Lola Alao is a bundle of excitement and controversy . A lot of all that has been written about her seem to be out of a misunderstanding of who she really is or out of outright ignorance and malice. In this revealing interview she provides answers to some knotty issues over which a lot of fans are seeking clarifications. Excerpts:
So, where have you been?
I have been in Nigeria, in my house.
But it seems you have been hiding…
No, I am not hiding. I have been working on my three-in-one project that is coming up. I am producing an English soap, a Yoruba soap and my talk show and I am going to launch them this December by the grace of God.
With City People again?
No. Though City people is involved every other magazine can join me if they are interested.
What is your soap about?
It is a family thing. I want a situation whereby I would be able to educate people on certain things, certain mistakes that they make in their various homes but that they don’t know or pay attention to. You know that actresses and actors are like pastors, we preach. So, I want to use my soap to preach to people and to make them correct their mistakes.
Who are the actors in the soap?
I would rather keep that under wraps for now though we have already shot the English and the Yoruba soaps and even the talk show.
So, what is the Yoruba soap all about?
The Yoruba soap is about some ladies that are living a wayward life though we don’t have a title for the soap yet.
Who are the ladies?
I don’t want to mention names now.
So, what is the talk-show about?
The top celebrity will be Lola Alao. We shot it few years ago.
Why was it shot few years ago?
It is a recorded program. It is not a live program and it is not like the talk-shows we are used to seeing these days. It has different segments . We talked about food; we also interviewed celebrities.It’s not really like an interview but it is a medium where they talk about their recipes, meals from their country and how they prepare them. Then we have the health segment where the doctor counsels people on different health problems. We also have the legal segment, where the human rights lawyer educates us on our rights as well as the youths segment where they talk about what they are going through and what they lack. All these aim to educate people.
So, when is the show coming on air?
January by the grace of God but we are launching it in December.
What else are you doing?
Is that one not enough? Three things at a time, se o fe pa mi ni? (Do you want to kill me?)
So, how have you been coping all by yourself?
I thank God. I have not been by myself alone. My mother has been there, my daughter, my family and my friends have been there for me; so I have not been alone.
Is it true that robbers were in your house recently?
I don’t want to talk about that right now because they didn’t hurt anyone, they just went with some of my property which I can get back.
They went with just money and phones?
Money, phones and gold but it doesn’t matter. I have these now.
As a Nollywood actress, how has it been coping with one million and one scandals?
I give God the glory, because despite the bad press I have had this year , I will call it a wonderful year; because I am still alive and some people didn’t even go through half of what I went through this year and they gave up. I am not bothered about what they say about me.
What was your offence in 2009?
I did not offend anybody. They have done it to other actors and actresses, so I just believe that it was my turn and I had to go through it.
But somebody said it was because you dated a celebrity journalist
That is not true. I have never dated any celebrity journalist. The fact that my sister is working in a publishing company does not mean that I am dating her boss. I believe everyone is entitled to his opinion, so I don’t care about what they say. Let’s even assume it’s true; is it bad to date a celebrity journalist? City People has done a lot of things to a lot of actors and actresses. I guess they just wanted to write something about me. They probably felt Lola Alao will sell their paper. We all know that scandal sells more than other stories, so I’m not bothered. It is a price I had to pay and I have paid it.
How much have they paid you, with all the scandal stories they wrote about you?
How did that affect you as a person?
Initially, I used to cry when they started but later, I got to know that I was selling their papers. So I just believe it is a price I had to pay for being an actress.
Which of their allegations about you is true?
None. They are all rumours nurtured by jealousy. They know that I am a special person. If I am not important or if I don’t sell their papers, they won’t continue the way they did. You can imagine there was a guy that was locked up in a police station for writing scandals like this and he said that the one he wrote didn’t even sell like the one they wrote against me.
So, how did you family feel?
They know it is all bad-belle. They don’t care.
Are you okay being an actress?
I am very okay. I thank God.
What is it about you, you Kogi girls....?
I don’t know, she’s my little sister. There was even a time that they lied that we are quarrelling and there was nothing like that. They were shocked when they saw us at the City People awards. When I received my awards she stood and when she received her awards, she brought it and I hugged her ......so they were like “I thought they say they don’t talk?” look at Mercy for example, she was in Nigeria when they said she stole whatever...I can’t remember, can you imagine? I don’t know why it is like that. Maybe because they know that Kogi girls are hot.
There is also an issue about Kogi girls keeping men?
What do you mean by keeping men… you mean keeping men as in plenty of them?
I mean keeping a man at home?
What if the man doesn’t want to be kept? I don’t know about that. For me I tried my best keeping my husband but it’s quite unfortunate I guess my best wasn’t good enough.
But a woman is supposed to do her best to make her home work…
You can only force the horse to the stream but you can’t force it to drink water. I tried my best but it was just that my best wasn’t enough.
My editor always wondered why women can’t watch the kind of men they marry?
You are not a magician. How can you know that the man you are going to marry today is going to change tomorrow? There is no way to know that.
Is it true that marriage and acting don’t mix ?
I don’t know about that oh. If your husband likes what you are doing he would encourage you
There is also this thing about actresses going after flashy cars…
If you have the money, why wouldn’t you buy whatever you want?
How would you describe Nollywood recently… there is this belief that marketers are strangling the movie industry?
