Wednesday, 27 August 2014

I’m tired of being labelled a gay – IK Ogbonna


Beautiful-faced actor, IK Ogbonna, speaks on his career and challenges in this interview with JAYNE AUGOYE
In recent years, the effect of the dip in Nollywood’s fortunes on some practitioners, especially the pioneers, has become a subject of debate and concern for stakeholders. Determined to keep body and soul together, many pioneer core actors have decided to delve into other trades.
This situation has given way to the emergence of a crop of young, fresh-faced actors, many of who are models. While this may be hailed as a welcome development by some fans, keen observers are of the opinion that looks may be traded in place of talents.
But the trend, according to fast-rising actor, Ik Ogbonna, is a welcome one.
“People are naturally drawn to watching attractive actors on TV and most producers capitalise on this fact. Sometimes producers cast based on good looks before looking for the talents embedded in the individual. Although some of us are blessed with good faces, the talent isn’t really there. But we try to improve on our acting over time.
“I hear people say I can’t act but I don’t think I would be cast in movies if I had nothing to offer the filmmaker. Don’t forget that the producer is a businessman who has to sell his products. Nigerians are so quick to judge people and antagonise and criticise at the same time,” he notes.

Since he embraced the limelight in 2005, as a contestant on the now-rested Amstel Malta Box Office reality TV show, the Sociology and Anthropology graduate of the University of Jos has been experiencing a steady rise. The actor who complements his good looks with a distinct dress sense blows hot, while lamenting what he describes as baseless rumours being peddled about him with regards to his sexuality.
“I am tired of the gay rumours trailing me. You can never pick out any man with whom I have had an affair in the past, but you can link me to some of the ladies I have dated. It is funny because I am sometimes called a ladies’ man and at times rumoured to be a gigolo – gay. These three things do not relate to one another. “That I have chosen to adopt the UK style of dressing, which typically comprises tight pants, should not make me gay. The fact that I have friends in the industry that I choose to hang out with should not make me a gay. I really don’t care about what people think of my personal life. I can’t spot anyone as being gay in the industry and I don’t see anything wrong with two guys or ladies being close friends. Until I am approached by a guy or I see guys getting down together then I can conclude that he is gay.”
Over the last few months, there have been reports that the Honey Moon Hotel actor was romantically involved with Ghanaian actress, Juliet Ibrahim. The speculations were further heightened in June, after he was alleged to have posted a video on YouTube, which revealed scenes of their intimate moments.
But barely two months down the line, he appears to have moved on, having found love in the arms of his Columbian girlfriend, Sonia Moralez, who he has been flaunting on social media.
Confirming his status, Ogbonna, who has a daughter, says, “A lot of celebrities do not want anyone to know they are in a relationship for several reasons or out of fear. I don’t put out pictures for anyone to draw conclusions or create any form of illusion. As far as you are human, you must feel love at some point in time. I might be seeing someone and she is Columbian.
“A lot of people say that I will lose fans because I posted a picture of another lady on my Instagram account. I don’t have any reason to hide my affair. It is a good thing and even God in heaven smiles at it. I will try to flaunt it as much as I can. But right now, I am not ready for marriage.”

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