- 2 Hrs With Star Actress, AYO ADESANYA
Popular Nollywood Actress Ayo Adesanya is among the highly respected actress in the entertainment Industry. She joined the industry 23 years ago, having featured in Nollywood blockbusters such as “Abuse”, Dry Leaves. Most Wanted” and lots more, she took some time out. She joined the Yoruba movie industry 11yrs and up till date, she has remain relevant in the two industry, shooting movies back to back into the entertainment industry. She also shed more light on why most Nollywood actress find it difficult to keep their marriage. Below are the excerpts.
How has it been, looking back at your entire career?
Hmmm, I have not counted lately, but I guess, it should be like 23yrs, 10 years was like silent for me out of 23yrs.
What do you mean by silent?
I would just say, that 10yrs, was when I was not really working, the time I had a timeout it was like a family thing.
So how has the journey been?
In all things, we should always give God Almighty all the praise, everything has been metamophosed, like things keep changing continuously, so with all these changes, I am indeed grateful for where I am today. I am very grateful.
Despite all the changes, how have you been able to remain relevant in the industry?
Innocently, I do my thing, I watch, listen and learn, like now, am still learning, I work with a lot of directors, coming from the English industry to the Yoruba industry. I work with quite a number of directors, so I learn a lot from them, I see what is happening now, so I listen, losen and adapt, and all these coupled with the little that I know has helped me a great deal. I adapt and carve out my stuff. So it has helped me a lot. Once I see things, it could be an American movies or Nigeria movie, or lifestyle, I mould it to work for me.
How do you cope working on location back to back shooting movies?
If you are not a stable person, then it will be difficult for you going to set from one place to another, and taking up different roles is not a child’s play. I have been on three different locations on a day before. Like I was suppose to start a fresh job and I had outstanding job and I was suppose to start a fresh job that same night, I could not sleep, I had to go to location, for one reason or the other, so I was on three different location, just within a day.
So you can imagine. So going to location in Oyo today, two days later, am back in Lagos on another set, it is definitely not an easy task, especially health wise, then Psychologically, take for example you are playing a doctor in a particular movie, then, within a short period you also need to take up the role of a comedian in another movie, it’s not easy at all, it is a challenge, and you need to do it, and since you know its your job immediately you get to the other set, you need to quickly switch to the other character. So most often I programme my mind and say, tomorrow is going to be like this, and that has really helped out. Infact right now, am already in the following week, because at times you realized. You have already being booked for the next 3 to 4 months, so I always prepare my mind, and pray to God to help and see me through. I always prepare my mind that, for next week, I will be in Ibadan, then when I get back, I have to take up another role of a very harsh, rich and wealthy lady in Ajah. I know all these dates, so I just programme my mind towards it, and it works for me.
How do you prepare and inteprete roles so perfectly?
Once I get my script, I read and absorb and prepare my mind, bury myself inside the character, so when I get on set, it flows freely, because, I have already done my own little homework and prepare my mind towards it, and leaving the life already. Also I discuss with my director on how I want to play the role, and listen to his own views about what I want to do, and if he has another idea, and it will be better for the production, I play along.
Shuttling between English industry to Yoruba industry, which is more challenging for you?
Lots of people often ask that question the only challenge is that English is not my first language, Yoruba is my first language. Well I went to a very good Nursery School, all thanks to my fathers. I don’t want to say Yoruba language is easy, because at times I get Yoruba scripts and get confused, especially if it’s a Yoruba proverb, so you need to explain the proverb in details to me, so I can understand, and deliver well. I won’t say Yoruba is easy, probably because of my upbringing, there are some Yoruba, I can’t speak and interprete. So I need to really study it before I can interprete it well. But English on the other hand, you must also really understand the script you want to work on. There are ways we interprete some roles in Yoruba movies, that is not accepted in the English industry. I’m an African woman, I am free to express myself the way I dime it fit in the Yoruba industry without digressing. But that is not acceptable in the English industry.
Take for instance, the way a Yoruba woman will react to the death of her baby in a movie will be different from the way a woman acting an English movie will react except the director wants it that way or the woman in question is playing a Yoruba woman in a English movie. So those are the challenges that often crops up, when you feature in the two industry.
So which one is more rewarding financially to you?
Smiles!!! Ah Ah Ah I don’t’ like this question. But seriously, the English is more for me. But for production, when I produce Yoruba movies, I make my money, but when you talk about an artistes being paid, my sister, the English is more.
What would you say are the regrets you have as an actress?
