From age five when she won a drama award, pretty thespian, Queeneth Agbor has been eating, sleeping, dreaming and doing what she loves – acting.
Down-to-earth Agbor who has featured in over 50 flicks such as Namaste, Prince on Fire, Omoge, Kiss and Tell, Adora, Open Memory, Baby Seller, Marriage Rules, Hooks, Broken Soul among many others since she professionally began her career in 2015 is bold, daring and sassy.
In this chat with SAM ANOKAM she talks passionately about her career, clothing line as well as her late beloved mother.
What was it like when you started off as an actress?
Professionally, I started acting in 2015 and have featured in over 50 flicks. In my early days, I used to shoot regularly even for months. It was that bad that I couldn’t be in a relationship because I am busy. I am in Enugu, Asaba, Ghana etc.
So, are you in a relationship at the moment?
Yes, I am in a relationship.
Many of your colleagues strive to work with Hollywood stars, who do you desire to work with most?
I would love to work with Nicole kidman. I watched one of her movies, ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ and she is something else.
Can you be as daring as Nicole Kidman was in the movie?
I can be that daring if you pay me the kind of money they pay them. If I’m paid that way, then we become daring.
Are you saying the pay in Nollywood hasn’t encouraged most actresses to be daring enough?
The pay and our culture. Being an actress comes with a lot of criticism on it’s own. People start telling you things like don’t you know you are a role model and all sort. African men and even women seeing an African woman naked on screen become a huge fuss. In fact she’s as good as being single because marriage then becomes the belief that you want to marry a girl the whole whole world has seen naked. The saddest part is this same set of people with such mentality applaud and praise the whites for doing the same.
How do you cope with men as a pretty lady?
I cope. I don’t have the strength or energy to tell guys whether I like them or not, from my countenance you would know.
So, share with us an idea of your ideal man
My ideal man is not a six pack. My ideal man is one that knows what he wants. The man that has stuff going for him. Six packs without money is the worst pack. I am not all about, ‘oh he has to be very handsome, six packs and all that.’ He has to be handsome in the pocket. He has to be handsome in his bank account. That is how I define a handsome man. Of course, he needs to know God. He needs to be focused but things have to be going for him. But if you have the six packs and have the handsome, it is ok.
Let’s get back to acting, what do you look out for in a script before you act?
What I really look out for is the story line. It has to have meaning. Gone are the days when I was still a novice, when I just wanted to shoot but these days? No! We have gotten to a stage where we need to select what we do because you are portraying a particular story to people. People should not just see you in every movie. Basically, a good storyline with moral lessons and good production.
So far, what have you gained from fame?
Fame comes with its own ups and downs. I cannot go to Balogun market without being recognised. Thank God for face masks now. I went to the market one night, I wanted to buy ponmo. And somebody shouted, ‘Namaste,’ repeatedly. There was this Indian movie I did, ‘Namaste.’ People love it. How do I price? I decided to price the kpomo no matter what. I asked the seller how much she sells her kpomo, she said N500. I now said, ‘this small kpomo for N500?’ the next thing she said was, ‘madam actress!’ That shut me up. And at that point, I felt bad for pricing the kpomo in the first place. I just wanted to leave. And on top of that they were asking for a snapshot. I have been in my compound unprepared wanting to pick something outside and a girl came to visit my neighbour. I was wearing a hairnet, braless almost in my pyjamas, then the girl looked at me and started screaming, coming at the same time for a picture. People were just laughing. I just went back to my apartment and refused to come out. Me and my neighbour still laugh about it. We no longer have privacy. However, the positive aspect is good. You get to receive gifts from your fans. It is that good that people that you knew years ago now become generous to you just because of the fame.
Which movie so far has stressed you the most?
‘Baby Seller’ got me because I got into a character that I couldn’t come out from. I cried to the extent that I couldn’t get out of it. It was as if they actually stole my baby from me. It was hard. When my mother died, there was a phrase my younger sister used. She said she felt like poisoning everybody as she saw my mother die. When they now said we should do thanksgiving after we buried her, my sister now said, ‘what is there to thank God for?’ What is she thanking God for? Two months after my mother’s death, I went back on set because I was getting depressed and the only way I could heal was to shoot. At first, I was rejecting scripts but it was making me more depressed. So, I decided to go back on set and the first script I got was shocking. My mother died in that script. And the character used this same line, ‘what am I thanking God for?’ When I read the script, I was crying because it brought back memories. When I shot this movie, Ngozi Ezeonu had to hug me because although she played the role of my mother, she didn’t know my mother died and it was an emotion that came back. She had to hug me because I couldn’t come out of character. We had to pause for a while before we continued.
