Influenced by a character better known as ‘Efe’ in the now rested soap, Behind the Clouds in the late 80’s, Nollywood actress, Angela Phillip did not hit the limelight until she starred in the blockbuster movie, Osofiason which heralded an era of comedy in the movie industry. Though in her teens then, she acted in other movies which made her face a regular feature on screen, till she decided to step aside which was not helped by the lull in the industry. Blunt and beautiful, Phillips has returned with a bang and has since shot many movies and soap operas. In this interview, the busty role interpreter who is more concerned about her relationship with her creator spoke about issues that borders on her career, love life, the industry, among others…
It has been long since you disappeared from the scene. Have you abandoned acting?
It is not possible to abandon acting. I just finished three productions in Abuja . They are- Life in Abuja , Beyond the Scar, Joshua of Our Time and I will be returning there again to shoot more films. Remarkable Night among others is in the market. I did some films last year and early this year. I have done about six films, soap operas, Igbo films, and many others that are yet to be released.
Actually, I went back to school and there was a point in time when the industry was going through a phase. It affected everybody, so, I occupied myself with other things like buying and selling, going back to school as well as working for God. I studied Public Administration in Lagos State University , LASU, but acting is my passion. It is something I love doing. If the scripts come my way, I will hit the set, but if they don’t, I engage myself in other things.
When you started acting, you were almost everywhere, what happened?
Then I was still quite young, I was not thinking of many things. I was looking for fame. I wanted my face to be in every film. So, I was not choosy as I was featuring in every film that comes my way just for me to be known because the more work you do, the more you are being recognised. But then, if you are not working, your face would not be registered in the minds of people.
Who were your contemporaries?
There are many of them. But the fact is that when they came into the industry and discovered that it was not as easy as it appeared,they left the scene and I cannot really say these are the people who are still in the industry with me. Actress Oluchi Phillips is the only person I can remember now.
There was a time when I spent a lot of time shooting a soap opera, Domino. Once you are shooting TV series, the home video producers would not give you jobs. One, you are always busy and Domino was a huge project. Sometimes, I do get scripts from the home video producers, but because I was on the set of Domino I turned down such offers.
Till date which is the most challenging movie you have done?
All my films were challenging. Is it Domino where I played the role of a 40 year old woman, or Pure Love where I acted as a blind person or Peacemaker where I played the role of a wicked married woman or is it Imabong where I had to act like a demonic Princess. Each film comes with its own challenge.
What actually influenced your decision to go into acting?
It was Efe, a character in the now rested soap opera, Behind the Clouds that influenced me. At a very tender age, each time I watched her, I wish to act like her and as providence would have it, I found myself in the industry. I was supposed to be working with one Mr. Clement and we went to Enugu with Emma Oguguo and others for a job. When we got there, the lady who speaks Owerri dialet fluently is supposed to have a bar tender and they asked me if I could speak the dialect and I replied in the affirmative. I acted as her younger sister. That was my first outing.
I was encouraged by late Sam Loco Efe, Mr. Ibu. When I came back, I felt like doing it again but the industry was very hot. It was not a place that I can really fit in. I left and came back again. I shot, Acceptance, Presidential Pardon, Pure Love, among others.
I disappeared from the
screen not because I was sexually harassed. I am a blunt person and I am not the type that somebody would say he wants to sleep with me. No, I am not desperate to go on set. Acting is something I want to do. It is not a do or die affair for me.
Then I was naïve. I felt since I am not sociable and a shy person, I should stay off the screen for a while.
What’s your favourite books?
I like reading the book written by my dad in the Lord, Rev. Dr. Sign Fireman, The Greatest Revelation. I love the book because it contains a lot of information about life and how to be at peace with your God after you are being saved as a Christian.
How did you meet Fireman?
I came to church like every other person. Before then, I was not a Christian. I decided not to go to church for some personal reasons. I used to watch Fireman whenever he was organising his crusade and I knew that some day, I would attend his church. So, I was at home one day when suddenly I decided to be closer to God. Not too long after this sudden feeling, I went to his church and everything changed. I became interested in the way he teaches the Word as well as he handles life issues. Since then, I have been here.
