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Spotlight is on Nollywood’s new pearl, Frances Okeke

By Shaibu Husseini
04 August 2018   |   4:15 am
She got producers and directors pointing at her after she delightfully interpreted the role of Joy in B FOR BOY, that award-winning movie of epic proportion directed by Chika Anadu.

Frances Okeke

She got producers and directors pointing at her after she delightfully interpreted the role of Joy in B FOR BOY, that award-winning movie of epic proportion directed by Chika Anadu.

Amiable, friendly, focused and down to earth, Frances Okeke emerged from that production, and others she has starred in, as an actress to watch and a good centre every producer should have on their set.

Now neck deep in writing and working as a voice-over talent, the delectable actress revealed in this interview that she is in the industry to play not just a long game, but quality game.

I Have Been Around
I have been around, just that I have been doing a lot of writing lately. You know I am also a writer and content creator and have been doing a lot of writing for film and television.

My most visible acting work of recent, Idemuza, just got four nominations at the African Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA). Please, vote for us (laughs). But seriously, outside screen acting and writing, I have a lot of radio drama credits.

So, career wise, I pick none over the other; they are all acting to me.

I Am A Pro-Nigerian
I consider myself a pro-Nigerian and so, I am from Nigeria; states and tribes are divisive. I am from Nigeria and I am a Nigerian who attended Tunwase Nursery and Primary School in Ikeja, Lagos. I had secondary education at Marist Comprehensive Academy, Uturu, Abia State.

I attended the University of Benin for my first degree and my childhood was a normal one.

Road To Acting And Entertainment
Acting was one of my artistic career interests as a child. I watched a lot of movies and read a lot of books growing up. Every character I read and watched was interesting to me. That was how it started for me and when I got the opportunity to stand in front of the camera, I grabbed it and at the end, I loved it.

The only problem was the type of light they used, which kind of hurt my eyes (laughs). I actually thought I would go blind when I was done. But I am used to the lights and everything now.

I Had My Break On Stage
I had my break on stage under Mrs. Tosan Ugbeye. I must say that acting on stage is exhilarating. It stretches you as an actor, because you can’t make any mistakes and you use your whole body. It is not like acting on the screen where you can edit and just have the take that you want.

But whether on stage or screen, every character I have had the opportunity of becoming is memorable to me. Some of the television, film and radio productions I have done include Family Ties, The Benjamins, Time of Our Lives, Behind the Smile, Dear Mother, The Johnsons, B FOR BOY, Married But Living Single and Second Chance, a African Radio Drama Association production.

Most Memorable Character In A Movie
All the productions I have done have been memorable. But perhaps most memorable character I have played so far would be Joy in B FOR BOY, a naive girl who got pregnant and was used and tricked by the man she loved to sell her child to a desperate women.

I have never been pregnant, so I recall that during the delivery scene in B FOR BOY, I felt the best way to me screaming right was for a co-actor to kneel on my toes. So, the screams were out of real pain of someone kneeling on my toes.

And B FOR BOY was particularly memorable because it was in rehearsing for the film that I met one of my mentors, Mr. Nick Monu, who was our acting coach. He taught me a lot, told me how good I was and gifted me one of his treasured books by the great Michael Chekhov, To the Actor (the first edition). I read it every time.

My Likes And Dislikes
I dislike lies in all its forms and inequality. My personal like would be honesty and equality. I am a glass half-full kind of person. I have no complaints about this profession.

As for what I do extra to keep fit, I don’t do much and it doesn’t cost me much either. I lift weights, box and dance and try to eat right. I don’t do labels.

Words For New Entrants
Believe in yourself and God. Go for training. You can download tutorial videos and books, train before your mirror, friends, etc. Attend auditions. Don’t stop believing in yourself and God.

My Career Ambition
To grab an Oscar and a Nobel Prize for Literature, amongst other things. I just want to continue to do this as long as I can, and of course, to do it well.

I also just want to fulfill God’s purpose for me on earth. I put all my trust in Him and I never fail to acknowledge Him.