Even with three lovely kids – all boys, fast – rising
actress Joyce Kalu is still a head turner in
Nollywood. With a daily increasing fans base that is
gradually cutting across our shores, the 34 year old
curvy starlet that made her debut last year in
“Mistake in Marriage” is stealthily climbing the
ladder of success in tinsel town to the admiration of
Kalu, a Marketing graduate from the Lagos State
University (LASU), since her bold arrival has
mesmerized movie-buffs in close to a dozen hit movies
and still striving to further raise the bar in her
Interestingly, the voluptuous role interpreter who
also speaks French fluently is fast becoming the
darling of top moviemakers because of her impeccable
script interpretations and acting prowess.
In this interview with AZUH AMATUS, on the set of her
latest production, a yet-to-be-titled movie with many
A-list stars on board, Kalu, for the first time ever,
spoke on her most intimate things, Nollywood, family,
husband’s place in her thriving acting career among
other germane issues.
You just finished from the set of a new movie, how
was it like?
Yeah, it was a yet to-be-titled movie from Guniks
Production; I had over 30 lovely scenes in the movie.
A lovely script with a lovely storyline, I found it
very interesting and that was why I became so happy
when I got a role in the production. The executive
producer treated all of us so well; in fact, he was
like a father to all of us on set. It was a memorable
outing for me, very wonderful experience.
Who were the big names you acted alongside with on
I worked with Chioma Chukwuka, Clem Ohameze,
Desmond Elliot among several other fast rising
artistes like me. Theodore Anyanji was the director
and he carried everybody alongside very well.
What was your role in the movie?
I played Chioma Chukwuka’s mother in the movie, a
widow who lost her husband very early in life and now
had to fend for her entire family, an interesting
movie. The attraction for me in the movie was just
that fact that I would be playing the role of a
mother, which I am in real life. It takes a true
mother to play such a tasking role. Besides, this is
my first movie with Guniks production.
Which was your first movie in Nollywood?
It was Mistake In Marriage by Chike Brian, early
this year; I acted alongside Rita Dominic, Mike
Ezuronye and Justice Esiri. But I actually came into
Nollywood last year for me; my coming was through
divine intervention. Coming into Nollywood, for me,
was an adventure.
What were you doing before coming into Nollywood?
I have a B.Sc in Marketing, so professionally that
was what I read at the Lagos State University, LASU. I
once worked with Integrity Solution for twelve years,
an I.T firm that is into auditing. From there, I and
my husband opened a graphics centre in Surulere, I
also run a thriving catering business and one or two
legitimate businesses. Right now, acting is the
biggest job occupying my mind and I’m giving it my
So, how do you combine all these with acting?
It’s not been easy, but God gives me the grace to
combine all of them. Truth is that I have an undying
passion for acting I derive joy from it. Another good
thing is that I have capable hands running my other
Since your arrival, like how many movies have you
Almost a dozen that are already out, but by the
time the yet-to-be-released ones hit shelves; they
will be more than 20 this year. God has been good to
me in terms of movie roles.
You are married with how many kids?
I am happily married with three lovely boys and a
wonderful husband. I got married in 94.
When you were about coming into Nollywood did your
He objected to it somehow, it was not easy for him,
in fact, he found it very difficult but because he had
known me for 20 years out of my 34 years on earth. He
had to give in because of the love and trust. I
convinced him genuinely and also reassured him that I
will never betray the trust he has in me as his wife
and mother of his children for 13 years. I’m going to
stick to acting and make people look at marriage the
way it should be.
As a married actress, do you choose the kind of
roles you play in movies?
It depends on the kind of role, I do the normal
acting kiss, but if it goes beyond that no way.
Does your husband get jealous sometimes when
watching you act these romantic roles in movies?
Truth is that he vets all my scripts before I go on
set, once in while I rehearse at home by acting with
him and the kids. Even though he understands, but
being a man he still gets jealous once in a while.
If tomorrow he tells you to quit acting, would you
If he does and gives me a very strong reason or
reasons for doing so, I will definitely obey him,
nothing will hold me back.
We would like you to tell us more about yourself and background?
Joyce Kalu is a happily married actress from
Umuahia in Abia State. The last girl in a family of
nine-six girls and three boys, she is 34 this year. I
grew up in Cameroon and speak French.
What were the major challenges you encountered when
you newly came in last year?
It was really tough when I came in because most
moviemakers don’t believe in giving us challenging
roles; they usually feel we can’t deliver. But with
hard work, focus and constant training, I was able to
get to where I am today. People are now seeing and
believing strongly in my acting capabilities and I’m
so, so happy for that.
As a married and beautiful actress, have you ever
been harassed sexually in place of roles by
I have heard about sexual harassments from people,
and also read it on papers often times, but it has
never happened to me. Another thing I discovered about
it is that it has to do with your carriage and
personal conviction. Truth is that a lot of people
come to me to express their love, which is normal, but
harassment no. Those who come to express their love
for me, I usually thank and let them also know that
I’m happily married.
