Iyobosa Olaye is not new to acting but in Nollywood the native of Oredo Local Government area of Edo State who holds a master’s degree in Creative Arts from the University of Lagos and a first degree in same discipline from the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria is new. Though she has always yearned to grab an acting role in the vibrant Nigerian movie industry dubbed Nollywood, that opportunity never came until she had a chance meeting with the prolific Lancelot Oduwa Imaseun who is popular in movie circles as De Guvnor. Convinced that she is well groomed—who will attend ABU and will not— and convinced that she could breathe life into a lead role, Imaseun engaged Iyobosa to star as Adesuwa in his most recent epic film of the same title. And the old girl of Federal Government Girls College Benin did not disappoint at all. She bumped seamlessly into the role and gave a performance that should get producers pointing at her.
It was your first major outing in Nollywood, so what was the experience like?
I had a memorable experience on the set of the movie and my experience on the set was like nothing I have done before. Adesuwa is an epic movie so naturally we will have to shoot in the interiors and not in the city. So we shot in the village and it was interesting shooting in that kind of environment. Although it was my first major role, I wasn’t scared because I believed in myself that I could deliver. Besides I have been trained to live whatever role. It just takes understanding the character and what is expected of the character. So it was good but the village experience was interesting and working with other people particularly some of the industry-established stars was interesting too.
Was going to ask if you were not intimidated playing along some notable Nollywood actors like Olu Jacobs?
Well I wasn’t in any way intimidated rather I will say that I was privileged to work with great actors like Uncle Olu Jacobs, Bob Manuel and Auntie Ngozi Ezeonu among others. I must say that they were very supportive in the realization of the character. You need the next actor to be able to do well because filmmaking like theatre is teamwork. So I felt privileged, and tried my best to put up a good performance too.
No one has heard of Iyobosa before now. How did you get into Nollywood?
I got into Nollywood through Mr. Lancelot Imaseun whom I met through my mum. I told him of my intention to act and he assured that once he was ready to shoot his next movie he would invite me for the audition. But before then I have been acting on stage as a theatre arts student. You can’t run through a theatre arts programme without acting on stage. So I did mostly acting on stage but Lancelot gave me my break on screen. I started with his language film Ebuwa and then this big one Adesuwa. The stage performances I took part in then were class productions and plays we took outside of school to neighbouring towns and cities, some talking about community development and others creating awareness about HIV AIDS. But I have not had the chance to do other stage plays after school, although I was opportune to participate in a stage play last year as part of my course work. But I know I acted in plays like That scoundrel Suberu, an adaptation by Professor Dapo Adelugba, Emotan, by Dr Irene Salami, Shadows on Arrival, by Dr Osita Ezewanebe and many others.
But was acting your first love?
No it was not. Until I became a theatre arts student, I never thought about acting or knew I could act. But my interest was aroused when I started acting in school and taking part in play productions for my class at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria (ABU). So the interest has always been there. But Initially I applied to study law in ABU but I was given theatre arts. My parents initially didn’t want it, but on a second thought, they gave me their blessing although they thought I could do the programme and still go back to study law. But along the line, I fell in love with the course and I told my parents I wasn’t interested in studying law anymore and they respected my decision and supported me till masters level.
But I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of Adesuwa. I consider Adesuwa as my biggest movie breakout. Although I have also featured in other movies like Kings battle but Adesuwa is big. It is undoubtedly my break out movie.
Zaria? Were you raised in the north?
No I was raised in Benin City and growing up for me was interesting, I grew up with my parents and 7 siblings in Benin. My parents were wonderful people. That is why I consider them my role models. But for Nollywood, my role model is Joke Silva. I like her carriage and delivery.
She easily stands out.
So has acting been rewarding for you?
Well so far, acting has not made me rich, but I enjoy doing it, may be because I am formally trained in the art and also probably because it comes naturally. So far, I think I am enjoying it. I have no regrets acting, and my parents have been very supportive especially my mom. She keeps encouraging me and I am not going to disappoint her.
What do you consider your likes and dislikes?
I like humble and hardworking people. I dislike proud people and people who say negative things about others. I don’t also want to be associated with people who are lazy and who carry tales around. I am not married yet but if I were to give the qualities of my ideal man, I would say he must be a man who truly fears God. A man who loves his neighbours as himself and a man who is hardworking and slow to anger. As for my favourite food, I like plantain and Owo, a sauce made of blended tomatoes and crayfish and potash and finally palm oil when it is cooked. Bini people eat plantain and yam with it. My favourite colour is red, and my favourite kind of music is R & B. as for fashion, I wear clothes according to my mood. Coupled with the fact that I also love to look good
What is your career ambition?
It is to be at the top of what I do best. I love the world of the theatre. Studying theatre Arts in Zaria was interesting, I fell in love with the course there and I learnt so much from all the great lecturers that we had then. In fact all my lecturers were wonderful and they were all my favourites. Professor Jenkeri Okwori remains my academic role model, he inspired me academically and I hope to be a Professor like him someday.