Is it possible for one to have double personalities? Such stuf works well in Hollywood movies, but not not not in Nigeria. So if someone with as much clout as Omotola Jolade says she has two personalities inside of her, then there is a big problem.
Omotola is an icon when it come to movies in Nigeria. After spending over 13 year in the industry, she is still burning bright, as her face bring smiles to the faces of Nollywood lovers. When she features in a movie, be rest assured that the movie is going to be an interesting one. Omotola is also a musician. Her single Gba, which she released three years ago was a hit, and the album itself sold more than those of some established artiste. Omotola is also into motivational speaking and charity work. She is a united nations ambassador. She spoke with Hazeez Balogun in Lagos recently.
MANY actors these days seem to be drifting away from acting, to other things, is it that movies are not paying off?
I don’t like the direction of that question because I don’t move with the crowd. Not because others are doing music I am doing it as well. People who are close to me will tell you that I do not do things because people are doing it. What I have however found out is that some people tend to do things similar to things I have done.it may just be that the crowd is moving with me.
Music is not something you just wake up and say you want to do. I do music to express my feelings. It is what I enjoy doing. And I am not into music alone. I am also a motivational speaker.
Would you say you prefer music to acting?
I will not even pick one over the other. I love them both. They are what I do and how I express myself. There is a bias though. In movies I act scripts that had been written down. The story is not mine, I just interprete it. But for music, it is what I love doing, it is my own story. I write my own songs. In this upcoming album, I wrote over 50percent of the songs. The other ones, I made sure they are songs I can say my story, that expresses how I feel.
Unlike your first album that was more of R&B, your new album seems to be more on Rock and Pop, why the drift?
I have always been a rocker. I am beginning to get into my own now. I feel that the next phase of my life just started. I am being confident now. I have always been confident, but I am more confident now. There are thing I would really love to talk about, but I find it hard to express those feelings in R&B, which is a slower and soft form of music. But with rock, it’s easy to express one’s feelings. Actually there are two parts of me.
What do you mean by two sides of you?
I have tried to explain it. But people do not seem to understand me, probably, I don’t understand it myself. I am beginning to understand it now though. There are two parts of me. The first one is the Omosexy, who is sexy, curly, playful, full of laughter, and always trying to satisfy everybody. Then there is the other side of me which I call Omo-T. Omo-T is brasher, straight to the point, blunt, fierce and basically a rocker and very Tomboyish.
In the past, I had struggled with these two personalities. Many people did not understand it. Someone like my husband when talking will be like which part of you am I dealing with now? I myself have struggled with both personalities, but now I understand it a bit with the help of my husband.
You have been in the industry for over 13 years. Did you get in that easy?
Well I had always had it in me. It was actually easy. I can remember the first audition I had. I merely escorted my friend to an audition. After she finished auditioning, she was not picked. As we were about to leave the venue, my friend asked me to have a try. I asked if it was for free, and she said yes, it was free. So I gave it a go and I was chosen. But I ended up not playing the role.
Well my mother did not really like the idea of me acting. I had been been modeling before then, but that too was a struggle for me to do. My mother did not just allow me. Our family was a respected one in church and she was really concerned about what her children did. It was one of our neighbours who had to go to my mum to convince her to allow me model. He said he would make sure nothing happened to me. So when I now came again to say I wanted to act, she just could not hear anything about it. What made her close the topic was when I told her that the role I was to play was that of a mermaid. She said she would never allow that.
The second one I got was also like that. I was picked after the audition to play the leading role. That time I was to play a romantic part. Ah! My mum just shook her head. Firstly I was just 16 and was too young. So I did not play the role. In fact the movie eventually was not shot. When the producer was to shoot another movie, he had to go home to my mum to convince her to allow me act. That was how I started.
How is your background like?
I am the first child of three children and the only daughter. I was born in Lagos. My father is from Ondo State My mother is from Abeokuta in Ogun State. My father used to be the manager for Lagos Country Club Ikeja. My mum was a business woman. My father died in 1991, I was in secondary school when he died. My mum died 10 years after in 2001. I attended Chrisland Primary School Opebi, Command Secondary School Kaduna and did one year in Oxford School Santos Layout. I had a stint at Obafemi Awolowo University ile-Ife, I later got admission into Yaba College Of Technology to read Estate Management. My acting career had already taken off before I got into Yaba Tech just to fufill all righteousness.
