Doris Simeon is such a consummate thespian to whom the Yoruba and English movie genres is a “piece of cake”. She plays her roles effortlessly. That sounds grandiloquent, isn’t it? But the truth is that Doris is a good actor.
If you doubt it, then watch Ghetto Dreamz or Asiri, which would be hitting the market presently. She also featured in Omo Iya Kan and Onitemi. In this interview with Samuel Olatunji, she tells the story of her journey to stardom. Excerpts:
What are your plans after Ghetto Dreamz?
Well, I have to go on location for the next movie.
I have one that is ready and it’s going to the market soon. I’m expecting to shoot another movie after that.
What’s the title of the movie?
What was it like in Ghetto Dreamz?
It was fun, okay and stressful. Every movie has its own challenges.
Did you enjoy your role in the Ghetto Dreamz?
Well, it’s my job.
Did you meet Dagrin before his death?
So, what was it like playing a major role in his biopic?
I’m happy to be part of it. When I got the script, I did some research on him and I was interested. I looked at the role and was happy to play the part.
How would you rate Ghetto Dreamz?
I would score it at 90 per cent because it’s a real good movie and everyone on set was a professional that really knew what they were doing.
Do you think it would do well at the cinemas?
Yes, because there are so many people and artistes out there aspiring to be great and I believe when they watch Ghetto Dreamz they would learn so many things. It will motivate them to move forward in life and guide them in the industry. It’s edifying.
What was the atmosphere like during shooting?
Well, most of us were working for the first time, but funny enough we all worked like a family trying to make it come out good, educative and very interesting to people.
I heard the director in Ghetto Dreamz is your husband. Is that correct?
How was it like working together?
It’s not our first time working together. We have been working together for a while and even before we got married, so it was just another working day together.
What’s your opinion of the producer?
That was my first time working with him, and I’m quite impressed with the way he does his job. He’s very good and passionate on the job.
Are you willing to work with him again?
Yes, I will definitely work with him again.
What other film did you do with your hubby, especially after you became a couple?
Yes, a couple, including Omo Iya Kan, the current one is Asiri, and Onitemi, among others. We are both professionals and we both know what the job entails.
So, when we are on set, it’s all work. It’s different from when we’re at home.
Yes, work is work and we deal with our family issues when we are at home.
So, it’s strictly professional on set?
How long have you been acting?
10 years plus.
That is amazing. Could you recollect your first movie?
Yes, Oloju Ede. Actually, I started with Papa Ajasco & Company by Wale Adenuga Productions before I ventured into Yoruba films, and I act in English movies as well.
Give us examples?
They include End of Paradise, VIP by Amaka Igwe, Jolly Friends and so many I can’t remember.
Let’s look at the last AMAA Awards. Nollywood actors and actresses didn’t do well. What would you say is the problem?
I really don’t know, but it means we should go back to the drawing board and see how we can produce better movies.
Are you saying we need a new direction in Nollywood?
Yes, and it’s just a few people trying to make all these changes.
What do you think can be done about “junk producers”?
If we had one voice, then something concrete could be done about them. If we really had a strong association screening all these people and making sure it is the right people that are there, then junk producers could be sent packing.
Tell us about Doris Simeon?
She is a quiet and easy-going lady; a mother and a wife. She has a son.
How soon should we expect another baby?
Don’t worry; we are working on it.
Ha! I don’t know; I’m not God.
Tell us about your education?
I attended primary, secondary and film schools, but I didn’t attend a university.
Which film school did you attend?
Wale Adenuga’s PEFTI, and I graduated in 2006.
Are you planning to go back to school in the nearest future?
When I’m ready.
How do you handle all the pressure of being a mother, wife, and actress?
We thank God for it all. It’s not been easy and I also thank God for my husband. He is very understanding and knows what my job entails. He’s always there to assist me.
Have you been involved in scandals?
As I told you, my husband is in the industry, and it depends on the kind of person you are dealing with. All these rumours about scandals mean nothing to him, because he knows me and how the industry works.
How long have you been married?
We’ve been married for three years and unofficially for seven years. So, we have been together for 10 years now.
What makes him attractive to you?
He’s ambitious and does not relent in getting his way in all things he does. He is strong and focused and obviously good-looking. I’ll choose him again.
Have you ever doubted his love for you?
No. He has been a wonderful husband and father all the way.
No major disagreements between you?
No, but normally people disagree on issues. So, it’s also good.
Where do you see Doris Simeon in the next five years?
I have so many big dreams and I know with God all things are possible.
I want to be among the people that would change Nollywood and make it better and bigger than Hollywood.
Can you act nude?
What if the price is big, like $1 million?
No, no matter the amount I can’t act nude.
But you are a professional, aren’t you?
I’m not an Oyinbo. I’m an African woman and our cultural values forbid it. We should respect that.
Who is your role model in the industry?
Yes. Daniel Adenimokan.
Is it because he’s your husband?
No, he is my mentor for real, and someone I respect a lot, because I learnt so many things from him.
Do you have a good relationship with your other colleagues in the industry?
I relate well with everyone.
When was your biggest pay day?
Ha, don’t worry, that’s for me, but we thank God, I’m comfortable.
If you weren’t an actress, what would you be doing?
I would still be in the entertainment industry because, for me, it’s what I like doing.
What were your challenges?
So many, but when God is with you everything becomes so easy and you will wonder how you succeeded. I am really grateful to God for everything in my life.
Is there anything you would like to change in the industry?
Yes, journalists should pay us when they interview us and use our pictures. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.
Anything you would like to change about you?
Yes, I should be in Hollywood.
Any words for your fans?
I like you all and I appreciate you for all you do for me. I’m saying thank you for supporting me.
Thank you for your time.