BY JULIET EBIRIM
Nollywood actress, Nkechi Emmanuel is obviously still basking in love having recently tied the knots traditionally with her British-born, Sierra-Leonian beau, Ambrose Amara. In this interview, the actress who is popular for her role as ‘ Nurse Titi’ in popular TV sitcom ‘Clinic Matters’ revealed how she met her husband, why she chose him, as well as major causes of divorce among other issues. Read on..
What should your fans expect from you this year?
We have a lot of things on ground already – a new movie project from Breaking Screen Production which is my company. We intend to shoot two good quality movies and to also work with other producers as well. I also intend to do my white wedding this year as well and it will be coming up by summer.
Your husband is into movies as well?
Yes, he’s a movie director and a script writer.
How did you both meet?
We met through work. He spoke to a friend of his (who is an actor) in America that he wants to come and shoot a movie in Nigeria and that he needs some good actresses. He explained to the friend (who happens to be my friend as well) that he’s been searching but haven’t found the kind of quality he wants. And so he (our mutual friend) recommended me to him. So we got talking on a professional level, exchanged mails and pictures and gradually one thing led to the other… and we had our traditional wedding and court wedding.
I’m sure you had other suitors, why did you choose him?
I had other suitors, but they actually weren’t what I wanted. They’re nice guys, but I didn’t see myself spending the rest of my life with them. I chose him because I saw everything I wanted in a man in him. He’s my better half. He’s the one God has ordained for me.
What are those qualities you saw in him?
I’ve always wanted someone who would understand me and the nature of my job. Most men wouldn’t want you to continue acting after marriage, but he came and he was even more concerned about my career. He’s been supporting me and he even said he wants to write a script about me. I used to pray to God that I need a man who I wouldn’t need to explain my job to. My husband is in the industry already, so he understands everything. He is also understanding, quiet, God-fearing and puts me first in everything he does. He even prays for me before praying for himself… Those are the qualities I like about him.
Are you saying marriage isn’t going to affect your acting career in any way?
Not at all. I don’t see it coming. It’s even going to multiply my progress, because hopefully most of the movies he’s going to be directing, I will be involved. So. it’s going to boost my career.
What was your first time on set like?
I was nervous and scared, but I was sure of what I wanted and with time the fear vanished.
How would you rate your progress as an actor?
I will say God has been good. It hasn’t been easy, but God has been faithful. I thank God that I kept striving. I’m happy for where I am now, even though I’m not yet where I want to be, but I’m definitely not where I used to be.
You’ve come to be popular especially for your role as ‘Nurse Titi’ in ‘Clinic Matters’. How do you handle the stardom?
It hasn’t been easy because personally, I love to live a simple life. I’m not the loud, flashy type. I love to jump on a bike or ‘Keke NAPEP’… Mix up with people and all. But when I’m all alone in my car with glasses all wound up listening to the radio, it’s really boring. I love to eat roasted plantain and groundnuts, I love to drink ‘garri’ and all the local food. But one can’t be seen doing all of this because of the way people think. They will just assume you’ve gone broke, they won’t understand that it’s what you want at that moment. So you have to keep ‘packaging’ yourself because you can’t explain to every single person that this is what you want. Though sometimes I just brave it and then go to Shitta to get my hot ‘Amala’. And there will always be one or two persons who would want to take pictures with you.
How would you rate the Nigerian movie industry?
We are trying, at least we’re among the top five in the world, though we need more alliances. When we watch Hollywood movies, we see about four or five top production houses coming together to produce something. But here everyone wants to be independent and that’s how we make mistakes. My husband and I will be working with some companies on a movie soon. When production houses come together to produce a single movie, you can be sure that it will be a hit. We’re also hoping to do some international collaborations as well. We also need to develop our scripts and story-lines because that’s the foundation for a good movie.
What do you think is the major cause of marriage break-up?
A lot of things can lead to marriage break-up. First of all, I think such marriages were not committed to God’s hands. There will be trials and challenges, but when you commit your marriage to God, everything will be fine eventually. Also, marry someone who belongs to you. When you marry another person’s own, it won’t last. Don’t marry based on sentiments, pity, pressure or frustration. When you take the vow ‘For better, for worse’, you don’t expect the marriage to always be sweet and rosy. Also, lack of understanding – when both parties do not understand each other, there will always be disagreements. Know what you want, don’t be blown away by material things. Ask yourself some basic questions before going into that marriage and also marry someone who has the fear of God, who will never raise his hands on you. Men are very patient by nature, so sometimes when a man hits a woman, the woman might have done a lot of things to push him. Sometimes as a woman, it’s better to be quiet and patient, you don’t always have to talk back at a man. Men are egoistic. Another cause of divorce is infidelity, so before you get married, make sure he isn’t promiscuous. For a man who isn’t promiscuous to decide to cheat on his wife, it means the wife doesn’t look good anymore. It means he is no longer seeing the thing that attracted him to her in the first place. Some women lose shape or become untidy after marriage.
Which is more important in a relationship – sex, money or looks?
Everything, they all work hand in hand. When my husband and I were dating, everything mattered to me. He’s handsome, his pocket was smiling and I was sexually satisfied. God gave me everything I wanted, everything is just complete.
Will being married influence the characters you play in movies?
Yes, because I know I’m no longer single and it’s only natural for any man or woman to be jealous. I need to respect my marriage, so I don’t see myself jumping into bed with someone all in the name of acting. I’m an African woman so I need to respect my culture. There are many other roles to play as an actress that will still make you relevant, you don’t have to jump from one bed to another with another man all in the name of acting. I have to make my husband happy and he doesn’t like it. So, I don’t see myself doing the kissing and smooching, except it’s my husband who will be playing the role with me. And he doesn’t like acting. He did one scene in our movie ‘ The Interview’ and I practically forced him to do it because the person we casted for the role failed to show up. The movie ‘The Interview’ is a Breaking Screen Production and is my husband’s debut as a director. It features Kalu Ikeagwu, Chinedu Ikedieze, Jibola Dabo, myself among others.