Kemi Afolabi-Adesipe is a talented actress, film producer, script writer who has made her debut in Yoruba films 12 years ago. She is married with kids. She has a lot of Yoruba movies to her name.
She has featured in Tijo Terin, Oyinade, Ebi Tani, Oro Abere to mention a few. The beautiful wife and mother explains managing career and marriage as not been easy, but for supportive husband and mother, it has been less stressful.
In an interview with City People Society Reporters, TITILOPE OGUNLEYE and ADEOTAN SOUNYOSADE. She revealed what she has been up to for the past 4 years. She explained how her new movie Modorisa, has taken a lot from her.
Can you share a little about your background?
I am the first child of 6. We have got 4 girls and two boys. I am from a Muslim family. My parents are Mr. Ganiyu and Mrs Wasilat Afolabi. I attended Tunwase primary school and A-Z international School for my secondary education. I had my LLB in University of Lagos. I studied Law.
How did the journey of acting start for you?
It started during my final exams in UNILAG that was 2004/2005 and after reading. So much for my exams, I decided to take a break under the Senate, anyone who know Unilag very well would know that the creative art building is just adjacent the law department.
I was there when a guy approached me and he said that they wanted to do a movie and they needed a new face, so he was asking if I was in creative art and I said No that I am a Law student and I am writing my final exam. Then he said he likes my stature and face and asked if I was interested and I said No, so we exchanged contact.
So when I finished my exam and was waiting on Law school to call me, he called and called and at point I was beginning to think he wanted something else, so he called and we met and he started taking me lessons. It is not as if I speak fluent Yoruba but anyone who knows Dele Mateyi would know that all his movies comes in proverb and adages and he started taking me lessons and the rest in history. My first movie was shot in 2006 and that was how I started.
You look so beautiful. Whats the secret of your beauty?
Due to the nature of my job which requires us traveling to location day in day out there, especially if you are commercial actor. So what I do is that I make sure I get long sleep whenever I have the time and always moisturize the skin because we apply a lot on the face to get into character. Take a lot of water and eat good food.
Aside’s acting, what else do you do?
I also produce movies, I have an entertainment company. We are into production, or series TV screening and the like. We have done a lot of movies. Our recent one is Modorisa which is going to the Cinema and the Premiere will be on the 29th of April 208 at Orientals 28th is actually my birthday. So, we decided to have it on Sunday to have a fuller house. You know Saturday is always locked up with different owanbe’s and I would love people to attend to see where we are really taking Nollywood to. It is all female cast and it is over a thousand cast.
Why is it all female cast?
We short our movies based on the story lines. Modorisa mean I am a deity, it is an epic movie that deals with our culture. If we check very well, you will see that we talk, act, dress, eat and do so many things like the white. We are always looking forward to the white. We are always looking forward to the whites and we have different form of domestic violence. I am married with kids and I know marriage is not a bird of roses. So, I wonder how our mothers handle their marriage with domestic violence and divorce like what we have today.
They go through challenges and difficulties and they scale through. The story itself took me about 2 to 3 years because of the researches I was making and another one year to do the auditions. A lot of people called saying they wanted to act so I had auditions in Lagos, Ogun and Ibadan, all sponsored by me.
I am from Ogun State and after a whole year of compiling we shot at Ogun State. Abeokuta, Ilaro and Osun State because we wanted to use the Olu Marry stature and Erin Ijesa water fall and after a year we want to do the premiere. You know it is not really easy because people don’t really sponsor us. We have to go through our noses to get things done. Imagine spending over 10 million for just production alone. I’m not talking about auditioning and the rest. You know there are a lot of things I would like to showcase but we needed to manage because of funds.
How has being managing career and marriage and you have avoided scandals, so to say, so how has it been?
Well, my husband met me when I was doing this job; he knows this is what I have passion for. He tries his possible ways to always support me and I don’t’ ever try to disappoint him. I always have it at the back of my mind that I must make him proud. I also have a good mother who watches my back and take care of my kids, when I am not around, and my husband does same too. So it is the grace of God. When you are a career woman and you have to take care of the home front because you need to make your home a home indeed and also be good at what you do.
It is just the grace of God that gives me strength to carry on. My husband is very supportive and I appreciate him a lot.
You have been ranked one of the most used actress in Yoruba movies, what is the secret?
Smiles…. When you talk about 2015, 2016 and 2017 I can yes because in like 100 movies I will be in 90 without exaggerating. There was a time I took a break. I got married in 2008, I relocated in 2009 and I was in England for four years, so when I came back in 2013 a lot has changed. A lot of people that were trainees in different group had started doing so well.
The likes of Bisi Komolafe of blessed memories. So when I got back I knew I had to do a lot of work and I had to queue back, I did not act like I was a star before I left, I went to queen back and do so many jobs with ridiculous pay. All I just wanted was for people to know that I am fully back, so I did not mind the job, role or pay. I just wanted people to see that I am back, but now I had to pick the script and roles. For me now, it is about what am teaching people or giving out to my fans out there. I try to be versatile as much as I can be and do different kinds of character I am not comfortable with, I don’t do.
So what should your fans expect in your new movie “Modorisha?
My fans should expect a lot. I want them to know the world is full of chaos, and trouble. You have to fight for what you want. Whether you complain about the men or you feel the male gender has a lot of problem, you still have to know that even without the men, the old thing is still going to happen.
Just like in the movies, where was a woman’s world and they were still having issues.
God who created Adam knew there was a need for an Eve, we work hand in hand. It is going to be the first epic and cultural movie from me. People need to start appreciating and teaching our kids how beautiful and rich our is. And that our culture is rich and cannot be waved aside. I thank God that it was a dream that was nurtured and it has become a reality.
Aside Modorisha, what other movies should your fans be expecting?
I did couple of movies, last year I did a lot of production. We would be seeing a TV series titled “Idera Alako” which tells about the lifestyle of girls of nowadays and their fake lifestyle because they want to give the society an impression about them, that they are not. I have also done a couple of movies that would be out soon.
You feature more in Yoruba movies. Why? Yea, I have done a couple of soap but my debut was Yoruba movies and that is where people actually notice me more. If you call me a Yoruba actress, I am cool and proud about it. I actually have an English one now title “Not my vow” but I am just taking it bit after bit.
Will you say are fulfilled now at this point?
No, I still have a lot to do. All I know now is practical, I still need to learn the theory probably take a year to go to school and learn Cinematography since I am into production now.
Do you ever see yourself practicing law?
Sigh…. You know it was firstly an invitation then it became an hobby and I think I have got a crazy passion for it now because it actually pays the bills and I am proud of what I do, so it is getting for life.