Many entertainers have what they believe keeps them going, for you, what puts you in that mood to give your best as an actor?
Naturally, I am high so why would I need extra? Drugs are totally dangerous for anything. I don’t take anything.
Where do we hope to see you say 10 years from now?
You will see me in Hollywood. We go international. We go global. I see myself in big productions, foreign productions, having my own production house then having the biggest Ankara clothing line in the world where we produce everything Ankara.
What informed your going into fashion?
I have always wanted to have an Ankara line. My late mother was very much into Ankara. You see her wear bold stuff from earring to handbag to cloth. When she now died, I needed to bring back the Ankara vibes and that was how Ankara beauty came to life. I started Ankara beauty during the lockdown and I unveiled it online on my late mother’s birthday to honour her. Since she died, I cry on her every birthday. My mother died this month in 2017. From July 1 when I was called that my mother was ill until on the 8th when she died, it has always been a sad month for me. However, I made her birthday and my business anniversary the same day. Her memory is still very fresh for me.
What is the best compliment you have ever received?
I have gotten too many. I was a very smart kid. Too cute. I have multiple personalities. Do you want sassy, do you want a bitch, cry, baby? I have them all.
But one thing is that I am a no-nonsense person. I am a go-getter. I am very easy but I am not ‘indabosky.’ I am not the liquid metal!
So, not much is known about this energetic actress, can you share some of your growing up with us?
I left Madonna University studying medicine to the University of Calabar to study Microbiology. Medicine wasn’t accredited in Madonna. I have always been a dramatic child. My life has been drama. If you go to my village, Akanpa or Calabar, you will know more about my dramatic life. One-time governor of Cross River state, Senator Ekpenyong came for a programme in church and I won an award. I was just 5. We were acting on stage and I broke my mother’s kittex and I started crying, ‘my mother will beat me’ and my mother just did a sign and I stopped and started acting as if nothing happened. People thought it was part of the drama. They began to applaud me. That was where it started. From my secondary school. drama club, name it, anything that has to do with drama, you will see me but I never saw myself as an actor. It got to the extent that my ex-boyfriend told me that I am not where I am supposed to be because I know how to make people laugh. As a child, you can never sell me. If I want to be ill, I will act it out and I am ill. When my grandmother saw my first movie poster, I acted alongside Olu Jacobs in that movie, ‘Painful Kingdom.’ My grandmother was like my granddaughter is where she truly belongs. Do you know someone paid for my acting form? The Royal Art Academy form. He came to Lagos and picked the form on my behalf. My mother believed that in anything you want to do in life you need to start from a platform. The other day, I was speaking with my cousin who I used to escort to go and act, and she said, ‘this life is funny, you are the escortee, now you are the superstar.’ Now she works with the Prisons. My mother wanted me to graduate then face my career and that was what happened.
What is this thing they say about Calabar women as being sexually hyperactive?
Go look for my boyfriend and ask him.
How have you been coping with the COVID pandemic?
I have been coping well. The truth is that I don’t even know if covid exist because I have been busy this period. So far, its been God all the way. I have been busy with my new Ankara beauty line making my face masks, nose masks et al. This period you need to slay safe. It has been God and people have received and embraced very well. Interestingly my stuff are affordable. We have things as low as N1.500.
Let’s talk about your acting career. How has COVID-19 disrupted your plans this year?
It was because there were a lot of projects lined up for me. There was a project I was going to do with some people from South Africa. They were supposed to come in April and work through June for a two-back-to-back shoot but because of the covid it was shifted. I also have other jobs like a three back-to-back shoot and we couldn’t because most of the people coming to shoot are from the U.S. Even now I am still skeptical about road travelling. I have a shoot in Asaba but I don’t want to be among the first set of people to fly. Even by road, I cannot for now. Gradually we are coming back. I just shot a short film one Mallan Abu series. I have done a cooking show, ‘Africa Eat’ still within this period. We are going back but it really affected our job.
Post-covid, what are your plans?
Whenever covid ends, I have a clothing line already sailing, ‘Ankara Beauty By QA.’ I am going back to acting fully. That is my number one passion. My business is my side hustle. I will go back to traveling the world again and I wouldn’t take things for granted. Will I ever hug again? I don’t know.
We actors are really suffering this COVID-19 more because our job has to do with touching even going as far as kissing even if it is make-believe. It has to do with people.
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