Mulatto actress, Alex Lopez is one of the few top stars in Nollywood who is so proud to be a single parent. The ‘Piccadilly’ star who had also mesmerized her teeming fans in other box office movies became a mother outside wedlock at the tender age of seventeen.
And today, Joshua, her son is fourteen years old. “He is my world and everything… I’m still single and not desperate to get married because I’m still waiting for the man that will love me and my son with all his heart, divulged the half Brazilian, half Nigerian, who was also the second Runners Up, in the 1993 edition of the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria beauty pageant.
Still speaking further, the repackaged and rebranded superb roles interpreter who sauntered into Nollywood in 1995, on the set of that monster hit movie titled “Karishika”, admitted that the game of love has not been fair to her.
“A lot of people take undue advantage of us as actresses. And because we are actresses, they also feel we are wayward”, fires Lopez, who is a History and International Relations undergraduate of Lagos State University.
The second child in a family of six who refused to say much about the father of her son and her own father, who is from Brazil. When prodded further, retorted thus: “My son’s father should be around somewhere in Nigeria here. My dad and mum are separated”
Alex in this hearty chat with AZUH AMATUS, says she’s is very optimistic about settling down with her God’s given man before June 23, when she will clock 31.
Enjoy the interaction!
How is Lopez doing and what has been happening to her?
(Giggles) Lopez is very, very fine. She’s been around acting, traveling and maintaining a low profile indoors
How about the rumour making the rounds that you have abandoned acting for some other businesses?
No! No!! No!!! That is not true; I have not abandoned acting for any other business. You know people speculate a lot in Nollywood. Acting has and will always be my first love. I just feel that every artiste should have some break after working for a long period of time in order to refresh and be able to come back stronger for your fans. Most people don’t also know that the recess we went on two years ago changed a lot of things in Nollywood. After that recess lots of artistes became redundant. Funny enough, during that period I dazzled into poultry farming with a friend of mine, and it was really nice. I later found out it was a viable business. It would also interest you to know that I grew up on a farm and that really drew me very closer to nature. In fact, I’m in love with nature and earthly things…
Is your farmhouse still operational?
It used to but it is no longer operational now. The owner of the land says he wants to make use of his land. The place is at Meiran Layout, on your way to Sango-Ota. Then, we were into broilers and it was really thriving. We were supplying lots of blue chips companies then.
So you made so much money from this farming business before it packed up?
The only thing I can tell you was that I enjoyed what I did then. Another truth is that there is lots of money to be made from poultry farming.
Do you intend going back to the business as soon as you get another farmland?
Yes. I will do that as soon as I can put my resources together. You know for small time farmers like us, it is very difficult to get agricultural grants…
Are you saying your popular face cannot do that for you?
It does not work like that. It is a different ball game compared to being in the showbiz. Besides, I so much believe in hard work and not doing things the backdoor ways.
When did you appear last in a movie and which was your last movie?
I did lots of movies last year, especially towards the end of the year. I think Broadway was my last movie and it came out this year. Others are yet to come out. I’ve been busy working and maintaining a very low profile. I also try to be very selective with the scripts that were coming my way.
Currently, are you on set?
No. I just left one last week. It was a movie directed by Ruke Amata. It was titled Growing Up.
You used to be very controversial then, all that seems to have waned down. What happened?
Look they said appearances are deceitful. People take a look at you and they indirectly sum-up who they think you are. In the last couple of years, the kind of image people had about me was not Lopez. Then a lot of people misconstrued me because of what you guys were writing about me then. It was a trying moment for me then. I never enjoyed it.
So, how were you able to build this new image that is devoid of controversies?
Very simple! I just learnt to stay on my own. They said I clubbed a lot then, but I’ve never been a clubbing person. It was one of the bad images that were created about me. We are individuals with our personal lives; so right now I’m living my own personal live without interferences from any quarter’s, It makes me feel sad and even cry when bad and false things are written about me in the media.
Between last year and this year like how many movies have you featured in?
I think about six movies. And among these movies, Broadway was very challenging. It was a different thing from all the roles I’ve been playing. My fans were used to seeing me playing bad girl, seductress and what have you. But In the movie, I played a very emotional role.
In real life, are you very emotional?
Everyone has a bit of emotionalism in him or her. Alex is a very sensitive woman and very soft inside.
You are a single parent with a 14 year-old son, Joshua, how does that make you feel?
My son is very, very okay. He is doing very well. I’m also proud to have a 14 year-old son. It feels good and great. He is very intelligent and handsome. He is also my best friend.
Are you in constant touch with the dad?
Well, that is my personal life. Remember, we agreed to talk professionally here and in as much as you want a bit of my personal life, that of my son should be left alone.
Okay, but why didn’t you marry the father of your son?
Let’s say irreconcilable differences made us not to marry then. (General laughter).
And where is he now?
I don’t know. May be, somewhere around here in Nigeria.
Do you still communicate with him?
I’m tired of answering your questions from that angle. Don’t you have other things to ask me?
At what age did you have Joshua?
I was seventeen when I had him.
And your parents, how did they feel and react?
(Lowers voice) Well, my parents felt bad like every other parent. In fact, they felt let down but they were supportive too.
But most times, do you feel bad or even regret the fact that you had your first child outside wedlock at seventeen?
No way! I have never felt bad having my son outside wedlock. Right now, I feel God wanted me to have the baby then, because it helped to shape my life. It has also helped to make me a more responsible woman…my son keeps me in check. I put him first before I do anything. I’m full of thanks also to my mum; she’s been damn too supportive.
You have talked so passionately about your son. So, what do you cherish most about him?
His understanding and encouragement at his little age trips me a lot.
