Actor, Leo Mezie, tells ’Nonye Ben-Nwankwo about his style
How has your career been?
It has been very challenging. The jobs have been very slow and not flowing as they used to. Investors are now scared of their investments. At this point, we are stuck, we can’t go front or back and the government is not doing anything to look into this sector and it is affecting the business.
If it is affecting the business, how have you been surviving?
The movie industry is just a stepping-stone for me. I ventured into it because I liked it. I see it as a hobby and not a profession. Even while I was doing the movies, I was still feeling I was a government person. I do about two movies in a month, I come back and rest. I am good in PR and events packaging. I started running an events and PR outfit for some government agencies. It has been very interesting. Despite the fact that there is competition, my popular face has sort of given me an edge.
What does style mean to you?
Style means everything. I had the opportunity to be with one modelling agency when I started my career in the late 90s. I came to realise that everybody is addressed by the way he is dressed. Your style depicts the kind of person you are. If you step into an office, your dressing will either get you a, ‘Welcome sir’ or a ‘Can I help you?’ I can’t imagine putting on full agbada regalia and attending a baby’s one year birthday. My style depends on where I am going. It is very important to me.
So you were once a model?
Oh yes. That is one area of my life that I have not really talked about. I started with modelling before I became an actor. I was with Modella. Then, I started going for auditions and it was taking my time. I didn’t have time again to attend rehearsals for modelling.
Why did you go into acting, was it that you wanted to be more prominent?
It wasn’t anything like that. I didn’t like the way we walked in the modelling world. Our walk was just the way the females walk. I was told that the walk on the runway was different from the way you walk on the streets. And then, each time I went for movie audition, I got a role. I decided to quit modelling.
As a showbiz personality, don’t you take out time to look good?
Looking good is good business. I hardly attend events because I always feel it means my looking for something to wear. At last year’s Africa Movies Academy Awards held in Lagos, it took my wife and I three straight days to choose from six different attires that I could wear. We finally decided on two. She chose one and I chose another. On the day of the event, I went with what she chose but just as we got outside, I went back to the house and undressed and I wore what I wanted to wear and she liked it.
Have you made a fashion mistake before?
I have made such mistakes a couple of times. I went for an event at Oriental Hotel in Lagos. My colleagues called me and told me about an event and said I should come around. I got to the hotel and I saw my colleagues, then I realised I was seriously over dressed. They didn’t tell me it was a jeans affair. I refused to attend the event. I just had to go and wait for them at the pool side. I have also been to another event where I was underdressed. I think it was in Delta State. I was filming and somebody invited me for a dinner. He gave me the impression that it was a casual event. I got there and people were formally dressed. I refused to enter the hall. I insisted on going back to my hotel and changing into something more befitting for the occasion.
What is the most expensive fashion item that you have?
It is my wedding ring. It is not all about how much it costs. But the thing is that I buy a new wedding ring every wedding anniversary. Last month was our wedding anniversary; I woke her up with a new wedding ring and renewed our vow. That is the most expensive fashion item that I have.
Can you count the number of shoes you have?
I can’t count them. I am not saying that I have so many but I can tell you that there are shoes I have not worn for one year.
What can you not leave home without?
Of course, I can never leave home without my wedding ring. Even if I forget it, I always go back home. It makes me feel responsible and makes me feel fully dressed. It also makes me feel very comfortable in the midst of ladies.
You sound as if you have always been faithful to your wife since you got married to her.
I will not like to deceive myself. However, to an extent, I have been faithful. I meet ladies every day. I have a lot of admirers, fans and friends. But at each point, I don’t see anything unique about them. The only reason I can date another woman is if the person is better than my wife. Friends ask me if I am the first person to get married because of the way I behave. I always tell them that the ladies can never do to me what my wife will do to me. It has not been a challenge for my wife letting me go where I want to go. She knows I will find it difficult to get anyone who will do five per cent of what she does.
But you were a ladies’ man before you got married…
I was a ladies’ man on the street and not in the hotel or my house. I have more female friends than male friends.
Do you wear boxers or briefs?
I wear boxers. But I love briefs. But since I got married, my wife loves me to wear boxers. Even when I want to go out, I would want to wear briefs but she would insist I wear boxers. She said she is turned on each time I wear boxers.
Are you a perfume freak?
No, I am not. I just wear perfume because I don’t want to have an offensive odour at any time. If I am going to stay out a whole day, I would wear a perfume or body spray. But if it is just to hang out with friends for just an hour or two, I used roll on and wear my shirt. Naturally, I don’t like the smell of perfume. It chokes me.
What do you love wearing on a normal day?
I love to wear causals. I love jeans and Tee-shirt any day.
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