Actress and movie producer, Matilda Lambert is on a mission, focused and faithful to a course. Barely few years in Nollywood, the Port Harcourt based thespian has leveraged on the potency of her craft to drive development and positively promote/project the image of her community and society abroad. This is paying off well for her. The University of Abuja graduate of Philosophy in this chat with Ferdinand Ekechukwu, waxes philosophical as she discusses her background, career, vision, Covid-19 experience and outreach through her NGO, the Tilda Goes Green Foundation
Career and Movie Productions
I started producing my own movies when I had clocked three years in the industry. I had gathered experiences, did researches, attended a film business school for producers and acquired more knowledge about production. I have produced five movies to date and it’s been absolutely fulfilling. My fifth movie as a producer is Unroyal, shot in Port Harcourt. It was premiered on the 15th of March 2020 at KADA cinemas Port Harcourt and released in the cinemas just three days before the lockdown. The movie is a masterpiece carefully put together. It features legendary Pete Edochie, ‘Okon Lagos’, Matilda Lambert, Ik Ogbonna, Shaffy Bello, Blossom Chukwujekwu, Linda Osifo and many other amazing actors. I am particularly inspired to make the movie through everyday life experiences.
Nollywood Experience at the Beginning
My Nollywood journey at the beginning was nothing short of sweet and sour. There were moments when you know you had done so well in an audition, with applause from both the audience and judges, but because of your refusal to their selfish desires, it slips through your hands. But because I knew my craft, I wasn’t desperate but taking it one step at a time and believing in God that the place he will take me is surely up there.
Journey So Far
I studied Philosophy in my first degree at the University of Abuja. The journey has been awesome even though there were challenges here and there. But God is been awesome. Delving into the entertainment industry is nothing short of amazing. Philosophy is the mother of sciences and as such it cuts across all spheres of life. So I will say the knowledge of Philosophy also helped to shape my career as it is applied in almost everything I do.
Challenges in the Industry
The entertainment industry is a place where one can easily get scammed because very few can be trusted. As a fresher, I had the challenge of getting the right people around to help weigh my priorities. While some people think it’s just about the looks, others like me knew it was way more than the looks but intelligence, vocal presence, energy, charisma, good understanding of dramatic techniques and the ability to physically convey the emotions, motivations and intentions of a character through physical movement as well as speech. Knowing all of these and not having the knowledge of what comes first and what’s of more importance was a bit of a challenge for me as a fresher.
Embarrassing Moment in My Career
My most embarrassing moment was when I was invited as a special guest to a movie premiere. After my red carpet interview in my ever gorgeous dress, I had walked into the hall and sat down. Few minutes into seeing the film, I noticed my back zip opening on its own and that’s to say it’s got spoilt….Whaaaatttt? And am supposed to be called for a speech at the end of the screening….OMG! I quickly sent my P.A to tell the producer I won’t be able to make that speech again because of what had just happened. The Movie finished and the lights were up and I couldn’t even stand from my seat not even to hug or exchange pleasantries after the movie. I had to wait for everyone to leave, before I was helped to the car. I felt really embarrassed.
When Not on Set
When I am not on set or filming for someone else, I go to my office (My NGO) which is Tilda Goes Green to tackle the programmes that needs to be attended to. The mission is to educate the people on the hazards of environmental degradation and the adverse effects of the oil spillages experienced in the Niger Delta especially those who live around the creeks. The NGO gives scholarships to kids. My foundation is currently training seven students in different schools in Port Harcourt; three of them who happen to be our first beneficiaries have graduated. So at every point I’m not filming, there’s a programme waiting to be attended to. And this keeps me going.
Being in the Limelight
I’m someone that loves my privacy a lot. Being in the limelight has its pros and cons. Sometimes, it sucks because people tend to have so much expectation from you. However, being in the limelight has changed my life knowing am a role model to some people who look up to me, love my work and are ready to do the things I do. Besides, being in the limelight has earned me some recognition both locally and internationally. There are various opportunities too but I have been very careful and picky. I’m being treated especially when I go to some places simply because of my brand. So it’s like a roller coaster kind of a thing but in all, am grateful to God for everything and how far. He has brought me, knowing am not better than anyone else but unique in my own way.
Upbringing and Background
Growing up was a blissful because I had almost all that I wanted as a child. I wasn’t born with a ‘golden spoon’ but in an above average family. I have always been my mums little doll, having lost my dad at an early age. My mum did double of what both parents could do to raise a “Golden Child”. I was taught that nothing is impossible to achieve in life if I believe in myself, but trust in God, have passion for what I do and not to give up.
My Family and Formative Years
Much of whom I am today can be attributed to my family and background. I have been raised to see everyone as equals. My mother always stressed the importance of education. She tries to live through me to see me succeed in education and career. But what’s more is that her knowledge and personal experiences inspired my drive to create a legacy that I wanted for myself and my children later in life. She had told me that no matter what my dreams and aspirations were, she would support me every step of the way. Growing up to have someone who supports your dreams no matter what provides a sense of relief. So the drive, tenacity, passion and energy to do more and be good at what I do are inherent because it started from my formative years.
Things Life Has Taught Me
Life has taught me that success is no accident, its hard work, perseverance, sacrifice and most of all, love for what you do or learning to do. Secondly, life has taught me to love myself and appreciate me for who I am. I have also learnt to stay away from negative/toxic people. Life has taught me to accept change and be thankful for everything that happens and to always trust in God’s word. Trusting God doesn’t mean he will do all you wants but rather believing he will do everything he knows is good.
Plans and Nollywood Platform
I am open to whatever opportunities the future may hold. I think the best way of planning for the future is to make the most of the present. Nollywood is a good platform that can be used to positively promote and project the image of Nigeria internationally. So, I hope to make bigger and better movies that can help to promote my state and country through my production company and to collaborate with international productions. Also plans to go in partnership with the United Nations for my foundation “Tilda Goes Green” to help achieve the desired sustainable development goals.
Handling Advances from Men
I am an honest and respectful person. So I always say thanks for admiration and politely say no to their advances while I face my work.
Covid-19 Experience and Contributions Being Creative
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought us face to face with the most basic questions of life. It has demonstrated to us the value of freedom. The freedom to move and be with those we love, to live in dignity and security, for ourselves and those around us. Being in the creative industry with my movie released at the cinemas three days before the total lockdown was worrisome, and so it is to every other producer out there because money has been spent. But right now, life is all that matters and I am grateful for it. In contributing my quota to help alleviate the situation, my Foundation Tilda Goes Green in partnership gave palliatives to over 500 families in some areas of River-State (Ozuboko community and Okujagu community).
Role Model and Motivation
I look forward to working with Mo’ Abudu. She’s one person who inspired me a whole lot. It feels great to be in this generation where women are taking over the industries and impacting the world.