Kanu Nigeria’s greatest athlete — Actress, Uzero


Nollywood blockbuster ‘Kill Boro’ star, Blessing Uzero, talks about her acting career, equal pay for male and female athletes, her love for Tobi Amusan, the Super Eagles and more, in this interview with PETER AKINBO

How did you start your acting career?
I started acting in the university where I studied English. I was also in the theatre group in school, which helped and fed my passion for acting, after working on a couple of student projects my mind was made that this was my path.

What made you keep at it after school?
In my first official role I found expression, the way painters pour their hearts in their art, and you can see them from just seeing their works. It felt like that for me, I was in love with the craftsmanship. The pay wasn’t great but truly it didn’t matter. I just loved acting and kept going despite that.

Did your parents support you going into acting?
⁠As at the time I started acting officially, I had lost my mum, but even at that I was so sure she would have supported me greatly and would be proud of me. My dad is on the same page, he is very supportive as well as the rest of my immediate family.

What would you say has been your favourite movie?
⁠A movie called Kill Boro currently showing on prime video and number one in Nigeria is my favourite so far because it really allowed me step out of my shell as an actress and really become the character who was a hard shelled, Port Harcourt gangster babe, a tomboy. For me, who has never lived in Port Harcourt, to inhabit that role with the twisted pidgin, it was a journey and I loved every bit of it.

While growing up in school, what sports did you participate in?
⁠I was an athlete in school, I didn’t push too much into it then but yeah I loved running.

Were you good at it then?
⁠I wasn’t the noticeably good athlete but I was pretty good at it.

Did you grow up in a sports-loving household?
⁠Yes I grew up in a sports household but not necessarily sports-loving but there was a liking for sports, especially football. Football was a bonding sport in my household, especially when the national team was playing or participating, even when it’s not the World Cup or Olympics. Football was just always that bonding sport in my family.

Which sports do you enjoy most?
⁠I enjoy sprints and relays, and the football national team is my favourite team because I love my country. This might not always be the best time to say this because of what is going on, but I still do love my country and all our athletes. I like basketball as well.

What do you think about D’Tigress, the women’s national basketball team?
I’d say they’re doing pretty well representing Nigeria and are winning a lot in Africa. There is still more work to be done, but so far so good, kudos to them.

Who would you say is your favourite sportswoman?
⁠Definitely Tobi Amusan, she’s such an inspiration. She continues to do amazing stuff at every competition and I am amazed by her.

If you could go out with any sportsperson in the world, who would it be?
If I could go out with a sportsperson it will still be Tobi Amusan, there’s so much I want to know and most importantly learn from her.

Who do you think is the best Nigerian sportsperson ever?
⁠In my own opinion, of all time, I’d say Nwankwo Kanu, a legend I grew up watching with my family, even though I didn’t know too much about football then. Like I said it was a bonding sport for my family and we all loved him, clearly saw and appreciated his talent, his tenacity for making Nigerians proud and his passion.

Are you an advocate of equal pay for male and female athletes?
I just believe, and not just for sports, but generally. If the same thing is being done, whether male or female, I think the pay should be just as good for both genders.

Would you encourage your kids to pursue a career in sports?
⁠I would encourage my kids with all my heart if it’s something they want and love to do.