I'm Not All About Beauty
Not many are aware that pretty Nollywood actress Nuella Njubigbo is also a scriptwriter. The fast rising actress is debuting as a producer with her own film titled Jujuwood. In this interview, Nuella speaks about the movie, her relationship and other issues
We learnt you are about to make your debut as a movie producer…
Yes. I am going into movie production. I have shot my debut movie titled Jujuwood. It features Funke Akindele, Halima Abubakar, Ruth Kadir, myself and a lot of other people. It will be released very soon.
That title is strange.
That’s true. But Jujuwood simply tells the stories of how far some people can go in the industry just to get what they want.
Is the script about your personal experience?
Not really. I have not had any personal experience of such. But we hear a lot of gossips about what goes on in our industry. To be honest, I don’t know how true they are. People tell stories of their experiences but there is no way I can ascertain if they are true. But first of all, I am a scriptwriter. And you know how the mind of a writer works. I just had this thing in my head. That is what inspired the story. I would say the story is embellished with some fiction to give the script a life.
Why settled for a movie with a Juju theme instead of treating a contemporary story?
As a moviemaker, you can deal with every kind of issue. Others have talked about politics, love, betrayal and various things that are happening in Nigeria. Juju is just one of those things that is also very fundamental. But what I intend to achieve at the end of the day, is to make people understand the advantages of knowing God. We want to tell people to believe in themselves rather than being diabolical.
You recently shaved off your lush hair.
Yes, that was a long time ago. It wasn’t easy but I had to do it for a role in a movie.
You must have been paid handsomely to do that?
I won’t tell you how much I was paid because if I should disclose it, people would say they don’t pay us that kind of money.
What is the title of the movie and is it out yet?
The movie is called Tears of A Widow. It was very challenging. I had to speak bad English as an illiterate widow.
Tell us how your interest in acting began?
My foray into Nollywood dates back to 2007. As a student then, I loved to watch a lot of movies and I remember using part of my pocket money to buy movies. I’ve always loved movies. One day, I was watching a movie in 2007 and I got so interested in the movie. At a point I told myself that I could actually do this. I called a family friend of mine, Mike Odife, who was into movie directing. I told him of my interest in acting and he introduced me to a producer who was having an audition in Owerri. I was in school then. I got my form and I did one or two auditions. I later called him again to let him know that I could write as well. So he asked me to write a story for him which I did and he liked it. So, I actually started writing first before even acting. And I have written many screenplays thereafter.
Like how many movies you have written so far?
I have screen played about 15 movies including films like Lord of Marriage, Next of Kin and Royal Palace.
How much do you charge per movie?
I can’t tell you that except we have business to do.
Tell us, if there is any of your experience on sex-for-role in Nollywood?
For me, I would always say that this issue is a matter of personal decision. Because if someone comes to me and tells me he would give me role but I have to release my body before he could release the script to me, I would dare such person. It is not by force to act. If you really believe in yourself, I don’t think you have to play that game.
What are your views about critics who insinuate that you only rely on your beauty and possess no acting skill?
I don’t know about that. I write scripts and act as well. I don’t know about being a pretty face. I am not all about beauty. People can only look at beauty for a few months. When they get tired of seeing your pretty face, they will let you go if you can’t act. So it’s not about beauty.
How have you been dealing with negative press?
I have been coping. Whenever the press controversies come up, I don’t exactly feel happy about it especially when you know that they are not really true.
Many have been so concerned about the kind of opulence you actresses display. Recently you bought an SUV that you claimed cost you over N8million. Are you saying all these came from your earning from movies?
I can only speak for myself. I have other businesses that I do by the side. But even if it’s just acting, what I earn can actually get me such car and even live well. Those saying all that, I am not sure they have gone to the market to see the number of movies I have done in the last one year. I have done a lot. In January alone I shot five movies. Even if I am paid just N150,000, multiply it by the amount of movies I have done. Now, multiply that with what I will do in an entire year, of course I can conveniently buy this car. It is funny the way people look at us in this industry and think we are poor people. I heard that as at the time Tonto Dike bought her Hummer Jeep, she was charging N400,000 upward. In a month, Tonto can shoot six movies. So multiply that N400,000 by six in a month. Even if she doesn’t have the whole money for the car of her choice, she can deposit half of the money with a dealer and they will give her the car because she is a star. So, people need to understand all this whenever they want to criticize us.
Tell us about your love life?
I am in a relationship. That is all I can tell you.
You have been romantically linked with some notable celebrities, including a footballer and a governor. How true are all these?
Honestly, initially it wasn’t funny at all. At a point it got annoying and it got funny again reading all these stories. It was laughable when I read all these because I have never met the said governor before. I have not even seen him from a distance. I only see him on TV and newspapers. People will always talk but the truth is I don’t know that man. I don’t know who he is.
What about the footballer?
Please, I would not want to speak further on that part of my private life. Isn’t it funny that within a space of eight months, a certain person will write that I was dating three people? I mean how do you want to share them?
What lessons have that scandal thought you?
It has made me realise how much I am loved by my fans. And it has taught me to expect anything. You can’t please everybody, no matter how much you try.
What will you say have been the pains and gains of being a star?
The pain, of course, is losing my privacy. There is also the problem of people misunderstanding you. As a movie star, you say one little thing and people add some other things to it, especially the media. There are instances when you intend to make somebody laugh and he or she ends up being angry. People want to judge you. They want to come into your heart and take what is there. They don’t want to believe what you say. Those are the pains. But the gains too have been so good. I thank God for where I am today as I’m a better person.