Why I can never do music…. Mercy Aigbe-gentry
Edo state born star actress and proud mother of two, Mercy Aigbe-Gentry is no doubt a household name having survived against odd different seasons of life and still doing well in every sphere of life. The light skinned actress who doubles as the CEO of MAG DIVAS is also one of the most sought after actress in the movie industry with several movies to her credit. In this chat, the Osas Omoge Benin star reveals her current project, work, family and other sundry issues
Congratulations on your new award last night, at the sixth edition of the City People Entertainment Awards. How did you feel winning the best…?
Yoruba movie personality of the year, 2015; I was very happy and excited because that’s another feather to my… to God be the glory. And I just want to thank all my fans who voted for me; I was simply happy. There’s this thing about awards; it actually makes you sit back and think like that means there is something I’m doing right somewhere, I mean some people are noticing what I am doing, so it makes you want to put more effort.
Considering the fact that you had several contenders in that category, did you feel you were going to win?
Well, just being nominated alone was a great honour, it’s not easy. It was like fifty-fifty; if I won, fine; if I didn’t, just being nominated was just enough for me, and thank God I eventually won; everybody wants to win.
You stepped out with your daughter and it was like a mother daughter outing, what influenced that?
My daughter; I just wanted her to come and share in the experience; come on the red carpet; see the way mummy is doing it, so that you know at times when I have to go off to work, she would probably understand better because she would have experienced it with me. But she was fine; was a bit nervous when I told her she was going to go on the red carpet and be interview. Because she wants to be a model, and I think modeling is also kind of part of entertainment, I want her to start getting used to the spotlight and all other things.
Does that mean you have nothing against your daughter becoming a model considering the contrary notion of a typical Nigerian?
No, I keep saying it that whatever my kids want to do in life as a career, i’ll give my hundred percent support. So whatever she wants to be I’ll be there to support her all the way.
What steps are you taking for her to achieve that dream?
I am actually supposed to have started her off before now because I’ve had some agents approach me, but sincerely, when it comes to this modeling or entertainment world as a whole, I’m always very scared in that regard, because you have to have someone that you can trust. For me to give my child out to someone, I have to trust that person completely, because there is a lot of things out there and I wouldn’t want her to be exposed without proper guardians. Actually, I’m waiting for her to finish her secondary school education which is going to be in like a year or so, and once she’s done, I would know that she’s ready, and by that time, I’ll have enough time also to manage her; I want to be mom manager.
Let us talk a bit about your movie The Victims; what exactly is the movie about, what influenced its conception?
Victims is about a young lady who have to go through a lot of things in life; thimgs she didn’t call for. A lot of people experience things that it’s not like they brought it upon themselves, I would say it’s probably fate, providence or destiny. So she had to go through a lot of things and how she dealt with the issues. It’s a very emotional, intriguing movie; full of suspense. It’s a movie I belief once it eventually comes out and people get to see it, they are just going to love it. It’s a movie that teaches lots of morals, it talks to parents and also talks about marriage, because I believe that today, people don’t really respect the institution marriage, and people who are not patient enough to want bear so many things that come with being in union with another person. They forget that we are different individuals from different background with different upbringing, so they are not ready to compromise; so many things, they are just not ready. That’s why most marriages are not even working. It also talks about domestic violence, the home; it’s simply a bumper package and I’m sure people are just going to love it.
The movie transformed from the Life after Marriage to the Victims, why the sudden change?
Life after Marriage was the working title for the movie when we were on set, but after the whole shoots and I sat down and watch it, I decided to change the title because I felt the Victim was more appropriate, because the girl Omoyeni, the lead character which is the victim in the movie; and to say the fact, she is not just the only victim, you need to see the movie, there are so many victims. It’s a movie so many people can relate with.
Are you saying it is a life experience?
No, it’s actually based on different people’s experiences; stories I heard from different people, so I decided to put all together in one package. And there’s this particular thing we talked about in the movie; that’s the baby factory issue; when you have fake doctors go on the streets to pick up teenagers, giving them the hope that they are going to get rehabilitated whereas they are going to use them for their own selfish needs; get them impregnated, sell the babies. So, those are part of the things you’re going to see in the movie.
What informs the decision of bringing Saheed Balogun and Fathia together on that set?
Both are fantastic actor and actress, they have been in the industry for a long time, they are both my senior colleagues; people I respect so much; each of them has carved a nitch for themselves in the industry. So, when I was casting, I saw that these two individuals can actually play the roles I want them to play perfectly well in the movie, that was why I cast them.
Did you have any ‘issue’ with them?
No! These two are professionals and they actually gave me their best. If you were on that set, you would have gotten the better picture.
We also have a Ghanaian actress Juliet Ibrahim on set, and it’s so fantastic seeing her speak a bit of Yoruba, I believe for the first time. How did that work out?
Yes, she was excited playing that role, and was also excited learning a new language. You know there’s something about it when you are doing something different from the usual; it’s always very exciting and adventurous. So she was very happy playing the role, and it was very good having her on set; she gave in her best and I was very happy working with her.
How did you get her to speak the language?
Of course, there was a dialogue director on set, so the director would just tell her “say this” and the camera comes on her and she starts.
What infused your choice of Landslot as your director?
