Prince Ugo Malumi, Nollywood actor, model, singer and former Mr. Rivers State is having a swell time in his career. In this interview with Chinedu Ibeabuchi, he speaks about his career and emerging issues in Nollywood
I am a Nollywood actor, model and entrepreneur. I am the CEO of PM Emperor Films Entertainments. Mr. Rivers State 2006. I graduated from the University of Port Harcourt, Department of Computer Science. My Father is from Ondo State while my mother is from Imo State. Professionally, my acting prowess began in 2012, after a renowned director and a marketer approached me in Lagos where I was shooting a musical video. I have featured in several movies including Zenith of Hatred, Heart of a Wife, African Tradition, Crossing the Battleline, The Yoke, Our Heritage, African Bride, The King and His Cross, Battle of Justice, The Black Mass, Temper of Mind, Hidden Treasure, Daughters of Babylon, Cotonou Hustlers etc.
What are the ups and downs of a celebrity lifestyle?
The up is seeing how my presence puts smiles on people’s faces. The dislikes would be not been able to live my normal life. I can’t go to certain areas or neighbourhoods.
What were your fondest childhood memories?
One of my fondest childhood experiences was when I managed to escape from been sexually harassed by two lesbians in our estate after I bumped into them. I had gone to visit my playmate, one of the girl’s younger brother, thinking he was at home. If they had succeeded in getting grip of my gunner with their mouth that very day, I wouldn’t have been the Virgin that I’m today.
Who influenced you to be the man you are today?
My mom. She always tells me bible stories of certain great men/women. She inculcated into me that with God, all things are possible.
Did you have any traumatic experience growing up?
Nothing significant as such. I remember having craw-craw and my brother, genuinely trying to help, scrubbed my skin with a new sponge and poured powder on me afterwards, just trying to help. I remember running around naked, as a seven-year-old kid, crying and in pain. It was funny and I still tease him about it till now. That’s not really traumatic; it’s more of a memory I would never forget.
Why did you choose movie industry?
I didn’t choose to be or thought of make acting a full time job but it happened and I bless God for that because it gives me joy acting alongside other great names. And for now, I realise I was born to make great impact in my time through acting, knowing the future has more goodies in store for me.
Looking at your career, any regret so far?
No regret thus far. This is where I am supposed to be. I was born to be here and that’s what I believe, even though I supposedly stumble on it, but I found out that this is what I am supposed to do. It’s almost ten years now. It’s been a challenging and rewarding experience. You have to know what you want, work towards it and never reduce the size of your dreams; make sure that you improve your attitude, discipline and skills to match the destiny that you want. Was it challenging? Absolutely! Are there still challenges? Absolutely. But there are no regrets because I love what I am doing.
What is your relationship with other actors?
My relationship with other actors is splendid, both the male and female.
How profitable is acting to you? Is it paying your bills? Do you do acting alone?
Yes, it’s paying my bills but I don’t do acting alone. The value that you place on yourself and the standard that you set, that’s same value that people will place on you. That value grows over time and also entails you understanding the industry better.
What was the experience like on your first project?
It was challenging than I thought but I conquered. Experience is the best teacher.
Our movies have gone from morally and deeply rooted in social reality to glam and unrealistic narratives. Why?
I think there is something fundamentally wrong with how we are telling stories now, especially those masquerading as ‘cinema’ people, and there is a disconnect with audiences. We need to go back to who we are as we cannot tell stories outside our contextual realities. I feel producers are too profit conscious these days and want to explore every possible means to get returns on investment, which has in one way or the other affected our jobs.
Tell us about your most embarrassing moment so far?
(Laughs) Anytime I remember this story, I just can’t help but just laugh. A Consular Officer at the American Embassy accusing me of been married with four kids. Even when I tried to clear the air that it was just a movie scene, he just wouldn’t listen; like I was married to his American sister (Laughs)
How do you unwind when you’re not working?
Honestly, I’m always working. However, I like to be in a dim-lit room with a book in my hand when I have a moment to myself. Also, I rehearse with my artists in my production house (PM Emperor Films Entertainment)
What is your greatest fear in life?
Getting to the end of life and realising I didn’t touch the things I was meant to have achieved. So, there is a driving force to ensure I don’t get to the finish line and say I could have done better. I hope to keep growing and improving myself and ensure I become a better person every day.
What’s plan for 2020?
I plan to expand and grow in 2020. I have a lot I will be working on this year. Already, I am on set right now for a new movie and I have other scripts waiting to be executed. So, 2020 is going to be better. My fans should watch out for my work.
How do you think the government can help the creative industry?
The government can help the industry by appointing ethical leaders of my age into offices of art, tourism and culture because of the energy, creativity, drive and modern ideas. We are leaders of today, not just tomorrow.
What do you think is responsible for the collapse in celebrity marriage?
I believe marriage is meant for mature minds or adults. So, if two people from different backgrounds, after going through so much courtship stress to get married, can just wake up one day and walkout on each other like total strangers, then I think it’s an individual palaver; it’s not all about been a celebrity. I just feel, most people these days, somehow already knew they weren’t going to spend eternity with their partner; they only got married to prove to society they were down that road once.