I Wept Profusely Day I Pierced My Lips - Yvonne Okoro

Yvonne Okoro is a beautiful lady with a good sense of humour and the Nigeria/Ghana born actress has become one of the most sought- after actresses in Ghana and Nollywood. She speaks on her foray into the movie industry, among other issues, in this interview with ADUNOLA OLADAPO,Excerpts:

Tell us briefly about your new movie, The Contract?
The Contract tells a story of a successful businessman, Peter Puplampo, the ultimate alpha male. He is 40 years old, rich and a chronic bachelor. Despite his mother’s persistent attempts to find him a woman, Peter sticks to his rule of non-committal casual dates, freedom and being in control of his life until the desire to have a child arises. 
In his quest to find the woman who will take his money, have his child and disappear, Peter begins a roller-coaster, contractual relationship with Abena Boateng, Yvonne Okoro, a crude but cleverly local girl, who is anything but impressed by Peter’s affluence. With a clear definitive contract from his lawyer outlining the dos and don’ts of bearing Peter Puplampo’s child, these two opposites must exercise every bit of will power not to kill each other until the child is born. The movie is an unsuspecting romantic comedy with unusual twists that expose the flaws in being in control of one’s life.

Is this your first movie? 
Yes, this is my first ever and I am happy about the acceptance.

Now that you have done the premiere; what’s next? 
We are looking at premiering in other parts of the world, then do the DVD release. We have already done the premiere of Ghana and Nigeria; we are looking at London now as our next port of call.

Like how much would you say you have expended on this project? 
It cost me a whole lot of money, I am not going to say a yard or two yards but it cost a fortune.

For a while now, little has been heard about you in Nollywood and Ghollywood; what informs that? 
Well, for me, I think my reason for doing this movie is that, I wanted a movie that I could control the script, the characters, the director, basically, I could pick who I wanted to work with and I wanted to concentrate on quality rather than quantity. 
So, I think, my problem is that I always wanted the best script before I did it. Imagine doing 10 movies a month and most of these stories are the same, same character always! You see in Hollywood, they do one movie a year and the next time you see them in another movie, they are different and you say how fantastic, these are beautiful actors and they are better than us, but it’s not that, it’s because they chose to be different in what they do.
You will be the first renowned Ghanaian actress to storm the soil of Nigeria for premiere… 
I am half Ghana, half Nigeria. Coming here to premiere my movie simply means that I am coming back fully to my fatherland.

Your character in the movie, Contract, can you really do that in the real sense of it? 
Never! I don’t think I can. I can’t carry somebody’s baby, I can only carry my baby, I will be too sad to do that because going through that kind of life could be stressful; the labour, then carrying the baby for nine months and I will now just hand it over to someone for how much? $10 million? No, it’s so small but I am not that expensive.
You are beautiful, no doubt and no man would not turn head when you pass by, is there anyone you are seeing secretly? 
Thanks for the compliments but no, I am not seeing anyone secretly or openly.

So, guys can forward their proposals? 
Sure, please forward it through my system so I can check all the files to see if some have virus. (Laughs)

Nollywood or Ghollywood, which one do you prefer? 
I think there is no basis for comparison. At this point, you don’t have to place one above the other because in Australia, you don’t have people there saying they have their own kind of cinema or entertainment industry, but they all project Hollywood. There is the need for us too in Africa to have this kind of uniformity, I mean, one voice for Africa cinematography and not Nollywood, Ghollywood or what have you. We should all be united so that at the end of the day, it should be something the whole Africans can be proud to be part of. There is no basis for segregation.
With your level of closeness and rapport, I was expecting your movie to be directed by Frank Rajah, so what happens? 
Who directs my movie doesn’t matter but giving the job a good meaning is all that matters to me. Number two, I am not going to give you my movie to direct based on the fact that we are friends. I will give you the chance because I feel may be this script will be shot better than the other ones. You never know who will be in my next project; it could be Frank, Pascal or Kunle Afolayan.

Talking about next project, when are we expecting another chart buster like this from your stable? 
I don’t like to talk about what I have not done but what I am sure I have finished work on. You didn’t know how this one came out, so, I just want it to be like that. But I am sure it will be soon.

