With over a decade in the movie industry, one Nollywood actress that can stand tall without a blister of scandal on her should be Queen Nwokoye. This many say she shares with her Ibo sister and colleague, Chioma Chukwuka Akpota, with both having the same Nun-like facial look and appearance. In this interview with EMMANUEL OMENE-JOHNSON, the sultry actress talked about her secret marriage and other issues relating to her and the industry, Nollywood. When did you actually come into movies?
I came into the industry in 2004 and registered in Lagos but my family relocated to the east, Enugu.
What prompted you into coming to Nollywood?
I loved the art . I watched a couple of movies and became interested. Then I felt it was something I could do. Though prior to that, I would not say I had the childhood dream of been an actress for I actually wanted to be a lawyer. But along the line I felt been an actress would do for me. So in 2004 I decided to start practicing my dream.
Coming from a very Christian home was there none that tried to stop you from acting?
For some reasons I have friends and family that trusted me and mu judgment. They did not raise eyebrow when I told them that was what I wanted to do. They trusted that I can tell good from bad, bad from good. They gave me their full support, not even questioning me at-all.
Who was Queen as a teen?
Queen as a teen grew up in a very catholic home. My upbringing was very strict. I had disciplinarians as parents. It was not much of fun because my mum was a teacher and for that she did not believe in whiling away time. She believes that all your time should be put into good use. If we were not studying we were in the church. I did not really have the normal funny funky upbringing. As a teen I was quite preserved, scared of my parents and my parents made sure I did what I was supposed to do. It was strict, catholic.
What was your education like?
I did my primary school at airforce primary , enugu and secondary at queens school enugu. My tertiary at the nnamdi azikiwe university, okar. It was basically the same thing, nothing fun about it after from the fact that I have wonderful sisters from a godly family and because we grew up as friends , loving eachother.
How did you fit into the life of an actress when you have this quiet reverend sister kind of look and life?
The industry is an all comers affair. You find every kind of people in the industry. So when you come in you create what you want for yourself. Initially my upbringing was like an hindrance. But my look actually got me the attention I needed before I even started getting roles. This is because when I came a lot of people started having protective instinct toward me. Then they felt I did not fit in so they took it upon themselves to act like a guard. They felt I should be somewhere else. In fact, at a moment I started asking myself if I was really cut out in the industry. But because I have passion for it I decided to stay. But one way or the other I would say it helped me a lot. Then, again it also acted as an hindrance sort of thing. Because of my looks they were not giving me roles. They almost ostracized me. They used to say, that I can do it but my looks would not suite it. They kept on hammering on the looks issue. But thank God, it is a thing of the past now.
What were the other challenges you faced at the beginning?
There were a lot of challenges. Then there were a lot of people, very good actresses as well. There were also newcomers like me. We all wanted the same thing. A lot of people were willing to do anything for what they wanted. Because of the way I grew up and my thought that as long as you fill into something, you are going to get it. I was willing to go through the all challenges of audition, so terrible auditions where you might end up been niot what you want. You keep asking yourself if you are not making a mistake and wasting your time been there. That was basically it. But when I got pass that stage , challenges became minor things that could come with any other jobs.
What has been your share of sexual harassment in Nollywood?
I did not really have that. I think for some reasons even when they had it in mind they could not say it to me. The only thing that happens after such is that they would not say it to me and not give me the job. Then I will keep wondering why I could not get the job. But maybe because of the way I look , they could not know whether I would say yes or no. I just do not know, but they were not saying it. They might drop hints here and there, nobody ever said come and sleep with me and I will give you a role. Never. But as a woman you know when someone is dropping hint. Like let me not say it and get batched, so let me just drop some hints. If she does not pick up, that is her problem; that was there but not in my face.
How have you been able to stay out of controversies so far?
People always say that Chioma akpota and I are the two actresses in Nollywood that has been able to keep far from controversies. I always allow people to be the judge. All I know is that I live my life the way I ought to live it.
Is this a fall out of your parental upbringing?
Yea, in as much as I respect my parents that much, even to the point of been scared of them, but I do not think so. What I feel is that I just live my life the way I always live it and the way I always know how to live it. If this is coming across as been scandal free, then it is cool.
Anyway, you must have got your little slice of scandals too.
In doing this, I have leant to ignore because when you are busy there are things you do not allow to weight you down. Sometimes there are those you do not see. I might have in the past but I do not know of them. Those are things I do not want to talk about.
Which section of the media has been bad to you?
No. I do not think of any. In the past, there were those who are just trying to be journalist. They have but what can you do to a journalist?
What is your romance life like?
I am going to say this now but I do not know if I would actually want you to publish it. It is that I am married! That life of mine is actually is my functioning life. This is as crazy job. My home is where I find peace and that is why I do not like exposing it to people. This is because it is a crazy world out there and that is where I get my peace. Like I go home and I am treated like ac wife, like a woman and I feel like a normal human being. That is why I keep it away from my job, my film life. Because I am married when comes to men, I stay far.
Were you planning to keep your marriage life from the public until death like Goldie?
Yes but she has her reason for doing that. I do not like those who expose their marriages. This is because our job is so crazy that when you leave all the troubles behind and go home and get treated like a woman, why you would want to expose it to the world. It will be like comparing fire to water. It is like going from fire to water to get cool. It does not make sense. If your home is private to you, you shut it down. But when you are through with this one you shut down your business life and try to enjoy your quiet family life. I do not blame her. I understand what she did. On the Big Brother thing, for me she might have acted it. She wanted to win the money. She has a home somewhere. I do not blame her for anything she did. That was the entertainment part of her. Maybe that was why she wanted to keep her home safe from prying eyes so that she can go there, switch off her phone, her business life; that is what I do. Your home is where nobody is looking at you as a star, where you do some things and your husband says, excuse me I am the man of the house. And you keep living like a woman. You can come out and play Margaret Thatcher in your movie that is your business. It is like a balance. Do not make every open and you do not have where to run to when you need a safe place. I think I love what she did and that is what I am trying to do. When I am at home I am not an actress but Queen, somebody`s wife, somebody`s mum and everything. And when the holiday is over and I come back I become the actress.
When are you producing a movie like your colleagues are doing?
I have started thinking this. But I think I would want to go solely into producing movies not directing. That will be this year and there is script , cast and money for that already.
Is there a plan you retire someday from movies and become a reverend sister that you have the look of ?
No. I do not love to be a reverend sister. I actually thought I was going to be a nun, which was past. And then I could remember the first time I went for â€¦when we were been introduced, and it got to my turn, the lady said, who brought this girl that looks like the Virgin Mary? I laughed. But along the line I knew I would not make a good reverend sister because I knew I wanted a family of my own. If I be a nun I knew I would not have that. I knew I just love having a family. So I dropped it and faced reality. So, going back, no way. I do not want. After the initial thought, I knew it was not for me. That was how I waved the idea aside. Since then, it has never crossed my mind again.
Why do actresses live more buoyant lives than actors, is it that they get more paid?
I do not agree with that actresses live more flamboyant live than actors is not true. But it looks that way is that the men have families to cater for as the bread winner of the house. They pay school fees, house rents when a single actress will use all that money to buy a car or so. In that case she would be seen as living a more flamboyant live. It does not mean she makes more money than the males. When you check almost all our actors are married with kids ghaving that home responsibility to attend to. A lot of actresses are married to guys that can take care of them and whatever they make is an extra income for them to live flamboyant lives. That is how I see it.