Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Meet The Nollywood Actress Who Left Barclays Bank UK for Nollywood

UK returnee actress, KC Ejelonu, tells‘Nonye Ben-Nwanko about her career since she came back to Nigeria
Why are you called Bugatti?
I wonder where you got this from or who must have told you about it. I am surprised you even know this. But it’s a pet name my close female friends gave me and I can’t say why they call me Bugatti.
You are one of the many young ladies who returned from abroad to pursue a career in the entertainment industry in Nigeria, do you regret that decision?
 Not at all. I am doing what I love and getting paid for it; what more could I ask for? Nigeria has the same opportunities if not more compared to the UK. So, just because I lived in the UK is not like living in heaven and having everything I want.  My decision to return home is a great thing and the decision to follow my dream is the best and nothing compares to it.
And since you came back, has it been worth the while?
 Definitely, it has been worthwhile. The number one fact is that I am in love with my job. It’s been a great experience.  I have the good and bad days but I make sure the bad days are turned around into something good. Moving back to Nigeria has been wonderful. However, sometimes I get irritated with things like lateness, but I guess it’s a Nigerian or African thing as they always say.
Some people are yet to come to terms that you could leave your job at Barclays Bank in the UK to come back just to be a part of Nollywood? What really prompted that decision?
 Just be part of Nollywood as you put it,  is a major career progression for me. Some people still think I am crazy and have lost my mind. Forget Barclays Bank, yes the money was fantastic and my position was one that came as a surprise when I completed my Master’s programme. But if you know that feeling when you are doing what you love and making it and getting paid and recognised, then you wouldn’t think I am crazy. Nollywood is a growing industry and it’s just a matter of time, a lot of people would want to rub shoulders with us. I believe in the industry a whole lot; Nigerians are known to have hope and what I have for the industry is hope and faith because I see the good things and days coming.
 You have got a couple of nominations in some movie awards in Nigeria and you are yet to win any, could it be said the winners are better than you?
 I don’t see it that way and to be honest, I still get shocked when I get a nomination. In my head, I always think no one knows who I am. But I am recognised and getting nominations; it simply means I am one to watch. To get a nomination after getting into the industry barely two years ago is an achievement. It means I am doing a great job.
How come you went to film school even after you have somehow become an established actress?
 You always need to improve, gain more knowledge and skill and I got into the industry with little knowledge on acting. For every individual in any field, he/she has to learn a new skill to progress. Established actors still need training, Michael Jackson before he passed on had a voice coach and dance instructor to remain relevant and be able to give the audience something different for every album. Same goes for actors. As an actor, if you feel you don’t need training, you are not ready to tap into your inner actor life.
We hear you are doing stuff for Mo Abudu’s Ebony Life TV, how did it come about?
 I featured in three movies due to show on Ebony Life TV. I went for the audition she had last year, did my best and I guess the rest is history. The movies I did are 31st, A New You and Tromper
 How come a number of people perceive you as a snub?
Do they? This is quite funny, but until you have walked up to me and said hi and if I ignored you, then by all means, you can perceive me as one. But I have never ignored anyone who walks up to me to say hi. So, I don’t know where being a snub is coming from. If I am sitting in a bank and maybe busy on my phone and you smile at me, I would smile back because it is polite to smile back. And walking up to me to say hi is fine, I won’t bite.
 We read somewhere that you had crush on  Naeto C and Don Jazzy. Would you date anyone of them?
Yes I have crush on them, but not the type of crush where I want to date them. Naeto C is a married man and Don Jazzy is my big brother. They have this manly feature about them which I admire and love. But no, I would not date Don Jazzy simply because I see him as a big brother, I have known him since I was 16 years old.  And I don’t intend to date anyone within the entertainment industry.
So who are you currently dating?
My private life stays private until I feel I need to let anyone into my space.
Are you thinking of marriage?
 Yes and kids too. It will happen in future but now, I am focused on work.
 You once said that you are yet to see a Nigerian movie where the actors really kissed. Given a role that would involve you to kiss passionately, would you do it?
 I was given a role where I had to kiss passionately, and I think I did a pretty good job.
 Now that you no longer live under your parents’ roof, are you enjoying the freedom?
I still stay with family members here in Nigeria who keep me grounded. I don’t intend to stay alone in Nigeria, I don’t feel it’s safe for me and I will definitely get lonely. So, I might just wait till when I get married.
Back to the movies, is there anything you really do not like about Nollywood?
The industry is a growing one. Before I got into the industry, I had a few things I did not like, but working in the industry now, I know it is not easy. I see things a bit clearer.
So many young actors have come up, same time as you did, are you not threatened?
No, they do their job I do mine. At the end of the day, it’s up to the director and producer who they want to use in their movies. And the industry is big enough for us all. I have my niche and another actress has hers. We all have different goals and mission.
Which movie brought you to the limelight?
The TV series, Tales of Eve Season 2.
Do you have a role model in the industry?
Kate Henshaw, Rita Dominic, Carol King, Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade and Omoni Oboli, I love these ladies so much and they never go wrong in my eye.
What do you hope to achieve in the nearest future.
To produce my own projects, help young actors who have a passion, talent for acting. Work scandal free in the industry, and work hard towards my dream of becoming an ambassador.

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