Young and enterprising actress, Hannah Ojo has spent about 10 years in the movie industry. She opened to The Entertainer about her career, Nollywood and other issues. Excerpts:

How did you come into acting?

A friend took me to an auditioning centre and I was auditioned for an epic film in which I later played the role of a lover girl, who is being sought after by so many guys and at the end of the day she has to pick someone she loves so much. After that I did Age of Paradise, the film that shot me into limelight in 2007. I also did Emerald, a soap opera and so many others.

Between films and soaps, which has brought out the best in you?

I have done more of soaps than films; so I will say soaps or TV series have brought out the best in me.

You’ve been in the movie industry for about 10 years, how has it been?

By 2015, I would have spent 10 years in the industry. But so far so good, it’s been a wonderful experience because this is an industry I came into as a teenager and I have grown into adulthood with lots of experience. This is an industry where I have lived all my life.

You were combining schooling with acting, how were you able to cope?

It was a wonderful experience because it was a pot pouri of so many things. For example, as an introvert some people thought I was arrogant. Back in school, I used to have few friends because a lot of people never really understood me. Apart from that, it was a nice experience because I was recognised among my peers, my lecturers also recognised me and this gave me an edge among my colleagues.

 

What about the guys?

I have so many of them as friends. In fact, I have more guys than girls as friends.

 

And more than enough toasters?

(Laughter) More than enough, all the same it was fun. Thank God that I was recognised then, and even now when I go out people stop to greet and shower encomium on me, saying they love my acting, among other things.

 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being popular?

The advantage is that you get recognised anywhere you go, like people paying for goods you bought at supermarkets. But the bad aspect of it is that people often believe that the role you play in films is your true character. For example, if you play the role of a prostitute they may call you ‘asewo’ or a witch if you play the role of a witch. But so far, I have not acted any bad role.

 

But you have been acting the role of a lover girl?

No, not all the time. I have also been acting some crazy roles, like a film, The Canal where I acted the role of a wicked single mother who lives in the ghetto. She is rude, saucy, and a junkie. She is also into prostitution among other things.

 

What are the challenges of playing such roles?

When I am given such roles, I would sometimes go to the market to learn how local women behave. I would go to the motor parks and observe how the touts behave, watch the way women selling ‘paraga’ behave because such roles center around how those women behave. That’s a bit challenging.

 

To what extent can you go on set?

To me, there is no big deal kissing or going topless on set. I don’t see anything wrong in it. It depends on the individual.

 

So you can go topless on set?

Going topless means no pant, no bra. I won’t go totally nude but I can go bikini.

 

You mean you can go bra and pant only?

Yes, I can go bra and pant.

 

For how much can you go nude?

No comment.

 

Have you really made money from acting?

No, I have not made money but I have made something that is okay for me. At least, I have been paying my bills.

 

Apart from acting, have you also considered modeling?

I haven’t. I got a proposal but I ended up not doing it. Apart from that I have been doing some television commercials but not the major ones.

 

Any plan to get married?

Of course, I will get married but not now.

 

Are you in a relationship?

Why are you asking?

 

So that guys can know whether you are free or not?

No comment.

 

You can’t tell me that you had an easy ride coming into the industry. What were the experiences you had?

The only bad experience I had was some producers asking me to pay into their bank accounts after auditioning, and sadly most of the productions did not see the light of the day.

 

Can you remember some of the productions and how much did you pay?

I can remember from 2005 to 2009, I was paying money into the bank accounts of some producers. But thank God the industry is changing now.