Cornel Udofia is an entertainment publicist who has contributed so much to making many Nollywood stars into what they are today. Though he has received several awards from different organisations for his impressive contributions to the growth of the movie industry, Cornel himself would tell you he is yet to be fulfilled. In this encounter with Potpourri he talks about his career, marriage and the movie industry.
By Juliet Ebirim
What has been going on with you?
It’s been great, though hectic, but it’s been worth it. We are trying our best to make sure we succeed. A lot has been happening. Last year, we got a couple of awards from various entertainment bodies. We got a Nollywood award from Nollyfan as the Best Publicist of the Year, another from City Pride Magazine as the Most Creative Public Relations Personality in Nigeria. We got another award as CAMA Showbiz Man of the Year. We got more than eight awards last year. That we are being recognised is a plus for us and we give God the glory.
The rate at which you gather awards is amazing, what makes you different from other publicists?
You stand out when you do things differently and when you’re committed and passionate about what you do. We try to be consistent and focused on what we do. Most of the people that are into what we do lay much emphasis on money. When we started, we weren’t really concerned with the money, we just wanted to set the platform that will bring in the money. When you have a good name and you’re good at what you do, the awards will come.
Even though you started as a publicist, it seems you’re branching out into other aspects of entertainment….
(Cuts in)?We decided to diversify and open an entertainment outfit known as Cornel Entertainment because of the way things were going. Take Nollywood for instance, most upcoming actors and actresses don’t really have the platform to excel because some producers prefer to work with A-List stars. Most of these upcoming ones have to grapple with sexual harassment and all. We decided to fill this vacuum and support upcoming artistes by setting up this platform. So far, Cornel Entertainment and Cornel Media Consult is doing well. We started with Nero Sexy in 2009. We groomed him and trained him and we’ve had other artistes since then; singers, dancers and comedians who we have helped to project.
How has your clientele been?
Right now, we are working with top Nollywood actress, Clarion Chukwura Abiola. She’s an articulate go-getter. We’re also working with Ghanaian actress, Ella Mensah, Nollywood actor, Femi Branch and a host of others.
What’s the most challenging aspect about being a publicist?
To me, they are not challenges. It’s a learning process and I still do what I do because I enjoy doing it.
What is the motivation?
When I started, the money wasn’t really coming in. I just love and enjoy what I do, that’s the motivation. I love to help and support people.
Would you still continue with this job if it wasn’t financially rewarding?
Money is very important, but we should look beyond money. I want to make a mark for myself , that’s why I go the extra mile. I may not be making all the money but we’re still here.
Some people might think that you lobby to get some of your awards…..
(Cuts in)One thing about life is that people must talk no matter what you do. If people don’t talk about you then you’re a nobody. I think I deserve all the attention I’m getting at the moment having worked so hard to earn them. I started in 2004 and I’ve worked with the best and have helped to project the unknown ones. I’ve worked hard for so long and I’ve not given up. I didn’t lobby anybody to get awards and I have more than 60 awards altogether. My commitment, passion and zeal speak for me.
How easy has it been working with these people?
In life, when you’re successful, you are saddled with more responsibilities. I choose to be involved in all aspects of entertainment. When you’re committed to a cause, even when you have issues with peole, you learn to manage and tolerate them.
How soon do you hope to tie the knots?
I prefer to keep my private life away from the public.
So, what attracts you to a woman?
She has to be very intelligent, beautiful and possess good manners. I’m looking for someone who is more intelligent than I am.
Does that mean you’re yet to find that person and that’s why you’re still single?
I’m single but I’m not searching.
What does it take for one to be successful in your field?
First of all, you must be very passionate about the job. Don’t be money conscious. Do the job and then the money will follow. Secondly, you have to be very consistent so as to earn people’s trust. One has to also be prayerful.
Has anything ever made you regret being a publicist?
A couple of times, yes. An upcoming star will come to you in all humility hoping to use your platform to grow. Eventually, when they make so much money, they refuse to appreciate you. They tell you that their contract with you has ended and so the fact that they now make millions shouldn’t concern you. They forget that you created the platform for them to grow.
Having been in the entertainment industry for a while, do you have plans to go before the camera?
The plan isn’t going to be unveiled now. I’m still keeping it under wraps. I’m just happy supporting these artistes, even though they are more popular than I am.