I’ve stopped dressing provocatively – Mercy Johnson
Delectable Kogi State-born Nollywood act, Mercy Johnson, is preaching change even as her much-announced wedding finally holds in August, writes ADEOLA BALOGUN
A shock is in store for those who are used to seeing beautiful actress, Mercy Johnson, in skimpy, body-hugging and scanty apparels. In fact, they might have enjoyed the last taste of her luscious body as the Kogi State-born actress has had a turnaround as far as dressing is concerned.
When the delectable entertainer appeared for this interview early in the week, MJ – as she is popularly called – dressed like a 'normal' lady. As expected, she was aware of the mood of those present and she couldn't stop giggling.
“You can see me now, I'm all covered up,” she says. “I've started doing that; if you watch my recent movies, I've cut down on a lot of things. The normal Mercy Johnson will go all out as a single girl; I'll not do that now and I've started since last year by cutting down on dressing, acting, all of them; you can dress like this (examining herself) and show nothing.”
So, if she can dress as a normal woman, covering up properly, why has she been taunting her male admirers all this while by earning notoriety for her wild dressing?
She says, “It's the movies; it's make-believe. It's about portraying a character perfectly for people to understand. If I wear bump shorts in the movies (I'm sure nobody has seen me wear bump short outside), it's all for the movies. The director won't tell me to wear an aso oke when I'm playing a campus girl; it is just for the job. Everything I do on stage, I'm an extremist and when I do my thing, I know people complain a lot, 'Oh, she did this, she did that,' but I've never seen anybody fault my acting.
“Even in my clothes, I work on myself, I try to perfect it. It is just about perfection, trying to bring it out the way it ought to be, not trying to spite anybody or make my gender embarrassed by my action. It's just basically to portray a particular character I'm being paid to do. It's not meant to seduce guys.”
No doubt, MJ ranks among the most humorous actresses around, but the screen idol that spoke with SATURDAY PUNCH this week appears like somebody in a very special mood. It was smiles all the way and before you ask her why, she unabashedly announces her plans to get married this year.
Yet, you are still a little doubtful. This is because in Nollywood, one wedding that has been mentioned every now and then is MJ's, and recently when the media was abuzz again with stories of the actress getting married at last, it sounded like a piece of news that had been there all the time.
MJ blames everything on those who strive on speculations.
She says, “I did mention that I was engaged; I did mention that I was getting married and I wanted a dream wedding within my birthday period, but I didn't specify the year. I didn't say I was getting married in 2010 because I got engaged in November. So, I couldn't have said I was going to get married in August last year. I'm getting married in August (this year) by the special grace of God.
“This is the first time I'm mentioning dates and you are hearing from the horse's mouth. It is official and I'm so very excited about it. The wedding is going to be a four-day event. The court wedding is on August 25; the traditional aspect is on August 26, while the church wedding comes up on August 27. On Sunday, August 28, which is my birthday, the thanksgiving takes place. Similar stories in the past where dates were mentioned were mere speculations.”
MJ informs SATURDAY PUNCH that she would be getting married to royalty from Isanland in Edo State who goes by the name Prince Odianosen Okojie. Like a small girl telling the story of her first date, MJ narrates how she met the prince, whom she says is an oil and gas businessman accidentally.
She says, “We met in a saloon where I went to do my hair. We had earlier flown on the flight before sometimes but I didn't know, but he has all the details. I went to the saloon on a Saturday to do my hair and I was called out by somebody who said he had a message to give to me. I came out with saloon towel wrapped around my hair dripping water and when I came out, for three minutes, he was just looking at me. We got talking, dating and that is how we started.”
She says the young prince swept her off her feet because of his objective mind at the first point of meeting. “He tells you basically as it is,” says MJ. “He is extremely very private, that is what I like too. Odi teaches me how to draw a line when I'm doing something and I can assure you that you are going to see something different. If you check my movies now, the difference is really clear, so I know my boundaries with him and I'm not going to cross them.”
She dismisses the fear that their union might be threatened because of their contrasting ways of life.
She says, “Our marriage has to work by God's grace. I'm going to minimise what I used to do. I know what he doesn't like, so I'm going to try to curtail my end too to suit him. People may think maybe he is star struck, he is not. He doesn't care about stuff like that. He doesn't want to hold you; his friends didn't even know it's me until they came into the house. We're two opposites: he is extremely private, while I'm out there.
“He supports my acting career; he is not an extreme lover of the arts; because of his personality, he doesn't like the loud aspect of the arts but he supports me. We already have a plan of what to do before and after the wedding. So, I know the rules and I will stick to them.”
MJ is delighted that her in-laws embraced her and promises not to disappoint them as their wife. She says, “They are awesome. They are civilised people; they travel a lot and they are used to stuff like that. Although because of their background, they demand that I play it low a little bit so that I don't embarrass them in any way and I don't intend to do that. So, I'll watch all my excesses and curtail them.”
Before MJ met her prince with the shining armour, she tells SATURDAY PUNCH that she had just walked out of a relationship and was all alone for nearly one year, without having any affair.
“Before I met Odi, I was actually at the point of calling off offshore relationships, not to have an affair with those who stay overseas,” she recalls. “I just left a relationship and I was alone for a year before we met (with Odi). So, I wasn't seeing anybody before we met, he is aware of that.
“At that point, I had made up my mind not to date anybody that is not in the country, anybody who doesn't have anything solid doing here or live here. I've learnt my lesson: you are here, the person is there. Nobody knows what he is doing there, you don't know who he is living with, you don't know anything and by the time you tell him you are coming next month, he clears his desk and you come, you see a perfect person, but he is not perfect, so I just said no more of that.”
Although MJ has a truckload of scandals dogging her footsteps, she says her fiancé is not fazed by the negative press.
“I'm sorry for saying this, 90 per cent of what is written about me is lies,” she purrs. “During my last birthday, he was celebrating it for me at his home here and a soft-sell magazine wrote that I was in Abuja with a top alhaji. Mostly when we're together, he compares me with what he reads or hears about me.”
Even though she assures her numerous fans of titillating them after her wedding, she says she might take some time off to make babies.
“I want something extremely challenging. I may have to do less of national movies; I'm aiming to do award-winning international movies. Apart from plans to further my education, I may have to take off to have babies,” MJ says.
MJ says she would like to have four children because of her love for kids. “I can't wait,” she says. “I stuff clothes in my stomach and ask Odi before the mirror, 'How do I look?' I adore marriage; I've always wanted to get married, but you have to wait until you find the right person.”
The wait should be worth it, or what do you think?