Bizarre! Read what Nollywood actress says about sexual harassment @ Nollywood, says they ask for it!
Although she has not featured in movies lately, beautiful actress, Opeyemi Ayeola Owolomose says that she’s still relevant in the industry. The screen diva who shares a different view about poverty in the sector of Nollywood speaks with ADEWOYIN ADENIYI about her upcoming projects, family, career and some other issues. Excerpts…
YOU’VE been off the scene for a while now; your fans must have missed you on their television screen…
I want to sincerely thank my fans and every lovely supporter who never stopped showing love and undying support for the Opeyemi Aiyeola Owolomonse brand. You all, through the grace of God, made me the success I am today. And yes, I realized and appreciate the fact that they all missed me, as the calls, messages, SMS and consistent communication on my social media handles shows that indeed am loved and still very much accepted.
But I wouldn’t say I was ever out or that I quit acting. I’m very much an actor and still a major stakeholder in the movie making profession. But sometimes, some matters require your attention which will automatically disturb your initial movement. And to God be the glory, it’s all been a success story so far.
Are you working on any project presently?
Yes of course. I’m at the concluding stages of my various projects, which are not only about movies. Any moment from now, my fans will once again have a feel of me they have always known. And like I did say, I never left the movie making world, as my movies and the coming ones will always prove that indeed, I’m a born entertainer.
But don’t you think a comeback wouldn’t be so easy because fresh talents have taken over the industry since you left?
Interestingly, I’m this very loving soul who derives pleasure and happiness each time I see growing talents around me, and in the circumstance that I spot any, I nurture and encourage them as well. So, I don’t feel threatened or sad about it. Opeyemi Aiyeola has never been in contention with anyone and never will I be. Why should I be bothered about fresh talents taking over?
Remember, I told you I never quit, neither did I leave the stage. I’m not on anyone’s lane, but I’m thankful to God that as at today I’m globally regarded as one of Nigeria’s pace setting entertainment role model and that’s fulfillment.
What is your reaction whenever you watch any movie you starred
Seeing or watching myself in any movie just makes me smile and fulfilled. It gives me a sense that I have been blessed to do what I’m gifted at; acting.
What is the most memorable role you have played?
Actually I don’t even have any precise role as favourite. I’m a humble actor, and a complete role/script interpreter. I fit in perfectly and deliver anywhere. Check my previous works, and you will agree with me on that.
How true is the allegation that actresses suffer sexual harassment?
I wouldn’t totally agree that it’s true as much as I wouldn’t deny it. Because it’s not happened where I am doesn’t mean it does not exist. From day one it’s always the case when men get attracted to women and vice versa. When you claim men harasses women, are you saying women too don’t torment or grease the male even with their sexy moves? So, for me, it’s a matter of choice. It becomes an issue when the two of them don’t agree before anything is done.
How were you able to turn down sexual advances from producers/ directors while starting your acting career?
I’m a woman, and a beautiful one at that. But I will never position myself at that corner where you will have the courage or momentum to even offer me such desire. I grew up as a very nurtured and disciplined woman and I’m never desperate at getting to the top. A man will only have the desire to sexually molest you if and when he sees you as just too loose and desperate. Once you don’t place yourself in such corners, I believe such would be convincingly avoided.
How has family life been since you got married?
It has been a wonderful experience sustaining a home. Though it is sometimes challenging, but I’m thankful and loving it every day. Just like every woman who has made up her mind to make it work, so am I, through the grace of God and with the ever loving support of my darling husband, my marriage has been more of a home, a peaceful family and a very healthy one at that.
How did you meet your husband?
No comment, but like a destined lucky woman I met him, and it’s been wonderful all the way.
Has marriage affected your acting career in anyway?
Marriage has not in any way affected my career as an actor, neither has it affected my personality as a celebrity. Because it’s been God all the way, and to the glory of God Almighty, I have a husband who believes in me, and has always been supportive of my journey in life. My kids as well, have been darlings in this too.
How have you been able to keep your family issues away from
the public eye?
I don’t think that can be done. Remember we are celebrities? And the spotlight is always on us. You can’t claim to be a public figure and more so, a role model to so many, and expect that people won’t talk about you. All I have tried to do as a person is to live a good life and stay away from trouble and controversies. And I thank God that so far so good; it’s been a good one.
Will you encourage your kids to go into acting?
Choosing a career for them is something I actually don’t encourage. But as a parent, one should just help and guide their decisions and as well help to nurture them to make the right one. If they chose to do acting, all well and good, and if otherwise, still I will always be there for them. Mind you, acting made me the Opeyemi Aiyeola Owolomonse you all know today, and despite the exposure, I’m still a good wife to my husband and a perfect mother to my kids.
Some actors recently said that there is poverty in the Yoruba sector of Nollywood; do you think that is true?
The word poverty, to me is just a mind set, and No, I won’t agree there is poverty ravaging the Yoruba sector of Nollywood. It’s all a matter of orientation and belief, and basically how you see it. Who says the rich too don’t cry? Of course they do. Maybe what you don’t know is that, the English actors have only packaged themselves. We all are rich, and we all have our challenges. Let’s just respect that, and be more standard in what we do.
In what way do you think poverty can be eradicated in the industry?
Answering that means admitting truly it does exist. The world economy itself has suffered one challenge or another, and these challenges are not only limited to the entertainment sector alone. My advice to the government is just to support the industry with policies that would help sustain the actors, to boost them financially, give them a sense of belonging, protect their today and the future, and most importantly help eradicate piracy. With all these, definitely the future will be brighter.
What is your educational background?
I studied accountancy at Ogun State Polytechnic, before proceeding to Lagos State University to pursue the same course.
What is your favourite memory schooling?
My most memorable school time would be when I graduated from university. But before then I had a memorable, though challenging experience. But of course, it was a lovely ideal school days.
In your opinion, why do celebrity marriages crash?
Not all celebrity marriages crash. But the truth remains that we are celebrities, and the spotlight is always on us. It becomes an issue when attention on celebrities are not properly managed and most times controlled.
What do you think of the present state of the Nigerian movie industry ?
The Nollywood industry as of today has really matured, and has grown up from what it used to be. No doubt there is still much to be done, but yes I can confidently say we are getting there.
Some clerics recently rejected the Federal Government’s proposal to build a film village in Kano state. What advice will you give the government concerning that?
That wouldn’t be the first of such cases. I’m sure you still remember the Miss World beauty pageant of some years back which was slated to be hosted in Nigeria, but was widely rejected. Well, everyone is entitled to their religious belief and personal orientations. Much as we may say, it shouldn’t have been so, but every action is with at least a reason. If the intention of the government is for the greater good of everyone, they can as well pick a different location and get it done. It doesn’t have to be at the initial proposed site. But like I said, let’s us always try to respect ourselves.
Like some of your colleagues, will you also own an NGO to support the less privileged some day?
I will plead not to comment much on that, but wish my friends, fans including you to just keep your fingers crossed. Soon you will find out.
Is there any of your movies you are not proud watching with your kids?
Every movie I have both acted and starred in are projects I am proud of. I will never be part of unhealthy contents that don’t preach value, ideals, wisdom and good virtue. I take my time to read the scripts, and in my own self projects, I ensure the content are proper. So, on that, there is none of my movies I can’t watch with my kids.