That is it oh! You would suffer and produce a movie and at the end of the movie the marketers would advertise the movie and you the owner who has suffered to produce the movie would have nothing to show for it. I have produced over 10 movies and I don’t have anything to show for them. So that is why I have decided to go into soap opera now.
Why are marketers like that?
Please ask them now; you are in the best position to ask them why they are like that.
And why can’t you guys do without them?
Because it is not profitable.
I have heard a marketer saying “we can bring your career down; even Jide Kosoko your boss comes to prostrate for us”?
That is a lie. Jide Kosoko would never do anything like that. I know him. He is a man of principle, a man of integrity and he would never prostrate for anyone of them. They are all bloody liars.
Are you bothered that most of your colleagues don’t call you into their production?
They call me but they can’t afford my price. That’s the problem. I have made my name and I can’t be in all the movies. “Owo ni mo fe” (I’m in it for the money). They call me every day. I want small job plenty of money. So, if they can’t afford my fee that’s it. There’s a friend of mine who whenever he meets me at the location would say that “Lola ti gba gbogbo owo tan” (Lola has pocketed all the money).
What is success?
It’s a thing of the mind. If you believe you are successful then you are successful. I remember I had wanted to be an actress and I thank God that today I am one and I have been able to achieve what I wanted.
Are you successful?
I think so and I thank God.
There was a time somebody wrote that you owe a woman some millions?
(Cuts in)...it’s a lie. If you noticed when I came in here now, I was even asking one journalist now “do you see me am I pregnant?”. I don’t know, people just want to frame something so as to have one or two things to write about Lola. I go to Dubai and I buy and sell why should I owe someone. I don’t know for them.
Do you have any blemishes on your body?
You see I don’t have any blemishes on my body. When we go to locations and we want to change we go to one room and change. I don’t give a hoot, I change. For me when you die is it not someone who is going to wash you and all that? There was a time some guys fought on an issue of me taking off at location. For me I don’t have anything on my body. The only thing I have is a tattoo.
Do you still believe in love?
Of course I do.
Are men worth all the troubles?
Of course they are, because without them we can’t live. Nobody is perfect! There is this adage that says Oloko meji ko ni duro lori oloko kan, (she who has been destined for two husbands will not settle for one.)
Will you remarry?
Definitely, I will and even have more kids. I have one kid now.
How much do you charge?
I can’t say it , because I know I charge. Let me tell you something, I don’t wear their costumes. I bring my costumes, my jewelry, I make myself up, so there is no way you won’t pay me for all that. So I’m very expensive.
Somebody said you are a good actress but not a good producer. Is that true?
Whatever! Everybody is entitled to his or her own opinion.
Which is the best movie you have produced?
Everyone of them is good but I like Tete and Idera Alako. I will give it to Tete and it was shot in London.
Do you have any recent movie that you’ve not released?
I have many. I have Omo Ajanaku. I have so many that have not yet been released.
Why have you not released them?
When I have money, I just produce my movies; and at my own convenient time, I release them.
How close are you and Idumota marketers ?
I don’t know! I have only one marketer that sells my movies which is Epsalum and he does well.
What kind of Man are you looking for?
A God fearing person, a kind hearted person, a man that would love my daughter like he promised to.
I’m sure men still come asking your hand in marriage
Definitely! Every day (laughs)
Why don’t you have one now?
Not for now! I’m taking my time. I have friends, but I want to take my time.
What is it with your husband that he is talking all over the town?
I don’t know! If you have a wife and you don’t like her, she’s a bad person, you won’t say a word. But if you have a wife and you know that this is a treasure I’m about to lose, and she’s leaving you, you’ll shout.
So you have to go to court to dissolve the marriage
Why do you think you can marry when you are not divorced?
The case is in court! If the case is in court, you can go ahead and marry another person
Why did you now call off the earlier marriage you were planning?
Let’s not talk about that. I don’t want to talk about anything relating to that.
Do you want to say Thank God I did not or I regretted doing that?
I don’t regret things. I learn from my mistakes. That’s just it. I just thank God for everything.
So, what is the man doing now?
I don’t know!
Why is it that it is not always easy for actresses in relationships?
It is easy! What about Omotola, she is doing fine as an actress and her family is fine.
What do you think can be done to resolve this?
May be it’s just that we’ve not gotten the right person.
Will your movies go to premiering?
Definitely! This next one will go! They would go
Is it true what they say that Kogi girls are hot on bed?
Thank God my husband said I was not good in bed! He said it in the papers. So you can imagine that he said all these out of jealousy.
Why can’t you let somebody reach out to him to stop all these things he’s saying in the papers?
So are Kogi girls good in bed or not?
No! I don’t know, may be men should tell you that. I can’t say anything about that.
How old is your daughter?
She’s will be seven this year
For those who don’t know, how long you’ve been acting?
I have been acting for a very long time now. I started acting with Ripples, I’ve acted in Closet, Mad Mistress, Revolt, Super Story and so many soaps. I started with soaps.
I think 1992
How did you get into acting?
A long time ago, a guy came to our house, then I used to live in the barracks because my father was a soldier. He came and said that there was an audition somewhere and I went and I got a role.
They say barrack girls are wayward
I don’t know, I think it’s an opinion.
What will make you say yes to a man?
I take my time in everything I do
Will your past experience make you more careful now?
Definitely! The next man has a lot of work to do.