Emerging screen diva, Esther Audu, will no doubt go places in Nollywood. She’s not only passionate about acting, but has also set a target for herself and burgeoning career in the make believe world.
With over a dozen movies and a couple of sizzling soaps to her credit, the Igala, Kogi State born starlet, has not stopped dazzling fans with her acting prowess and diction.
Constantly striving for excellence in her promising career, Miss Audu, a Business Management graduate of the University of Jos, Plateau State, is optimistic, she’s destined for the top in her chosen career.
Currently on locations within the Lagos metropolis lensing a brand new soap with veteran actress/producer, Franca Brown, alongside other leading acts, Audu, is of the view that the soon-to-debut production would further move her to the next level, in Tinsel town.
Speaking recently with AZUH AMATUS, in her first major interview, the 23 year-old daughter of a retired Soldier, bared her youthful mind on several professional and private issues. The soft-spoken actress that currently shuttles between Lagos and Abuja, also spoke about her undying passion for acting and many more.
Enjoy the interaction!
Let’s start this chat with an official introduction
Thank you, my name is Esther Audu, I’m from Igala, Kogi State. I’m a Christian and a believer, from a family of six. In fact, I am the last girl; we have just a boy. I’m a graduate of the University of Jos, where I studied Business Management, just graduated and yet to go for my NYSC. I live in Abuja with my parents and siblings. I love cooking, travelling, listening to music and watching movies.
I’m 23, and was born on March 22, I’m an introvert and a shy person too, some people also say I’m quiet, I don’t know about that. I only know I don’t talk too much. I believe in hard work and love people who are focused and determined. I believe that if you work hard, you would definitely achieve your heart desires, though, it might take time, but you’d definitely achieve it. I believe in God and trust in Him so much. I also seek his direction in whatever I do.
What actually led to your becoming a believer?
The truth is that life is very short and uncertain, you do not even know what will happen next, besides, people die every day and you do not even know when your time will come. I believe that everything people enjoy in this world, they can still enjoy it in Christ, even better.
How was growing up and where did you grow up?
Growing up was fun, I was born in Lagos, Ikeja Containment to be precise, and my dad was a military man, a retired Army officer. We left Lagos for Abuja in 2002, I had part of my primary and secondary schools in Abuja, and so growing up in Abuja was fun and memorable.
It was fun growing up with my parents in the midst of my other siblings. I thank God and feel very happy to have come out from that wonderful family. Mr. and Mrs. James Audu are the best parents in the world. If I reincarnate, I would still love to come back to them. Nobody would ever give to me the kind of good training they impacted on me. They made me what I am today.
As one of the fast rising actresses in Nollywood, when and how did you come in?
It actually started when I was in secondary school; I wanted to be a newscaster then. I was also in the Drama and Literary group in secondary school and we were doing stage dramas and other stuffs. However, the whole thing changed in 1996, when I was among those selected to represent Nigeria, in Ghana, at kidafest, that was when I started building the passion for acting. After that experience, my attention shifted from news casting to acting and has since remained like that. Immediately after my secondary school, I joined a church drama group called Redeemed at his Majesty parish, in Abuja. Through that group I got a lead movie role courtesy of Alex mouth, it was a Christian movie in 2003. Mouth actually encouraged and helped groomed my professional acting career. After that production, he called me for another audition in Jos, in 2004. The movie was titled: Ungodly Romance. I later did Sins of Rachael with them in Jos, these earliest movies and several others helped launch my career fully into Nollywood.
Even, while an undergraduate, I was also going for auditions and partaking in one or two movies. I also turned down jobs that were coming in between my studies and I. Obi Madubogwu, later invited me to Lagos for an audition which I did, but ended up not getting the role. One of the judges, Norbert Ajagu, saw me and liked my style at the audition. He later called me for a movie entitled: Fatal Mistake, where I played a sub lead. It was fun working on that set with some big names. After that, I have done over ten movies currently; I’m working with Franca Brown and others on the set of a new soap. The working title is Black Sheep and I’m playing Doris, a young and struggling girl, who is constantly battling the many vicissitudes of life, in her quest for true love.
How did your path cross with that of Franca Brown?
