FAMOUS FACES: The biggest thing acting has done for me – Nollywood star, Thelma Okoduwa
By AZUH AMATUS
Barely two years as a rising actress, stunning and sexy Thelma Okoduwa is already a household name in Nollywood, all thanks to her almost impeccable role interpretations in movies and TV soaps. With over 30 hit movies to her credit, the Ishan, Edo State native, who is currently mesmerizing TV buffs with her zany roles in Chico Ejiro’s award winning soap, Treasures, said she is already dreaming Hollywood, “and I’m definitely going to get there soon, she fires.
In this hearty chat, the Angelina Jolie look alike that is also still single and searching for the right Romeo, openly confessed that her boobs, remains the sexiest part of her sensuous body: “My boobs are really beautiful and sometimes, I flaunt a little bit of the cleavages”.
Aside talking about life in Nollywood, 27 year-old Thelma from a family of ten, also bared her youthful mind on relationships with men, plans for 2006 and many other issues she has never spoken about before publicly.
Enjoy the interaction!
Much is not known about you, so lead us into your world?
I’m Thelma Chikodi Okoduwa, from Ishan in Edo State. We are ten in my family, not a polygamous home. My dad died three years ago after a brief illness. I’m the fifth child, we have just one boy, and the rest are girls.
The demise of your dad, has it in any way affected your youthful life?
Definitely, yes. I missed him so much, his fatherly love, he was the best dad in the world.
What would you say you missed most about your late dad?
I missed everything about him, especially his disciplinarian attitude. He was always there for us and gave us everything we needed. I missed all that.
Your incursion into Nollywood, how did it evolve?
How did it start? It started after I finished my certificate programme in Theatre Arts at the University of Port Harcourt. I also did a programme in Computer Science after that. My very good pal, Rita Dominic introduced me into Nollywood in early 2005.
Just last year and yet you are everywhere making waves in movies and soaps. What is the secret?
For me, the secret is God; He is the secret and nothing else.
From then till now, like how many movies have you featured in?
Wow! I’ve done quite a lot. Almost 30, movies like Desperate Billionaire, Flying Without Wings among others and even Treasures, Chico Ejiro’s soap, all helped in bringing my works and me to peoples’ consciousness.
How has it been like working on the set of Treasures with Chico Ejiro?
Well, Treasures is my first TV soap and work with Chico Ejiro and it’s been really, really nice working with him, he’s like a father. And my role in the soap is quite interesting, playing the wacky role of a spoilt brat who keeps changing men. I really love the role.
In real life, do you have some features with your character in Treasures?
No! Never. I’m not at-all. But funny enough, people tend to misrepresent and once in a while associate me with my wacky roles, especially my role in Treasures. It is natural.
But have you ever been embarrassed publicly due to your roles in movies or soap?
No! Not at all, it has never happened to me. Reverse is usually the case; with fans rushing to tell me they love me.
What more surprises do you have for TV buffs on the set of Treasures?
Right now, the episode we are in now, I got married to one rich Alhaji, who already has harem of wives and moved in with him, even though my parents and pals kicked against it. And right now, I’m having so much trouble with them in the house.
Between Treasures and Nollywood movies, which would you say brought you to limelight first?
Sincerely speaking, I will give it to Treasures. I just came back from Ghana, where I went to feature in a musical video for Tic Tak, my fans in that country were mobbing me and I could not believe it. They kept shouting Joy that was my name in Treasures it was awesome.
So, financially, has it been rewarding as a prominent cast on the set of Treasures?
(Giggles) Anyway, I don’t know what to say to that, but definitely I’m having fun and enjoying myself. For me, the financial aspect is not what that matters, for me, I’m doing what I love and enjoy doing most. I’m not thinking about the money for now. The monetary aspect is secondary.
How would you describe the set of Treasures, especially the cast and crew?
We’ve got beautiful cast and crew members. The lady playing my mum is a beautiful actress. Carolyn Ekanem and the rest of them are all beautiful people. Chico as the overall boss is wonderful and passionate about his project. We are all like one big and happy family. It’s really interesting. Despite all these, we also experience the ups and downs or what I would call low moments on set.
Let me compliment your beauty. But are you married or still single and maybe, searching?
(Laughs) I’m not married yet but hoping on God to make that possible soon.
How old are you and how soon?
I’m 27 this year, very, very soon.
Are you still single because you want to be or that the men are not coming?
Truth is that I have not found a man.
How soon do you hope to find a man?
I’m going to find a man soon, when the time comes. I’m not particularly searching, but if it comes, all well and good.
What are the qualities you would love your ideal man to possess by the time he finally comes your way?
He’s got to be loving, good looking, caring, and God fearing.
Is marriage on your mind currently?
Yes, like every young girl, marriage is on my mind.
And are there pressures from your family members for you to get married?
Pressures? No! Not-at-all, I’m the fifth girl; I’ve got like four other sisters before me. My mum is not stressing or pressurizing me to be married this year. But I’m seriously thinking about it. I just have it somewhere on my mind that I need to get married soon.
How soon again, be specific?
I can’t say for sure, but I’m looking at this year, before or by the end of the year.
And what if it did not happen this year would that make you sad and bitter?
