TELL us about your new movies?
I just finished producing two movies. One of them is titled Ayamo meaning ‘Destiny’. It is basically about people who think they cannot succeed or survive in Nigeria without traveling abroad. They do not know the daily struggles of those living there and they think life is smoother on the other side. The irony of it is that people stay here in Nigeria and succeed without having to travel.
There’s a lot to learn from it but it simply teaches us that wherever you are destined to be, God will locate and prosper you. We do not need to travel abroad before we make it in life. The second movie is titled Ife Odale. It’s a story of betrayal, hurt and greed between couples. It also emphasizes reasons why distance can damage homes and relationship.
If a spouse relocates abroad and the other spouse is back home, should there be trust? Could such marriages work? Can such marriage stand the test of time? All these answers can be found in the movie Ife Odale.
One of the challenges producers face is funding. How have you been raising funds for your projects?
Well, acting and movie making are not the only careers I have. I work in the medical field here in the US and I’m also into buying and selling.
Moreover, our industry is not as profitable as before but that doesn’t mean we still don’t make money from the movies we produce. Most of my colleagues have other businesses, and we fund our movies ourselves because it’s what we have a passion doing.
What are the challenges of staying abroad and getting roles in Nigeria?
It’s hard, to be sincere. It’s a big challenge but if you are determined, things will always work out the way you want. There are lots of actors that are based in US and UK. In fact, Nollywood US produces lots of movies every year. We have an industry here too. I know people who produce here in US without having to travel home.
My last production, Adetoun L’america was shot here in US. I mean 90 % of it and only few scenes were shot in Nigeria. I’ve featured in a lot of productions here that don’t have a single scene in Nigeria, so it’s not so hard to get roles here. But I personally have to travel to shoot my movies and get roles in Nigeria and I get roles here in US too.
How true is the perception that most actresses are wayward?
Well, I don’t know about that. There’s no industry that does not have wayward people as you mentioned, so it’s not only in our industry. It happens everywhere and in every career but just because we are role models, people tend to think there should be perfection in Nollywood, I do not see or know any wayward colleague but if some of them are actually wayward, then it’s very bad.
People also believe their wayward attitude could be one of the reasons. They get married late and end up divorced?
Some people marry late for reasons best known to them, not because of waywardness. Actually, there are two sides to it. Some men are reluctant to marrying female actors because of the fame and they think they cannot control them; this could lead to female actors marrying late.
On the other side most men that eventually marry them for the stardom part and not real love which eventually leads to divorce in no time except the very few God-fearing men. Yes, I could start mentioning happily married female actors that don’t have any problem in their marriages. There is a lot of us.
You must have been in the business for a while; cell you tell us about it?
If you have passion for something and you aren’t seeing yourself doing it, it saddens you. Acting has been my passion, so if I know any one that knows someone in the industry, I was always quick to tell them to introduce me. There was this brother I know; he’s a very popular musician in London. His name is Jide Chord. He and Uncle Alade Aromire were very close friends. He introduced me to Alade Aromire in 2002 and he tutored me till 2005 before I relocated.
Same way I met Uncle Yinka Quadri in 2001 through his brother Waheed Olateju Quadri. He told me he is Yinka Quadri’s brother and I was like you have to take me to see him. That was how I started going to Odunfa. I used to go to LTV 8 to see Uncle Alade Aromire back in 2003 at his Yotomi studio. He knew I was in Odunfa but I took him as a brother and because he was a veteran, I learned a lot from him, I pray his gentle soul continues to rest in peace.
What is it like combining acting with a medical career?
Acting is my career and medicine is my job. I have passion for both but acting is my life: Healthcare brings me money, I combine both easily without one affecting the other.
Do you think you can have a break with you
Yes and I’m not only aiming to become a top shot in Nollywood, I plan to make big movies that will be shot in Los Angeles and I will cast Hollywood actors, I went to NY Film Academy here and most of my colleagues we graduated together have relocated to Los Angeles to start a career.
We do keep in touch and I plan to make an Afro/American film project soon. I hope to cast both Hollywood and Nollywood actors. Acting for me is not all about the country I was born alone but also about the county I live. I’m aiming higher and with God nothing is impossible.
What was your reason for joining a caucus?
Back then, it was necessary to join a caucus. You see, people don’t produce movies then like we do now. Before you can even feature in one movie, you have to really try. It wasn’t coming easy and there were few producers. But now, I do not belong to any caucus. We produce singly, we have marketers and we feature other actors. There are still caucuses and I always and will always represent Odunfa caucus but I don’t belong to any now.
Are you also of the opinion that joining one is the only way to survive in the Yoruba movie industry?
No, I don’t believe that the only way to survive is to join a caucus but it’s good to join one especially if you are just coming up as an artist.
Is Ife Odale your story?
No, it’s not my story but it’s a true life story of what is happening in our society. It is assumed that producers sometimes tell the story of their life through their works. But if they do, they will let the audience know it’s the true life story. Not every story is true life. There are lots of things happening in our society, and there is a lot to write about.
Are you one of the actresses who believe marrying a white man makes their career easy to maintain?
I don’t believe marrying a white man makes life easy abroad; neither does it make a career easy to maintain. Marrying black or white here does not make any difference unless for people marrying the white to get their papers and eventually getting divorced at the end.
Did you pay those you featured in your new movie, or it is the normal norm of exchange, which is popular in the Yoruba sector?
I paid them all, although I cannot finish paying them. Can we finish paying each other? No. The works we do is much but the pay is little, we help each other a lot too, may God bless our hustles.
You also act in English movies too?
Yes, it started from my church. Half of those English movies are produced By COGA Cathedral, and one of the movies was directed by Doyin Hassan and others by reputable Christian movie directors. I’m a devout Christian and a child of God. I’ve featured in other Nollywood English movies as well.
What is your take on those who flaunt their charity works on social media?
It’s good to do charity but not as means of cheap publicity.