Movie matriarch Iya Ereko is 73 but she does not look it. The big news is that she is set to celebrate 35 years on stage. She was at City People Magazine office at Gbagada last week and she spoke to DAMILARE Salami about her life.
Considering how hectic movie productions can be, how do you manage to still feature in many films at this old age and you’re not giving up yet?
Just like a songwriter said, if God does not retire me, I would not retire myself… so it is God that has given me the grace to still partake in movie productions. It is him (God) that still allows me to please many movie producers which makes them always want to see me feature in their movies. May God not depart from us and in as much as they still keep calling on me, it is a must I answer them.
It’s been 35 years on stage; you started such a long time ago…?
(Cuts in) it’s actually 37 years because I actually started in 1982, I just had to cut it down to 35 years in other to make it a round figure.
How old are you now ma?
I clocked 73 years on February 2.
What’s the secret of your beauty that makes you keep looking younger by the day even at 73?
I don’t even understand as well; all I know is that I keep myself lively; I dance very well and could be playful at times. When I get to locations at times, the children around me would always know that I’ve arrived. Even when I stay on my own, they will always come close to me so they could hear my voice.
What can you say about the impacts of your generation in the industry?
What we have done is that we have tried to remain relevant in the face of the changes and developments that we now have in the industry. We have tried to mentor the younger ones and also show them support. I particularly don’t have favourites, I make sure I develop a good relationship and rapport with everyone, both old and young.
You always have Pasuma featured in virtually all your events. What’s the relationship between you two?
(Laughs) that boy… I’m his surrogate mother. His mother only did me a favour by birthing him and we met. I love him so much, Pasuma and I have been together since 1996 when I promoted him and since then, he has remained a very good son.
You are such a very cheerful and lively person, how do you manage to cry so conveniently in many of your movies?
Once the director tells you what is needed, as a professional, you have to look for a way to make sure tears come by thinking deeply about the story, that’s one. Another way is that if the story does not really move me to tears, I will have to think about the person I love the most, who happened to be my mother. When she died, I cried for about three years and at some point, no one would even mention her anywhere around me, including my children because they knew I was going to cry again. So each time I find the storyline or scene difficult to make me cry, I will just switch to the thoughts about my mother and tears would flow immediately.
Why did you decide to bring Pasuma and Small Doctor to perform at your event?
Pasuma and Small Doctor are both dare to me, they are both like sons to me and I love them very much so that’s why they are coming again.