend or husband starts and ends with the word acceptance.
Be it an actress on the stage, or be Collette anywhere else that’s the easiest statement actresses give in interviews these days. That’s one hell of a statement nolly, hahahahaha, it’s bigger than you can just read it.
Well thank you for this interview Collette, its been a pleasure.
Thank you Nollywood Forever, thank you everyone, my fans, my friends, my colleagues thank you. Keep watching Nollywood. Love you all. God Bless

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