But are you sure that your son is happy to have a mother that is not always there for him because of your busy location schedules?
He is happy with what I’m doing. I create enough time for him despite my busy schedules. I’m always with him whenever I’m not working. We also speak on phone always whenever I’m on set. It’s been nice having him around me.
But how has it been raising Joshua up as a single parent?
It’s been challenging and wonderful. My mum like I said earlier has been very supportive together with my siblings. They have never for once made me feel rejected or unwanted.
What would you say is the biggest lesson you have learnt as a single parent mum?
The biggest lesson I have learnt today as a single mum is that having a child at an early age is not the end of life for you. Though, I’m not saying that it is good to have a child outside wedlock. I refused to let that drawback weigh me down in life. The support you give your child and the one you get from your family really counts.
Aside your son, what else do you cherish in life?
I cherish my mum and entire family. I have a very big sense of family loyalty to them no matter how outsiders perceive such family when the chips are down, your family remains for you. I also cherish some of my good pals; they’ve been wonderful and exceptional as pals.
If you were not in showbiz today, what else would you have been doing?
I probably would have completed school by now first. I have flair for languages; currently I’m studying History and International Relations at LASU. I would have finished since, but I left studies for many years because of my busy schedules.
Aside English, do you speak any other foreign language?
No. I did a French course at Allaince Francais. So I speak a bit of French. Aside acting, I would have still loved to be a big time farmer and a career diplomat.
Talking about Nollywood. How and when did you come in?
I came into acting after Ben Bruce’s Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria Pageant in ’93, where I was the Second Runners-up. I represented Delta State. The winner that year was Roli Gbinigie. After that I got into modeling and did some calendar jobs and TV adverts. Leo Onwordi, who was a family friend of ours then brought me into the industry. He told me to come for an audition of a TV soap titled Daughters of Eve, but unfortunately, we didn’t get the project started due to lack of sponsors. I came in fully into Nollywood between 94/95 on the set of Karishika, where I was given a scene to play. My breakthrough came via Piccadilly and Domitilla 2. All my movies put together from then till now are not up to 50.
Has any among these your movies really challenged you?
The truth is that my role in Domitilla as a lesbian still follows me. Even though, I’m not one. Piccadilly really challenged me. I got a scare on my face from that movie while learning how to ride a power bike. Echoes, was also demanding, because I clean shaved in that movie, also with Scouts and Rebels. I like tasking movies a lot not the normal bedroom types.
As a child growing up, was becoming an actress on your mind?
As a child growing up, I was wrapped up in my own world of fantasies dreaming of becoming a career diplomat. And by the grace of God, I will achieve that some day. As a child then, I also dreamt of living on my own poultry farmland. It was so for me, because I grew up in the North. I was born in Jos and grew up in Bauchi. Growing up in the North then was lovely.
How about your father, you’ve been talking about your mum alone since this interview began?
My parents are separated, but my dad is still alive.
As a pretty and rising actress then, did some producers and directors harass you sexually?
No! Nobody ever did that to me. Everything has to do with your qualities and principles. My aura and principles kept them at bay. Then it was not easy attending six to seven auditions in a day. And I must also confess that it was not easy for me getting to the top.
How would you describe Alex Lopez?
Alex is just a very simple and homely person.
Tell us about your family
I’m from a family of five girls and a boy. I’m child number two. It’s a lovely family. My father is a Brazilian while my mum is from Obosi, Anambra State. I’m a naturalized Lagosian.
When was the last time you met with your dad one on one?
I see him whenever I want to see him.
How is the relationship like?
(Cuts in) Good!
At 31, has the game of love been fair to you?
Well, the game of love hasn’t really been fair to me, because as an actress lots of people don’t take you serious. They feel because you are an actress, automatically you should be wayward and not the kind of person to take home to mama and papa. It takes a patient man to see the kind of person that Alex is… My love life has been good and bad.
Currently are you into an affair?
No! I’m not into any right now. It’s less stressful for me. And I’m not searching for a man right now.
Are you insinuating that you don’t want to have anything to do with men again?
I’m not insinuating that. If the right person comes; I might give it a trial. I’m looking for that man that will understand me as Alex and not as an actress. Men like women that are not truthful to them, especially the ones that live fake lives. Most men find it difficult flowing with real women who are also sincere.
Is marriage on your mind?
Marriage is on every woman’s mind, because that was what God created us to be-companions to the men.
Are you saying mum is not pressuring you to get married?
Mummy understands and wants the best man for Alex.
What kind of man would appeal to you?
My ideal man must have a sense of loyalty, be patient with me and also loves my son. He should also be God-fearing
Do you believe in love?
I believe in God’s kind of love, it’s called Agape love. It is the love that does not let you down. Everlasting kind of love. Love to me is all about respecting the person that is with you… definitely love to me is not all about sex or lusting after somebody.
What are your passions & Phobia?
l love working out, cooking and sleeping a lot. I don’t think I like pets. Height is my biggest phobia.
As a top actress, what would you say is your biggest achievement?
Starting from the scratch and getting to the top of my career is my biggest achievement in Nollywood today.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind as a top actress?
I want to be remembered as that actress who started from the scratch and rose to the height of her career through dint of hard work without couch casting.
As a pretty and top actress, how do you cope with advances from men?
I’m a very jovial and an interesting person. I always laugh off their advances.
Who are your closest pals in Nollywood?
I have Uche Jombo, Susan Patrick and few others.
When next are you going back to soaps?
Soon, we are shooting a new soap for NTA, it’s called Haven. I’m playing the lead role. It will start running from the first week of May.
Has acting been financially rewarding to you?
Yes, except that some of us are not being paid our worth.
First published, April 2005.