Franca Brown got my contact from Norbert Ajagu and we eventually met. Since we went on set, it’s been fun and fun on locations. In fact, I’ve never worked with a female director before, but working with her has been rewarding and totally different. She’s a very good director and brings out the best in you. Although, this is my second soap as an actress, but the fun and excitement are indescribable. Our Lives, was my first soap, we shot in Jos and Kaduna.
What are the challenges so far?
The only challenge I have right now is that most filmmakers do not like giving up and coming stars like me, the opportunity to grow and excel. They don’t believe in you because they have not seen much of you. They like repeating old faces. I want them to give us the opportunity to display our immense talents. On the issue of sexual harassment, it has never happened to me. As a lady, men will definitely pass glances at you and even woo you, which is normal, I do not see that as sexual harassment. If you are interested in his advances, you say yes and if you are not, you say no, nobody is going to force you. If you feel that the only way I can work with you is by dating you, you can as well keep your script. I’m not in a hurry or in a rush to get to the top. I know that I will definitely get there, because this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. For me, it’s not really right to mix pleasure with work.
Have you ever been owed production fee, by filmmakers?
No, I always get paid my fees as at when due.
Since you started acting prior to gaining admission into Unijos, several people would have expected that you would have settled for Theatre Arts, instead of Business Management, why?
For me, acting is a calling and something I’ve always loved to do, while Business Management for me, is a profession. As a business manager, you manage a lot of things, and management is needed in every facet of our daily lives. I will still go back to school to have a degree in Theatre Arts.
What would you say you like most about being an actress in Nollywood?
The fun of Nollywood is unrivalled, I feel so happy whenever I move from one location to another facing the cameras and meeting people. Mind you, I like travelling.
Who’s that Nollywood star that you look forward to working with, but has not been opportune to do so?
Sincerely, I look forward to working with Genevieve Nnaji. I admire her as a lady and an accomplished actress. People say I have some striking resemblance with her. Some even ask me if we are related. But on the foreign scene, I admire Angelina Jolie so much.
As a single lady, what kind of man would appeal to you?
My ideal man, first and foremost, must have the fear of God, be focused, hard working, comfortable, dark in complexion, and tall. And please, don’t ask me if I’m currently seeing somebody because I do not want to talk about that on the pages of newspapers.
Do you believe in love and has it been fair to you?
Yeah, I believe in love and if has been very fair to me.
At 23, do you think you are ripe for marriage and its attendant challenges?
I’m very much ready for marriage and the challenges that come with it.
And what if your dream guy says quit acting would you oblige him?
I think that is something we can sit down and talk over like mature couple. Besides, if he really loves me, he can’t come and tell me to quit something that really makes me happy. If I tell you acting makes me happy and you can’t take it, then you go. In a nutshell, my man must allow me to act.
How about your parents, did they endorse and bless your sojourn into Nollywood?
Yes, because they’ve always followed my social life right from secondary school. They only told me to always have it at the back of my mind that I have a family name to protect and also try and put God first in whatever I do.
Back to marriage again, won’t you be scared going into it, especially now that most marriages in Nollywood are crashing?
That is a serious one, but I believe you can build your family by not allowing your career to affect it. As an actress, you should always have time for your family. Marriages fail, because a lot of people go into it with false illusions and beliefs. Some are also rushing into it because of pressures from families and friends. Understanding matters in marriage.
What would you say is the greatest thing being in Nollywood has done to your life and career?
I won’t deny the fact that being in Nollywood has opened some doors for me. It has also helped to reposition my career. For now, nothing great yet, but some advantages and privileges.
But what is that thing you hope to achieve by being in Nollywood?
I really want to get to the peak of my career. I see Genevieve Nnaji as my role model, but I hope to surpass her achievements, by dint of hard work. I want to act all my life.
How do you cope with advances from men?
I’m a lady and men will always come. Men want to date you, but you can’t go out with all of them. They come always and I try to listen to them. I’m unique and have my own style. My diction also stands me out as an actress. Also, my comportment thrills most people that come around me.
Are you romantic?
Well, I don’t know, but I’m very emotional.
Have you ever cried for love?
You cry sometimes and get happy sometimes too. Yes, I’ve cried for love severally. But I do not want to go deep into this discussion, so that I do not end up crying.
First published, September 2009.