Screen diva and A-class actress, Mercy Johnson is our guest this week. After months of hunting for her, our editor DESMOND EKWUEME was lucky to pin her down as she speaks on several issues that makes this interview a must-read…Excerpt…Enjoy
I must confess that God has been faithful to me and my family has strongly been behind me. Each time I look back and I feel the support from members of my family, talking strictly about my husband and daughter I get the push to move on. Once the home front is peaceful you can pull down the mountain and surmount any challenges. But all in all God is the source of my strength. He gave a lovely family that has been supportive.
WHAT MARRIAGE HAS DONE TO ME
Before I got married it was me and me alone. May be I should say me, a couple of my friends and my extended family. But all that has changed now. Marriage has placed on me a huge responsibility of focusing my attention more to my family and of course to my job. It has brought great sense of belonging particularly as a mother. You need to be in it to appreciate what I am talking about. It has also brought me relief because I am not thinking about when it will come and how I am going to cope with it and my job. Sincerely marriage is fun to me because each passing day comes with something new and exciting especially from my daughter
SECRET OF YOUR BEAUTY
Am I beautiful? Thanks for the compliment. Well I give God the glory. I think God created us individually with special quality and trait that makes us unique in our respective rights. That uniqueness is what I assume to be beauty. There is this inner beauty, I mean from within that distinguishes one person from the other. You may be physically attractive but you lack the confidence and style to carry or express your gift from God. So I count myself lucky to be attractive and to have the most important gift which is the inner strength to make people see the real beauty beyond the physical. However I engage in exercises and workouts. Of course I watch what I eat. I am not particularly a heavy eater.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOUR HUSBAND TO YOU
He should be in the best position to answer that but he kept telling me that I am complete. He said God was very generous when creating me by giving all the qualities needed to be a complete woman. And each time he says it, I go on my knees to appreciate God.
RELOCATING TO THE EAST
I don’t think I really relocated to the East but truth is that shortly after my marriage, I started getting major jobs from the East. It is all about appreciation. The movie producers, director and marketers in the East have been wonderful. They have shown me great love in all the works I have been doing.
It is a worthy experience. It is challenging especially for ‘career mothers’. By this I mean mothers who are not just working but are professionals in their field. Combining motherhood and your job is really tasking because you have to be a loving and caring mum and at the same time you have to excel in your career. But in all I give God glory for His grace upon me which has given me the strength to enjoy both. I am a happy mother and I enjoy the job I do.
STATE OF NOLLYWOOD
Beyond the skies is the limit of the industry. It is us the practitioner that can stop ourselves and that is why I dislike these endless crises, bickering and internal wrangling. We already have a platform that the world appreciates; all we need do is to come together and work to raise the standards. I don’t think Hollywood and Bollywood experienced this kind of bickering to get to where they are at the moment. If we are not careful Ghana will steal the show from us because they are really doing well and there is a peaceful environment that makes their movies thrive.
QUARRELS WITH COLLEAGUES
I am not quarreling with anyone. Perhaps the reverse is the case if really there is any quarrel anyway. But all the same it is part of the challenges one must experience to grow. I love my colleagues because no tree can make a forest. We need ourselves to achieve success in our make belief industry. No movie has just a single person acting in it. Movie is teamwork. You need the next person to really bring out the best in you, so it is one big family. We just need to show more respect to ourselves. We need to show better understanding and we need to appreciate the other person irrespective of his or her attitude or lifestyle.
DO YOU HAVE ENEMIES IN NOLLYWOOD
I don’t think I know of any. I do my thing and go my way. I try to keep good relationships with my colleagues and so far I can say I have a solid relationship with almost all but you can’t be cordial with all. And that does not make you an enemy anyway. Cordiality connotes closeness, so, if your relationship with someone is not cordial it does not make him or her an enemy. It is just that he or she is not as close as the other.
BROKEN MARRIAGES IN NOLLYWOOD
It is something that I wouldn’t want to comment on but we must pray that our marriages last. One thing is that most people who want to marry celebrities especially Nollywood actresses end up not given them support. It is not wrong desire or wish to marry an actress who has carved a niche for herself in her chosen profession but it is wrong for the husband to attempt stopping her from doing the same job that attracted you to her in the first place. I think that is the major problem of some of these broken marriages. It is really unfortunate. People should begin to appreciate actresses more than just what they see on movies. Some people have failed to understand that there is a huge difference between the actress you see daily on movie and the person you eventually want to marry. Acting is acting and we should not be judged by the roles we play in movie. Actresses need to be respected because we are professionals
SEXUAL HARRASSMENT IN NOLLYWOOD
None that I know of. But such issues should not be used as a distraction in the industry especially when you consider the fact that no one has really come out to name names or point accusing fingers on anyone. It is like a side talk or gossip and I don’t take such serious.
YOUR BEST ACTOR LOCALLY
We have them in great number and it is very difficult to single out just one. We have great actors whose performances spur you to give your best on set. Nollywood is really blessed with great guys who by international standards are great ambassadors of our movie industry. Same goes for the actresses. We have amazing talents. That is a more reason why we must work together to see how we can overtake Hollywood and Bollywood.
It really depends on the occasion. Of course on set the movie and your role will determine what you put on and sometime it may be provocative. People should understand this and must not use it to judge the actor or actress. And if you are not on set surely one should know when to draw a line between quiet and lousy attires especially now that one is married.
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE SEX?
It could mean so many things to so many people but I have never discussed it in public. I talk about it only with my husband.
WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON RELIGION?
God is one and only. His fear is the beginning of wisdom. It does not matter what kind of religion you practice, what matters most is how you relate with your creator. Do you know Him? Does He know you? Do you have an intimate relationship with Him? Do you do His will and keep His commandments?
HOW MANY MOVIES HAVE YOU ACTED IN?
I have lost count. But I thank God for the opportunity given to me to express myself in a profession I so much love.
IF YOU ARE NOT AN ACTRESS
I don’t know. May be I would be a lawyer, doctor, pilot, preacher or something. I don’t really think about it, perhaps because I am happy with what I do.
HOW RICH ARE YOU?
I am not rich but I am contented and happy.
YOUR BEST FOOD
I am a Nigerian and my job takes me to all parts of this country and even abroad, so I must love all delicacies even if I won’t eat all. Any Nigerian food is okay by me.
DO YOU HAVE A FOUNDATION?
Such things are best kept to one’s self. They are supposed to be part of one’s private life. When you give a gift to an orphanage or an S.O.S Village and you invite the media to cover it, you have already taken the glory. The glory of such selfless acts should go to God who actually granted you the grace and empowered you to give. Therefore I don’t think such acts should be made public. They are supposed to be between you (the giver) and God, your creator.
NEXT MAJOR WORK
Let’s keep our fingers crossed. There several works already but the one that hits the shelves of the distributors through the marketers is the one that can be termed next.
Only God decides one’s future because He alone sees and knows tomorrow. When He allows your dream to come true, you claim to be a good planner, hard worker and all that. To someone else who was not given the grace to achieve a similar feat we think he or she is lazy or does not plan. That is why I believe in prayers and I keep praying that His will for me and my family be done because the Bible tells us that His will for us is for good and not evil. And the same Bible made us to understand that no one asks his father for bread and he gives him or her stone or scorpion.