Nigerian actress, Cordelia Emeh has opened up about her life and background in a new interview.
Multi-talented Cordelia Emeh last week launched her debut movie, My London Slave, amidst fanfare in Lagos.
The UK-based Nigerian actress, producer and accountant here opens up on the uniqueness of her production. She equally talks about piracy, challenges and marriage among others. Enjoy it.
Can you tell us about your debut movie, My London Slave?
Nollywood is one family irrespective of where you find yourself. For me, I see that Nigerian artistes are representing Nollywood quite well in the Diaspora. Due to the fact that I am based in Britain, about 80 per cent of the scenes were shot there. I had to shoot some scenes in Nigeria so that the film doesn’t look foreign. Some of the artistes that feature in the movie are Jide Kosoko, Rachel Oniga, Yetunde Wunmi, Lucien Morgan, Uche Odoputa, and Dapo Opayinka among others. Currently, the movie is being shown in major cinemas in the country and has attracted a lot of attention from movie buffs. It is a thing of joy to see my movie being shown in cinemas.
Why did you feature British actors in your movie?
There are so many Nigerian artistes based in Britain. The lead actor, Daniel Lloyd, is a Briton though he’s based in Nigeria. He came over to feature in the movie. This is my first movie as a producer, but I have acted in a couple of movies in Nigeria such as Blood Type, House Wives and Girlfriends, Sister Sister, Friend’s Zone, and Love Zone. My most challenging movie as an actress is Silent Journey, which I co-produced. Because I co-produced the movie, I was on ground all the time, because I played the lead role. Combining the two roles was not easy but I thank God it went well.
Before you became a producer, did you attend auditions to get roles?
I didn’t start acting in Nigeria but in the United Kingdom. In 1987, I started acting on stage even as a teenager, and that was the beginning of my acting career. I acted for some years before leaving to pursue my studies when I gained admission into the university. Initially, I wasn’t encouraged to go into acting by my parents and family members because of the negative mindset of people. They believed that going into acting would turn me into a prostitute. But when I travelled to Britain in 2008, I saw an opportunity to participate in an audition for a movie, and as luck would have it, I was invited to feature in the film. By then, I wasn’t living with my parents anymore so I was able to make decisions for myself. The first movie that I featured in in Britain was Caffe Afrique, and I played the role of a single mother, who was able to combine work and family at the same time.
What are the things you have put in place to guard against piracy?
Piracy is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry in Nigeria, but I believe that my distributor has put in place structures to guard against piracy.
How did you meet your husband?
I met him at a wedding ceremony in Nigeria. He was the best man to his friend while I was the chief bridesmaid to my friend. From there, we became friends and the relationship continued until we finally decided to get married. We are happily married with children.
What are the qualities that attracted you to your husband?
He is God fearing, nice, caring and loving; and he has supported me in whatever I do.
What has kept your marriage intact seeing that some Nollywood marriages don’t last?
What has kept my marriage intact all these years is understanding and trust. My husband supports me in everything that I do. My advice to up and coming actresses is that they should have a good communication with their husbands all the time. They should not hide things from their husbands. Whatever their plans, they should always discuss them with their husbands.
Do you play romantic roles in movies?
I have played romantic roles in movies. But in My London Slave, I played more romantic roles and my husband is not jealous about it. He understands me very well and supports me.
Are you romantic?
Yes, I am romantic. When acting, I am conscious of my role as someone’s wife, so I tend to draw back a bit. But at the same time, I give the audience what they expect to see. That is why when I am on set, I drop Cordelia and put myself in the shoes of the character I am playing.
What does style mean to you?
I love classy dresses. I love elegant dressing and most times, I dress formally with shoes. I am not a casual person.
Are you fulfilled as a movie producer?
I wouldn’t say that I am fulfilled being a producer but I am happy that my first movie is a great success. I am still aiming for the best and hope to see my movies travel round the world. Aside being a producer, I am an accountant and work full time in an accounting firm in London. I am also a mother and wife. It has not been easy combining being a mother, accountant and actress cum producer, but it is my passion that has kept me going all these years.
What would you not like to be caught doing?
I wouldn’t like to be caught cheating on my partner.
Would you encourage your children to pursue a career in acting?
My children are already acting. One of my children has featured in two movies. When I featured in Sister Sister, she also featured in that movie. Since they love to act, my husband and I will always give them necessary support.
What makes your movies different from others?
My movies are unique because I love to tell stories that are not common, that people do not like to talk about. For example, My London Slave is a true-life story of women that have suffered one form of domestic violence or the other. Through my movie, I want to encourage women in such situations to speak up. They should not hide it and suffer in silence. Some women have died because of domestic violence simply because they kept quiet. I enjoin women to seek for help, meet relevant bodies that will assist them in overcoming domestic violence.
What next should your fans expect from you?
With the success of my first movie, my fans should expect another movie from my stable early next year. It will be a combination of Nigerian and British artistes, but I will have more scenes shot in Nigeria.
I see my movies winning awards in Nigeria and abroad. I am optimistic that very soon, I will be called upon to receive an award in Nigeria.