Oh my God, Landslot, okay I don’t want to sound tribalistic anyway, but he’s my big uncle because he is Benin. But asides that, we all know that he is someone to reckon with when it comes to directing in Nollywood. He has paid his dues, he’s a fantastic director. Before the Victims, I was on set in Benin for a movie titled Two Sides of a Coin and it was a different experience for me because he actually, he’s an artisrtic director who knows how to give you what you really want on set; brings out the best in you eventually. So after that set, I was like oh my next job, I’ll love this man to direct it, so when the script came I sent it to him, he read it and he said “oh this is a fantastic script, I want to do it.”
And he was also excited because it was his first Yoruba job. Victims is sixty percent Yoruba, forty percent English movie. And he was really excited because he was going to be working with different people – the Yorua movie; something also different from the usual, so it was very exciting to work with him.
I want you to deviate a bit into your fashion side. You seem to have a flare for fashion, how did that come to being?
I’ve always loved looking good. I’ve always loved getting complement from people about my looks. I’m also a person who loves pictures; I love to dress up and take pictures of myself.
When you are stepping out, how long does it take for your makeup?
It doesn’t really take look. But obviously, event takes much time than my daily makeup.
Like how many hours does it take?
Approximately two and a half hours, because makeup artists take so much time on your face, I really don’t know why! I think the fastest makeup artist that has worked on my face spent nothing less than an hour, thirty minutes; some actually take up to three hours and I’ll be like ‘I’m tired!’ That was why I said two and a half hours. Dress for about an hour; make sure everything is fixed in the right places; get the under ones too that are very important. But for my everyday look, I try as much as possible to pick up whatever I want to wear the night before. At times, my mood determines my dress.
The last time we spoke, you said you were also launching your own hair line, what is up about that?
Yes, now we have Magdiva hair, which is going to be launched very soon. We have different types of hair. I have my own cosmetic line; it’s just about beauty.
We guys in Nigeria have complained about girls looking like impersonators every now and there; when you meet them, they will be white, but when you get to know them properly, you discover they are actually black. You are into fashion, what do you have to say about this deceitful appearance?
It depends on the individual, and I’ve always respected people’s opinion and how they choose to live their life. If feel you are dark and you want to make yourself lighter; if that will earn you confidence and comfort, I’d say go for it, but do not damage your skin in the process. I keep telling my clients that; my products are not chemical based, they are made of herbs, so you don’t need to exercise fear over my products. In the process of looking for comfort and confidence however, please do not get your life affected, because a lot of people have lost their lives because of this.
And as for men who fall victim of the impersonators, I think the ladies are actually giving you what you want, so please appreciate people with dark, naturally looking girls. Therefore, guys are to blame for their actions. So on this note, we are going to be going into men’s fashion in the nearest future.
Are you a subscriber to waste trainer?
Yes I am, because I believe it’s not damaging anything in my body; it only enhances your look.
What won’t you ever be caught wearing?
Maybe clothes that show all the parts of my body; I won’t like to wear that.
How come you don’t have tattoos? A lot of your colleagues do have it.
Maybe it’s because I dread pain. But seriously, I don’t like it on me, because I’m like an insatiable person when it comes to having things like that on my body; today I may like a bird, and the following day I’ll get tired of that and want to change it. And asides that, in my job, you’ll have to play different roles; so it automatically restricts the number of roles you can play in a movie, so I feel as a professional actress, you shouldn’t, maybe to an extent, have a permanent thing on your body.
What is your fashion weakness?
The fact is, I actually like everything when it comes to fashion; I think I’m greedy when it comes to fashion; clothes, bags, shoes, everything.
Which one of those items has the highest number?
Maybe shoes, but I’ve lost count; and I hardly sleep in my room now. This morning, a thought just crossed my mind that maybe I should do something for my die-hard followers, my fans, if they don’t mind, the clothes I’ve worn not more than once, very soon I’m going to be giving them out to them.
What is your most expensive fashion item?
That will be a wrist watch, which my husband gave me in 2010 I think.
What is that item that say, it will really drive your mind crazy?
That will be a body con-dress, because my husband says it shows the beautiful part in my body.
What is that fashion item you can never leave home without?
That will be my purse, asides my bag.
Is your contact medicated?
Yes it is; and I really love sunshades.
Are you long-sighted or short-sighted?
Do you think you can do a movie that surpasses Osas?
Of course, I’m sure Victims surpassed Osas, is that not so? Osas is very close to my heart, because it’s actually the first time I was playing a comic role in a movie, and actually the first time I’d got to speak my indigenous language which is Benin. But I’m very sure Victims surpassed Osas.
When you did Osas, everybody knows you were really hungry for fame, which might have made you to be very active in the movie. Now that you’ve become a stakeholder in the movie industry, can you play such role again in movie?
The only role I can never play is to act nude. But asides that, i will do anything.
Do you still have a dream role?
Yes, I’ve never played an imbecile role, and I look forward to playing it in any movie.
A lot of your colleagues have ventured into music and politics, would you?
For music, not at all, I restrict myself to my bathroom, singing every morning because I think I don’t have the voice. Then for politics, I think there’s a chance, because I have a serious passion for the less privileged; maybe later, not now, I will do politics.
With several speculations on social media for the record Is Mercy Pregnant?
No, I wish I was.