By Christian Agadibe

Beautician turned-actor/producer, John Oche Success popularly known as Dr. Success John has opened up on sex-for-role in Nollywood, revealing that it has become a norm in the industry.

Success, who has produced countless movies including Bond and Royal Quest, told TS Weekend how he ventured into filmmaking from being a beautician to top celebrities and politicians in Nigeria.

According to Success, he was inspired by an actress he was doing skin treatment for as a beautician. Hear him: “I grew up loving the art especially Nollywood because I watched a lot of movies while growing up, but acting was never part of my resume. I was already a household name in Abuja and generally in Nigeria with my skin care business, and I had lots of society bigwigs as clients. One day, one of my clients, a Senator called me and requested I travel to Asaba to work on a top Nollywood actress who had a very bad skin. The fee was discussed and paid. I immediately flew to Asaba, met with the actress and started working on her.”

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The movie producer continued: “The actress complimented me and asked, ‘you look so good and clean, have you ever considered acting as part of what you do?’ I smiled and replied ‘no’. She then asked why, and went on to say that I’ve got the looks and I can speak well, and also have all what the industry needs. I told her that I am a multifaceted entrepreneur, and as such, I won’t have enough time to go into full time acting. She suggested I could still come in as a producer or executive producer, that I would make a lot of money. Immediately I heard ‘a lot of money’, I told her I was interested. Later, I met one or two producers, and before you know it, I learnt the business and started producing. That’s how I came into Nollywood.”

Talking about sexual harassment, the co-lead actor of Celebrities said it’s gradually becoming a norm in the industry. “Although, sexual harassment is in every sector, that of Nollywood is getting rampant everyday. Personally, I haven’t experienced it (sexual harassment) but I have received complaints from a lot of colleagues and friends who have complained numerous times that they’ve been harassed sexually; some gave in, some never did. But the trend is on. One of my siblings is a Nollywood actress. She has been harassed several times in her bid to get movie roles and become a star. On one occasion, after she had turned him down, the producer asked her to swear with her womb, if she has never slept with anyone in the industry. On another occasion, a director told her that the reason she hasn’t become a big celebrity is because she isn’t dating any marketer or producer, and she has decided to be stingy with her ‘kpekus’. But that does not mean that she has not worked for many other producers and directors that didn’t demand sex from her. On my part, I have never sexually harassed any actress for roles. In a nutshell, anywhere there are good people; there are also bad people. Not everybody in Nollywood harasses actresses sexually,” he explained.

Asked if he could marry a woman far older than him, the Benue State-born thespian cum filmmaker narrated the experience he had with women before fame beckoned.

“I almost married an older woman 10 years ago. Actually, two were pressurising and offering me plenty of money to marry them.

One was a Muslim who wanted to take me to Mecca. In her words, ‘if you agree to marry me and convert to Islam, I will make you rich forever. As you can see, Alhaji, my husband, is dead’. I quickly told her to allow me think about it, and that’s how I ran for my life and she never saw me again. Afterwards, I met another elderly woman who was old enough to be my mother. At first, she came as a client and was purchasing my beauty products with a very huge amount. After a while, she requested we go for a date. It didn’t take much time that I discovered she was an Echankar (Erkhist). She was very rich in billions. She said if I agreed to marry her, she would take me to any country of my choice and make me wealthy, and I should also join her religion. She added that she had been married nine times to younger and older men, but she preferred younger guys because ‘they do all the magic in bed’. She also said what he loved most about me was my pointed nose and kissable lips. I told her to give me three days to think about it. Na so I Japa (run). So, my answer is no. I cannot marry an older woman, even one year older than me.”