Omoni, the Anchor Baby
By Samuel Olatunji
She’s a prolific and consummate actress. These qualities have won her laurels and recognition. She’s also a devoted wife and mother of three kids she dotes on despite her demanding career. Omoni Oboli is the mother and wife everyone would love to have.In this interview with Sam Olatunji, she reveals all she invested in the hit movie Figurine and also Anchor Baby and why her marriage has lasted so long. Excerpts:
Is true that you are now an A-list star, after a wonderful performance in The
Figurine and Anchor Baby?
Yes it’s true. I’m.
Does that mean more money for you?
Of course it does.
I really don’t know. I can’t tell how much the efforts are worth.
If I work with you, do you charge in Naira & Kobo or pounds and dollars?
When you bring your script and I know what your project is worth, we can talk money
Let’s start with Anchor Baby. Are you satisfied with it?
The movie is really good. If you watch it, you will see its quality. The production is good. The actors really gave a good account of themselves including me. It has featured in many festivals and won several awards.
Is it true that the movie is the highest selling at the cinemas?
Yes. It’s a sell-out and I’m very happy about it
Some said it’s just noise. What’s your reaction to this?
Nothing and that doesn’t negate the response to it. There’s no hype about it and it’s certainly not noise.
So what is the next step for Omoni now?
I want to do more great movies. Last year, it was Figurine. In 2010, it was Anchor Baby. So, for me, I have to step-up my act and what you should expect is another great movie from me.
Does that mean we won’t see you in places like Asaba and Enugu?
Until Asaba and Enugu start doing great movies, you will not see me in either.
Don’t you think that will limit your opportunities?
The truth is that you don’t have to do twenty movies in a year to get any sort of recognition. I’m a living testimony to that. How many movies have I done in the past four years to get the kind of recognition I’m getting? So, I don’t need to do a hundred movies in a year to be known.
What’s this “opera thing” between you and Genevieve? Is it because of the movie or something else you don’t know?
There’s nothing wrong between myself and Genevieve. I believe we are colleagues.
Why wasn’t she at your premiering?
She was probably busy or something but I don’t know what really happened. I invited her anyway but I don’t know why she didn’t attend.
Do you think you deserved the BON award?
I think I more than deserve it. If you’ve seen The Figurine, you would know why I won that award. The Figurine is a really good movie and I believe I did a great job with it. I played my role exactly the way the director wanted me to.
Do you think Genevieve was robbed of that award?
Why should I say that? She wasn’t cheated out of the award, because it wasn’t based on viewers reactions. You cannot bestow an award that is supposedly professional on the basis of viewers’ reaction. It’s not the most popular actress award. It’s for a leading role and that was portrayed in the movie. She wasn’t robbed of the awards. I won fair and square.
But why is it that she had about twenty thousand votes while you had about five thousand votes and you won?
I’m not the organizer. The judges felt I did a better job especially in The Figurine. That’s why they gave me the award.
But somebody said you should have returned the award when you saw the whole thing. What’s your response to this?
The award wasn’t based on votes alone. It was based on the judges’ assessment of each actor. On their performance especially in the movies. It wasn’t just based on viewers assessment.
Was that the movie you got $10,000 for?
Well, the truth is, there were actually two different categories namely, The best actor in a leading role which is just an award and nothing else. That was the one I won instead of Genevieve. It wasn’t just Genevieve and I. There were other actresses as well. The other one was sponsored by Unilever and it’s for the Clean and Fresh Actress of the year category. Funke Akindele, Mercy Johnson, Ronke Osodi and myself won that and it’s worth $10,000.
Was Ikepen Etim on the list?
No, she wasn’t.
Have you spoken to Genevieve after the opera?
No, we haven’t spoken till now.
People say the atmosphere is tense, do you believe that?
The atmosphere is not tense. We just haven’t seen each other.
But you gals have each other’s number. Why haven’t you called to explain what really happened?
There’s no reason to. I don’t feel anything happened. Perhaps, one or two fans thought we had a clash.
So, how do you plan spending your $10,000?
I’ll spend it on myself and my family.
Would your friends get a dollar?
After three children, should we expect more?
No, you shouldn’t. We are done.
But you are young, you can still have more, can’t you?
I know, but I just don’t want to.
Why does your hubby follow you everywhere?
That’s because he’s very supportive. He doesn’t follow me everywhere but he follows me to a lot of places because he’s very supportive.
Are you sure it doesn’t have any element of distrust attached to it?
No, it doesn’t. My husband trusts me and he follows me because he is very supportive of my work.
Did he or does he have any reason to raise any issues regarding your work and all of that?
No he doesn’t. Not at all.
How are the kids?
The kids are doing well.
What class is Tobi?
He’s in Primary 5.
How old is your marriage?
How have you been able to sustain your marriage?
I think it’s because I involved God all the way. That’s the only secret.
But a lot of people whose marriages have crashed also involved God in theirs?
I don’t know if they did. I can only speak for myself. A three-fold cord cannot be easily broken and it has been me, my husband and God. It can’t be easily broken.
What do you do to sustain your marriage?
I respect my husband a lot. I love him a lot and I appreciate him and he reciprocates these too. He supports my career, I support his business. He loves me a lot and respects me. We basically do a lot of things together and that I think has kept us together.
People say marriage is a limiting factor for women in Africa. Has it not limited you?
My marriage has not limited me in any way. It’s actually a propelling force for me because there were so many things that I do now, that I couldn’t do if I was single. My husband supports me a lot, because if I didn’t have his support, I probably wouldn’t be at the height of my career, the way it is today.
When you guys were in the UK what did you do?
I was mostly a stay-at-home mum.
While your husband was working?
Yeah, that was when I was having kids, so I couldn’t really do much.
Do you feel that if you didn’t sojourn in the UK, you could have been more popular?
Obviously, because I could have done a lot. More stuff could have happened a long time ago, but I’m happy the way everything is right now, because God’s time is the best. It’s been just a wonderful time for me.
In 2011 what should we expect from you?
In 2011, you should expect greatness.
You were in “Bursting Out”. You had great rapport with Emem Isong, isn’t it ?
Emem Isong is one of those I have done a couple of movies for and she was very instrumental to my success in the industry. I owe a lot to her and her movie is good. I have a very good rapport with her.
How is your relationship with Stingomania?
My relationship with Stingomania is good.
You and Lonzo have been everywhere together. Is it just movies or something else?
We are promoting Anchor Baby. That’s what we are doing.
Do you go to the cinemas selling tickets yourself?
Yeah, I did that at Ozone Cinema. We had Expressions Day during which we went to the Box office to sell tickets. There we met and greeted fans and it was great. Fans were so happy and really excited that a star from the movie is doing that for them.