Opeyemi Ayeola is no doubt a household name. Considered by many as a ‘big shot’, especially in the Yoruba movie genre, she said she hasn’t got to the desired level. She has starred in films like Madam Dearest, Ige Adubi, and 150 million among others. She has also featured in a couple of English-speaking movies. This Ijebu actress narrated to Kikelomo Atanda-Owo, how she battled for years before consenting to her husband’s proposal. She also spoke on the controversy surrounding her marriage.
How did you get into the acting career?
I actually went for a visit, fortunately for me they were having an audition at that time. I was not there to act, I was just visiting somebody else. The person that was supposed to play a particular role disappointed them at that time and they needed somebody that had my skin color. They came begging me for one thing and that one thing was like me doing the whole movie and it was extremely scary because I have never seen such a thing in my life before.
How was growing up like for you?
Average, just like any other person
How would you describe yourself?
I am just someone trying to be myself, I am not trying to be somebody else.
What are the most challenging difficulties you have ever encountered?I am very grateful to God for his mercies. The biggest challenge I have in my career is trying to fit into things I wasn’t used to while growing up. For instance, I am not that kind of a person that is good at meeting people, I was an introvert and some thinks I am a snob because I like to keep to myself a great deal, so I try to be as flexible as possible. I am trying to make some personal changes to enable me blend in the industry.
Which of your movies do you find most challenging?
Naturally, this job is about you trying to be somebody else, because most of the time you are playing somebody else that is not actually your person, that you cant see yourself in, It’s a challenge to do that. So I will say every movie comes with its own challenges.
Which movie actually brought you to lime light?Ige-Adubi was my second movie, but it was released before Aso-Iye.
How did you feel acting for the first time along side professionals?The very first time I faced the camera it was extremely scary. The experience was very great but it was something unplanned.
How much were you paid for your first professional job?I can’t remember (laughing) it was just one role I played , it was 1995.
Sexual harassment is in everywhere, but why is it more pronounced in the movie industry?Sexual harassment is not only rampant in the movie industry and entertainment industry alone, I have a lot of friends as bankers and in other sectors of life and I know and I have seen what happens in those sectors but because people in the entertainment industry are in the public eye and people are interested in knowing what who and who is doing, they are moticed. The press is not making things easy as well, because everything we do is being reported by them. Whatever happens in the movie industry also happens else where.
Have you ever been sexually harassed?
Naturally, for a woman like me, my husband is my best friend, I don’t have anything to hide I tell my husband everything about me. It is a normal thing for men to come and ask you out, in fact, if men should stop asking me out, I think I may need to check myself, whether there is something wrong with me somewhere, probably with my physical appearance, but that is just life.
How do you feel watching yourself on set?I criticise myself a great deal. I don’t like watching myself in the presence of people because I am so scared of people noticing my mistakes and there are times, I watch myself and I feel satisfied and proud of myself.
On a more personal note, how is marriage treating you?Marriage is a blessing and it is a wonderful thing if it involves two right persons. I thank God I am enjoying my marriage.
How do you feel being married?
I think I feel more responsible and I feel complete.
How did you meet your husband?
I met him over the phone. He was one of my fans.
What was the attraction?
I met him, we saw, I traveled to the UK and we saw , I didn’t like him. He asked me out for like three four years. Somehow, somewhere, we met again, when we came back to Nigeria because we lost contact at a time, and luckily for him I was single at that time and we just started a relationship that led to marriage and here we are today.
How do you cope with distance, when you have to be at locations and your husband is so far away?
I am coping very well and besides, I don’t live in Nigeria anymore because I don’t think I spend maximum of three months in a whole year in Nigeria while I spend the rest months with my hubby abroad depending on the agreement I have with my husband. I now have residence in the UK, I come here on holiday, while am on holiday, I work. So everything is well planned and when I am there, I am not an actress. I try to differentiate between my marriage and my job.
You’ve been married for how many months now?
I have been married since January but came back to the country and had the Registry and traditional wedding. A lot of people did not know about the church wedding, it was a family thing. So many think that I got married in March.
When are we going to have a toast for your new born?Definitely when God says.
Report had it that before you get married, you had an affair with Yinka Quadri and subsequently Ogogo how true is that?
People will always say things but the thing is how many people will somebody sleep with. Its like being in a class, do you want to sleep with all your classmates or all your lecturers . It does not show any sign of responsibility or any sign of good morale.
Are you saying you never had anything to do with them?
I am an adult, if I had anything to do with anybody, I will say it after all, there is no crime in it.
What about the Corporate Picture boss?The Corporate Pictures Boss is a forgotten issue. Reason been that I have granted too many interviews after my marriage, I have actually granted a complete two page interview on Corporate Pictures. I am not ready to go back into that anymore. I have poured out my mind to the public on that issue so that is something I will call a forgotten issue, the chapter is completely closed. Anybody who wants to breed into the past should go ahead and get old papers. Listen, this is Opeyemi Ewo.
How do you handle male fans and admirers who must be coming in droves?
I am coping very well, it’s nothing, everyone knows that and they understand wonderfully well.
What’s the craziest thing a man has told you or done to you?
To buy me a car of my dream. No man has ever done that to me before, I have never experienced it, I never believe it will happened like that. I need a car of my dream.
What kind of car is that?
The car I am in right now.
Who bought it for you?
Definitely my husband (laughing)
What is greatest achievement you have made in your life?
Now that you are big and your image is larger than that of your husband, how is he handling it?
I am not big in any form. I didn’t see myself as big at all. I am a baby with all I have achieved and I thank God for where I am today. I see myself as having not achieve half of what I am supposed to do in life or where God is taking me to. I don’t see myself as famous, No. I might be a little bit known by some group of people, not famous. My husband is handling it very well. If I was to be in Jenifer Lopez shoes, Janet Jackson’s shoes, Lalibean’s shoes then you can talk of me being big.
Can you recall the lowest point in your life?
I think it was the lowest, very lowest. There was a time I was having a great deal of problem with my mum for marriage. It was the lowest point of my life.
Why were you having problems with your mum?
It is a forgotten issue. It was the first marriage I was planning, it was a big issue in my family and that was the lowest and toughest point in my life.
What advice do you have for your fans?Well, I am going to start shooting my movie at locations tomorrow and it is what a lot of people will like to see. I am putting in a lot of money and am putting so many things into it, costume, getting people to play the right part , in fact, they should expect the best from me very soon. The movie promises to be well packaged from me, they should pray for me.
Are you a designer freak?
I am not a designer freak because to me it’s like enslaving oneself, like I can’t be free to wear any kind of brand of my choice at any particular time. Am not a freak for labels, I wear anything that suits me.
What is your best colour?
My best colour is green and gold but I have much of brown things,. Most of my clothes or accessories are brown. I only have few things or few clothes in green.