Florence Onuma, a graduate
of Theatre Arts from the University of Jos, considers acting as not
just fun but a money-making venture. The actress does not agree
with traders who believe that when renowned artistes go to the
market, they are always with money. She confessed that at times, an
artiste may not be buoyant enough to meet some of her needs.
How I came into acting
I had acted before although not as a professional. When I graduated from the University of Jos, I went into full time acting in 1991. I had a break when I started to have children. I came back fully in 1994.
I have acted in so many movies and my first movie was Lies of destiny. Others include: Bond where I played the role of Emeka Ikeâ€™s mother, who was supposed to marry an epileptic lady and I said no. In Christian mother, I played one of the major roles. In Last Kiss, I played the role of an uncaring wife to an actor. In Love and Courage, I played the role of a promiscus wife to an actor. In The addict, I had a son who was an addict and whenever he comes to ask money from me, I would give it to him but when I wasnâ€™t able to give him the money, he turns against me. In Polygamy, I played the role of a wicked wife who eventually ran mad. In Sunrise, I played the role of a woman who was rich and believed that people in the village should be controlled by me.
As long as I am not being myself in a movie, then any role could be challenging. But there are some roles that are tedious, energy sapping and intellectually demanding. I see all roles challenging in their own categories.
Acting as fun
I see acting as fun. It is something that I love to do. I would describe it as money making while having fun.
Assessment of Nollywood
Nollywood is still evolving. We are not yet there. Many things are still not in place but considering the age of the industry and the background we are coming from, we are making a lot of progress. Aside sentiments, and if the right things are put in place, we would make a headway.
When I started acting, I would go out seeking auditions but now directors, producers call me for jobs. Whenever they have a role for me. There would be a point in time in life when people who have paid their dues in the industry, would not to go for auditions again before they pick roles.
I am worth a lot but I am not offered what I am worth. I have put in a lot in the job but I hardly receive what I am worth now.
Part of the challenges is being not able to have my privacy. Sometimes when I go to the market to buy things, the traders believe that I have so much money on me, they would never believe that at times, I wonâ€™t have money. But thank God, Iâ€™ve been able to cope.
Experience at locations
My experiences at different locations are not sad experiences, they are fun. Sometimes on location, we would be told that there are logistic problems and at the end of the day, we would turn it into fun which is part of the job. Iâ€™ve never had any sad experience on locations.
Advice to upcoming female artists
I would advise them to hold on to God and work very hard. In this industry, there is no room for laziness, there is no shortcut to success.
Message to my fans
I want to tell them that I love them so much. I want to also tell them there would be no Florence Onuma without my fans, I appreciate them. I really thank them for making me what I am and I would never disappoint them. Whatever it is that they have heard about me is not true because I am conscious of the fact that they are there for me and I would never disappoint them.
I am appealing to the media to help artistes. We are vulnerable in terms of publicity because we are public figures. As a result of that, some people tend to use that against us. An artist cannot have a normal life for example, you might have a quarrel with an individual and that individual would want to get back at you by using the media. It is part of the job that we are in the public eyes and they should help us so that people donâ€™t kill us before our time.
Filmography: Aristos, Best Lovers, Black Mamba, Come Back To Me, Disguise, Dream Lover, Friend Of The Family, Passions, She Devil, Silent For Life, Tears and Sorrows, Unchained, Strangers In Paradise, Tears In My Heart and more