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Incredible things have been written and published in the newspapers about actress Anita Hogan Mak of the Gulder Ultimate Search 11 fame.
Incredible things have been written and published in the newspapers about actress Anita Hogan Mak of the Gulder Ultimate Search 11 fame.
Scandalised and brutalised by these conflicting stories, this die- hard and young Akwa Ibom State born personality has remained undaunted.
Recently married to her Dutch lover of three years, Anita unbarred herself in this interview with our Entertainment Editor, Ogbonna Amadi.
You must have had the fun of your life on your honey moon, so tell me a bit about the experience...
As I told you earlierí we went on a road trip as part of our honeymoon and we started the trip from Cairo, Egypt. Mind you, we lived in the city of Cairo all these while, until when my husbandís contract expired and it was time to move to Europe, where he had secured a new contract.
Having secured a new contract, we decided to have the fun of a lifetime. In the beginning, most of our friends whom we told of our plan, thought we were crazy.
Well, we were bent on seeing a lot of things and if my husband had his way weíd driven all the way from Nigeria to Europe. But because of the unsafe terrain of West Africa, the war thorn zone of Darfur, Sudan, we made do with touring Europe and the Middle-East and we had fun.
How much fun?
Tough fun. It was the kind of fun that opened my eyes to see a lot of things because we drove through eight Middle-East and African countries.
What type of vehicle did you use?
It was the Land Rover Discovery 3 and we shared the driving seat. My driving was made possible because Iíd secured an international driverís licence here in Nigeria before we left.
And when night comes, what happens?
We had our camps and sometimes we camped right in the desert and it was quite safe.
Can you name some of the countries you visited?
Oh yes. We started off from Egypt crossed over to Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Austria Germany and Holland.
And you had no immigration problem?
Yes. And thatís why we didnít start from Nigeria. Else where it was easy once your papers are in order and Iíd secured visas for all these countries before I left Nigeria. Weíd planned it all. I knew two years before now that he was going to do a road trip but I didnít know I was going to be part of it. I thought the whole idea sounded crazy.
I said to him, Ďold man you should be talking about a boat cruise and visiting exotic places like Hawaii . . . Ē but he replied saying it was something heíd dreamed of, for a long time.
The way you roll your eyes when you talk about your husband makes him out a romantic person, is he one?
Heís very adventurous and a tough man. To me itís good because I have some element of adventure in me as well.
Well heís not extremely romantic but, heís a nice person. Heís very practical about everything. Heís not into fairy tales and for him loveís more practical. And if that is being romantic, then heís very romantic.
Why did you choose a white over some of your African brothers or were there no offers?
No, I had my own fair share of relationship with my black brothers and in my husbandís case Iíd say destiny brought us together. So it wasnít like I preferred it or that I worked hard at it, it just happened and l decided to embrace it with all my heart.
I did have a relationship, we were supposed to get married, but two months to my marriage he died. Itís still very devastating because that was something I experienced when I was quite very young, He was still very young and weíd done things together, we were building our lives together when the hands of death snatched him away. It was painful, but I know he would have wanted me to continue with my life.
Is that when he (Mak)came in?
He came like a year or two years after.
...And you never had any other relationship in between?
No. Iím a one man relationship kind of person because I donít know how to handle something I canít explain
How did you and Ken meet?
Well, I was invited to a Barbecue party at the Island and somebody came to tap me and asked me to dance. And because I was so quiet and just sat in a corner, he was like ďthere is no room for such things, you are here to relax and have fun . . . Ē and so on. So when I got dancing, I couldnít stop, and he had to beg me ďYou have to stop dancing nowĒ and the whole thing was really very funny and we exchanged numbers.
He didnít keep in touch immediately because he left the country. And suddenly one day, I got a call from someone. And he was like hey, Iím lost and I donít know my way to the beach. I need somebody to help me. And I was like, who is this and he said itís the guy that you danced with. And I was like, what is your problem and he said he is with his friends and they donít know their way to the beach.
I was like what about your driver Iím sure you have a driver and he said his driver doesnít work on Sundays. So I said Ok, and I went and took all of them to the beach. It was nice, we had fun and that was it.
When did the idea of marriage come up and how long did it take him to propose?
I think I dated him for three years before marriage. But one year into the relationship, he left Nigeria. But before he left he kept the marriage, and I was like ďO Boy hold on abeg.Ē Also when he was off Nigeria, he would write to me saying that he would like to see my parents. And I was like, Ok, just see my Dad because heís quiet understanding. At that point, my daddy was still alive then.
I said to him, ďplease when you go there, donít go and start talking any how, because Africa is not like Europe. You should keep it calm, state your mission and I will be asked if Iím interested and that was it.Ē
So he left and some how in-between the whole situation, I went for the Gulder Ultimate Search
How did he react to the scandal?
He didnít understand what I was talking about. You see my guy is less concerned about the entertainment industry. I had to tell him the website to read and understand what I was trying to say.
He gave me strength and support. And when the pressure mounted, he wanted to take me out of the country.
How did your family react to your getting married to a Whiteman in the first place?
Silent, especially from my father who never expected that of all his children I should be the one to marry a Whiteman.
Do you have a native name?
My native name is Chinyere. My mother is an Imo State indigene who grew up in Onitsha and married my father who hailed from Akwa Ibom State.
So how did you come about the other name Udokang?
Thatís my fatherís family name. My names are actually Anita Hogan Chinyere Udokang. I was never Hogan before. My fatherís first name is Hogan. He wanted me to add his name to my names. He said he wanted it because he said he knew that one day I was going to become a famous person and he wanted his name right there at the top when it happened.
