by Akan Ido
Nollywood actress, Cynthia Agholor is a talented woman with several movies under her belt. In this interview with Vanguard Newspapers she speaks about her movie roles, the scandals that have trailed her career and her relationship.
Read excerpts from the interview below:
Where did you grow up and what was it like growing up?
I grew up here in Lagos at Ebute Metta. Though I can’t speak Yoruba fluently but I understand the language. I didn’t get to mingle freely with Yoruba people because we lived on Herbert Macaulay Road where we don’t have many Yorubas. I attended St. Jude Primary and Secondary Schools, in Ebute Metta. During my Secondary school days, I travelled to Aba to sojourn briefly with my aunty. I sat for my JSCE in Aba before returned to Lagos for my SSCE.
Within this period I have been into acting. Then as a child I was in “Tales By Moonlight”, “Kiddies Vision 101”. I have been doing all these kiddies stuffs with NTA since my Primary School days. The only period I had a break from acting was when I went to Aba to stay with my aunty. I also stopped acting for a while when I got an admission into Federal Polytecnic, Oko, in Anambra State.
When I was in Oko, I did a bit of modelling because modelling was a lot easier than acting. While acting takes you from one place to place, you can do modelling within the area you are based. After my education and the National Youth Service Corps in 2006, I came back to Lagos and since then, I have been doing one job or the other. Now, I am an actress and a producer.
There is a belief that some stars worked their way through; while others either slept their way through or simply got lucky. What worked for you?
Right now I wouldn’t even call myself anything. Whatever happened to anyone in this life God must have allowed it to happen. I only thank God for taking me where I am today. When I was growing up in the industry I had friends that are now bigger than I am. Someone like Genevieve Nnaji, we all grew up together in the industry and we were like friends, moving around from one place to another, looking for jobs but today she is everywhere in the world. That is how God has decided to bless her. Because I am not like her today doesn’t mean anything to me. To me, the way I am now is the way God wants me to be. Whatever anybody is in the industry; whether you worked your way, slept your way or got lucky it is the destiny God has fashioned for you.
One actress once told me that it is impossible to go through the industry without being sexually harassed. How true is that?
Yes, it is not exactly untrue but it all depends on how you conduct yourself. Sexual harassment is always there, not only in the movie industry but everywhere. Even though it is always there it is not a must that everyone must experience it. Maybe, she was unlucky to have met those randy producers and directors but there are decent people also.
In your own case, did you ever encounter such ugly incident?
Well, in those days when we were growing up in the industry there is no lady or young girl that would say she didn’t encounter sexual harassment in one form or another.
Even me, I had my experience but I shrugged it off and made the person understand I didn’t come into the industry for that. When the person wouldn’t budge I left that production for another production where I knew they were decent people. Thank God, I met some decent producers and directors who featured me without harassing me.
As a well-endowed woman, would you say that has helped your career?
(Laughing) I really don’t know but judging from some of the roles I have played it could be as a result of my endowment. Like the recent movie I did the producer actually wanted me to show off my boobs, he said to really compliment the role of a husband snatcher.
Even the one I’m doing right now in Ibadan I’m playing the role of a seductress. Anyway, most producers have featured me in roles that portrays me as a sexy character. But really I don’t know, maybe if I’m not well-endowed they wouldn’t have been starring me in such roles.
What do you really think enriches one as an actress, beauty and talent?
I will choose talent over beauty or appearance. There’s no way you will look as a human being that you will not have a role to play. Regardless of your looks, if you are very talented they might create a role for you, from there you can be a big star. And I will not call appearance into it now and I will not say beauty because there are many beautiful girls out there who are not talented and they are just there, not making it. And there are some ladies who are disadvantaged by their looks but are making it because of their talents.
Have you ever had a romantic relationship within the industry?
I just don’t want to.
So, you have never been approached or what?
Of course, I have had several approaches but in the film industry where we are I see everybody as my brother. Maybe, it’s a principle, I just don’t want to date anybody within the industry.
There has been many scandals about you. How have they affected your career?
At first, when I started reading untrue, scandalous things about me, as a human being I was depressed. I would feel so bad that I would want to know the person who wrote the piece but at a point when I realised it wouldn’t just stop , it just didn’t bother me any more. I am who I am and whoever knows me know who I am. It has not affected my career in any way and I am consoled by the fact that God knows the truth.
There was a rumour some time ago that you fought with Cossy Orjiakor in public and got yourselves stripped?
