When you mention the Nigeria movie industry, it is easy to argue that the industry is being dominated by men; but recently there have been a major drift in the norm as women have taken the bull by the horn to give the industry a new look. In this exclusive interview, popular Nollywood actress, Ruth Kadiri extensively explained to Genevieve Magazine’s Jeffrey Oparah the transformation in the Nigeria movie industry and women’s involvement, the weirdest thing a fan did to her as well as more fascinating revelations. Enjoy it!
How can all women discover themselves in their respective careers?
I think it begins the same way life begins for everyone. First of all you have to ask yourself what you want irrespective of your gender and go for it, and define your path.
There’s been a recent transformation in the Nigeria movie industry, what would you say was that thing the industry did that brought about this transformation?
I would say “a hunger for change”. We watched the music industry evolve and we wanted that evolution ourselves and we asked ourselves what’s the way forward and basically getting in right, there were already laid down principles which we started following in film making and Boom!!! It’s all you see today.
Nollywood and women, we’re trying to marry them together. Looking at the activity of Women in the Black Panther movie, are we likely to see more of that in Nollywood where women will be more involved in the production process not just on-screen but behind the scene?
First of all, the idea of entertainment is a masculine phase, same way people think that the lifespan of a male musician lasts longer than that of the female musician, that’s also the same thing that happen in Nollywood. But for one weird reason or the other, most women are taking the bull by the horn. We’re having more female film makers than male. We have more successful female film makers than male film makers, you know and it’s becoming a female dominated industry and I’m proud of it. For me, its not about the gender, if you’re good at it, do it irrespective your sex. As a person, an I actually feel bad that people think it’s a male dominated industry, it’s the same thing with politics like “let’s all do it, let’s all get it if we deserve it”, but right now the women are taking the bull by the horn, and I’m also one of them and I’m proud of where I am and where my colleagues are and more women are coming into the picture.
Tell us something about Ruth Kadiri we don’t know?
(Laughs) Well I don’t know what you know so I wouldn’t know what you don’t know. I’m just me and I’m a goal getter. I know what I want and I go for it. I feel like I represent a lot of women out there. I basically have dreams and I’m pursuing it and getting it.
There is something you do in movies; you get into a character in a movie, you play the church girl and in the next movie you play the hard woman, how do you immerse yourself into these different characters in your movies?
First of all, I’m very passionate about my work. I don’t just act for the fun of it, I act because this is what I want to do, and I understand that I’m getting paid for this job and it is my responsibility to bring out any character i’m asked to play whether I’m comfortable or not and I also like to challenge myself with the kind of scripts I get, so that my brand doesn’t become stale. It’s quite easy, first of all, when you get a script, the first thing you ask yourself is “who am I”? . If you understand who you are, it just makes the job easier. If you understand who you are as an actor in interpreting a role, the rest just comes easy.
We recently had an actor here and he said that for every character an actor play in a movie, he or she has atom of that character in real life, do you agree?
(Laughs) No! We learn. Everyday for an actor is a day of learning, everything you see, the tree, the colours, the noise, the ambience, the peace; everything. Somehow, you imbibe it having not being aware until that day you’re asked to do it and it comes out and you don’t know how it happens. There are words that come out from my mouth and I’ll be like “how can I even say that” . So it’s there somehow, not necessarily because you learnt it, probably things you picked up from your environment. Every good actor or creative person picks up things from their environment. I do agree to an extent but I’m just stretching. I haven’t been pregnant before but sometimes when I interprete the role of a pregnant woman, people will be like “oh! Wow you did it well”. But I’ve seen pregnant women, I’ve seen women in labour and somehow it’s just there with me waiting for the day I’ll be expected to do something like that.
What is your greatest accomplishment as an actor?
Understanding that I can become anything. When I started acting, there were a lot of rules, there were a lot of norms, a lot of people you had to go through which kind of made the job difficult. If you didn’t get along with those people, it’s means that your career wasn’t going to go past a certain stage. But right now, there is so much freedom, so much liberty, I’m able to do what I want. I’m happy it’s happening in my era and that for me is an accomplishment. (Laughs)
Was there ever a time in your career or in your life generally that you got criticized for a decision you took?
Well, Yes! The act of going into the film business is one criticism I got from my dad and the process of being an actor and the continuity of being an actor is always on the verge of criticism. People will judge you by your job and generally the things they’ve seen your other colleagues do and a lot of other things. So you’re always generally being criticized.
What is the weirdest thing a fan has done to you?
Kiss me (general laughter).
So what was your reaction?
Shocked!!! And I just stood there, I didnt tell anybody, I just shut my mouth and walked away.
What project are you working on?
Errrm. Right now we just finished a movie Peperempe and we’re working on a series titled Somto. It’s a royal series and it will be on Iroko TV.
The day you’ll never forget?
The day I made my first 1 million.
50 million Naira or wisdom?
Life’s biggest mistake?
No! I can’t say that on-air (laughs)
Mouth odour or Body odour?
Hmmm. Body odour. If I have to choose between somebody with a mouth odour or body odour, I’ll choose somebody with a body odour because I’ll have to kiss that mouth everyday.
What will you not be caught doing?
Dancing naked in a music video.
Thank you so much Ruth for coming around.
Thank you ! Thank you!!