But how would you react, if you are sexually
I have a different way of reacting to things, but
if it happens, I would definitely stand my ground, I’m
Any plan of producing your own movie soon?
Yes, the plan is almost concluded, but we don’t
want to rush things. I like doing my things very well
with a touch of class.
In the next couple of years where do you want to be
as an actress?
Sincerely speaking, I want to be up there, as in
reaching the top of my career. I want to be a
household name in Nollywood and even beyond.
Getting to the top is not usually easy, so how do
you intend reaching the zenith of your career?
Through hard work, commitment, being focused and
prayer, which is the master key. With all these in
your kitty, the sky will definitely be your starting
As a married woman, how do you cope with the
pressures of acting, especially shuttling in between
home and locations?
Quite tedious and tasking, but I thank God for
giving me a supportive husband and family, they
usually rally round me whenever the pressure becomes
too much. We also communicate a lot.
As a rising actress, who are the people you look up
to in Nollywood?
I have few role models in Nollywood and Joke Silva
is one of them, even though I have not met or worked
with her in a movie. She is one woman I respect a lot.
I also admire Rita Dominic for her impeccable role
In what ways, do you think producers/directors can
assist rising actresses like you get to the top?
First, is by believing in us and giving us good
roles, especially those challenging roles they usually
reserve for only the big names. They should try us and
also give us the chance to prove that we can do it,
even better. Giving us only minor roles will never
help us and even the industry; all we ask for is equal
right and the opportunity to prove our worth. And if
she fails, you keep correcting and building her until
she gets there.
Let’s assume you were not acting and not engaged in
any of your businesses today, what else would you have
Who knows, maybe I would have been a complete
housewife or gone into fashion design, I like looking
So, in essence you have completely abandoned
marketing for acting?
If you say so, but for me they are related. As an
actress, I’m also marketing my face and industry, you
can see, they are somehow related.
How do you feel when people compliment your beauty
I feel good and thank them for that. But I think
the secret of it all is the sound mind that God has
given me. I relax a lot, which I would say is another
secret of my looking beautiful.
So, how are you coping with Nigerian men and their
Those who do not know I’m married disturb me a lot,
but I usually allow them to express themselves, after
which I will tell them I’m happily married with kids
and love my husband so much.
You have said so much about your husband, what got
you attracted to him?
First, his intelligence and strong-willed nature.
Well, we met immediately my family returned from
Cameroon. We actually became stronger when he went to
my secondary school to sign an undertaking when they
suspended me. And after that he told me he wants to
marry me, after thinking about it, I consented.
What fond memories of your marriage, do you still
A lot, but I would not want to say them in public.
Let’s assume you are still single today can you
marry an actor?
An actor, why not? If he is so, so principled and
Now that you are fast becoming famous, what are the
things you hate about stardom?
My privacy, it’s like I’m losing it fast, but who
are mine to complain.
What kind of future are you envisaging for yourself
My future in Nollywood from what I have seen so far
is very great. Just like the industry is growing
rapidly, I’m also growing rapidly. Like I told you, I
want to be up there in Nollywood soon and very soon.
If in a movie, you are told to bare part of the
sensitive part of your body, are you going to comply?
I don’t think that will be possible, I can wear
sexy clothes in movies, but baring a bit of it, no
Do you have regrets in life today?
We all make mistakes, but that does not mean I
should live in the past or brood over my past
mistakes. I only learn from them.
As a rising actress, what stands you out?
My name, poise, carriage and amiable nature stand
me out. Also, I don’t believe artistes should have
airs around them. I always frown at my colleagues who
are fond of doing that. Because you are an actress
does not make you an exceptional human being. Truth is
that without your teeming fans you are nobody and
nowhere. I get pissed when some of my colleagues snub
their fans openly in public.
In what ways has acting impacted positively on your
life, especially as a married woman?
In so many ways, like I told you earlier, I usually
feel so happy whenever I’m called to deliver the role
of a mother in movies. And such roles also impact
positively on my life and those watching. Through
acting also, I have been able to rediscover an inner
and hidden talent, which I’m now using to impact
positively on the society.
How do you feel most times when people mistake you
for top actress – Ngozi Ezeomu, because the two of you
have some resemblance?
Well, I have been told that and mistaken for her
several times, but whenever it occurs I usually tell
them I’m not her, but Joyce Kalu.
Let’s go back a bit, how was it like the first day
you faced a camera on set?
It was not easy, being my first time, but the
director and cast members kept urging and propping me
- It was a memorable experience that I won’t forget
in a hurry.
Are you romantic?
Very, very romantic, at least my husband can
testify to that. He also knows I’m loving and very
cheerful and caring.
Describe yourself for us?
Joyce Kalu is an easygoing woman, full of life,
industrious, principled and God fearing.
What are your views on Nollywood?
We thank God for Nollywood and are also very proud
that it’s making waves globally. Our moviemakers are
trying their best but government should come in and
assist especially through legislations that would help
and curb the activities of pirates.
When the time comes, what would you love to be
For my motherly roles in Nollywood movies and the
Joy I brought into homes via my sweet movies.
First published, July 2006