That was a very big lie but then what do I do. I heard it but had to overlook it because that was a very big lie. Even at the end of the day, the person that wrote the story came to apologise to me. The journalist said she just wanted to make noise. For me, it’s a bygone, I wouldn’t do that with anyone let alone Cossy. Cossy is my friend. I never had a fight with even my enemy.
The report was trying to paint a picture that you and Cossy were in competition with each other over whose boobs are bigger and finer…
(laughing): I never knew that. I think I am hearing that for the first time. Cossy is my friend. We never quarrelled even during the time we lived together. At a time, she was staying with me and later moved into her own house. When some people see two people being friends they just imagine things and write stuffs about them. Me and Cossy are still friends till date.
Can you marry a married man like some of your colleagues in the industry are doing?
Oh, what a question! I wouldn’t marry a married man because the man is married. I can only marry such a man if he is divorced. If the man is divorced he is no longer married, then I can marry him with or without children. There is nothing wrong in a man having children. If the person is nice and we are compatible, why not? I don’t mind
So, what will attract you to a man?
First, the man has to be very humble, God-fearing and truthful. I don’t see why two people in a relationship should lie to each other. I like people to always tell me the truth regardless of the situation. I think that is the major thing that attracts me to a man. I like surprises. Instead of telling me things to elevate yourself let me find out and be surprised. I love men who are humble.
What do you first consider before picking up a role?
The story. I love good story-lines. If the story is not so good I can call the producer and make suggestions because I am a writer too. If the person doesn’t want to take corrections I could drop the script. I really love doing something very interesting. It is not all about money all the time, sometimes, it is just about giving people something to remember you by.
What’s your idea of sex generally. How often should it be done?
I think sex is good when someone is married. You know, you do it without fear of committing a sin or committing adultery. Sex is something every couple , married couple, should do, probably, everyday, I don’t know, probably every time they are moved to do it.
Sex has the real pleasure when you are doing it without any form of fear. I’m not saying unmarried people should not engage in sex because there is nothing I will say that will make them stop but somebody like me, every time I do it I always feel bad that I’m sinning against God. Even before sex I feel frigid because there is always that looming fear that I’m not doing what is right. That is for me, I don’t know about any other person. If I’m married to the man then I will feel very free and enjoy it very well.
You and Elvis Lamptey, a Ghanaian producer, you are reportedly dating, what went wrong, they said you dumped him for another lover?
Yeah, I have never reacted to that story! Who will believe me if I say I don’t know anybody called ‘Elvis Lamptey’. I don’t know how they came up with that, maybe because I went to Ghana to shoot a couple of films. Please, I don’t know anyone by that name. The only Elvis I know is Elvis Chuks, a Nigerian director and actor. He has been my friend for years and there has never been any romantic involvement between us.
When I read the story online, I was shocked. The only Elvis I know I haven’t seen for a long time. Even at that, I don’t feature in his film because we don’t even get to see each other. The last time, I saw him was at an event and he was like “Cynthia, where have you been all these years?”. That day he introduced me to the girl he wanted to marry.
The report said you dumped the Elvis Lamptey for one Udofia Ugoo, who is a US based entertainment promoter…
(Cuts in): honestly, that is another big lie. I don’t know anybody by that name too. What is bad about the whole thing is that I am in a big relationship and if the man doesn’t know me very well, he might be thinking I am doing something else somewhere. It is not fair. It is very wrong for people to just concoct things that never happened and slam it online to tarnish your image and disturb your life. The only Udofia I know is Cornel, the publicist. I have never known any other person by that name.
You once dated a White guy and there was an interview where you said you regretted dating a White guy…
(Cuts in) that was years ago. Did I ever say I regretted dating the guy? That was a long time ago and now that I am more mature I will say White guys are better. For one, they wouldn’t break your heart unnecessarily. If you want me to compare I will say White guys are better lovers because of their truthfulness.
What if we look at the difference between the two in bed. Which would you say is better?
(Laughing) oh, what a question! Well, it depends on how you go about it. A man is a man. I am not saying that Black men are not blessed naturally more than the whites. They seem to be more endowed but then it still depends on how you go about it. You can get whatever you want from the white man depending on how you go about it.
So, what are you working on now?
I am still working on a soap opera that will be finished soon. Five episodes have already been shot. Season one is already out, we are working on season two and three and we are planning to release them together. We are also planning another movie that will be screened in cinemas. I have a partner I am working with. Those are the ones I am doing on my own. I am also working with other producers on variety of jobs.