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Nollywood actress, Mercy Aigbe-Gentry, tells REPORTER, Lukmon Akintola, about comparison to Funke Akindele, how she met her husband and the alleged faceoff with his ex-wife.
What have you been working on since your last movie, Osas?
I have been working seriously. It is just that I am not the type who makes noise about what she is doing. I did a movie titled Comfo after Osas. It will be released soon. Recently, I also shot Osas Reloaded, which is a sequel to part one of Osas. It was shot in London and America.
You seem to have developed a knack for comic movies in recent times, why is this?
As an actress, it is important to be versatile. I want to be an all-round actress; I want to explore the comic side of myself, which was why I shot Osas. The inspiration for the movie actually came while on the set of Papa Ajasco and people were laughing at every statement I made. It is not that I am tilting towards comedy; it is just that I am exploring the comedy side of myself. It shows that I am versatile.
Osas ended in part one as far as many people are concerned, why a reloaded version?
It is simply a result of demand. The movie actually had serious followership and people were demanding a follow-up, so I had to do it.
Do you agree that Osas was fashioned after Funke Akindele’s Jenifa?
Everybody wants to ride on the success of what is good, but I actually got the inspiration for the movie on the set of Papa Ajasco. If anybody thinks I fashioned Osas after Jenifa, I won’t take it as an insult because it is good to be associated with good things. The fact is that the people who said Osas is the same as Jenifa made the comment before seeing the movie, but after they saw it was unanimously agreed that they were two movies with different storylines. I think the reason for the whole comparison was because Osas is a comedy like Jenifa and the lead role in the movies was played by a lady.
How do you combine your responsibilities as a wife, mother and actress?
It has not been easy combining these three responsibilities, but like I always tell people God has blessed me with my own man. My husband is a very understanding and mature man who loves me with all he has. He knows my job makes me happy and because he wants a happy woman at home he gives me all the support needed. This makes my job easy. I cook his soup and put it in the freezer if I have to go to a location. My housemaid warms it when he needs it. Some men are very funny and they will tell you they can’t eat the same soup for two days, but my husband is not like that. I also have a very loving and supportive family.
Does your schedule make your husband play babysitter at times?
Like me, my husband is a very busy man, but because he loves children, often times you just find him playing with the kids at home. He likes to spend quality time with his children.
You often say you are the only wife of your husband, how possible is this knowing he is married to another woman?
It is a fact. I am the only wife of my husband. He is divorced from his other wife. When I met him, he and his ex-wife were already separated, but the case was still in court. They are now divorced now. They have been for about two to three years. I am the only wife he has and I have no rival.
What is the bond between Michelle your first child and Juwon your son?
Before Juwon was born Michelle was always asking when she would get a brother. This was because most of her friends had younger brothers. So, when Juwon came it was awesome. Juwon is Michelle’s best friend. And despite the fact that he is small, she still sees him as her friend and her son because there is a nine-year gap between them. Juwon sees Michelle as his mate, maybe because he is a boy, I don’t know.
Has your husband accepted Michelle as his own child?
Olanrewaju Gentry is a very special man. He is a rare gem. He accepted her as his own child before we got married and Michelle calls him daddy. Because she is dark-complexioned and somehow looks like him a lot of people don’t even know she is not his biological daughter. I have three step daughters and with my own two children I have five children to care for. When they all come together it is a big happy family. The bond between the five of them is fantastic because you won’t even know they are from different fathers. My husband has been able to bring everybody together.
Do you extend this love to the mother of your step children?
I don’t have any problem with my husband’s ex-wife. We exchange pleasantries whenever we see. In fact, when my step daughters come to Nigeria and they want to visit their mother they take Juwon and Michelle with them. We don’t have any bad blood in our family, we love each other.
Do you agree with those who describe you as snobbish?
How can that be possible? Anybody who describes me like that does not know me at all. I am a down to earth person. I am very friendly and I get a lot of compliments for being humble.
But you can be wild at times
I am not the wild type. Maybe because of the roles I interpret in movies people have the tendency to think I am wild or crazy. I am not wild and I am not an introvert. I am in-between. Why would you call me a wild person when I don’t party, I don’t club and I don’t drink or smoke? If I am not in a location, I like to spend quality time with my children. I like to sleep too.
How did you meet your husband?
We met through a mutual friend.
What was the attraction?
It wasn’t love at first sight for me, but for him it was. I didn’t want to have anything to do with him initially because I thought he was married, but when he insisted he wasn’t I agreed to his proposal.
How fashion conscious are you?
I love fashion. I like looking good because I believe if you look good you will attract attention. Before you open your mouth to talk people will appreciate you. And when you open your mouth to talk they will be eager to hear what you have to say. I am a fashion lover and I am proud to say it. A lot of people think I have a stylist, but I actually style myself. God has given me the gift that makes me put everything together and it comes out looking good.
Some men would probably fantasise about you even after two children. What is the secret?
I am blessed. My friends tell me I don’t look like someone who has given birth to two children, but the truth is that I take care of myself. I don’t go the extra mile to do anything extraordinary, but I am blessed with the kind of stature that God has given me. I exercise, I diet when necessary and when I am at home I relax.
What part of your body appeals to your husband the most?
I would say my face, but more specifically my eyes and my lips.
What was your life like as a young lady?
Before I got married I was not the average single lady. I was a single parent because I had already gotten my daughter. Having a child makes you responsible because you think of your child before doing anything. As a single mother then, I had to take care of my child and there was really no time to party, I was always working.
But you had time for men?
There was also no time for men. I had a girl and I was being careful what I did because I didn’t want the family of my baby’s father to consider me a spoilt girl. I also wanted to show them that after my sad experience I could still stand up and be successful in life. I wanted my child and my family to be proud of me.
Can you emphasise on what you meant by your bad experience?
It is a bad experience that I don’t like to dwell on. I don’t like talking about my past; I like to look at my future. I am now married and I have moved on. If I say a bad experience I am sure people would understand that I mean either a failed marriage or something close to that, but I don’t want to go into details.
Would you say your parents are proud of you now?
Yes they are. I used to be a stubborn child, but now I have changed. Then, my father was against my being an actress, but I decided to follow my heart and I am sure they are proud of me today.