Nollywood actress, Mercy Johnson, speaks with Abuja Bloggers on her marriage and acting career
Any conversation that Nollywood star Mercy Johnson will have with you nowadays can hardly be complete without her making intermittent reference to her husband of three years, Odianosen Okogie. Mention his name and her face instantly lights up. Besides her exploits in Nollywood, she professes finding fulfilment in her marriage even though the road to the union was fraught with obstacles that made news.
At a time many celebrity marriages are collapsing, the Kogi-State born thespian is eager to share what she describes as her winning formula.
She says, “It is simply commitment, having a great husband and being submissive as a woman. And I must add knowing how to deal with your differences with love. Motherhood is just the best thing to have happened to me and in no way would I say it has slowed me or my career down.
“I thank God I am a mother because it has given me the opportunity to understand what being a mother is all about and I am extremely glad about that. Motherhood and acting are different responsibilities which I learn to manage well, thanks to God and my husband.”
Before now, Johnson’s figure was the talk of the town and envy of many. She was known for provocative and revealing outfits, with her robust breasts especially threatening to jump out of dresses. In this manner, her photographs were generously displayed on posters and jackets of movies in which she starred. But all that appears to be in the past because she is “now a new creature.”
“Marriage is influencing my dress sense in a more positive way. As I always say my husband is my greatest critic but when it comes to my profession, he understands and has made me grow better than I used to. Sometimes when I look back and see the dresses I wore I laugh real hard and thank God for a blessed and understanding friend, manager and hubby.”
Quite unlike some of her fellow actors, including Genevieve Nnaji and Rita Dominic, who had to play several minor roles before getting their big Mercy’s first attempt in The Maid shot her into limelight. That was in 2004. Since then, she has been having a great time starring in many films.
Ironically, however, she has yet to clinch any ‘juicy’ ambassadorial or endorsement deals, which the likes of Genevieve currently enjoy. She says this does not bother her, though.
“First of all I always remain grateful that I am appreciated and recommended by showbiz personalities and Nigerians. That for me is the biggest endorsement. The other one will come. Keep your fingers crossed. I am humbled, grateful and uplifted and full of gratitude to everyone who ‘Googled’ Mercy Johnson at all times.”
On an endorsement deal she was rumoured to be discussing with the Bank of Industry, she says, “They (BOI) wanted a meeting on a collaborative effort. We honoured the meeting and that was all.”
For now, all that matters to Mercy is how best to expand the activities of her NGO, The Mercy Johnson Foundation for Children and Widows.
She says, “We have been in existence for years but you hardly hear much about it because I chose to make it that way. It does not call for so much noise because it’s another part of my life I do not joke with. Maybe soon, depending on plans, a lot will be heard about the foundation.”
Having starred in over 100 movies, one would expect Mercy to consider shooting her first feature film. In defence, the dark-skinned star says, “Firstly, there is time for everything. Sit, relax and watch me as an executive producer soon.”
Asked to confirm if she was indeed the highest paid Nollywood actress, she simply responded saying, “No comment o, before someone misquotes what I said. I am what I am by the grace of God.”
On another rumour that she is having some spat with some of her colleagues, she notes that she has no problem with anyone.
“I am not fighting with anybody. Last time it was rumoured that Chike Ike and I had issues while we were on set together. We had to take to Twitter to deny it. Tomorrow it will be another person. I am a peaceful person and I believe most of the people in Nollywood are also peaceful.”