HRH Theodora Chats to the Producer and Star of “For the Love of Money”
1. Tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Florence ‘Blaster’ Okonkwo. I am the Executive Producer and Producer of ‘For the Love of Money’, directed by Ruke Amata with Nelson Spyk as assistant director.
I attended LASU (Lagos State University) where I studied Banking and Finance. I was awarded a scholarship at Middlesex University to study Marketing.
I have always had a passion for acting and love to entertain. I have an outgoing personality and growing up, I was in the Red Cross and was a class captain, representing them when there were competitions. I also participated in many catwalk modelling shows. I won the award at Kings College Lagos for ‘Figure Eight’.
The Worshipful Deputy Mayor of Southwark Councillor, Lorraine Lauder MBE awarded me the ‘Volunteer-led Group Awards 2011 for ‘Sickle Cell and Young Stroke Survivors’.
As a young girl, I used to watch modelling programmes, and a lot of American films. When Nollywood films came into the scene, I fell in love with them and that created a very strong passion in me to be an actress. A lot of friends, movie directors and producers have been hinting at me to feature in movies because of my personality and my manner of dressing to be precise and also, because I have a lot of friends on the social media network.
However, I have also been very supportive to Nollywood films here in the UK; I have attended nearly all the movie Premieres and have given personal support to some films such as Francis Uwadi’s “Heartless Carer”; Sidy Diallo’s “The Soul”; Daniel Ndlara Robson’s “Broken Cross”, as actress and associate producer; Francis Uwadi’s “Oga Detective” and Toyin Moore’s “Blood Type”.
2. Is Nollywood UK different to that of Nigeria?
Nollywood UK is not different from that of Nigeria Nollywood. We are all under the same umbrella. However, there might be some kind of differences in terms of marketing. We in the UK are only involved in Premieres and also lack sponsorship but we will be there soon.
3. Tell us about your sojourn in the acting world and the movies you have featured in both new and old?
My first feature was in Shameful Deceit which was premiered on the 5th of July 2013 and recently, I featured in The Soul and 18 Carat Mama which was premiered in Light House on 26th of April 2014 and Odeon Cinema on the 2nd of May 20014 respectively.
4. How do you intend to step up your game in Nollywood?
By doing more of what I’ve already been doing such as getting involved and supporting of other producers’ productions, etc.
5. What does it mean to be Nollywood UK?
To be in Nollywood is to be in the 2nd largest film production industry in the World. So, it is to be excited. I am proud to be part of the Nollywood industry.
6. As an actor what are your priorities?
My priorities as an Actress are to be professional; listening and following instruction and working hard to meet the director’s demand.
7. What are the existing challenges facing the Nollywood film industry and do they differ to those facing the UK Nollywood industry?
The challenges are simple:
a. We are not yet full time actors in the UK;
b. We lack sponsorship;
c. We lack market strategy to distribute our films.
However, we shall get there soon.
8. What should we be expecting from you 2015?
Definitely bigger and better things. I am going higher than the weather, being an actress and a producer, bringing up greatness and good artistic work.
9. How did you get into acting?
I got into acting through the Queen of Nollywood, Hrh Queen Theodora Ibekwe-Oyebade’s Movie “Shameful Deceit” directed by Ruke Amata.
10. Would you ever play a role that requires nudity?
11. Give us an idea of a moment when you reach boiling point in Nollywood?
I’ve never had such a moment when I’ve reached boiling point in Nollywood. I take life easy and let GOD be in control.
12. Who is your role model in Nollywood Nigeria and Nollywood UK?
• Nollywood Nigeria: Chinwe Owoh
• Nollywood UK: Fred Aseroma
13. Name 5 Nollywood Stars you would love to work with?
1 Charles Awurum;
2 Mike Ezuruonye;
3 Ramsey Nouah;
4 Chinwe Owoh (I worked with her on “For the Love of Money”);
5 Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde
14. What’s your favourite Nollywood movie ever?
‘For the Love of Money’.
15. Any Message to upcoming actors?
Keep your head up, stay focused and do not get distracted from your goals. Believe in yourself and with God all things are possible.