How would you describe yourself, an extrovert or an introvert?
I am a very reserved person. I’m kind of very family- oriented. I’m more or less like an introvert. That is the truth. I’m always at home and always like to read and watch movies. I’m quite boring in short. But then I have my days that I’m extrovert and all loud. Yes!

As a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
I wanted to be a journalist. That was one profession I really used to love. When I was a kid, there was GTV which is Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) and they used to have this evening announcement and they write it up and it comes onto the screens. I used to practice how to read it and my favourite idol (news anchor) was Brabra Sam, now she is Brabra Gaisia. There was this other woman but I can’t remember her name. I used to love her (Brabra). She is so gorgeous, calm and classy and she reads so well.

You said you are half Nigerian, half Ghanaian, can you explain how? 
First of all, I am an African. It does not matter if I am a Ghanaian or Nigerian. The most important thing is, I’m a citizen of the world. But my dad is a Nigerian from Abia State and and my mum is Ghanaian. She is a Fante woman.

What’s the most important thing about you?
For me, it will probably be my family. My family is the most important thing to me. They are my rock. For me, it is just my family because without them, I won’t be here. They are so supportive. They are like my support system in everything I do, not just in acting. My mum and my sisters are my best friends. That woman is great mum ever, so are my sisters.

What’s your strongest sense?
That should be taste, because I like to try different things. I like food, I like to enjoy different foods because I have that motherhood characteristics. But I also probably have to say smell because my mum has the sharpest nose ever and growing with her, if you smell badly she will caution you. So, I probably have to say these two. But for me, it will definitely be taste.

What kinds of movies do you enjoy most yourself? 
The funniest thing is, in my house, they think I’m so boring because I can watch the weirdest movie ever. I don’t enjoy a particular type of movie. I can do classic, I can do drama, I can do thriller, I can do comedy. I can do anything so far as it is a good movie.

What’s something you’ve done that surprised even you? 
I pierced my mouth. That surprised me. I was there one day in France and I said to myself, you know what, I am going to be a rebel. So, I decided to go and pierce my lips and I pierced my lips. It was the most painful thing ever. I shouted so much that everybody downstairs came up. I was in tears. It was the most painful thing. But for me, I think it was an experience I probably won’t dream about because I won’t do it again.

What drives you crazy? 
That will be a friend who is fake or somebody who is fake. I hate pretence. I fall in love with friends, but if I tell you everything like my best friend and then you cross a certain line, that will really hurt me. It means you are not keeping our friendship 100 per cent real and that will drive me insane.

What’s something about you that you hope will never change? 
That’s me. The character I am will never change. Before and after I entered into acting, I have stayed true to myself, my root and who I am. That is the thing I won’t change about myself.

What books have made a big impact on you? 
Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson. That book made a lot of impact on me. It is about adapting to situations and people who are caught in situations and they just can’t seem to adapt fully. It makes you more broad- minded and knows that it is not every situation that will be favourable to you. You have to make it favourable to you.

What’s something you regret losing, selling, or giving away?
That has to be my dresses. I always give my dresses out when I put on some pounds or when I buy new ones. When I give my sister a dress and then I see her wearing it, I go like where you got this dress? Then she goes like; you gave it to me. Then I go like; I didn’t know because it looks way better on her than on me. Then I get upset. So, we have arguments and she gives back the dress to me and once she gives it and I wear it and realise it is not good on me then I return it to her.

At what time of the day do you feel you’re best? 
When I have taken my bath in the morning and I’m just relaxed in my room and watching a movie and the whole place is all cool and quiet. That is the best time, I’m relaxed, I think and I’m happy.

What’s the most dangerous situation you’ve encountered? 
When I had an accident, which was really scary.
What are your messages to your fans or those who look up to you as a mentor? 
To my fans, thank you for being there for me; to those who look up to me as a mentor, patience, perseverance and pursuance of goals are the three Ps that will help you to the ladder with believe in God. So, apply these and see if the world will not give you a standing ovation.

Credits to Adunola Oladapo

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