Face of Onga, ex-Glo ambassador and now, a judge for Nigeria’s Got
Talent reality show, actress Kate Henshaw can be rightly referred to as
multi-faceted and successful.
In this exclusive chat with NET,
Henshaw talks about her passion for acting and the many challenges she
has dealt with, including her broken marriage.
It’s been a while, where have you been?
been around in Nigeria. You don’t have to come out all the time. I
can’t do that because it will water down my brand and I want people to
have an expectation when they see my face on posters. That ‘Oh I have
not see Kate in a while, for her to be in the movie, I must see it’
feeling and that alone is enough for me.You are an actress
with an appeal that cuts across different generations. What do you think
is responsible for your relevance after almost 20 years in the
I just try to be myself and I do a few other things; I
don’t only act, I MC and I have business that I do on the side, because
acting alone cannot sustain you. Again, I think my ability to smile and
laugh at every situation. People tell me when I smile, it’s as though I
don’t have any problems, some even ask if I ever get angry but I tell
them I choose to be happy, and that is the most positive attitude to
grow through life. Life is hard, especially in Nigeria, things are hard,
[but there's] no need carrying it on our faces as though the world is
on your shoulders. A lot is happening and I ought to be grateful.Now that you are over 40 and have spent over 19 years in the industry, how many more years do you plan to continue acting?
I can reach 100, it won’t be bad. Besides, 40 is a number and people
say life begins at 40, which means I am only a baby, and life has just
begun for me.Still on your acting career, as someone who has
been in several movies and played diverse roles, are there roles you
still wish to play?
A mad woman. Someone who is impaired physically
or mentally. I want a case where people will see the movie and ask
themselves if I really am the one in the movie.What’s the most memorable movie you’ve done?
very first movie, When the Sunset. I also loved the role I played in
Stronger Than Pain, with Nkem Owoh. That role was different for me. In
the beginning, I was really doubtful if I could play it well, but I did
it and it worked out.As someone who had a medical background, how easy was it for you to blend into the movie industry at first?
was hard. I was scared. The script was as thick as a bible. I was with
Franca Brown, Bob Manuel, the late Funmi Martins, and Sandra Achums. I
didn’t think I could do it, but they were all so nice. That was when we
really treasured doing movies properly, we paid attention to detail,
countless rehearsals. I remember spending a lot of time with Bob Manuel,
people thought we were going out.Having spent considerable time as an actor, what’s next? Are you considering going into music?
people should leave me. I don’t want to disgrace myself. Acting is my
stronghold, I will stay there. I don’t want to veer into something and
get stuck in it. I might do a collaboration soon, you never can tell.A lot of your colleagues are beginning to go into roles behind the scenes. Will you be doing the same anytime soon?
doesn’t have to produce or direct movies, some people just want to
remain in front of the camera. I have tried my hands in production. I
produced a documentary for the Lagos State tax advert, I shot that one
as my own contribution for them to help conscientious Lagosians on the
need to pay their taxes. I also did one for the Akwa Ibom State
government. I am more of someone who can plan and all that, but movie is
plenty money.Was acting something you always wanted to do?
Funny enough, I have always wanted to be a musician. I wanted to sing but my father objected strongly.So when did acting set in?
just happened. It’s just few years ago that I started doing it
professionally; when I started it was just a case of trying to see what
it will bring out for me. The late JT Tom West, I will always be
grateful to him for taking me to my first audition. After my first
movie, different people started coming with different jobs and I was
like ‘Yeah, money is coming.’Nollywood producers have a knack for stereotyping actors. How did you manage to avoid this?
have to be picky. If the script comes and it’s the same thing, you ask
if they can change it, because nobody will do it for you. However, if it
is a case where the director has foresight and wants to see how the
actor can manage the role, only then will they call you back, otherwise,
the typical Nollywood producer will give you what they think people
like you for.What challenges did you face as a young actor in a budding industry?
me, my first audition got me so many roles, so I won’t say I had lots
of challenges. Once I surmounted working with the various stars on set, I
started learning and heeded to advice I got from some people. I also
made a promise to myself to be professional about everything and always
be on time. I don’t do lateness at all. This is because Uche Obi Osotule
and I were up for the same role from Opa Williams in the movie Onome.
