BY FLORENCE AMAGIYA
Judith Audu has come a long way to be counted among those who matter in Nollywood.Having featured in many flicks and sitcoms, Judith tried her hands at producing her own film and she made a big impresssion with her short film ‘Not Right’, an expose on domestic violence. Born and bred in Lagos with a Masters degree in Public and International Affairs and a B.A in French, both from the University of Lagos,Judith has more than enough to succeed anywhere but chose acting because that is what makes her happy. She speaks with WG on her career, marriage and her passions. Excerpts:
How did you get into acting?
I thought I was going to be a broadcaster but as I was growing up, I realised I had a flair for acting. At first, I was too shy to join theatre groups until I made up my mind and took the step when I gained admission into the University of Lagos. And my first experience was fun. I have recreated and acted plenty films in my head so when I had the opportunity to do so in front of people, it felt really cool.
How did the journey begin to where you are today?
My first appearance ever on screen was on Tajudeen Adepetu’s One Love in 2004. Denrele Edun and I were in the same Theatre group, T15, and he invited me to come over to Alpha Vision and read for a role instead of just staying at home because University of Lagos was on strike at the time. I went and got a role. Though it was a small one, I was happy about it and was advised by a friend to go register with the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) which I did. I then started attending auditions and finally got my first role in a movie titled Tears of the Ghetto(Life is Beautiful) by Femi Ogedengbe. I then featured in another movie titled Hammer by Izu Ojukwu.
When the strike was called off, I returned to school to resume my final year. I realised I couldn’t cope, combining acting, modeling and schooling so I stopped acting totally. The only screen programme I was still part of was a kiddies TV series Funtime where I was playing a major in the series and also doing voice-over for the cartoon segment that continued till 2006. In 2010, I heard of Tinsel audition and attended it, got a recurring role as a gynecologist and since then I have been acting professionally fulltime. I have since featured in several series and movies like Huzzel, Emerald, Seekers, Comfort Zone, House Apart, Switch, Yes I Don’t, Love is Overrated, Alpha Mum, Stopping Kloe, Out of Fire, 4 Walls, Olorogun n Company, just to mention a few. I also recently tried my hands at producing and did a short movie on domestic violence titled Not Right.I wrote it myself and it features outstanding actors like Omowunmi Dada, Ani Iyoho, Philip Festus and I. It is directed by Uduak-Obong Patrick.
Were you a victim of domestic violence and why did you choose the topic?
I choose the topic because it is beginning to eat deep into our society. These days, we hear stories of husbands beating wives to death and so on. It is provoking when I hear stories like that because I don’t believe anybody should do that to a fellow human being they claim to love. Such things should not be tolerated or accepted.
Communication should be the only medium to resolve issues and not violence. I have never experienced it but I have met and spoken to people who have and I hope the movie will throw more light and make them see reasons to stop battering their wives. There have been movies on this same topic but I believe a topic like this can never be over emphasised.
How would you react if you find yourself in a domestic violence situation?
I wouldn’t accept it. My reaction would depend on a lot of things but I am hundred percent sure I would never put up with it and sit quiet to become anybody’s punching bag.
With this production, is it good bye to acting?
Never! Acting is my first love. I will never stop acting. Every other job is secondary.
After this, what other production are you putting out?
Currently, I am working on a TV show. You will get more information about it as it unfolds.
What other productions have you been part of this year?
So far, I have shot two movies with Mnet Original Movies. I have also featured in Stopping Kloe, Out of Fire, Alpha Mumand Antique. Also, I am back on the set of Emerald .
Tell us what you don’t like about the industry?
There is a lack of professionalism which runs deep in the industry.
There is also the lack of respect for actors. Sometimes, people address us like we are desperate, jobless and offer almost nothing that can cover even transportation and expect us to be excited. If not for the love I have for acting, I have been tempted several times to get a regular job but then I always find myself coming back to the industry.
Could you tell us about your life as a married woman and what the attraction was for you?
July 1st this year will make it three years I got married. I would say the chemistry we had when we met for the first time was very strong, we had great laughs together, had intelligent conversations and the friendship built up over time. We dated for three years before we got married.
The attraction for me was the friend I found in him. He understands me and always pushes me to accomplish things I have never thought I could do because he made me learn to leave my comfort zone and set high standards for myself.
Married to a foreigner, do you have issues adapting to a foreign culture?
It really doesn’t make any difference to me really except he has a white skin and I have a dark skin. It would have been same if I married anyone outside my tribe in Nigeria as we all have different cultures. Adaptation happens naturally. I am still learning to speak the language though.
Does he relish our local cuisine?
Yes he has few he loves.