As someone that knows and appreciate the love of God. One thing I will say is a regret being an artistes is unable keep a home especially
If you still want to remain an artistes, at the same time, pursue your career, you are in for a big one, because your work will surely come in between. No matter how easy you want it to look, like you are married and your career is also intact. If you are married and you still want to do this movie thing. It won’t be that easy, even if your husband is so rich and he decide to sponsor you, he decided to bless you financially, so you can start producing movies even at that, when the man is calling the shot even with money, you are now a producer just sit down and give directions on how you want the movie, you will still not feel fulfilled, because you can’t feature in other movies, and you can’t say, I just want to produce all my movies and not feature in any other movies, you should understand that people have ideas, ideas that can make you, so how would you be able to feature in other people’s project, because, you might be working and your husband might just want to eat pounded yam, and you need to be at home, because you husband has given the instruction, so it becomes so difficult to function well in your home and in your career as well.
So could this be the reason why most actresses have issues in their marriages?
It’s not, could this be, it is. Seriously between you and I, sometimes, I wish I could give someone my face, like let my sister go and act some part for me, while I pay her. So I can be at my husband beck and call.
But it is you, they really need, your face, you body, your act, so there is no way, you can give your body to someone else. At times I always wish, I can just tell someone, please go to Oshogbo for me and act a particular character, then go to Ajah, and also act another character, so I can even make more money, and I also need to take care of my husband and my home. So it is very difficult to balance the two.
So how do you think, these two aspect can be balanced?
I don’t want to say, if you are married to someone in the industry, it makes it easier, it doesn’t. Between you and I, you can do the business as head of production, but still you won’t be fulfilled. If you love acting, and you have not stand infront of that camera, showcasing the talents God has given you, you are never fulfilled. I can stay behind camera and do multi million naira project, but honestly, if I don’t showcase myself and my talents before the camera, I will still remain not fulfilled.
How have you been able to cope with people who makes advances and also wish settle down with you?
They come by the droves. I might look new school, probably because of my looks, alot of people are even confused, that we don’t even know her age? But really am not new school, I am confirm old school, and I have old school values and that has worked for me, so am not the normal woman any man can just call and date, because I don’t have time. I believe strongly in working for money. I don’t put myself all out there, you can go and check my Instagram page. I hold on to a lot of things, and I don’t know if it’s good for me. I think I have book followers and I appreciate them. I don’t’ have millions followers and I am satisfied with that, but trust me, there are some things that I can display on my page and I will have millions of followers but am not a drama no man in my career, not in my personal life.
How do you separate the Ayo Adesanya on TV from the real you?
Ahhh, my life is a sanitize kind of life. When I say Sanitize life, I mean, I don’t keep it complex. God has been able to do that for me, I don’t have drama in my personal life. I sleep, I wake up and go to anywhere I want to do. I don’t do diva. If I do , I won’t be here. Really who has diva help?
It’s better to be real, my life is very simple, advances are there and you can even tell who are lying, I don’t even go to my DM on Instagram again.
It is a two in one question though. I keep my life very busy, so for me, I know my real life, and the Ayo Adesanya’s life on TV. I love to be in the house with my kid, enjoying such moment.
Are you saying, you don’t have plans of settling down again?
Hmmm, that is a serious issue, and I put it in God’s hand. Seriously, do you really see what relationships are like out there right now. Anybody can lie, and if you don’t but lie, you can’t buy truth. Am not saying everybody has to be perfect, but please don’t come with the mind, that you want to come and harm me. I just thank God, that with everything that happened, I have been able to pick the pieces of my life together and am moving forward with that. But honestly if it is going to happen, then it will definitely be a magic, but hope the person will not go and use juju. But if it happens, thank God it has happened and I will move on from there right now, the stage which I am, am not even thinking towards that area at all. I just want to concentrate on my job.
Which of the movies shot you to limelight?
There are quite a number of them, some people will tell you it is “Out of Bounds” some will say “It is “Most Wanted”.
How many movies have you produced?
There was a time, I was co-joining with someone, in the aspect of production, that time, I have lost count of how many we produced. But right now, I have 7 to my credit.
Which one was more challenging for you?
I would say “Amope Alasela” playing the character of an old woman, was very challenging for me, having make up on my face although, and walking on a particular way, was very hectic for me. At times, you say things that are not even scripted, it take creativity and intelligence to achieve all that.
How do you cope with fans, especially, when you go to the market?
