Despite her late father’s warning that she should not venture into acting, “very stubborn” Ucheobi Jessica Jombo, damned all consequence and gave her body and soul to Nollywood.
“I disobeyed my very strict dad who is now deceased to go into acting.
My first movie was Visa To Hell by Fidelis Duker in ’98. But Adure by Charles Ifeduba, where I played lead the following year, really established my name and presence in Nollywood”.
From Abiriba, Abia State, Jombo also made headlines few years ago when her celebrated romance with veteran actor, Norbert Young, crashed amid accusations and counter accusations from the estranged lovers. “I don’t like talking about my affair with Norbert. He is now married and we greet whenever we see,” she said in a voice filled with emotion.
Uche, who read Maths and Statistics from the University of Calabar, in this exclusive chat with Daily Sun, also spoke glowingly about the new man in her life. “He is humorous, dark and tall.
He also makes me laugh always. Though, he has not proposed to me, I pray everyday for him to do it this year”.
Miss Jombo, you’ve been so quiet in terms of acting in recent times? What is happening?
Nothing! No problem at all, I’ve been working, only that I chose to keep away from the media. About five of my movies are already out. I even wrote one of them, entitled, Girls In The Hood.
Okay! Back to Nollywood. Some couple of years ago, you produced your debut movie entitled Ibinabo, since then, we have not heard anything from you again in terms of producing. Why?
Emmh! Nothing was really responsible for my not producing more movies. I’m just being careful and studying the industry. Right now, I’m cooking something with Emem Isong. By the time we are set, Nigerians will know that Uche Jombo has not abandoned the art of movie making as a producer.
So, how soon is this project of yours coming out?
Very, very soon. Let me not talk much till the movie comes out.
Ibinabo, your debut effort as a producer, was it a commercial success?
Sincerely speaking, the movie was okay commercially when we released it in 1999.
Going down memory lane, how did you come into Nollywood?
I came into Nollywood like every other actress. My first movie was Visa To Hell, by Fidelis Duker, that was in ’98. But Adure, which was my first lead role by Charles Ifediba, catapulted me to fame.
What were you doing before storming Nollywood?
Before coming in, I was doing what I still do now. I write and produce advert copies and jingles. I was and still do that for Manny Bank before embracing acting fully. Then and even now, I do one or two legit businesses for corporate bodies. I also write much. I’m a total production person.
As somebody who read Maths and Statistics, many people expected you to be in the financial sector. Why did you opt for showbiz?
In a way, I’m practising what I read in the university. You calculate every aspect of your life. And that is exactly what I’m doing. The only difference is that I’m not stucked in a nine to five kind of job. I can’t do that because I’m too hyper active. The fact is that I can’t sit in a place for a long time. Again, I’ve never worked for anybody all my life.
Did your parents give their approval when you were trying to storm Nollywood?
Then, as an Abiriba man, my father objected vehemently. Being a stubborn child, I refused to listen to his advice. He later got tired and allowed me to be. Even my elder siblings were dazed on how I was able to conquer our dad, being the third in a family of nine. We are four girls and five boys. I’m stubborn, very stubborn.
What other profession would have appealed to you if you were not in Nollywood today?
(Thinks). Probably, I would have been a lawyer. I argue much about the things I know. I would have also gone into television big time.
In the next couple of years, where do you hope to be or see yourself?
In the next couple of years, I want to take my outfit, Picture Perfect, and myself to the highest level. In terms of production. I also want to have the best studio in Africa and transmit my own talk show to the world from here, Nigeria. I’m already working towards that.
The year is still new, what are the goals you have set out to achieve before it comes to an end?
I want to write good scripts and also act in many good movies this year. I also want to settle down to marital bliss. I want to get closer to my God this year.
What was your lowest fee as an actress?
It was my debut movie. I was paid N18, 000 (eighteen thousand). Don’t bother asking about my highest, I won’t tell you.