Since making his entry into the movie industry in 2005, Wesley Snipes’ look-alike, Yemi Blaq, has proved it takes more than great looks to be a lead man. With a diction that is captivating, his roles in movies like Sting, Control and Coded were outstanding. Down to earth and very accommodating, the Theatre Arts graduate from the University of Benin met recently with Adia Ukoyen, ( ) in Lagos, for this interview.

What was growing up like for you?
I grew up in a home of seven children. I grew up in love. I studied Theatre Arts in the university because of my unbelievable love for the arts. My parents are arts inclined, with my mum being more of the artistic one. So I guess I inherited this love from them.
Growing up, I wrote poetry, songs. But after studying the rudiments; the business, I decided to come into the industry fully. I did not just dabble into the business of acting. I came into it ready for the business.

How has the business been so far?
So far, so good! It can get better, though. I expect scripts to be able to stretch me to the extreme of my capacity.

Which role has been your most challenging?
My most challenging role has been Osaro: The rise and fall. Every movie is challenging. It is also difficult. Acting is not as easy as people think it is. Acting entails a lot. Reading a script and getting into character requires immense concerntration, especially if that character is foreign to yours. Every role though comes with its own challenges. Then, there is also being able to entertain, which is the skill.

What is your assessment of the movie industry?
It is rated the third in the world. I do not have the expertise to doubt it. We need to go beyond trying; go from good to better. I know we will get there. We are already making headlines internationally. Beyond the problems of piracy and distribution, the issue of funds to execute projects is a problem. Until big money is pumped into the industry, mediocrity will continue to thrive. If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. But when you pay good money, you will only do so to the very best.

Are you married?
I am not married but I hope to be one day. I love family. It is the best thing to have happened to man.

How do you deal with female admirers?
I love women; I honestly do. I have more female friends than males. It is a natural thing for me. I love my female fans too. The word is caution. I have my boundaries in all aspects of life, including my dealings with females. I leave things easy. I appreciate the fact that I am admired and so, I will never take advantage of the likeness because it is an honour to be appreciated.

For a good looking man who speaks like you do, what happens if one of these admirers wants to take things a little further?
Come on it won’t happen. I certainly will not encourage any such move.

What is style for you?
I am an ultra-casual guy. I do not believe I have to go with the trends. I want to wear something I can move around in; something that fits and is smart. There is no need to wear a suit in this part of the world, only to end up sweating like a goat. Unless, of course, you are one of those who practically live in an air conditioned world.

Which is your favourite song?
Soul E’s Soul E Baba dey here.

How do you unwind?
When I am not acting, I am at home. I am a homeboy who likes to sit at home and watch movies. I also like to write songs. I love animals too but unfortunately, space would not allow me to keep them now. I would love to have a cheetah and maybe a snake.

What is your source of inspiration?
I draw inspiration from everything. It is not enough to just see things. We need to observe things, learn from things, circumstances. Life itself is inspiration. People are works of art and are always changing. The hustle and bustle of life should not deprive us of enjoying the gifts of life and its benefits if we only but pause a minute to see life for what it truly is; a gift from God.

What is the greatest problem facing the average Nigerian?
The basic problem in Nigeria is poverty. When you constantly try to break out of it and cannot, it becomes frustrating. As actors, we should not just consider ourselves as entertainers, but make ourselves worthy of emulation. I would rather be liked and be proud of, rather than be a potential criminal.

What of tales of homosexuals rocking the industry, is it true?
There are homosexuals everywhere. Once they do not shove it down anyone’s throat, fine. No one has the moral right to be a sexual police.

Have you had advances from any?
Do I look like I should have had any? It would be suicidal for anyone to think of me in that light and attempt to try his luck with me.

How would you assess the Nigerian woman?
Men and women should live in partnership. A woman complements a man. The Nigerian woman needs to take stand for herself. Women have been too financially dependent on the men. With more financial independence, the sky is the limit for the Nigerian woman because she is beautiful and gifted. She is also strong and bold. Therefore, she needs to be more aggressive when it comes to empowering herself, especially financially.

What is your dream for your career?
My dream is to get N18 million for every role. I want to be known the world over. I want to be able to make good things happen. Being an actor is not just to be seen on the screen. You should be able to add value to the lives of the people who see you.

Who are your role models?
They may not necessarily be role models but I admire the likes of Oprah, Madonna, Angelina Jolie, who have the clout to change the world. They have made positive impact on humanity which is a goal of mine.

Which actor do you admire?
Johnny Depp’s acting has depth.

What is your philosophy of life?
Do not give up. There is nothing happening to you that has not happened to someone else. So, do not give up.

Do you believe abstinence is the best way to fight the HIV/AIDS scourge?
Abstinence is best only if you can do it. Education, awareness are the keys with which stigmatisation is better dealt with which is a way forward. There is the need for people to know that people with the disease are as human as those without it.