Rita Uchenna Dominic Waturuocha is currently the actress who has the entire spotlight on her. With a very successful acting career and the crown that seals her as the best actress in Africa, this year, Rita is surely basking in an euphoria of Bliss. It has however not always been like that for her. She had once been an upcoming actress looking for roles. In a chat with me, she speaks on her personal projects, her fashion statemenst, and surprisingly her single status which she has always been silent about.
TV and movies has taken most of Rita Dominic’s life. From a very young age, she had always wanted to act. As a child she had featured in programs such as ‘Children’s Variety Show’ and ‘Junior Opinion’. She also won several dance competitions both at the local sports club and whilst at Federal Government College Ikot Ekpene where she had her secondary school education.
She says she had never considered any other profession even as a child. “Thank God I have the career I have now because I don’t know what I would have done. Maybe I would have been a dancer because I love choreography. I get very excited when I watch different kinds of dances, “ Rita says.
Despite her early start on the silver screen, Rita says she did not have any inclination she will be where she is today. “I knew from a young age what I wanted to do but I didn’t know how successful. I am still working hard to keep growing.”
Born in 1975, Rita who hails from Abiah Mbaise local government area in lmo State is a professional to the core with a strong educational background. She graduated from University of Portharcourt with a Bachelour’s Degree in Theatre Arts in 1999.
Recently made named the best actress in Africa by the African Movie Academy Awards(AMAA), Rita has walls full of awards which she had gathered over the years. She however says she did not expect to win at the AMAAs. “I never expect to win anything. What I did was work very hard and I left the rest to God. That day I was sitting with Uche Jombo who was also nominated and we were both very nervous.” Her win she describes as humbling. “It is a very humbling experience. I am very proud of this award.
Her very first major award was in 2004 at the City People Awards. She was named the Most Outstanding Actress. Since then she had gone ahead to win many more. “I cherish any recognition I have received in my career but this one(AMAA) is the biggest so far. Today, AMAA is the most coveted award in Africa Cinema. The competition is much more serious and it is for the whole continent. All the actresses nominated in my category did very well in each of the films they were in,” she says.
All these awards are from various movies. So is there a role Rita will not take? “Yes, roles that don’t add value to the anything. As long as there is something to learn from a character, I will always be ready for it.” That is why she says she does not regret any role she ever played. “I don’t regret any role I take because I always feel I have learned from each experience and each of experience has led me to where I am today. We learn and we grow.
At the moment Rita is in Ibadan on a set of a new movie, which would probably be another Rita Dominic classic. “My first film this year was Streets of Calabar shot by Uk based company Spirits Creations. I play another intriguing character there. We shot for a month in January and I am excited about the character I played in that movie.
Then since March I have been in Ibadan working on Izu Ojukwu’s latest period film “76”. It is a film that shows a story of an Army wife whose husband was accused of participating in the 1976 coup. Izu is shooting on film to give the movie a certain look and feel. We rehearsed for two months before we started shooting and I just feel the producer Adonai is such a blessing to the industry. It has been very challenging playing this woman called Suzie but I have loved every minute. I am so happy with the all Nigerian cast and crew. They are serious and hardworking. Sometimes Ramsey and I just look at the crew working and we get very excited that the level and quality of the work.
Of course I still have my own production “The Meeting” where I play one crazy 50 year old receptionist to a Minister. I am very happy with my character there too. The past year has been about taking challenging roles and interpreting them well. I am getting deep into my characters to understand them and play them well,” said Rita.
Charles Aniagolu, the producer of the movie “Streets of Calabar”, which she is on the set at the moment seem to be so excited about having Rita on his set. He says this about working with Rita; “Off set, we found Rita to be an extremely warm, friendly and charming personality. On set, she was brilliant and compelling to watch. We thoroughly enjoyed her very potent performance and were impressed with the meticulous attention she paid to the development of the sub plot.
Getting the balance right between the enticing allure of a smoulderingly sexy, devious goddess and her alter ego - a truly horrific, exquisitely terrifying mob boss, could not have been easy. But she managed to do it seamlessly. We cast Rita in this movie because we were impressed with her solid range of performances and felt she could deliver. She didn’t disappoint,” Charles said.
Many see Rita as a very wealthy actress. Though she did not deny the claim, she is religious about her financial status. “From your mouth to God’s ears. As long as God has kept me alive and in good health, I am blessed.” To keep the cash flow going, Rita has not restricted her business to acting alone, she has set up some business on the side. “I co-own a production company called The Audrey Silva Company and we produce films, Tv programs, adverts and documentaries. We produce quality contents.”
Asides acting, the next thing Rita is known for is her fashion and style. Many young and old women do copy her style. Some tailors would display her posters in their shops, promising customers they can achieve the designs. “I style myself most times but lately I’ve been getting lots of advice from Remi Fagbohun who is fantastic celebrity stylist. I wear a lot Nigerian designers like JD7, House of Nwocha Lanre Da Silva.
Many actresses do not like discussing about their marital status or their romantic relationships. So it is always a tense moment while asking these questions. This was pointed out to Rita and she was in laughter. “That is not true, I generally don't talk about my personal relationships not "single status" as you put it. Over the years, I noticed that as public person, if you make your personal life a public issue, people will help you well well. I can be quite sensitive so I choose not to discuss who I am dating. When Mr. Right puts a ring on it, I am sure you will see it around my finger.”
So which actor does she see attractive? She won’t hear of it. “Mr. Hazeez, you are too funny with some of these questions o. Isn’t it so inappropriate to be talking about work mates in that manner? Can I ask you the same question about your female co-workers? Will you answer such a question? Really, I had a few in my head, but the interview was about her.
She however could speak about what she looks for in a man. She says she looks out for “A man with good heart and a man who has fear of God. He has to love me for me and I will do the same.” At moment she says she is living a full life and has no regrets in life. “God is more than good all the time and he has reason for every life he creates. We just have to fulfill God's destiny.”
As a player in Nollywood she believes that the industry should be taken seriously as a business that it is and has been contributing to greatly to our economy. She also wants the professional level of the people entering the industry to increase.