By Linda Orajekwe
“One character I’ll love to play is Mariam Babangida…” This and many more interesting facts we discovered out about Nollywood actress, producer and director, Ufuoma Mcdermott”.
What’s fashion to you?
I’m not really into fashion but I think fashion is being you.
How would you describe your style?
My style is being straight forward and I use clothes to express that as best as I can.
What do you think about Nigeria’s fashion industry?
I think it’s doing pretty good and we are growing by the day with amazing designers springing up from every corner. It’s a good thing to see.
What is your thought on the Nigerian movie industry?
It’s definitely up in the ante; film makers are getting to the point where they’ve realised that specific indices make for a better film and they put those indices together and the Nigerian audience is loving what we’re setting out there; they’re requesting for more Nigerian content. It’s incredible to go to the cinema and you hear people saying: “What Nigerian movie is showing?” Understanding such gives you a good feeling and makes you feel like we’re doing many things right.
How do you juggle being a mom, actor, producer and every other thing Ufuoma Mcdermott does?
I think it’s the same way every working woman juggles their life. It’s the same way a woman does a lot and finds a way to merge them all to be the woman that she wants to be. There’s no single foulard to it. Like I’ll always say, you will make time for what you think is important to you. If your family is more important, you’ll find time for them; same way you do for your career if it is more important. Almost all women do this; the market woman does it, the teacher does it, the journalist does it, the doctor does it. So, I think Nigerian women are strong and resilient and they just have a way of balancing their lives in different areas.
Concerning beauty, how do you take care of your skin?
I’m an oil person so very recently, I started using Glycerin. I haven’t seen the difference yet (compared) with other oils that I’ve used; like coconut oil, shea butter and the likes but I’m hopeful that the result will be visible soon. After I bathe, I just apply Glycerin on my face but coconut oil is like the best oil I’ve tried so far. I like my coconut oil o… I can’t shout (laughs).
Who’s your favourite Nigerian designer?
Aha! I can’t do that because they’re so many!
Okay, give us your top five?
That’s so difficult but I’ll try and I hope I don’t miss out on any of them. So, let’s go: Victoria Funmi Lakanu (VFL), NHN, Avant Garden by Elizabeth R, House of Nwoocha, Ejiro Amos Tafiri, April by Kunbi; they’re so many! And then there’s Mai Atafo who’s my go-to. These designers are doing so well. Kudos guys!
How would you describe your eating habit?
I think I try to balance my Psychology hence I work out so I don’t think I should suffer on the dining table. I eat well and balance it with working out.
How often do you work out?
When I say work out, I mean that I just run (laughs). I don’t have power. But I enjoy running; it frees my mind and gives me my ‘me time’.
What’s beauty to you?
Beauty is what you define it to be. It is where you are at a particular point in time. What attracts you; for some people, it’s power while some see beauty in fame, for some it’s dark skin, natural hair, long hair and so on. So, beauty is what you know beauty to be in your life. I remember when we used to rub black eye pencil on the lips but now it’s not what we can even think of doing now. So, beauty changes over time.
Where’s your ideal vacation spot?
Well, the one that I’ve been to is Monaco. I love Monaco! But regarding the spots I haven’t been to, that’ll be the Bahamas, Malta and Seychelles.
Three things we’ll always find in Ufuoma’s purse?
Money, ATM cards, driver’s licence (laughs).
What’s the favourite role you’ve ever played since the beginning of your acting career?
As I said earlier, everything is time-based but for now, that’ll be ‘Mama Amina’ in Wives on Strike. ‘Mama Amina’ is that subdued woman who has to be the woman she’s trained to be; the inner fights she is having, the internal battles that are fighting against everything she knows, her experiences and her knowledge.
What’s that one story you’ll like to tell that hasn’t been said?
There are many and they would have to be different characters. But one of the characters I’ll love to play is Mariam Babangida! That’s because, growing up, she was the first lady I knew before I even knew about first ladies in America. I knew Mariam Babangida. Aside from the fact that we’re from the same region, there’s something new that she brought to the table as First Lady and I’ll like to tell that story.
What are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about life. I’m excited about ensuring that, at every point in time, I live life as I want it. I want to be able to look back and say: ‘I did it my way’ without stepping on others’ toes. It’s one thing for you to be happy but if your happiness is dependent on other people getting hurt, then I don’t know how worthwhile that’ll be. But mainly, it’s all about just balancing out my life; be fulfilled and ensuring that my family is happy.
Life rule, fashion rule and beauty rule?
I don’t think I have a fashion or a beauty rule. I’m just beautiful and I can take that to the bank (laughs). My life rule is work hard; it doesn’t kill. Set up your own standards and don’t be mean to yourself; if you set the rules, make sure you live up to them.