He said he was going to give it to the first person that arrived. I got
there ten minutes past eight and lost the role because Uche got there
before me.Having spent almost two decades in the industry, what would you say are the challenges faced by players in the industry?
Lack of cohesion between guilds and associations. Inability to use
certain structures to be able to shoot our films; for instance, getting
the airport is not easy, and other places, they charge. We pay taxes as
citizens of this country, and as film makers, we should have a deduction
or access to places. While Dora was the Information minister, she
complained we were portraying the police in the bad light, wearing
slippers and all, but when they did not give us the needed thing, what
were we to do? They need to give us the right support to achieve this.The
trend in the industry is cinematic movies and home videos. This has
negatively affected soap operas, for which you are popular. What is
your take on this?
There will always be a place for the different
aspects of the entertainment industry. Whether you go to the cinemas or
you buy a DVD. I have not done soaps in a while, it remains something I
love doing, but because of the frequency, you have to be available to do
a lot of recording. There is always room for soaps, but it has to be
something that will attract people like Check Mate, or Candle Light. I
can’t pick just one. I have done TV, soap, and stage, and I love all of
it. I wanna do everything.You strike people as a happy-go-lucky individual. Share with us some low moments in your life.
when life gets you down. The issue of the break-up of my marriage will
get any one down, having being through 12 years and you had plans for
the marriage and all of a sudden, everything stops, but then, that’s
life. It hits you with a lot of things but you shouldn’t let it get you
down.Tell us more about your former marriage. How were you able to deal with it?
God. He makes things beautiful in His own time. The slightest bit of
strength is all is needed to rise up. People have died in marriages,
some have lost body parts while in it, and others have spent years in
it. It all depends on individual, it’s just to make the most of every
situation and move on. I have so much that I want to do. I have no time
to be wallowing in self pity. Marriage does not define who I am, neither
does it define anybody. I came into this world as an individual, two
people meet and decide to make it work but if it doesn’t, let it go. I
wish you well, you do same, especially when there are children involved,
because they are the worst hit. My plan now is to ensure that my
daughter has the best in life, no matter what.Why did you break up?
It wasn’t working anymore. It’s good to leave, rather than continue to manage it and live in strife and rancour.A
lot of Nigerian women have recently shared their stories of physical
violence in the hands of their husbands. Did you experience this?
No, not at all.What then was the cause of the break up?
No regrets at all. My daughter came out of it and she is the most beautiful thing ever.Any possibility of reconciliation?
My daughter is the most important person and she has to be taken care
of. As far as she is concerned, we are for better, for worse.Are you making plans to give love a chance again?
I don’t have anything against love. I want to love again, after all, God gave us his son to love us.Away from your marriage, let’s talk about the new leadership of the Actors Guild of Nigeria. What is your take on this?
Ibinabo Fiberisima will turn things around for AGN. Basically, without
the actors, there will be no films. We are like the biggest body ever,
so I am praying she can turn things around and make us more unified,
because the division is what has caused us to not to be where we ought
to be. We have a lot more to do to better ourselves as a body. We need
to get our acts together and pull this through together.What’s your opinion on Emeka Ike, who seems displeased about the election?
should join forces with I.B and stop all this rancour because it
doesn’t make us serious at all, which is unnecessary. He should drop
whatever suit or case he has, marry his plans and support IB. Enough is
enough!What is your beauty regimen?
I work out
regularly, everyday. I have my facials, massages. I love to rest, travel
and I eat right. I do exercises too. I do aerobics, weight lifting,
dancing; everything that will make me look good, I do it, and am very
diligent with my exercises.How do you unwind?
I relax, I go out with friends, I travel on holidays and take a rest.Where was your last vacation spot?
Miami, and it was great, because the weather was just like what it is in Nigeria..Let’s end this conversation with this. Tell us what you think of Aluu 4 murder…
should be condemned. It’s like every day, we sink lower into the ground
as human beings as Nigerians. Our humanity is totally lost. There are
no longer the days when we see someone in trouble and we play the good
Samaritan and try to help. These days, everybody will just stand and
look, nobody wants to help. The security level is so low and a lot of
similar killings have happened in Mubi, Boko Haram attacks and all. It