We all know or have an idea on how large most of our celebrities are living today, and quite easily forget that they were once very broke and had to work tirelessly to get to were they are today.
In this new interview with Daily Newswatch, actress Mercy Aigbe takes us into her background, which she said informs her virtuosity, while attributing her phenomenal rise in the industry to God’s “mercies” and hard work.
Read interview below: -
Why did you settle for the Yoruba genre of Nollywood despite the fact that you are not Yoruba, plus you speak the English language quite fluently?
I actually started with the English sector of Nollywood. I did a soap then and a couple of movies in English. I later got a script from a producer in Ibadan and when the production came out, it was a hit. That was how I started getting scripts from the Yoruba sector of the industry and before I knew it, I had become a household name. That’s the story; it’s not as if I chose or prefer doing Yoruba movies.
Who were some of the actors that influenced you as a growing up kid?
I used to love Barbara Soky and then, there was Rosemary who played the role of Tara in a popular soap opera then. She was an hyper and was always screaming. I was so much in love with her character then. Over time, I fell in love with Liz Benson and Richard Mofe-Damijo and lots of others.
What was the lowest price when you were up and coming?
When I was a green horn, I went to a location and played the lead role in the movie. It was a shock to me when we rounded off and the producer squeezed five thousand naira into my hand. I felt like breaking down to cry. And this was a time when I already had a car and a flourishing business. I sat in my car in tears and said, “God, what is this? Is this for chewing gum or what?” but I took it and kept the hope alive. And today, I am smiling to the banks but I can’t tell you the precise figure I earn. I give God the glory.
What are some of the challenges you’ve encounter in the industry?
Nigerian journalists have not been fair to us actors. It’s often very sad when you see untrue, dirty details about you in the papers. They rubbish our reputation in order to sell their paper and it’s so heart breaking. Again, in the industry, you see people beefing you here and there. They feel jealous because you are relatively young in the industry and you are getting more roles than they who are veterans in the field. But what they don’t understand is that it is by the Grace of God. The Bible says that it is not the power of he that runneth but in God that showeth mercy. God even says in the bible that “I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy…
Incidentally, your name is Mercy…
Yes, so who are you to question God? When God’s favour is working in your life, you would always have an edge on all others. So, all these people in the industry that have been having bad blood with me saying “When did she come sef? Is she the only one? Kilode?” They don’t know that it is God that has been crowning my hard work with success. So, they better have a re-think. The best thing is to assist each other so that when they are telling their stories, they would mention your name as one of those who helped them to get there. And funny enough, if God wants to use you to assist somebody and you refuse, God will use another person. I think it’s a thing to be proud of when you encourage others to reach their dreams. I would like to use this medium to thank Yinka Quadri. When I started and was a complete green horn, he was there for me and very supportive of my dreams. It shouldn’t be just about you. When you get to a level in your career, you should be able to pull the up and coming ones up rather than bad mouthing them and trying to pull them down.
You are a beautiful young lady…
Thank you, I am blushing…I am turning red…
Any embarrassing moment?
Sometimes, I’ll just be driving or walking on the street and people would just be pointing at me saying “look at that girl that is always snatching somebody’s boyfriend in the movie.” Others would say “look at the girl that is always shouting in the film.” They don’t know that the character you play is different from who you really are. But it’s fun sha, it shows that people are really following your movies.
Let’s talk about your education?
Well, I attended St. Francis Primary School in Maryland. Then, Maryland Comprehensive High School in Maryland, Lagos. I was first at The Polytechnic, Ibadan, for my post secondary education and later at the University of Lagos, where I studied Theatre Arts. I finished in 2003.
What about your growing up?
I grew up in Lagos. My growing up was interesting but not so rosy. It was interesting because I have loving parents but not all that rosy because my father is a strict disciplinarian. He is the type that doesn’t take nonsense from any of his children. He is a proud and typical Benin man and he used to flog me a lot because I was very stubborn then. He doesn’t believe in sparing the rod and spoiling the child so he did all he could to make sure we had good morals. It wasn’t easy back then but I am glad today he did all that because some of the things he taught us then are helping me till date.
Words for up and coming ones who see you as their role models?
First, get an education. At least, be learned because it is going to help you. It is not going to be easy though because nothing in life comes easy, but he focused and pray. Don’t be deterred by any obstacle that comes your way and don’t allow anyone to intimidate you but you have to be humble and respectful to those you see as your senior colleagues. Don’t be rude to those you meet in the industry and be hard working, respectful and prayerful. Personally, I can’t stand lazy people. And please, don’t be a madam-know-it-all. Seek good advice from those who are your seniors to make things easy for you and you will