When did you become born again?
All the while, I have been a Christian and I have given my life to Christ. The only thing is that I was just floating not until I met Fireman. I now know the difference between being saved, being born again and what follows thereafter. Every church I go to would always say if you want to give your life to Christ, come out. Then I was still keeping relationships and all that. But when I came to Fireman’s Church, it was a different ball game. You cannot be fooling yourself and the same time say you are a born again Christian. I had to give up a lot of things for the sake of making heaven.
There was this rumour that you dated Fireman before he got married?
It is a very big lie! Please, I wouldn’t want to talk about it. There is no iota of truth in it at all. It is just a father daughter relationship. He is my spiritual father. People do not understand this thing we call father figure. A father figure is somebody who corrects you. A father is who you listen to, who impacts good things into your life. There are some rubbish things you may want to do but because of that person, you just have to stop it. It is not all about age.
As a philanthropist, what have you benefited from him?
My main purpose of coming to church is to seek God first. The Bible says, seek ye first the kingdom of God and every other things shall be added unto you. I am not here to benefit material things from him.
Most churches make Christianity very boring but my reason for being here is that I am enjoying the Bible very much. I am knowing more about God and my destiny. Dr. Fireman is grounded in the word. You cannot come to his church for one to two months and remain the same.
Do you hope to become a minister of the word someday?
I am a minister now. Inasmuch as you preach the word, you encourage people, you are a minister. I am an Assistant Pastor in Apapa but I am still under somebody as a trainee.
Are you not thinking of settling down?
If any good man comes to marry me and I like the person, why not? Maybe the ones coming are the wrong ones. I will like to marry a God fearing man, a trustworthy person, a friend who will be like my brother, father and husband. Everything rolled in one.
How do you see life?
I see life as give and take. Try to be yourself. Live and let live.
No regrets, it’s been all good.
Sometime ago you were also romantically linked with Chico Ejiro?
There is nothing like that. I was close to many people. I just shot a film with him last year and I played a lead role. It is a lie. So, have I also dated Fidelis Duker who has featured me in many of his films? I prefer men being my friends than ladies because they don’t have problem. Ladies gossip a lot. Men tell you how it is.
If you are not an actress, what would you be doing?
Maybe what I am doing today. I love encouraging people. All the while it is being there, it is all about ministering. It is not something I woke up one morning and decided to do. Destiny cannot be removed.
Reading , quiet time, cooking.
What is your comment on Nollywood so far?
A lot has been happening. It is not what it used to be. I started in the mid 90s. Then, it used to be fun. People appreciated us. A lot has changed like the quality of film we used to do then. When you are on set and you are leaving, some people would be crying just because you are done and travelling back to your station. But these days, you just hit the set, do your stuff and take your leave.
I am not impressed with the situation. Then, when you come into the industry, you don’t just start acting, you have to undergo training in acting.
Have you ever been sexually harassed?
Not at all. I have not been sexually harassed because I have never been desperate about the job. When some actresses say they are sexually harassed, you look at them, purse and then, you ask yourself if you have done anything that would want a man to sexually harass you. Sometimes, you see some of these girls half naked. What do you expect?
What do you want to change about yourself?
I love the way I am. My problem is that I trust people easily and I get hurt when I find out that people are not what they say they really are. Some people are so fake that it would be oozing out of them.
How many times have you been heart broken?
I will never allow my heart to be broken. Then, when I was dating, I knew when to end a relationship when it is not going my way. Sometimes, people come into your life for one reason or the other and when they fulfil it, they automatically stage a walk out. That is the way I see relationship, whether platonic or not.
Any plan of producing a movie?
I have one script. I was supposed to produce a movie last year but something happened, so, it is pending. But we are still working on it. It is going to be of quality standard.
My advice to up and coming actresses is to be less desperate but humble because humility is what would retain you.
Where are you from?
I am from Lagos State while my mother is from Imo. I do speak Yoruba and I have done a couple of Yoruba movies like Igbako, Adun, Irapada, among others. I grew up in Lagos . I had so many wonderful childhood memories.
I could be very naughty in the sense that I make noise a lot, play with kids.