Veteran Nollywood actress Patience Ozokwo, affectionately known as Mama G, shed light on the financial challenges faced by many Nollywood actors, particularly during times of illness. According to Ozokwo, actors often succumb to the pressures of societal expectations, emphasising the importance of constant “packaging” or maintaining a glamorous image.
“When you are on that sick bed, nobody pays you anymore,” said Patience Ozokwo during a recent interview.
The actress pointed out that the nature of their profession compels them to be heavy spenders, especially on clothing. Ozokwo explained that public figures like actors are reluctant to wear the same outfit twice, particularly after it has been showcased at prestigious events.
“Because of the nature of our job, we are heavy spenders. The clothes we wear matter to the world. When you wear a dress for an award, no one expects you to wear it again and you cannot go in for cheap dresses because people consider you a star,” she said
This commitment to a certain lifestyle, she argued, often leads actors to spend excessively on appearances rather than investing in sustainable projects.
Ozokwo highlighted the paradox wherein actors, perceived as having abundant wealth due to their glamorous lifestyles, struggle when faced with unexpected medical expenses. Despite being well compensated for their work, the financial burden of illness is often managed individually, depleting the funds earned during healthier periods.
“These are the things that make us spend a lot of money. We, actors, are paid well. But when sickness comes in, you manage it alone. You use the money you were paid when healthy treating yourself until when the money runs out you now see us begging from our sick bed,” she said
The seasoned actress emphasised the stark reality that actors face when health issues arise. Once on a sick bed, the financial support diminishes, and the assumption that actors have substantial resources hinders external assistance. This, Ozokwo noted, leads to a situation where actors find themselves in dire straits, seeking aid during their most vulnerable moments.
“And when you are on that sick bed, nobody pays you anymore and people can not help you because they assume, as an actor, you have money,“ she added
Ozokwo’s insights provide context for the phenomenon of actors reaching out for financial help during times of illness. The narrative raises questions about the financial management of actors and their focus on maintaining a certain image rather than making strategic investments. The recent case of veteran actor John Okafor (Mr. Ibu), who sought help for medical treatment, underscores the real and immediate challenges faced by actors when health issues arise.
The contrast between veteran actors and newer entrants in the industry prompts questions about payment structures, investment opportunities, and the financial preparedness of actors across different eras.