Nollywood actress, Mercy Aigbe-Gentry, tells Ademola Olonilua about her career and style
Have you always been fashion conscious or did it just start when you became an actress?
I have always been fashion conscious because I love to look good and get compliments from people because of the way I look. It has been a part of me since I was growing up and my school mates can testify to that. I have always loved fashion.
Why do you have a flair for fashion?
My desire to always look good attracted me to fashion because I believe that the way you are dressed to a large extent, determines the way you will be addressed by people. You have to sell yourself through the way you dress. My desire to always look good made me develop a strong passion for fashion.
Has your career enhanced your style?
Yes it has because as a celebrity, you must always look good as that is what people expect from us. We have a lot of people who look up to us as role models, so we have to be on top of our game when it comes to fashion. My career has influenced my fashion sense greatly.
Fans often abuse you on your instagram page that the clothes you wear are from fake designer labels; how do you react to such comments?
I don’t care about what people think because at the end of the day, it is all about me. If you feel what I wear is fake, it is up to you; it is none of my business. I don’t need anybody to confirm the authenticity of what I wear. Whatever picture I post on my instagram account reflects my personality and I post them because I want to and not for comments’ sake. Most times, I ask how they know that what I am wearing is fake, how can they tell? When I read such comments, I just laugh because I believe they are coming from people who just want to hate me for no reason. The truth is that you cannot tell if my clothes are fake because you do not live with me and you have not checked them out. Some of them go as far as saying I can’t afford certain things and I ask how they know that. Do they know how much I have in my bank account or how much I earn? I don’t let such comments get to me.
So it does not bother you when you post a picture and people deride your style?
It does not bother me at all. As far as I am okay with what I am wearing, then I care less about other people’s opinion because I am my biggest critic when it comes to fashion. Once I look into the mirror, and I am happy with what I see and convinced that I look good, people’s opinion do not matter.
You seem to love taking pictures, why?
I think it is because I am in love with myself. I am addicted to taking pictures. I love looking good and I love taking pictures because I love to see what I look like. Also, pictures are memories and when I am going through the pictures on any of my gadgets, they tell a story and bring back good memories. I am sure I have over 4,000 pictures on my phone memory and most times, my phone crashes because I have so many pictures in it. It is part of who I am and it makes me happy. I believe that people should do whatever makes them happy because life is too short.
Don’t you see it as being vain?
I don’t know. You can say it is being vain but I just love it. It makes me happy and I enjoy doing it.
What is the most expensive fashion item you own?
That would be a Rolex wristwatch my husband gave me as a gift during St. Valentine’s Day in 2010.
What is your fashion weakness?
When it comes to fashion, I could be greedy. I really do not have a particular item that is my fashion fetish because I love everything that has to do with fashion; be it shoes, bags, jewellery. I love them all.
When you open your closet, what do you have in excess?
Everything is in excess in my wardrobe. Whenever my friends come to my house, they are always amazed. Sometimes I tell myself that it is becoming an obsession because I buy things I really don’t need and some of them I never get to wear. I had to teach myself to stop buying things because it is becoming an obsession. Whenever my friends visit me, they must take something from my closet and they keep saying I have so many things. I guess I am just being a woman and other women can relate with what I am saying.
How do you take care of your body?
I drink a lot of water and eat fruits; I also use moisturiser to maintain my skin because I would not want it to dry up. I go to the spa once in a month to exfoliate my skin and do my facials because I believe it is what God has given me. The Bible says my body is the temple of God, so I have to take good care of myself. I go to the gym when I am not working and my personal trainer also comes to my house.
How come you do not have any tattoo?
I am not a tattoo fan; it is a ‘no’ for me. I think it is because I feel I cannot stand the pain. It is not attractive to me.
What will you never be caught wearing?
I would never be caught wearing an outfit that is so revealing. I love to show a little bit of skin but when it is too revealing, then I cannot wear it.
What do you think of ladies who wear very revealing clothes?
I think it is what they like and if that is what makes them happy, they should carry on but I don’t belong to that category of people. I believe there is class in showing a little flesh but when it is too much, then it becomes tacky and unappealing.
How would you describe your style?
Most times, I go for comfort and it has to be chic, urban and elegant.
What kinds of clothes are you comfortable wearing?
I love wearing casual clothes. A pair of jeans and a shirt would be good for me.
Is make-up a must for you?
I am not a make-up person and I don’t wear it most times. I feel I look better without make-up and people have actually confirmed it. They say I look finer without make-up but when I have to go for an official outing or I am on set, I have to wear make-up.
What is the fashion item you cannot leave home without?
That would be my bag because I have to put my things inside.
You recently opened a boutique, how do you intend to manage it with being an actress and a mother?
Sincerely, I don’t know but I am trusting God to help me. I have had to reject some acting jobs because of my boutique and it is taking so much of my time. I have had to travel to about five countries to buy goods. It is a lot of hard work and I don’t know how I am going to balance it but because I have a strong passion for fashion, I will make it work. I pray and hope it will work out.
Do you plan to quit acting soon to face your new business?
No, I can never quit acting. It is my first love, then fashion follows. I can never leave acting.