Rita Daniel is the mother of teenage actress, Regina. For many years Rita’s face graced many movies churned out of Nollywood.
Ebullient, graceful and methodical, Rita Daniel has transformed from being an actress to a politician, an entrepreneur and mentor.
The mother of four has been able to nurture one of her kids into becoming a rising movie star. In this interview, Daniels shares talks about her marital status, her child Regina and more….
Aside acting, what else do you do?
I am a very busy woman. I am into so many things. First, I am the chairman of Actors Guild of Nigeria, Delta state chapter, (AGN). I am a politician; presently, the majority leader and counsellor, Aniocha South Local Government Area. I hail from Ogwashi-Ukwu town. I am also the managing director of Last Point Resort; the CEO Regina Daniels Children Foundation; the CEO, Chris Daniel Nigeria Limited; an officer in Director Guild of Nigeria; and a producer.
People feel you pushed your daughter into acting because of money and that you want her to take after you an actress?
Not really; nobody makes one a star. It’s only God that has the power to
lift from nobody to somebody. Yes, I am a good actress who is also
talented. But my daughter started when at the age of seven. She loved
watching movies and acting at home. Though I didn’t allow her to watch
Nigerian movies because of her age, she followed me to locations and
made friends with a lot of actresses and actors. Anytime she saw little
children on locations, she would beg me to allow her be part of the cast
but I would refuse. She kept on pestering me until one day, I allowed
her to act in a movie. She was very happy. She started practising at
home. Everything my daughter knows about acting I taught her. I
encouraged her not to be nervous and she listened to me. She started as
low as N5,000. She still acts for free to date if I want her to act. She
is humble and very obedient.
How often does she get movie role?
She is a lucky child. She is always on set. I just thank God for
everything. As soon as she is concluding a particular movie, they are
calling her for another one. It got to a point that I had to plead with
some of her directors and producers to allow her concentrate on her
studies. If not, there is no week that she will not be on set. Has your
celebrity status deprived you of anything in life? I believe it is a
normal thing for you not to be everywhere as a star. But, I am not
mindful of that. I have a business I run. So, I still go to the market
to public places like every other person. I am not affected by celebrity
status. If you don’t go out how will you meet people? Even when my fans
are screaming, ‘Mama Regina! Mama Regina! Mama Regina!’, I will just
smile and hail them back and continue what I am doing. I am a politician
and I am used to crowd.
But ex-President Goodluck Jonathan allegedly gave a loan to the AGN. What happened to the money?
(Laughs) I did not see one naira oh! I do not know who processed and collected the money. If the money was released, I do not know. If they did not release it, I do not know. The people, who were supposed to give us information, talking about the leadership of AGN, did not tell us anything. Even the first $200 million, nothing was heard of it. What am I looking for is hectares of land for the Film Village and a standard office for the guild so actors and actresses can have a place to share ideas and plan for the future.
What is your view about Nollywood?
Let’s put it this way, using the argument of old and new Nollywood, the
side of the fence that I stand on is that for every industry, new
players would come and while they would even be considered as new
players is because they are bringing value to the new generation. Those
that consider themselves as the new Nollywood give them another 20 years
and they are going to become the old Nollywood and that’s the cycle of
life. The new players must always add value. Nollywood is fast going
into extinction and replaced with New Nollywood of unprecedented
indecency and abuses.
Are you married or a single mother?
I am a proud mother of four children and my children are everything to me. I hate to discuss my family in public. Can you ask me another question?
How many of your children are into acting?
For now, only two of them are in Nollywood. But one is a musician while others are still in school.
How many movies have you done so far?
I have done so many movies I have even lost count. What I do mostly is producing most of the movies my daughter, Regina, acts in.
Did you take a break from the movie industry?
I didn’t take a break from the movie industry. You know what is going on in the industry. They tend to frustrate the older ones and that is why, if you take a look at some of the movies, a lot of people have veered off into a lot of things. I will still be in the movie world till I breathe the last breath.
What is your view on sex-for-role?
When you talk about sex-for role, it has to do with an individual. There’s nowhere that it does not exist. In the entertainment industry, people do a lot of funny things to get what they want. I believe it is an individual thing. If you feel sex is what will take you up there, fine, go ahead. But know that whatever takes you up there that is not God’s will, will certainly crash. Definitely, when you are up there with God’s help, nobody will pull you down. Anything you get from an illicit affair does not end well.
Who should be blamed for this?
Nobody is to be blamed. If producers ‘toast’ you, maybe it’s okay but sometimes the girls are the ones ‘toasting’ the producers. So, who is to be blamed then? A man has the right to say ‘bring your body’; a woman has the right to say ‘no’. It is a two-way thing. If it is rape, it is a different thing.
The young acts are the ones making waves in Nollywood. How do you intend to fit in?
Definitely, I cannot compete with the young ones. As one grows one will have a role in the society; I am Rita Daniel, I will play my role, nobody will play my role. There are still roles that are meant for people like me. There are still roles that if you give to the younger ones, they cannot fit in and if same roles are given to the older ones, they will do it well.
Culled: THISDAY (2017)
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