Despite her nine years staunt in the industry, Amaka Anioji cannot be described as a popular face in Nollywood - mainly because of her inconsistency. But last year she took many by surprise when she won the Most Outstanding Actress award at the 9th edition of the Abuja international film festival, beating established actresses like Ini Edo, Funke Akindele, Nse Etim-Ikpe, Uche Jombo among others. In this interview, she speaks on a number of issues concerning her personal life, career and her role in the award-winning short film, 'Till Death Do Us Part' which shot her into the limelight.
What is the big deal about the movie, 'Till Death Do Us Part'? - It is a 15-minute film that was nominated for an award. I was the female lead. I played the role of a woman who was beaten and battered by her husband.
Is this the first movie you are playing lead? - No, this is not the first movie I played the lead character. I have played lead in several movies, such as 'Young Heritage' and 'Broken' that will soon be released. I also played lead in 'Married', 'Close Friends', 'Game Player', 'Tinsel'.
When did you join the industry? - I joined the industry in 2004, but I later disappeared and reappeared in 2006, when I landed a role in a new movie. I finally returned in 2010 and since then, I have been consistent.
Among all the films you have featured in, which do you consider most challenging - I think the most challenging is 'Till Death Do us Part' because it is a short feature film. I have to go through many emotions at the same time. It was really a lot of work for me. I think it is very challenging as well as exciting such that people talked about it.
Did your acting as a battered wife affects your attitude towards life - It has nothing to do with my true life situation, after all, I am not married yet. And I have been lucky with my relationships. I think what happened in the movie was what the script spoke to me. When I was called by the director, Tope Ogun, who once directed me on the set of 'Tinsel.'
She called me and said "Amaka, I want you to play the lead role in the movie." I used to be crazy about her as a director before she got married. Later, she sent the script and asked me to go through it and tell her what I think about it. But while reading through the script, I started crying because it was really emotional. However, after going through the script, I informed that I would be interested to be part of the movie.
What is outstanding about you? - I think understanding the role I am going to play at any point in time is the secret behind that. Because every story and role is very unique and being able to understand those differences is what I feel is outstanding. Because when I was playing a Doctor in 'Tinsel' is different from when I played a battered wife.
The same thing was applicable to the much loved wife as Allen in 'Married'. As a matter of fact, I have some respects for the roles I played in movies because I see them as individuals. I tried to understand them, who they are and what they are really about. I take my time to communicate to myself.
After acting a particular role, it will take some people days to get off the character, does it happen to you? - Yes, of course, it happened to me in 'Till Death Do Us Part.' That’s why I said it was very challenging. When we were shooting the movie, the atmosphere was very moody. So, after a period of time, I was so frustrated, feeling so much like the role I played in the movie.
After sometime, I sat on a place and I couldn’t talk to anybody. I was crying. Even when I was not crying, tears were still running down my cheeks. I was really feeling that bad. Just like when you have to play the happy role, you will be happy throughout.
Did you work on your breasts? - No I didn’t. I have natural nice breasts. And when it goes down with age, I will let it go like that. I am not going to work on anything. I will age gracefully. So, I do not have problem with that.
What about your hair? - I actually wear a bright hair style. I can experiment on my hair because I like doing that.
So who is the man? - Let us not talk about the man. He is not interested in this talk. Let us just leave the man out of this. I cannot have my relationship on the pages of newspaper, it is so annoying. I lost a relationship that means a lot to me some couple of years ago. We misunderstood ourselves and we went so far as if there was no room for reconciliation.
After sometime, I sat down and pondered over what happened between us and discovered that it was something we could have settled amicably. Really, that relationship meant a lot to me. Each time, I remember how compatible we were then, I feel bad. I still miss my ex… But that’s is a foregone issue, I still count myself as being lucky because life has to go on.
Can you date a married man? - Well, it is frustrating. It can be tempting sometimes when you meet married men who are really very charming ,especially when you have dated a single guy who is very annoying. You run into a married man who is good looking and experienced, you would be tempted to fall in love with him.
But for me, I will always think of how dating a married man will affect people’s perception about me. After all, I am not going to marry the person, but I’m more concerned about what people are going to say. I also consider how that thing will affect my relationship with God. Though it can be very juicy, I consider all that. I like to work and earn my living, it gives me joy.
Would you do a toy boy? - I wouldn’t. I cannot have a toy boy. But I will have a valued friend.
There are so many people in Nollywood who sleep their ways to the top, what do you have to say about that? - I don’t have much to say about that because it is common everywhere, people sleeping their way to get what they want. They sleep their way to become Executive Assistants and Managing Directors of blue chip companies. It is not only in Nollywood that such things happen.