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Stalking the stunning Nollywood jewel, Genny Uzoma

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There is a jewel in Nollywood that is gradually working her way up the top rung of the industry. She is so devoted to the acting craft and has been exhibiting a felt passion for the make-belief vocation. Enter the actress with extraordinary beauty Jennifer Uzoma who has been picking up lead and supporting roles in some critically acclaimed Nollywood movies. Simply called Genny by her close friends and colleagues, the native of Mbaitoli local government area of Imo State and Political Science graduate of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT) has been having a good run as an actress in the movie industry.

Born and raised in Enugu State where she attended Holy Rosary College Secondary School, Genny’s sure and steady run in the movie is the reason some observers say that she should rightly be crowned jewel of the core Nollywood acting skies. Though the star of movies like ‘Love and Cancer’, ‘Nollywood Scandal’, ‘Who Killed Chief’, ‘Reconciliation’, ‘Out of Luck’, ‘Baby Shower’, ‘Wife material’ and ‘Love in the wrong places’, joined the industry in 2005, Genny took a break to concentrate on her studies and only returned recently. Since her return, it has been one script after another for the naturally talented actress whose career ambition is to reign over the acting skies. She talks about her career and life….

I Have Been Around
Surprisingly, I have been on the scene since 2005 though I took a six-year hiatus. So maybe you have probably seen me in something maybe an un-credited work without knowing it is me. I am working my way up slowly but steadily. Joined the Actors Guild of Nigeria in 2005 with the Enugu state chapter. So I am actually from the old Nollywood. I was a young university student then when I signed up to act.

I am Passionate About Acting
I loved acting right from secondary school. We would do plays in literature class then. I always favoured the arts. Read lots of novels and watched movies. Wanted to be a lawyer too but I didn’t pursue it. But acting was something I loved and really had to do. I was reading all these acting books and was ready to do the actual thing. It fascinated me greatly so much so that I had to go borrow money to sign up so that I could do my thing in front of the camera even if it was minor roles, which was what I got in my first year. And I couldn’t have asked my parents because they would never have agreed. They wanted me to face my academics and once I did that, they became very supportive of my chosen career and they now wish me well. But the biggest motivation was watching Genevieve Nnaji and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde. I watched them a lot and still do. So I could say I was inspired further by them and I also like Aunty Joke Silva. Her career has spanned decades and she still does it as graceful as ever. Right now, I am focused on bettering myself and the craft. Filming with more experienced and seasoned actors won’t hurt though.

My First Role In Nollywood
Oh it was an extra role. It was called ‘Mother in-law’, shot in 2005 and it was an asoebi (bridal train) role that I played. I think the pay was 500 Naira. I was excited because I had just shot my first film alongside Patience Ozokwor, Bob-Manuel Udokwu and hoped to film much more. And in no time, I started getting roles. Presently, I have lost count of movies I have done. Back then it was more about quantity than quality. We just wanted to be in any movie no matter the role or how good/bad the script was. Now it is different.

My Breakthrough Movie
My breakthrough movie is actually the hit series “Husbands of Lagos” from the Iroko/Rok TV platform where I played a love stricken young lady with a case of unrequited love. And then there’s “Emem and Angie” also under the Iroko/Rok TV platform. It was unforgettable playing the role of a low class prostitute and I got really good reviews from it.

Gain And Pain Of Acting
The gain of acting? Well I get to practice what sets my soul on fire…. what I really love doing. And also there are a few perks here and there which doesn’t hurt. As for the pain, maybe the rejection you are bound to experience. The job is about 80 percent rejection so as an actor you have to brace yourself. Going for never ending auditions, not getting a call back even when you are certain you did well. Getting underpaid even when you score the gig and so on. But things also get better. That is why you have to be persistent and consistent.

Issue Of Harassment In The Industry
Well, the issue is real everywhere not just in Nollywood. It just depends on how one deal with it if it comes. If one gets harassed, say your No subtly and move on. Attend auditions, be confident in your talent, raw or refined and just keep going basically. There are many producers and directors out here. If you manage to do a great project and you are noticed, who knows what further heights that would take you to or you could even do a crappy project and be singled out from it. So it takes a lot of work and determination.

I Wont Quit Acting For A Million Dollars
No way. This is where my passion lies .I would rather quit a job for Nollywood, which was exactly what I did anyways. After six years in the corporate world, I couldn’t bear the monotonous routine so I resigned and came right back to my first love 

Genny And Beauty
Well like they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t do much to look good. I drink lot of water and I try to exercise although not heavy exercise though. I walk a lot and I try to do at least ten thousand steps everyday when I can. I take the stairs instead of the elevator and I try to stay away from too much carbohydrate. Some days I can’t get myself to do all these but I always get back up and continue when I backslide.

Likes and Dislikes
I like humour. I like laughing. So anyone that can make me laugh is always welcome. I like putting God first. I like learning new stuff. I like honesty even when it hurts. I like love; care and I like sex with the right person. I like resilience (that’s me). I dislike forced conversations; fake friends (which are many in the industry) and I also dislike pessimists, consistent beggars, stingy people etc.

My Ideal Man
He must be humorous, humble, accommodating and understanding. He has to have decent money in his pocket. Romance without finance doesn’t work with me. Let us be real. Kids would be involved and they need to be taken care of. So he has to be very hardworking. I am open to 50/50 splitting though. As for my man telling me to quit acting. Well If a man tells me to quit my career then he should just say he is tired of the relationship and move on because I would spell it out boldly that I will be an entertainer till my life journey ends. I understand though why a man would say that. That’s why I need an accommodating, enlightened and understanding man by my side.

My Career Ambition
My career ambition is to thrive greatly in entertainment. I hope to branch out someday to try behind the scenes while also being in front of it – producing and all. I just really want to grow more in showbiz and expand and be remembered and acknowledged for my works and also to help others especially beginners in the field. I already get lots of enquiries from people asking for help and I tell them I am not a producer yet…am still carving my niche. When the time is right, I hope to do all of that and more. But I always tell young people, who want a career in the movie to go to school, finish their education or learn to juggle both. It is important. Then they must always nurture their craft and they must keep learning new things. They must also believe in themselves and keep the faith. They must not give up because being and staying an actor is hard work. If they are coming in here because of the glitz and glamour they see on the red carpet and on Instagram, then they are wasting their time.


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