Rita Daniel is the mother of teenage actress, Regina. For many years Rita's face graced many movies churned out of Nollywood.
Ebullient, graceful and methodical, Rita Daniel has transformed from being an actress to a politician, an entrepreneur and mentor.
The mother of four has been able to nurture one of her kids into becoming a rising movie star. In this interview, Daniels shares talks about her marital status, her child Regina and more....
Aside acting, what else do you do?
I am a very busy woman. I am into so many things. First, I am the chairman of Actors Guild of Nigeria, Delta state chapter, (AGN). I am a politician; presently, the majority leader and counsellor, Aniocha South Local Government Area. I hail from Ogwashi-Ukwu town.
I am also the managing director of Last Point Resort; the CEO Regina Daniels Children Foundation; the CEO, Chris Daniel Nigeria Limited; an officer in Director Guild of Nigeria; and a producer.
People feel you pushed your daughter into acting because of money and that you want her to take after you an actress?
Not really; nobody makes one a star. It's only God that has the power to lift from nobody to somebody. Yes, I am a good actress who is also talented.
But my daughter started when at the age of seven. She loved watching movies and acting at home. Though I didn't allow her to watch Nigerian movies because of her age, she followed me to locations and made friends with a lot of actresses and actors.
Anytime she saw little children on locations, she would beg me to allow her be part of the cast but I would refuse. She kept on pestering me until one day, I allowed her to act in a movie.
She was very happy. She started practicing at home. Everything my daughter knows about acting I taught her. I encouraged her not to be nervous and she listened to me. She started as low as N5,000. She still acts for free to date if I want her to act. She is humble and very obedient.
How often does she get movie role?
She is a lucky child. She is always on set. I just thank God for everything. As soon as she is concluding a particular movie, they are calling her for another one. It got to a point that I had to plead with some of her directors and producers to allow her concentrate on her studies. If not, there is no week that she will not be on set.
Has your celebrity status deprived you of anything in life?
I believe it is a normal thing for you not to be everywhere as a star. But, I am not mindful of that. I have a business I run. So, I still go to the market to public places like every other person. I am not affected by celebrity status. If you don't go out how will you meet people? Even when my fans are screaming, 'Mama Regina! Mama Regina! Mama Regina!', I will just smile and hail them back and continue what I am doing. I am a politician and I am used to crowd.
But ex-President Goodluck Jonathan allegedly gave a loan to the AGN. What happened to the money?
(Laughs) I did not see one naira oh! I do not know who processed and collected the money. If the money was released, I do not know. If they did not release it, I do not know. The people, who were supposed to give us information, talking about the leadership of AGN, did not tell us anything. Even the first $200 million, nothing was heard of it. What am I looking for is hectares of land for the Film Village and a standard office for the guild so actors and actresses can have a place to share ideas and plan for the future.
What is your view about Nollywood?
Let's put it this way, using the argument of old and new Nollywood, the side of the fence that I stand on is that for every industry, new players would come and while they would even be considered as new players is because they are bringing value to the new generation. Those that consider themselves as the new Nollywood give them another 20 years and they are going to become the old Nollywood and that's the cycle of life. The new players must always add value. Nollywood is fast going into extinction and replaced with New Nollywood of unprecedented indecency and abuses.
Are you married or a single mother?
For now, only two of them are in Nollywood. But one is a musician while others are still in school.
How many movies have you done so far?
I have done so many movies I have even lost count. What I do mostly is producing most of the movies my daughter, Regina, acts in.
Did you take a break from the movie industry?
I didn't take a break from the movie industry. You know what is going on in the industry. They tend to frustrate the older ones and that is why, if you take a look at some of the movies, a lot of people have veered off into a lot of things. I will still be in the movie world till I breathe the last breath.
I am a proud mother of four children and my children are everything to me. I hate to discuss my family in public. Can you ask me another question?