MYNATION NEWS – From acting to politics, Nollywood star, Nkiru Sylvanus has seen it all. Her foray into the political arena notwithstanding, she says that her heart remains with the Nigerian movie industry, widely referred to as Nollywood. OVWE MEDEME caught up with her at the red carpet of the recently held Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award (AMVCA) and she opens up on her love life, plans for 2016 and other issues.
WHAT have you been up to?
I have been working on a whole lot of things which I wouldn’t want to talk about at the moment because I would want the people to see them unfold one after the other. But of course 2016 is my year.
Are you saying you are coming back to the industry?
I have never left Nollywood, but all I can say is that I’m going to do more movies this year.
But you did take a break…
Yes, I took a break for some time, but I didn’t leave the industry. I will never leave Nollywood.
During that period, did you feel like you missed out on anything?
No, I didn’t have that feeling. On the contrary, I felt that I needed a timeout
What would you say award ceremonies like this contribute to the entertainment industry?
For me, I think it inspires people to work harder and do better jobs because everybody would want to have that moment when they pick up awards and are appreciated for the good work they’ve done. This is really nice because moments like these make film producers anxious to really put in more effort to do better jobs.
When you took up a political appointment, people expected that you’ll seek elective position…
Really? At the moment, I’m not thinking towards that direction but maybe in the future I might consider it. But right now, I’m just thinking entertainment.
What have you learnt so far in your foray into politics?
I’m still within the political arena, I haven’t left yet but I would say it’s a huge experience for me because you get to meet people of different interests, from different background pursuing different purposes and it exposes you to a whole lot of things that you don’t know about politics, about people’s way of life.
But then, some controversies have trailed you. How did you receive them?
Well, controversy is part of life; if nobody talks about you then you don’t exist. So it’s actually good when people talk about you. It helps you to shape up your life and move forward and work harder to surprise people the more and make them understand that it’s not really about what they think. It’s about who you are and who you want to be.
The case has been made for royalty to be paid to filmmakers. What are your thoughts about that?
A labourer deserves his wages. That’s what I would always say. We need to have a platform where we can work out a synergy to make sure that things work out properly and if you put in your best to do a job, you can always earn from it because talent is priceless. There is no amount of money that is worth whatever money that is given to you.
For me, I think it’s not a bad thing but we can approach it in a better and proper way. We should have a better platform to approach this and have it worked out.
If you have the power to change something in the industry, what would that be?
I think Nollywood is doing great but one thing I would like to look into is our distribution method. I think it is where a lot of effort needs to go into. I have an idea I’m working on seriously. It’s entirely mine and I wouldn’t want to make it public. If you really want to know what it takes to make it better, I think you need to consult me privately (laughs).
Any plans of settling down soon?
Well, settling down is what comes whenever it comes and it’s a thing of the mind. When you think your mind is ready to settle down then you do it. For me, it could be now, it could be tomorrow or it could be the next five years.
So what is keeping your mind occupied?
Work and work and more work.
Are you seeing someone right now?
I should be dating, don’t you think so?
Among your former movies which do you cherish most?
I’ve done quite a lot of jobs but I haven’t done a job that is very challenging for me. But I will always talk about my first movie, A Cry for Help because it was the first time I was facing a huge stage and it was huge for me because I was a teenager. I was young and it was like a first experience. So it was really challenging. But right now, I wouldn’t look at that job and say it is challenging anymore because I need something bigger and better and more challenging.
You are known as someone who knows how to cry easily. What puts you in that mood?
I had to learn how to cry actually. I don’t think about anything before I bring out the tears. I just learnt how to do it.
So it is not like you had to apply some substance to your eyes?
Well, some people could actually do that but it is not healthy because it can harm you. So for me it is just effortless. Initially, I had to learn to do it.
These days, Nigerian celebrities seem to coming for each other’s throats more. What do you think is responsible for this?
I think it has to do with the social media. Social media has become some kind of demon. Everybody wants to talk about their private affairs on the social media. Some people say it’s a publicity strategy, but I think it’s really not good. People do have problems but must you talk about it on the internet or on social media? When you get slapped by a friend, must you come out and say your friend slapped you? There are better ways to settle these things, so I don’t see it as anything really awkward. People have misunderstandings every day.
What are you doing about the issue of piracy?
Piracy is a thing that you can never get right until you get a distribution network right.
What would you like this new administration to do for the entertainment industry, specifically Nollywood?
Right now, what every entertainment industry would want from the government is a conducive (environment) and a platform to work and exhibit their talents. And so that’s what we should be asking from the government, a friendly atmosphere, a friendly environment, a friendly platform.
Once we get that from government, we are good. I don’t think that there’s anything special that the government needs to do to move the entertainment industry forward. It’s about us, it’s about the entertainers, it’s about the people in the business. We are the ones to put things right. And when we put it right, every other thing will fall into line.
It said that Nigerian movies are celebrated more outside than at home…
I’m not worried at all. I think it has to do with the channels that are showing these movies because we have interesting movies rolling out every week. But people get tired of watching the same kind of movie over and over again on the TV stations. So when they get tired, they need something new. If we start showing Nigerian movies every day, nobody will ever get tired.
How do you ward off advances from your male fans?
They will always come. It’s part of living, but I have a polite way of saying no. there is nothing special. I just tell then no. No is the word.
Have you ever had an experience where you were stalked?
I don’t give chance to stalkers because I won’t even allow you to stalk me. You won’t even see me to stalk. And when you do see me, of course I know how to put you right.