Nollywood queen, Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde is a successful actress by all standards. She has stared in several movies and won many awards. Recently, she made the prestigious Time magazine’s list of Top 100 Most Influential Persons in the World. In this interview with The Entertainer, Omosexy as she’s fondly called, shares her success story and what makes her tick. Excerpts:
Can you give us tips on how to be a successful woman?
It actually starts with character, personality and what beliefs. Everything wrong today actually started from the content of a character. Are you immoral or are you straight forward enough to actually say something and carry through with it. Is the content of your character strong enough? I believe that for you to be great in anything, you have to be someone anyone can trust.you believe in. It stems from your moral
Can you define what success means to you?
I think success is when God is happy with you. When the closest people around you are happy with you and when your soul is at peace with you.
Looking back, what has been your greatest achievement?
I have so many great achievements and I am very grateful to God. I can talk about great achievements today because God has empowered me to build my character. At no point did I see all these coming. I never said, ‘let me start being a good girl so that in the future, they will call me to speak, not only on Nollywood but also in mentorship capacity outside Nollywood’. I never said ‘okay, let me be a good girl so that Time magazine will make me a Time 100 woman’; I never thought about all these things. But by God`s grace, I am here today. He taught me to follow a particular life pattern when I was young. And I am grateful that pattern has brought me this far. My greatest achievement is that I got to know God on time; it was a great privilege.
Do you ever cry?
Yes, I am an actress and I cry all the time.
Could you share with us your fears and something that has made you cry lately?
Don’t believe me when I cry because I might actually be trying to get something out of you (Laughter). My husband says he doesn’t know when to take me serious, whether it’s when I am crying or sober. But I am naturally a very emotional person, quite frankly. I hate injustice; I can’t stand it. When I see somebody who is helpless, I feel like that person’s humanity has been taken away from him and that makes me cry.
Can you tell us about the movies you have featured lately?
It’s Blood in The Lagoon, a movie about social inequality. On the one side you have Makoko, a cesspool of poverty, deprivation and crime, and on the other side, just across the lagoon you have Ikoyi and Victoria Island’s dwellers living in splendor and enjoying exotic lifestyles.
Where did you belong growing up, Makoko or Victoria Island?
Not practically but theoretically. Yeah, we have all gone through that sort of situation at one point or the other in our lives. Somebody has looked down on you somewhere along the way no matter who you are, and that’s why I can relate with my character.
Tell us your own story?
At a stage, people looked down on me. They tried to deny me my credit and make me feel insecure. But you know you deserve what you get as long as you have worked hard enough. So, no matter what you are going through, you’re not the only person facing tragedy in life; it happens to everyone.
When you look back, is there any role you played that you feel uncomfortable watching today?
There is always the need to improve. I mean… I hardly watch my own movies. I really can’t; it will kill me. I can’t watch my movies with people, especially my husband because I get on his nerves all the time. We’d be watching this movie and before you know it, I’d be chattering and he would be like ‘hey, can you just shut up and let us watch the movie!’ You know, I would keep saying to myself, ‘oh my God! I would have turned that way; I shouldn’t have said it that way. Oh my God why should I keep repeating that? Why should I keep blinking my eyes?’
What is the craziest thing a fan has done to you?
There are so many, as many as you can imagine. But my fans are very respectful and lovely and they could be very crazy too. But they have not done anything to harm me.
Would you allow your daughters to follow in your footsteps?
Why not, if they want to? I actually encourage them to be whatever they desire to be in life as long as it is not something wrong and negative. Currently, none of them is interested in acting, but if they do, I will support and equip them with whatever tools they need to excel. Unfortunately, none has for now.
What advice do you have for young people looking up to you?
Put in everything you have and believe in something. My point is that you should be passionate about something. Don’t sit on the fence; we have so many people sitting on the fence. Most importantly, set high standards and connect to high self-esteem. We all need each other. We all need someone to help us up when we are down.
How do you stay scandal free?
People will always speculate about you and it could be very disheartening, especially when you have chosen to live right. I don’t want to sound like some holier-than-though whatever, but I work very hard to keep my brand away from scandals. I have fought. I have had to and I will not accept for you to humiliate me before everybody’. Often they try to be mischievous but I stick to my guns. Oftenstand and say, ‘hey! This is what I stand for times they have also turned around to say sorry. For heaven’s sake, I am responsible for the actions and decisions that I take.
If not acting, what would you be doing?
Since I am not God, I don’t know. But a lot of people say I should have been a lawyer. And maybe I could have been one because I love to advocate. Or maybe, I could have gone into real estate business because I studied estate management; estate management would have come naturally.
What has fame denied you?
Fame has denied me a lot. I can’t stop on the way and buy anything I want. I’m like, ‘hey, give it to me’ and they will rush over, give it to me and I will zoom off. Every celebrity has this challenge. It depends on who you are and how you want to handle it. I would like to go to the market and buy whatever I want but I can’t. And I can’t go around with bodyguards.
What is your favourite food?
No, I don’t have favourite food. I eat anything I want to eat.
What determines your fashion style?
Comfort and how I feel.
What project are you working on currently?
Right now, I am working on building my film village. It’s an awesome project.
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