Sunday, 12 July 2015

What my parents will do if I act nude –Calista Okoronkwo, actress

  Calista Okoronkwo had always wanted to be a medical doc­tor. But she found the movies irresistible. The graduate of Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka began acting in 2005, but not until seven after that she embraced the limelight when she played a major role in College Girls. In this chat with Entertainer, the actress opens up on her career, family and why she can’t act nude for all the money in the world. Excerpts:
What movie brought you into the limelight?   It was College Girls, which I did in 2012. It was my first major movie because I played my first major character in it. I started acting in 2005 but took a break in 2006 to go to the university after which I returned in 2012 with College GirlsCollege Girls was shot in Accra, Ghana. Uche Mbunabo produced it.
How has your present status changed your relationship with your family?  My present status hasn’t changed the relationship with my family one bit, as I’m still their loving daughter, and no matter how far I go, they are always on my mind. In fact, I’m always eager to finish shooting and run back home into their arms. I keep a close re­lationship with my family even when I’m  away on set by talking to them everyday on phone, and this makes me miss them less. Thanks to BBM too, when I chat with my siblings, I get updated on what happens in my absence.
What was your dream before go­ing into acting? I have always wanted to be a medical doctor; the dream is still very much alive.
You are the CEO of Ushers Af­rique, what’s it all about?  Ushers Afrique is an event manage­ment company that provides services ranging from event decoration, cater­ing and provision of ushers for events both formal and informal. We have over 50 models as ushers. Our job is to add class to events with our well-trained ush­ers. My little brother gave me the name Ushers Afrique. The company is reg­istered and has branches in Lagos and Abuja for now.
How did you start the business?   At 17, I had ushered at various events. One day, I sat to think of what other things I could do, and my dad said, ‘you could start your own ushering company’. That alone sparked me up and I knew I just had to make it up. Ushers Afrique is a small company and a new one too. The profits haven’t started rolling in yet. I started the company with the initia­tive of my father who felt I could run an ushering company after saying he trusted my entrepreneurial skills. As soon as he talked about how much he trusted my business skills, what occupied my thoughts was how I could make his idea a reality. Immediately after our father-daughter talk, I went to my drawing board and started mapping out strategies. Ever since I have never looked back.
What kind of scripts appeal to you?  Any script that refuses to let me film with my clothes on, goes against my acting code. I respect my body a lot and filming nude is something I won’t even think of doing, even if I get paid in bars of gold. After filming nude, I might as well ask God for new parents, as my parents won’t find it funny.

If you were asked by your man to choose between career and rela­tionship, which would you choose and why?  I would choose my career because he met me doing this job and fell in love with me. I can’t dump my career because someone said so. I worked so hard to be where I am today. It won’t be so easy to dump a career of many years. Besides, I can comfortably multi-task. I can be a wife and still tend my career perfectly. In the end, none of the two will suffer.
Aside acting, what else are you good at?   Yes, I can make people laugh even when they are in the worst of moods. I’m a very good cook too. Most of my friends believe it is as a result of the fact that I’m an Ada (first daughter), and it is a general belief that most Adas are good cooks and housewives (Laughter). I guess I can say my mum taught me well.
Tell me something about you that no one knows?   I don’t joke with the things of God because my entire life revolves around Him. I take time off work to talk to God and I try as much as I can, not to drift away from Him.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years?   In the next five years, I would have my own family and be a household name. I pray that my acting career would have soared higher than the mountains.

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