No, it won’t make me sad or bitter at-all. My philosophy of life is to take things the way you see them. You don’t have to force anything.
As a pretty and popular actress how are you coping with overtures from Nigerian men?
I cope naturally because people will definitely talk to you as a lady; it is my ability to keep them off that really counts. Yeah, I have pressures from men, but I handle them well because I’m good at that. I handle my toasters very well.
Like an average of how many toasters per day?
That’s a difficult one. Truth is that they come every day.
So, in essence, Thelma Okoduwa is single and maybe searching?
I’m very, very single and searching, that’s it.
What brought about your single status?
Maybe, I’ve not seen what I want in a man yet. Right now, I don’t want to go into relationships any more, I’m actually looking up for someone to spend the rest of my life with, and maybe, that is why I’m taking my time right now.
It’s like you are kind of more careful now; maybe because of some of your relationships in the past that did not end well.
Definitely yes! Some of my relationships in the past worked out, while some did not.
Like how many relationships have you gone into?
How many? No, I can’t tell you that. Truth is that they are not many, maybe, a couple of affairs.
And some of these past affairs left you heartbroken?
Not really and please enough of these personal questions, they are choking me.
Okay, but why did these affairs crash in the first place?
Maybe, I wanted more or they wanted more. You know how these things are, you know.
But the fact that you have no Romeo to call yours currently, does it make you feel bad and sad?
No! Not-at-all. I’m actually very busy now with my works.
When was the last time you dated a guy?
You don’t want to know please. I’ve told you I won’t entertain more personal questions.
What are the major challenges you have encountered so far as a rising actress aiming for the top?
I’ve got lots and also encountered lots. Life is full of challenges. Everyday hustles and ups and downs. Some people don’t like you and some like you. You just have to deal with it. But all these challenges have been good for me, they bring out the best in my thriving career and me.
Did you ever think of quitting Nollywood when you first came in, maybe, because of one problem or the other?
Yes, I was bit discouraged initially but I told myself I had to fight to be able to belong. I’m a fighter and if I want something, I go for it. It wasn’t easy initially, but my fighting spirit has kept me going. I’m stronger now, but the struggle to the top continues.
Your parents, were they in support when you told them Nollywood was beckoning?
They were the ones that encouraged me to go into Nollywood in the first place, especially my siblings.
Have you ever been harassed sexually by movie producers and directors in place of movie roles?
No, I’ve just been lucky and I also think it has to do with my approach, the way I approach them. But that doesn’t mean they do not admire one.
As a rising actress, what are your future goals?
My future goal is basically to be an international actress and operate from Hollywood. And I’m really working on that.
We have lots of rising actresses in Nollywood, what stands you out from the rest?
My simplicity. I’m just me; I don’t try to outdo or overdo anybody. I’m just myself. And a lot of people have applauded me for that.
Aside acting, what else do you do for a living?
For now, nothing except my acting career, but in the past I used to run a fashion and jewelry shop, then I was traveling a lot. But all that have stopped, I want to take acting more seriously. Acting is time consuming. You need all your time to be an actor- and that is what I’m doing right now. And if I were not acting today, I would have still been in my business. I’m an independent woman.
Do you have role models in Nollywood?
None, I don’t have any.
As an actress, what motivates you?
The fact that someday I would go to Hollywood, that fact keeps me going always.
How do you usually feel when men walk up to you and admire your beauty?
Sometimes, it’s embarrassing, but sometimes I deal with it in my own way. But it’s okay and fine.
If you are married and your husband tells you to quit acting, are you going to obey him?
First of all, I pray that God will give me a man that understands what I do and have passion for. But if it happens that way, I would listen to him. I pray that God doesn’t give me a man that would object to my career.
What part of your body do you consider the sexiest and why?
(Giggles) You really wanna know? My boobs. They are really beautiful and sometimes, I flaunt just a little bit of the cleavages. But I can’t bare my boobs in movies or magazines cover.
Back to Nollywood, what got you attracted?
The fact that I love acting; it is fun and also a way of unwinding.
And what has been the biggest thing acting has done for you?
These days I walk in the streets and people would say, “that’s her”, it shows I’m doing something people really appreciate. It’s fun!
In a sentence describe yourself?
Like you already know, I’m Thelma Obehioye Chikodi Okoduwa; my mum hails from Nkanu, Enugu State, I’m the fifth in a family of ten. I’m also a party freak who likes catching fun and making people around me happy.
If God comes your way this 2006, what one major favour would you ask from him?
Tell Him to give me good health, more money, and help me achieve my dream of storming Hollywood.
Did you accomplish all your plans for 2005, before the year ended?
I met most of my plans for 2005, but not all of them. I thank God for everything.
Currently, what are you doing?
Yeah, I just finished a movie with Emem Isong but I don’t know the title yet. But it will rock the industry as soon as it comes out later in the year.
What are your plans for the New Year?
First, my Xmas was beautiful and I’m pretty sure this New Year is going to be good. I started 2006 by moving into a new house. For me that is a good start, my new house is in Lekki.
That makes you a big babe?
Sorry I don’t know about that but if you say so, I will say it is by the grace of God.
First published, January 2006
Culled from Azuh Amatus’ best selling books, FAMOUS FACES…Interactions With Nollywood Stars And Stakeholders (1&2).