I was a troublesome child. I was the only child of my parents for a long time so I was a bit over-pampered. So when I act a bit spoilt it’s not because I am an actor. I actually grew up like that. I was my daddy’s pet because I was the only girl. I went to a military school and I was really rough-handled. I was very popular in school. I was not a sporty person. I was very lazy. I loved to dance and mime. While in secondary school my friends and I formed a group. We were three in the group and after school you would find us singing and dancing on the road. I could mime to any popular song back then and singing on the road got me a lot of lift. We used to demonstrate on the road as if we were on stage taking turns to mime to songs. It was really fun. We just assumed we were superstars and everybody on the road came to watch us perform on stage
My mum had a lot of influence on me. She was very strict on me. And I was spoiled rotten by my dad. I was virtually living in Lagos Country Club. From school I went straight to the club. I stayed with my father in the club. I never liked going back home after school because of my mum. My mum used to beat me. My father had no qualms about me staying with him at the Club. But then I was not even with him. I was always on my own having fun, swimming, meeting people. It was at the club that I met movers and shakers. As little as I was I already had a mind of my own. I wanted to do things my own way. My mother used to beat me, punch me out, sit on me just to break me. She did a lot of things to me that wouldn’t think of doing to a child. That kind of thing terrified me. We never got along I used to question if she really was my mum. We were like cat and dog. I did everything I could do to avoid her problems.
The movies today have lost quality don’t you think?
I have made up my mind that I will not be doing just any type of movies, maybe because it has become bastardised these days. Movie makers are very brave people. Power is our major challenge. Everbody is frustrated.
The problem however is that the backfall is always on a few of us. When a movie is bad, no one looks at the director a the producer or even the editor, it is Omotola whom they see that they blame. That is why I am very careful with the producers I work with. I try to feature only in quality movies. If it’s not good, I don’t feature. There are some of my colleagues who have taken that decision too and I am proud of them. It is tough, but we just have to do it, to raise the quality.
There is an online story about you dating Jim Iyke and going abroad to have breast implant, how do you react to such stories?
Most times I don’t pay attention to such stories. Sometimes I try to say what I have in mind so that the issue can be thrashed once and for all. I don’t know what people gain when they try to pull others down others. The person who wrote that story would probably be sitting down in his room and be reading reactions to it. In his mind he will feel he is powerful when he sees how people are reacting. I don’t know why people do that.
Also when these writeups are done, we get responses from a lot of people so its not funny at all. I really worry about these reports,its very painful when you work very hard to comport yourself in a good manner and someone just comes from nowhere and uses hearsay to tear us down.
You are such a busy woman, how do you find time to spend time with your children?
We keep Sundays as family day and we have mandatory holidays during their long vacation every year, we put off our phones and spend all that time with them ,by the time they get back,trust me they are so choked up with us they don’t mind us stepping away for a minute. We try to do that often say once a year.
How do you handle crazy fans?
My brother, it is one of the things one has to face. There was this certain man that was stalking me. I thought stalking was an oyinbo thing. I mean this man was following me everywhere. At every function I was, he was there. I had to tell people to help me beg him to leave me alone, but he did not stop. So one day, we called for a meeting, we asked him what he really wanted, he said he did not want anything, all he wanted was to live with me. The people with me told him that I was married that it was not possible to live with me. The man said okay and left. The next day he started stalking again. It took a long time for him to finally leave me alone. I thank him wherever he is today for leaving me alone. There are lots of people like that.
What about male fans do they ask for relationships
Well I don’t mind if they ask for a relationship. There are a lot of my good male friends who started off as my toasters. Yes I am good looking and it’s not a bad thing for men to ask me out. But when they get to know me better, they find out I am not a woman like that. From there we can start talking business. I always see the positive side of everything.
Will you link your success to the fact that you married early?
Wow, that is a deep question. Well on the larger picture I will say yes. I have gotten marriage out of the way, so I am free. To some people marriage is bondage but to me marriage is freedom. My husband supports me in whatever I do. I have the freedom to excel in anything I choose to do. So in that context, I will say yes.