Vivacious actress and tycoon, Iyabo Ojo, is an interviewer’s delight any day. In this interview with our LANRE ODUKOYA, she talks about her movies, the industry and marriage.
One of the major criticisms against Nigerian producers is that they don’t raise their game, what is your take on this?
Nigerian movie producers don’t do stunts. We are not stunt people, we are culture people, we tell our story and we are trying to do it right. We also put a lot of glamour into it because you will be left out if you don’t follow the trend. A lot of technical advancement has come into the industry and you need to use these things to actualise what you are trying to say.
Doesn’t thinking out of the box come into play?
It does and that is one of the reasons why you will give someone like Kunle Afolayan kudos. There are a lot of producers that are doing it right out there, but not everyone has the opportunity of brands supporting what they are doing like Kunle. The few people who have been able to do it well definitely have been thinking out of the box. It takes that for you to put out a good movie.
What is your impression of Kunle Afolayan’s latest movie CEO?
I love the title because it gives the opportunity to say that “I am a CEO.” It is for the accomplished minds though. I am yearning to see it. I was there at the premiere and definitely I wasn’t disappointed. Kunle keeps going higher and higher. He is doing well representing Nigeria.
Emeka Ike has been quoted as saying that a dunce can make a good movie if given the kind of money Kunle Afolayan has access to, do you agree?
Why don’t you?
Because it takes an intellectual, brilliant and creative mind to make a movie, you can spend a lot of money on a movie and not understand it from start to finish because all you will see is glamour and nothing else. If you give a dunce money you shouldn’t expect anything from him because you have already called him a dunce.
What more do you expect from him? He won’t even spend half of the money on the movie. He would probably spend it on other irrelevant things. He would just waste the money, give people money to shoot nonsense, but Kunle knows his job. He knows what camera to use; he knows the kind of lighting, the cast and crew he wants on his set and all these things don’t come cheap.
All these things come with the package and a dunce won’t know this. He won’t even know where to start. If you give money to a dunce, I am sure that Emeka will bring his camera and the guy will say I am shooting and he will reply continue.
What plans do you have for your production outfit?
Beyond Disability just came out on DVD. I have been trying to release Black Vow, but the market is really not that good right now. I just marketed and distributed my own movie Beyond Disability myself, so I can tell you categorically that the market is not really doing fine.
But I am trying to see if I can release Black Vow because the show must go on. I have another movie Ishino (Astray) it’s a Yoruba movie, where I featured musician Sean Tizzle and Odunlade Adekola. That is going to be coming out soon because we are working on it currently.
When are you going to produce a movie based on your true life story?
I have said to myself that I am going to tell my my story and about my fame. I initially said 40, but I will be that very soon. So, I am not going to say when I am 40 right now because you have to be mentally ready to tell the truth. You are not going to take side with yourself; you have to be honest if you want people to really learn from it.
You had it rough with marriage earlier in life, but you have made the best of it; will you pass this road if a possible again?
I might want to live this same life, but take my time before getting married. Is the story dirty? Not dirty. I won’t say it’s dirty, but it’s something I have to sit and talk about with my children and see if they agree with it, if they allow it because my kids are also going to be involved in it. I need to know if they are ready to accept it.
They have to know if I am going 100 percent or 80 percent. So, it is something that we have to talk about. My story is a lesson for so many mothers out there, so many women who are in marriage, for those who are depressed, who are not getting it right, so many single mothers who don’t even know how to start because I know and I have always been a very strong person. Ever since I was young. I do not accept defeat, I do not accept failure, I fear nobody, but I respect people who I have to respect. That has kept me going.
I can tell you the story of how I had my son. It was so emotional, but not as emotional as when I had my daughter. These are stories that when I tell people they will ask really, how did you survive? So, it’s going to take a whole lot for me to tell the story. I will have to sit down with my family and have a proper discussion with them.
Then, maybe when I am about 45 or 50 I will be able to write the story and tell it, but I pray that I do it before I die. I really need to do it.
Have you ever had to pitch your kids against their father due to experiences from your marriage?
When I was growing up I didn’t know my mother because she had left. I don’t think I have ever told anyone this. I was about nine or 10 years before I knew who my mum was. I didn’t even understand the meaning of mum, even after knowing my mum I still couldn’t relate. I was so much into my dad.
When it happened to me I told myself that I don’t want my children to grow up that way. I want them to grow up having a balanced life. Even though I am going to play the role of a father and a mother to them I still want them to have a dad in their lives.
So that when they sit down and their peers are talking about both parents they can feel good. I don’t want my kids growing up feeling intimidated, not having courage. I said to myself I made the decision to have the first child, I made the de-cision to have the second even though I didn’t want to. It was my decision and it is mine to deal with.
I don’t like when parents especially single mums bring in the hatred or whatever situation they have with their ex-husband or Baby Papa to the kids.
It is not their issue, whatever issue you have with the man deal with it. I have had my Baby Papa calling me to say “I am calling Priscilla, but she is not picking my call” and I ask her why and she says I am fighting with my Daddy. I love it when I see my kids relate with their father. It gives them that sense of belonging that their dad is there.
That way their life is balanced and they don’t feel I don’t have a dad. He has been part of their lives since when they were young.
A lot of people would say that you ought to have remarried since your first marriage ended. Why the delay or have you done it secretly?
I am not going to marry secretly. If I am going to get married the whole world will know. I might not do a big and elaborate wedding, but even if I get married secretly I will still come out in the open and say I am married. I am happy the way I am. The man I am with now is a man who respects me. He also understands what I do.
I am not someone who is against marriage and at the same time I am not into marriage. If I never get married I am an accomplished woman, I am a fulfilled woman. I am happy because I have a man. It is not as if I don’t have a man in my life.
If eventually I get married to somebody else or to him fine. I am a very slow and steady person. In my young age when I got married I rushed into everything and it took me a lot to understand that you don’t rush into life. If marriage comes along tomorrow fine, if it doesn’t come fine, as long as I am happy, good, as long as my kids are doing well, my business is doing well and I am sexy, because a lot of marriages that happened after mine have packed up. I am not desperate at all. In fact, I am not even searching. I have a man that I love and I am contented with.