And so he traded his name for the family name?
No. He didnít do that. As a matter of fact, the name Udokang is in all my documents. From my birth certificate to my professional certificates, it is there.
Do you have other brothers and sisters?
First you need to know that my parents are separated. Fortunately for both of them, they found love else where. My mother got married to a Yoruba man and my dad went back home to marry an Ibibio lady. But youíd be shocked to know that in spite of the marriages, we are so very few. We are just five in the family. My dad and mum had only me together, and had two extras each from their respective marriages.
At the Gulder Ultimate Search 11 that you took part in, you had so much trouble with the guys why?
My problem in life is that a lot of people misunderstand me. They think I shouldnít ask question. They think I shouldnít be inquisitive. You know, the average Nigeria woman hardly stands up for her right, thatís not me, I will speak my mind anytime.
Is your mummy still alive?
Yes, sheís very much alive and she lives in Onitsha.
How did she react to the scandal that hit you?
Nothing. No words initially. As a mater of fact, she didnít see the publication though she heard about it. She told me ďlook you owe nobody any explanation in life, not even to me your mother. You know your ways are pure and your hands clean. Fate and destiny will always explain everything to people who wish to know anything about you.Ē
You must have been very devastated when the scandal hit town?
Iím a very emotional person and very straight in the things I do. So I didnít understand why anybody would want to hurt me. I didnít understand why events turned out that way for me. But as the Bible says ďin every situation you find yourself give thanks.Ē I gave thanks but then it wasnít easy. Iím a strict person too and thatís why even in the movie industry I didnít grow up so fast because I donít compromise easily. Iím ever ready to take my time and become whatever God wishes me to become.
And the next thing we heard after the scandal was marriage, did you plan it that way?
I told you my man is a very crazy man, one who acts on impulse. When the whole thing happened, his first reaction was ďAnita leave this place. Why do you want to be with people who hurt you so bad?Ē But I told him that leaving will be misinterpreted for something else. So, I want to look at them in the face. I want to be able to walk on the street irrespective of what the enemy had done. Iím still proud that nobody can steal my freedom. He admired my courage. If he could have joined me, he would have but he was so far away.
But when he finally came he insisted we marry immediately. For me the whole thing turned out an advantage, because when we were set for our trip, there were so many countries we visited that wonít have allowed a single man and woman to be together without marriage. I said to myself, God, this must be the reason for everything that happened to me. In some of these countries, we needed to present our wedding certificates to get hotel accommodation.
And it affected your career?
My career is a never an ending story. Itís not a career that is controlled by anybody. The industry is a vast field of play, and open. So, the scandal didnít touch me.
So what else did you benefit from the scandal?
Oh, I went to the Embassy and straight away, they gave me a visa.
How did that happen?
Everybody knew me. I didnít need to explain to anyone that Iím an actress. Even from the gate, I was allowed in where others were turned back. The gatemen simply told their white bosses who I was, and they were like, ďthen she must be a responsible person.Ē Kpam, they stamped visas on my passport.
It made certain things easier for me. It also made for me, very interesting friends, people who would never have called me. And they all wanted to be my friend.
ďI want to be your friend, donít think that everybody there is bad,Ē they told me. And true to their words, they were honest. Initially, I was suspicious.
ďOh God youíve seen those terrible things and they are giving you ideas, nothing for you men,Ē I said to myself. But they were truly gentlemen. One particular guy, sent me a present. And till date, theyíve remained my greatest friends
The most important that happened to me however, is the fact that the whole thing brought me close to God. I didnít have anyone to run to. Iím not a church attending person, but Iím a God fearing person.
One would have expected you to come up with something that will benefit people who have passed through what you did?
Itís not long ago that the whole thing happened, and besides I donít like rushing into things. Iím not a beauty pageant participant who after winning the crown suddenly comes up with an NGO, No. This is a practical issue that needs time and a level of intelligence and contribution from people who would be useful. I donít bow to undue pressure, so I wonít go into something Iím really not ready for.
Were there guys who came to you because they wanted a taste of what theyíd seen on the pages of the newspaper?
Definitely. Iíd be lying if I donít say it. A lot of them came, but I told them thatís not me. So you guys cannot have what is not me. If you want me, then come straight.
Will you pose nude for any amount?
You havenít seen anything. Those pictures were not me, because the real thing is still with me. But seriously speaking, why would I want to act nude and who would want to watch me nude? .
I donít think my fans would not want me to. In the heat of the scandal, some smart guys recorded CDs with the title ĎAnita Hogan Live and Nakedí, but when you buy such video youíd find nothing there. Itís not my style and my way of expressing myself.
What do you do now?
Iím a house wife.
You must be very comfortable too?
Yeah, but not where Iíd want to be really. Iíd want to be seen being driven by a driver.
Have you met your husbandís family?
I met Makís ex-wife who separated from him 15 years ago. We met and had dinner together, under a strange circumstance. Sheíd organised this dinner party and of course, I stood out as the only black person. She walked up to me and said hi, I havenít seen you before. You must be Anita, since you are with my daughter. And I said yes.
Oh, she shouted, ďhow are you coping with him? . ďDo you know he wants to do everything and very adventurous?Ē.
We didnít really talk much about my husband, but she tried to tell me how to cope in my new environment. She gave me a list of Nigerians living in Holland and was very nice to me.
So whatís your new name now?
Anita Hogan Mak.
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