•Tells City People
Star actress, Kehinde Bankole is among the wave-making actresses in the movie industry. She started up her career as a model before featuring in Wale Adenuga Productions and became a household name.
She has since remained at the very top of her career, featuring in blockbuster movies. She is very humble, down-to-earth, highly talented, pretty, very stylish and above all, versatile.
She emerged as Best Actress in City People’s Movie Awards 2021 and spoke with the City People team headed by DR. SEYE KEHINDE. She talked about her 17 years career in the movie industry, the project she is currently working on, how her upbringing shaped her career and how she has been able to remain scandal-free despite her close to 2 decades in the movie industry. Below are the excerpts.
Let’s start by asking you. How you have been able to come this far and also get better at what you do?
Let me be honest, I don’t think anybody in any industry in Nigeria has anything figured out, you just go with the flow. You hope for opportunities and make good use of them when they come. There is no security per se, so you just keep striving and that is how it has been for me, I won’t pretend.
You know what you want, but be sure of how to get it. It is very challenging. I have been pushing it.
How many years now?
I think, 2003 till now, let’s say 17 years.
You started as a model, why did you settle for movies?
That is because there are not too many opportunities in modelling, that is the truth. So, there is so much more than modelling for me. Then, I worked for Tiffany Amber, Monami, I did a show for Adebayo Jones, but how many more could you name more at that time?
And the drive and energy to go for more were there. So back then I think modelling was not so rewarding.
How did acting start for you?
It started with Wale Adenuga Productions. It is a story that everybody knows, I went there for an audition, then went back to school and they reached out to me that they wanted to work with me. After that, they kept calling me for jobs.
How have you been able to remain scandal-free?
(Laughs), Do you guys really say so? Maybe, you have never had my time! The truth is that I don’t even have information about anything, I am the last person to know what is going on about me. Because honestly there is no time, 24 hours seems not to be enough these days to pay your bills, stay healthy and do lots of other things. There is so much to get done, so I don’t pay attention and if I eventually do, I won’t give it the light of the day.
Because as I am listening to it, I will consider if it will pay my bills or even solve my challenges.
How come you have never been linked to any scandal or messy story?
I am telling you the truth, there is no answer. I ought to have come and picked my gorgeous award but had lots to do. I just arrived Lagos a few days ago, attended Mr. Afolayan’s premiere, then made out time to be here, the truth of the matter is that I am always busy, no time at all.
How has your background helped the good girl image you have now?
Kudos to my mother, if it is, as you say it, so it’s complete unreserved kudos to my mother. She made sure every child was busy, when you are on holiday, you earn towards your next school resumption. She gives us tasks and occupied us with religious activities. Also, she talked and counselled us a lot. We always worked for what we wanted, that is the way we were raised. So, if you are seeing the discipline, that is from my mother, the way we were raised.
Take us through where you were born and your growing up years?
I was born in Lagos, myself and my other siblings, we are 6 in number, 3 boys, 3 girls, all born in Lagos but we are from Abeokuta in Ogun State. I had my primary education in Lagos. Secondary partially Abeokuta and Lagos, then University, Ogun State University, so everything has been between Ogun State and Lagos.
Growing was nice, it was always fun, 6 kids, we always had companion. Our number as kids helped us raise one another. Everybody is responsible for somebody, my dad is a disciplinarian, a lover of kids, my mother is spiritual and religious.
How does being rated among the top wave-making actresses in the industry make you feel?
It makes me good and grateful, it makes me feel if I have this now, every other thing I want, I will get it and it is a matter of time. It just makes me have the assurance that some people are watching regardless of a long time. Then, it’s all about what we attain abroad, but at home, are you still notice. As your work grows you want international recognition, my work now is as more of theatre productions.
I want more abroad, I want to earn in dollars, (laughs).
So, with all your achievements abroad, do they still value you at home? So, if a media company now give such a great award, they are the voice of the masses, so it’s really great and I am filled with gratitude. I feel like I am still there.
How do you balance your dual personalities, Kehinde on the screen and the one we are seeing now?
Work is work, personal life is personal life, I separate them completely if I feel this is private or personal, I keep it so. Then work, I put my best and all into it. After work, I become me again, so that is what I have been doing.
What about your relationship?
(Laughs). It’s private, maybe that is why you have not had anything to write. Because I keep that separation, there is so much going on. So I try to keep everything simple and if they eventually find out things, then it’s okay, but for me to now just deliberately put out those information? No, then when things happen, I will need to start answering questions no, so to save myself the stress and not to be misunderstood, I will just keep it and I think that is how I have been able to survive.
Let’s talk about the projects you are currently doing?
Initially, we were supposed to film a certain project but we changed it, because it was clear, the project needed more time. What I am doing now is making a film that you will see on our normal platforms, Netflix and the other people that are coming, opportunities are here. Right now, there is no fast route to get anything done, so when opportunities come, grab them. I see a lot of opportunities to maximise production. I took a little break, so I can work on my script and we are actually at the pre-production stage now, about to film. And we have 2 slates of films, and one after the other.
You rarely keep friends in the industry but you’re very close to Toyin Abraham, what is the connection?
You make unique friendships with few people over the years. Apart from her, there are a few others, but I don’t display it on social media, but if they decide to, people will notice it. As you go along with the job, you will discover people that will become close friends and associates, sister-like or brother-like friendships and Toyin is one of them.
What do you like about her?
She is a go-getter, she will brainstorm about things, she is extremely hardworking, if she sets her mind on something, she goes for it. That is one amazing thing about her.
You don’t often act roles that expose your body or other controversial roles. Why?
Maybe the choice of roles, you can’t go out of that role, maybe that role you are describing may come out when I take other roles. That is what people are seeing until I explore and take other roles. Then you can now see these things you are describing.
Let’s talk about you and your twin, she is not an actress and you are?
You will be surprised Taiwo is more known. She is the famous one, she is very sociable, she is an event planner, and the nature of her job makes her meet people every now and then. She knows people and she is very good at remembering things as far back as our junior days.
Let’s talk about your unique style, you are a style queen.
(Laughs). Style queen? It is indeed my day. Thank you for the compliment, I try to choose comfort, I always like it to be a bit formal and informal. I choose styles that depict my state of mind at any time, be it business, formal or casual. I just like to be comfortable in whatever I wear.
How do you relax?
I love to watch movies, I can watch movies for days.