#GSBMeetTheStar: Uzoamaka Onuoha Talks About Her Acting Career, Dream Role & More
Uzoamaka Onuaha‘s journey to becoming an accomplished actor began at a tender age, a dream she has not only cherished but also successfully realized. This talented actress holds a degree in Theatre Arts and Film Studies, and her portfolio boasts an impressive array of feature films, including notable works like “Omugwo,” “Stories by Her,” “Schooled” and “Visa on Arrival.”
She recently starred in a lead role in the psychological thriller series “Diiche.” Directed by James Omokwe, Tolu Ajayi, Fiyin Gambo, and Ifeoma Chukwuogo, this 6-episode Showmax original series revolves around Uzoamaka’s character, a renowned actress confronted with her haunting past when her fiancé is found dead, thrusting her into the centre of a gripping investigation.
In this edition of “Meet the Star,” a segment dedicated to shining a spotlight on emerging talents in Nollywood, Uzoamaka shares insights into how her upbringing laid the foundation for her extraordinary acting career, her role in “Diiche,” and even reveals which celebrity she’d swap lives with for a day.
For our previous feature, we had a chat with Ruby Akubueze who talked about her acting career, her role in the Kunle Afolayan film “Ijogbon,” and more. You can read it here, in case you missed it.
Hi Uzoamaka. Let’s dive right in. Walk me through your childhood, growing up, and what part of your childhood moulded you into the incredible actor you are today.
I’d like to think every aspect of my childhood moulded me into the person and artist I am today. I was introduced to films in my earliest years; in fact, I can’t remember any part of my childhood that did not include “watching films” (lol). I watched everything thanks to my dad; he would travel out and come back with lots of CDs. As kids, we weren’t allowed out of the house to go and play, so films had to become “girl’s best friend,” and when Nepa would take the light, I’d play or reenact some more with my imaginary friends things I had just seen on screen. It’s such a long, weird, and great story, but this could be the summary.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Tell me five Nollywood films, movies, or series you’ve starred in.
- DIICHE (on Showmax as Diiche)
- Visa on Arrival season 1 (on Accelerate TV as Kimberly)
- Schooled (on Ndani TV as Didi)
- Inside Life (by Clarence Peters as Titi)
- Country Love (by Wapah Ezeigwe as Nneka)
- Swimming in a Sea of Trauma (by Ugo Azuya as Nkechi)
What was it like working on Diiche?
It was a push-up, a level-up creation-wise because I had never done anything like it before or worked on a project in that capacity. It was inclusive of stunts and physical drills that I found fun and challenging but had also never done before. It had a soul too. I found myself growing on the spot, challenging myself on the spot, and learning on the spot. I usually learn new tricks with every job I get, but Diiche was on a whole other level. Good stuff.
Any fun facts about you that people don’t know about?
I can be shy too.
Hmm! Being shy? That’s interesting. How do you overcome this shyness when you step into a role on set?
I’m not necessarily a shy person; I just meant I can be shy too sometimes. When this happens, I just find ways to brave it. I doubt I’m shy with my characters; when I step into a role, I practice forgetfulness. Yes, you have to be aware of “self”, aware also of this character you are embodying and all the intricacies of it, but I try not to be concerned about myself and the situation like “Oh, I’ve got to do this big thing or this small thing or this thing”, It’s not about me as a human, so I don’t focus on me enough to be shy about it; I just find myself in the character or similarities or something to draw from.
What’s the most exciting thing that has happened to you on set??
I get giddy when I know people on board want to give “heart and soul”. Working with an excellent team is always exciting. No matter the mountain you have to climb, you would even go the extra mile just for the mere thought of knowing you have people on your team who have your back, love being there, and want to make nothing short of magic. Nothing is more exciting.
And the most embarrassing?
Hmmmm! I can’t recall any.
What kinds of roles or projects are you most eager to explore in the future? Is there a dream role you’ve always wanted to play?
Playing “roles” is the dream—every kind of role. I confess I’m eager to explore human behaviour as humanisticly as possible. Deep characters with layers to them. Something people could look at and find themselves or someone they know in it.
Is there a director, actor, or fellow artist in the industry that you look up to or draw inspiration from?
I watch everything, and I watch everyone. I watch people; I watch actors, and in particular, those who came before me. I can’t put the magic they carry on pen and paper, and I am so thankful for them. The steps they’ve had to take and fall just so we don’t have to fall when we get there. INSPIRATIONAL!
If you could magically step into the world of any Nollywood movie you’ve worked on, which one would it be, and what character would you play?
Hmmm, I hope I understand this question, but if it’s what I think it is, then it’s Titi, a character I played in a series directed by the genius Clarence Peters titled “Inside Life.” Clarence Peters did once-in-a-lifetime magic with this series. I promise you it’s genius, and I hope the world gets to experience this world Clarence created that is not so far off from the world we live in but is such an “exposé” of this world. The world is dangerous, and I don’t think I’d like to go there in real-time but explore that character further. I’d love to do that.
Let’s project into the future. Where will the next 5 years find you?
In excellence, Amen.
What would be a good theme song for your life?
Short hair/Mulan’s decision by Jerry Goldsmith
The Tower by Ramin Djawadi
“Movie in the Mind” by Adam Burns
Can you share a bit more about your connection to the theme songs you mentioned? How do they resonate with your life and journey as an actress?
I’m a dreamer. I’m in my head half the time, photographing things. I watch films in my head and create stories and characters in my head. I travel to human spaces in my head and explore worlds in my head. Those songs help me dream. It helps my mind travel; it makes the journey smooth. It also consoles me and inspires me. This particular one, “Movie in the Mind” by Adam Burns, was used to introduce the best actresses in a leading role at the Oscars 2023. It was perfect; I cried and still cried while listening to it. It inspired me and helped me dream. Mulan’s Decision/Short Hair by Jerry Goldsmith is my ginger battery, my companion on this journey. The tower by Ramin Djawadi is just so beautiful, a revelation, a dream, and soothing. It’s my therapy.
If you could swap lives with any celebrity for a day, who would it be, and what would you do in their shoes?
Cate Blanchett. Go into the mind of Cate Blanchett and understand her process and approach to a character. I just learned solid tricks of the trade from her, and I doubt “one day” could cover it, but I would have to make do.
Can you tell us about any upcoming projects or collaborations that you’re particularly excited about?
I did a thing—a personal collaborative project dear to my heart—it’s in the works. You’ll hear when it’s time, amen.
What’s next for you?