She is one of the faces changing the power equation in Yoruba genre of the movie industry. SAMUEL OLATUNJI met Elizabeth Anjorin (aka Iyawo Ojokan) and she revealed the secrets behind her steady rise.

What is the big deal about your yet to be released movie, ‘Obi’?
Obi is a movie that teaches a lot of lesson. It teaches parents, guardians and those who oversee young people some lessons.

Who were the cast?
Prince Jide Kosoko, Flakky Idiowo, Funke Eti, Radical and so on.

You produced the movie yourself, how come you did not seek the help of any producer?
Sometimes it is advisable to own the capital. You know what we call our own is different from my own. You know since the money is my own, no marketer can dictate who to use or not to use to me. For me, business is business and money is the life of business.

How much did it cost to produce the movie?
It cost me over a million naira.

How did you get the money?
Aside acting, I sell and buy things.

Is acting not picking the bill?
No, acting income is enough for me but as they say, make hay while the sun shines. I’m still young, I can still run around.

I learnt you’ve done so many movies this year.
Yes, I’ve done many movies, about nine. There is ‘Iyawo Ojo Kan’, ‘Ayo Ife’, ‘Ole Gbe’, ‘Tolani’, ‘Gbarada’, and many more. I played lead role in most of them.

Most of your colleagues complain that they don’t get called up to movie locations, how do you manage to get so many scripts?
The secret is one’s personality. You know that we met a lot of people at ANTP long before we were there, and there is need to give those ones their due respects. When you meet these people, you don’t behave as if you are lord over them. Let them realise that you respect them. A lot of us feel too big after one or two lead roles. I’ve had a number of producers who came to me saying they are sorry because they thought I was proud. Though I’m a bit expensive, because of my costumes, I still get calls for jobs. I must confess that prayers also help.

Why is it that most present days producers prefer to write their scripts?
I graduated from Olabisi Onabanjo University, and the plot of the movie centers on university students. I know what is happening behind the scene and so on. And don’t be too surprised that I directed the film.

You’ll be the only female-actress director that I know.
Maybe, this is a students’ story and I was a student activist on campus. You may call the most brilliant director, but you’d be surprised that he’ll fumble. If you don’t know about students, you can’t direct student-related movie.

When will you release it?
I’ll release it early next year.

What should we expect on December 25 when you’ll launch the movie?
Expect total entertainment. There will be live performance by Obesere, Pasuma, Atorise and others. It will start from 4pm till dawn. It will take place at Abidap Hotel, Ipaja.

Why didn’t you study acting-related course?
Even before my OOU programme, I studied Banking and Finance at the Polytechnic. It was after my ND that I went to OOU to study Transport Management. I was the first lady to emerge from my faculty as member of the Senate in SUG. Life is not about degree or what you study in school, it is about your interaction with people.

How was your childhood?
It was interesting. I am the only child of both parents. I was so young when I bought my first car with my money. I love business and my mum introduced me to business early in life. I do travel to Seme in Benin Republic to buy and sell goods. I did not bother my parents much for things because I do things by myself.

How did you cope with work and school?
I was into business, acting and schooling at the same time. Then, I was so busy that I didn’t have time for men. If not that I was brilliant, I would have dropped out of school.

What result did you obtained from school?
I left with something very nice.

Who introduced you to acting?
I was in the same department with She Baby while in school. She approached me one day and said, ‘Lizzy’, instead of this buying and selling, why not try acting?’ she told me about ANTP meeting place at Abeokuta and that was all. Most of my friends then made jest of me, saying I couldn’t be a star. But now, they call me to say they watch me on TV.

When was the first time you faced a camera?
It was when we did Karaole for Iyabo Obasanjo, when she was Ogun State Commissioner for Health. It was a 13-episode soap. After that, I did Olokada Iboji; I had to queue before getting here. I did lots of one-scene movies before I got here. Iyawo Ojo Kan boosted my career.

Which are your favourite movies?
Abike Salero, Abidemi, Iyawo Ojo Kan and so on.

What has acting changed about you?
Fame does change people, but I’m still myself. I don’t want stardom to turn me to a stranger in the presence of my people.

You said you did not have time for men when you were in school. Do you have time for them now?
It is now that I don’t even have time, though I have a boyfriend. I hope to settle down soon.
But I know some of your colleagues that are not thinking of marriage.
Those are my colleagues, but this is me. I told you I am the only child of my parents. If not for education and the economy, I should be in my husband’s house with my children by now.

What kind of man are you looking for?
I want a God-fearing, caring and educated man. He should also be tolerant.

How long have you been dating your boyfriend?
It has been a while.

I thought you said you did not have time for guys?
I had a particular guy that was on my neck then. He was persistent.

Is he in Nigeria?
Yes, I don’t believe in having any guy outside Nigeria. I plan on what I have at hand, I don’t deceive myself.

How does it feel like being an only child?
It was not easy. Being the only child to my mother is like being fruitless. There were so many things I wish I could give my siblings, but because there is no one, I had to give it to outsiders. Though I do give stuffs to my younger cousins, sometimes I feel so lonely.

Are your parents comfortable with you being an actress?
I lost my daddy some years ago, but my mother is solidly behind me.

I learnt that in Nollywood, ladies sleep their ways up in movie industry. Did you sleep with producers before you got roles?
I swear to my God that I never slept with anybody. Though they made the attempt, but I was not desperate when I got into the industry. You know these things are about levels sometimes. I was confident and I waited for my time. I did not sleep with anyone to get to the top. I think 2008 is my year.