Noooo, I don’t go to the market. Maybe when am shooting and there’s a market scene, I stay inside the car, until am very ready. So I often use psychology to deal with that, because lots of fans will want to take pictures and all that. This days people don’t’ ask for money anymore. Most of them will rather snap a picture with you.
Has being famous been of any advantage to you?
It has made my life more easier, possibly. If I were doing something else. I would have made more money and at the same time, maybe nobody will know me now. So I am very grateful to God, for my career, it has opened lots of doors for me. I have been to lots of places, that people offered me their chair, it just gives that preferential treatment, at times, I will just be at the normal economy class in a plane and you will see the air hostess offering you space in the first class, just to appreciates you. I have once been at a Supermarket, and someone was like, don’t worry, I will pay the bills, I was so surprised because it was like 25k. I also love the prayers I get, especially when they watch particular movie and a solution was profound at that particular time. I appreciate thing like that.
Can you talk about the changes that you have seen in the industry, when you just joined and now?
A lot has changed, even the world has changed, new things keep coming up. For way back, when you do a particular movie, it remains talk of the town for so long, but now, people hardly talk about a particular movie for so long. Like today, people still make reference to “Out Bounds” Compared to other movies shot now, probably because of social media, the attention and money is now on social media.
Lets talk about your growing up?
I was born and raised in Ibadan. I am from Ijagun in Ijebu Ode in Ogun State. My father use to be a shoe maker, so if I decided to go into shoe business today, nobody should form at it, God was really good to him, he ventured into the production of Nylon bag and had a factory and became very rich. He gave us the best in education, and I guess that is the reason am able to speak all these grammar you hear me speak.
I did communication and Language in University of Ibadan. The foundation he gave us is what is still helping through till today.
What was his reaction, when you ventured into acting?
Unfortunately, he passed on before I started acting, that was when I was 19years, but my father was my first audience, because I went to a school where we rehearse all these Shakespeare drama and I stand in front of him to practice mine, and we often have to commit it to memory, and that has helped me till date. I was still in the University when my father passed on, and the silver spoon turned to a wooden spoon, sorry, no spoon at all. So I had to work, I worked as a receptionist, just to send myself to school. I served in Imo State for NYSC before relocating to Lagos. Then one day, I went to AIT for an interview, I didn’t understand what was going on, and that was the place I met the man that introduce me into acting. And that was how everything changed.
I have always loved acting, and he was going for an audition, so I followed him. So I featured in the movie, Omotola Jalade featured in the movie too. She got into the industry before me. I did “Dry leaves” “Abuse” for Opa Williams, I did like 5 movies before “Most wanted”, I took up wakapass roles, most times.
When did you join the Yoruba industry?
It was after my break. When I stopped, at a point, I started craving for it again. Acting is something you can not kill, when it’s in is you. So at a point, I knew I wanted to still act, so I started getting offers for Yoruba movies. So I joined the Yoruba industry, like 10 yrs now. I produced my first Yoruba movie titled “Anu Oju”.
Do you look back and feel bad over your relationship with your ex-husband?
I don’t want to talk about it.
Your fans are dying to know how you feel about it?
It doen’t make me feel anyhow. I have a child with him, am a Yoruba woman. I have moved on, and I don’t have anything against him. Whatever it is that transpired between us, was what was meant to be, everything moulded me to become the woman I am today.
What has fame robbed you off?
Like I earlier said, fame will rob you the zeal to settle down but you see, if you have your friend as your husband, someone that truly understand and has the fear of God.
Am not talking about the shaku shaku boys out there, they are extra Yoruba demons. A man that will really understand and have lots of patience. Probably an elderly person that doesn’t clamour for all what, all these normal men want. Maybe those old man with pot belly, that will just say, just make pounded yam, and Egusi once in a month, and he will allow you, go to location, shoot all your movies without hindrance. And after work, you get back, he welcomes you with open hands without quarrels or issues.
Lots of people misunderstand Ayo on TV from the real one, they believe it’s the same?
Like I said, I like keeping it real, if you will give me billions of naira, you will, I don’t need to fake anything to make you love me. No matter what I always want to be very real in everything. I don’t want you to see anything about me tomorrow, and you will be shocked, so I always want to be me. I also think, lots of people misunderstand my real person with the actress on the T.V.
They just sum it up themselves, and conclude, oh, she is a bitch. That is the perception most people have about artistes, until they meet them one on one. And that happens a lot. So I will always be me. Those acting up in their real life, this is their time to be fake. I will never do that.