By Benjamin Njoku
She hit the limelight in 2001, when she featured in the movie, â€œFear of the Unknownâ€™ produced by Larry Koldsweat. But Uche Elendu is one popular actress who shocked many when she opted to marry her fan.Â Today, against all odds, sheâ€™s a proud mother of a beautiful baby girl.
Now, residing permanently in one of the choicest areas in the capital city of Owerri, Imo State, delectable Uche who recently joined the likes of Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde to try her hands in singing with three albums to her credit, plans to go into politics. Discover the other sides of Uche as you read this encounter with this writer in her base in Owerri.
Uche Elendu is a young actress, a mother of one baby girl. A happily married woman who was born into a family of four; three younger brothers and myself. My mother is a teacher by profession while my father is both a businessman and a civil servant. I studied International Relations at Imo State University. Iâ€™m from Abia State but my parents reside in Lagos. My husband, based in Dubia, is fromÂ Anambra State.
International relations and acting
Acting for me is a talent. Itâ€™s something I have always loved doing, though I didnâ€™t know that what I started at a very tender age would later lead me into the world of make-believe.Â As a child, I loved watching movies, going on stage during my primary and secondary school days.
I came into the movie industry in 2001, and it was when I did my first movie entitled, â€œFear of the Unknownâ€ with Larry Koldsweat.
I went to his house one day to deliver a message from his daughter who used to be my friend, and it happened that he was auditioning artistes for his upcoming movie.
There and then, he implored me to give it a trial. That was it. But after featuring in that movie, I went back to school to complete my studies. I later returned to the industry in 2004 as a full professional.
Gains from acting.
For me,Â acting has made me realise myself. It has equally brought out the â€œme-in-meâ€; made me discover myself and learn to control certain things around me. It has also opened doors for me. At least, it has become my career.
Itâ€™s has shot me into fame. Also, it has made me a complete woman today. My husband met me as an actress. Acting has done a lot of things for me. I love what Iâ€™m doing.
Why I married my fan
Thatâ€™s the way God designed it for us. My husband was not the only fan I had at the time I met him. I used to have a lot of fans but I believe he was the only one that was meant for me. Iâ€™m convincedÂ he was. Although, it was not really easy for him to win me over initially.
I think we were meant for each other. God designed my husband for me. Thatâ€™s why our marriage worked.Â I usually get calls from my fans, and each time I receive calls, I try to appreciate them, talk to them politely. But I donâ€™t make them my friends.
In the case of my husband, he was very persistent.Â So, when the opportunity called for us to meet each other, we discovered it was going to be more than mere fan. There and then, we became friends and later got married.
Foreign based husbands and Nollywood?
Itâ€™s not a Nollywood tradition. After all, I used to have a lot of fans within and outside the country. Actually, I never believed I was going to marry somebody who is based outside the country.
For me, I had this kind of feeling of raising a family where I would rush to the kitchen to prepare either breakfast, lunch or dinner, and have my husband go to work and return back to me in the evening. But since this is the way God wants it, Iâ€™m not complaining. Rather, Iâ€™m enjoying every bit of the experience. At least, he finds time to visitÂ home to see his family once in a while.
Coping with absent husband
I wouldnâ€™t say itâ€™s a very pleasant experience, neither would I say Iâ€™m enjoying the loneliness. And I wouldnâ€™t also say I have a problem with it.
He comes home very often, just as I travel very often to meet him over there. Remember, Iâ€™m a very busy person. If he were to be around, he wouldnâ€™t have seen much of me because Iâ€™m usually on location these days.
Fansâ€™ expectations of marrying in the industry
Why would my fans expect that? I never had any relationship in the industry. Not that I had a problem marrying any of my male colleagues it was not Godâ€™s design for me. If I had a relationship in the industry and the person in question happens to be my kind of man, why not? If God says yes, who am I to say no?
My husbandâ€™s qualities
His calmness. My husband is a very calm and gentle person. And he is also a good listener. I like people that listens to me. His calmness really attracted me to him, coupled with his simplicity. Thatâ€™s my kind of man.
Death of my International Relations dream?
I have always wanted to become an ambassador. Actually, after my graduation, I went back to study for my masters degree in Political Science. Itâ€™s not a dream that would not come toÂ pass. Iâ€™m still nursing the ambition to go into politics. I will someday become a politician. It is a dream that must be realised.
Relocating to Owerri
Iâ€™m in Owerri because my family is based here, though my parents are based in Lagos. Thatâ€™s where I grew up. But I went to school in Owerri.
Life in Owerri
Owerri is my kind of city because itâ€™s quiet and serene. Iâ€™m used to the serene nature of Owerri. I had my secondary and university education here. The city is not a strange place to me. Again, I donâ€™t have much friends around me here. So, when Iâ€™m here, Iâ€™m more focused.
Another reason is that of proximity and accessibility. With Owerri, you have a schedule, unlike in Lagos where traffic congestion disrupts activities. I like Owerri, and Iâ€™m not complaining.
Owerri and mainstream movie world
For some years now, most of the movies are being shot in the Eastern part of the country, especially in Enugu, Asaba and Owerri. I donâ€™t think residing in Owerri has affected my career. It has not taken me away from the mainstream movie world. Instead, it has brought me closer to the centre of activities.
