African Entertainment: I Love Being Around ‘Babes’- Clems Ohaneze
One of Nigeria’s versatile actors, Clems Ohaneze, a native of Oguta in Imo State, is a delight to watch in movies; methodical and consistent, he has continued to bring delight to the country’s movie lovers. Born and raised in Port Harcourt, the veteran actor feels acting cannot put food on his table. So, how does he survive and maintain his stardom? He reveals that and many more in this interview with Oge Ezeliora, as he talks about his wife, daughters and what keeps him going.
• My Three Pretty Daughters Are Behind My Existence
What is the secret behind your successful career in Nollywood?
I give thanks to God for the journey so far. God has made everything so easy for me. From grace to grace I have been highly favoured; sincerely, not by my power or might, but by the spirit. I appreciate God for life; it is not as if I am the best, but it is God’s favour upon my life and he is the only one I can attribute it to.
When you started acting, how much where you paid?
I don’t discuss my fee publicly. It is personal not for the world to know. Just between me and my producer. Sincerely, nothing can make me to disclose my acting fee. It is against my profession. I am sorry.
What is your most annoying experience as a Nollywood Star?
As a Nollywood star, growing up in the industry, we are used to seeing all kinds of things. There is nothing that is new in Nollywood. Sometimes you watch people act foolishly all in the name of interpreting a particular role. All I do is to correct them. Sometimes, in the cause of acting, a director or producer may get you annoyed; all I do is move on to the next level and continue with my work. Even if I am embarrassed, by some of my fans I still don’t get annoyed. I just see it as an interesting thing which can happen to anybody. I have never been embarrassed in the cause of shooting or acting a movie. It is what makes me a good actor.
Tell us about your family.
Let me first of all talk about my daughters: they are the reason behind my existence. They have been my pillar and strength; being a father is not easy; it is a lifetime project which sometimes, gets one confused – wondering whether one is doing the right thing or not. I took good care of my children so they are always there for me, especially during the rough times. The reason I am standing here today is because I have lovely children who believe in what I do and love me so dearly.
What’s your greatest fear in life?
I don’t think I have any fear. But of course, we have many types of fear but my fear is always new opportunities and more blessings.
What stands you out in Nollywood?
My talent; God has created me as a good actor and my way of doing things sets me apart.
Could you define your dress sense?
I dress to look good and comfortable. I don’t follow trends but as long as the attire looks perfect on me. Nobody should expect Clems to follow trends anytime or any day because I’m the wrong person to expect such from although I can wear anything but I can never go naked.
Do you have any word for your fans?
I’m very grateful. After God, they are the reason my name, Clems Ohaneze, is alive and I have a word of encouragement for them all: ‘by perseverance the snail reached the ark.’ They should never give up or sit down and grieve; they should press in, on and press through. We should also continue to pray to God for the economic situation of the country to improve.
How have you remained relevant in the film industry?
I read a lot. I take courses online. I go to workshops; attend various film academies; both local and international film academies. I’m sure a lot of people don’t know this about me because I don’t say it out. I love reading; I am searching; I am trying to get knowledge. I am trying to know more because that’s my passion.
Nollywood is developing and younger actors and actresses are in competition because of their partnership with Hollywood and Bollywood actors. What’s your view about the industry?
Nollywood is still a baby industry compared to Hollywood or Bollywood. It gives me great concern when people make comparison. The question is: when did we start? It is true that we are developing everyday but we are still in the starting stage. There is no avenue for comparison. Nollywood is still a baby. Hollywood has its own strengths though; same to Bollywood but Nollywood is still a toddler compared to others. If at this stage, it has come this far, then we should appreciate our industry. There have been quite a lot of innovations. What it was few years ago is no longer what it is today. It is no longer what it used to be; we are growing every day.
But then, there is absolute need for us to move with time because we have an advantage right now which Hollywood and Bollywood don’t even have. Hollywood and Bollywood do not have the advantage we have now. There is still need to create more avenues of generating funds through film-making while we are already doing that here in Nigeria. Nollywood is revolving and I am happy about that. It will structure itself in no time. But if you force the industry to grow by force it will collapse.
Can you talk about your personality?
I am an extrovert. I am peoples’ person – always open. Though it is what people say you are, that is what you are. I may be quiet to you but at home I am lively with my daughters. That is the reality, but I am an extrovert. I love seeing people. I love being with people all the time, especially babes.
What is the most challenging role you have ever played in movies?
Every role comes with its own challenge. And I take them as they come; I take them one after the other. I cannot say this is more challenging because there is no role that is small. No role is (too) big. As long as there is interpretation, I am equal to the task. Yes, the interpretation itself is a challenge. So, I cannot say this role is more difficult to play than the other one. I take them just as they come just with their challenges.
Any plan for retirement soon?
Well, not now. My face is still relevant in the industry. Because this is not the only thing I do. I have some other things I do for a living. I am into different businesses. For me, you can’t make a living out of acting. It is not possible. Acting cannot put food on my table. How much do they pay to depend on acting for a living? I am still hanging in the industry for now because I want to maintain this face. This is the face I use to knock on big doors and they open for me. That is the essence of me still maintaining my face in the industry.
Let’s talk about your family. Do you still spend quality time with you wife and children?
Oh yes. I just finished speaking with two of my daughters not long ago. No matter what I am I always there for them. We are even planning to go on vacation soonest and they will join me in my new house. We are very close and they love their daddy so much.
How many are they?
I have three pretty daughters. They are the most beautiful girls I have ever seen. We are so close. My daughters are beauty queens. You need to see them.
What about their mother?
Their mother is fine. She is doing well. I thank God for her life and I pray that she continues to progress in all she does.