My last movie appearance
Iâ€™m actually working on a movie at the moment . I did my last movie just last week. Yes, I have been off the screen for sometime now. This is because I needed sometime to attendÂ to my baby . Again, it took sometime too for the producers to get to know that Iâ€™m back on location. Right now, Iâ€™m back on screen.
Birth in Dubia
It wasnâ€™t a sweet experience at all. It was painful and awesome. At least, when you have your baby in your arms after the pains you went through, you tend to feel on top of the world. But one thing I really regretted was the fact that my husband wasnâ€™t with me in the labour room. I had wished he was there to witness what I passed through to be able to appreciate me the more, as a woman. He carefully avoided staying with me because he was scared and ignorant of what to expect.
Gains of my marriage
Of course, marriage has brought me my little angel, earned me some respect across board, and equallyÂ made me feel matured and responsible. Responsible in the sense that I now have a family. Iâ€™m married and blessed with a child. Itâ€™s no longer like when I was single, when I could do a lot of things- hanging out with friends and all that. No! As a married woman, there are some levels of restriction for me.
Ever brokeÂ anybodyâ€™s heart?
No! I didnâ€™t break anybodyâ€™s heart. I wouldnâ€™t say before I got married, I had any serious relationship. While I was in school, I was a more focused person.
It wasnâ€™t as if I was not into a relationship. I was but it wasnâ€™t one that could lead to marriage. Even before I met my husband, I wasnâ€™t ready to go into any serious relationship because I didnâ€™t think I was ready for marriage then. But in the process, my husband came . Thank God, Iâ€™m here.
Nollwoodâ€™s wild girl
Thatâ€™s what they believed I was. Looks could be deceptive. I might look wild, and I might act wild too butÂ Iâ€™m not wild. A lot of people used to say actresses cannot make good wives. But I thank God today, most of us who were perceived to be wild are all happily married and have kids. I think people are beginning to observe respect for us now because we have proved them wrong.
Life as a celebrity
Thatâ€™s why I said earlier that most of the so called wild girls who people believed would not get married are happily married today. They will not let us be. They are always looking for ways of tarnishing our images. But they will not succeed.
Ini is my friend and Iâ€™m sure she is happily married. There is no crack in her marriage, just as there is no crack in my own marriage. People should mind their business and leave us alone. I donâ€™t really care what people feel about me. What matters to me is how to build my home. You see, people tend to misinterpret us. When they watch us on screen, they automatically believe we are wayward.
I recall one incident I was embarrassed by a woman simply because of a role I played in one movie. The woman called me unprintable names, saying, â€˜why donâ€™t you go and get married and leave other womenâ€™s husband alone?â€™ I was wondering what she was talking about until I later realized that her action was as a result of a role I played in a movie sometime ago. Acting has nothing to do with our personal lives. We are only acting but people tend to misinterpret it.
Life outside acting
When Iâ€™m not working, I travel to stay with my husband. Also, I stay at home to take care of my baby. But mostly, I do contract jobs for government and private individuals. No dull moment for me.
Yes, there is this movie I did titled, â€˜Last Occultâ€™. I played the role of a river goddess. One day, I was actually hanging out with a friend when one of her aunts walked up to us and called her aside, wanting to know what she was doing with me.
She asked, â€˜what were you doing with this girl. Donâ€™t you know sheâ€™s possessed and sheâ€™s going to ruin your life? She happened to be the head of the witchesâ€™. And before I could know what was happening, she has started shouting out,â€Blood of Jesus Christ, Blood of Jesus….â€Â I was so embarrassed.
Roles and having negative impact
Not at all. I donâ€™t. And moreover, Iâ€™m very prayerful. Before I play such roles, I ensure that I commit myself into the able hands ofÂ God. After that, I go to do my job.
Regret for featuring in a movie
Actually,Â I have never done any movie that I have cause to regret so far. All my roles are quite challenging and all my movies are good. I donâ€™t think I have done any movie I regretted doing.
Marriage and kissing on set
Kissing is part of the job. Where you are supposed to kiss, you kiss. Thatâ€™s it. No feelings, and no emotional attachment.
Giving back to society
Very soon, I will. I have a whole lot of projects in my hands which I will not want to make public now. Society will surely get what I took from it soonest.
Number of children Iâ€™ll have
I prefer to have three children. But if God gives me more, fine.
Mentors in the industry
I love Eucharia Anunobi. Despite the recent challenges sheâ€™s facing, I admire her a lot. I love her acting and she inspires me.
Music and Nollywood stars
I have three albums to my credit. We are artistes, and we are expected to be good singers and dancers. My albums were released into the market last year. One of my albums titled, â€œIje Loveâ€ was nominated for the Best Highlife, Nigerian Music Award.
My other albums include a gospel song, â€œMmiri Ngoziâ€. The albums which came out one after the other last year are all rendered in Igbo language. Actually, I did the songs while staying off the screen to attend to my baby last year.
The first album, â€˜Ije Loveâ€™ came out earlier, while the other two albums hit the market respectivelyÂ late last year. I would say that singing is my first love, while acting is my career. Singing is what I always wanted to do. People did appreciate my music when it hit shelves last year.
Part of myÂ your body you consider as an asset?
I donâ€™t know. People say it is my lips. I think, my lips are an asset.