You cannot possibly help but like star actress, Kemi Korede when you meet her for the first time. She is by nature a calm and cheerful lady. She has a charming personality that endears her to people. The beautiful actress is also regarded as one of the most respectful thespians in the industry. Little wonder why her career has been enjoying an upward swing in the last couple of years. She now features in movies back to back and is regarded as one of the busiest actors presently in the industry. And from the various ambassadorial jobs she has got under her belt, it is easy to see that things have changed for good for the hard working Kemi Korede, she is now living big and enjoying the fruits of her labour. Kemi was at the recently held City People’s Female Achievers Award where she came to have a good time and support some of her friends who picked up awards at the event. She spoke to City People’s Senior Editor, WALE LAWAL (08037209290) about how she has been able to survive all odds to make a big success of her career.
Good to see you again, Kemi Korede
I am sure I will be speaking the minds of many by saying, this is a brand new Kemi Korede we have been seeing all over the place, doing great things. Tell us about your sudden transformation in the last one year or so?
You know, I have always believed that if you’re putting your all into saomething you love and it’s not bringing you anything in return, just keep on giving it your best shot, one day, you will get it right and it will fetch you all of the financial rewards you have been praying for. That was exactly what happened in my case and I got the rewards of my hard work and patience. This is why Kemi Korede is standing here today.
A lot of people see Kemi Korede and the glamorous lifestyle she projects, but many do not know the story behind the success of Kemi Korede. Tell us about how you were able to break into the industry?
Oh, it was not easy at all, I must be honest with you. It was a very challenging phase of my life, but I thank God for where I am today. I started with Korede film productions, with Sunday Soyinka, who was my boss then. I am talking about twenty something years ago now because it was in the 90s. It was pretty tough back then. There were days I felt like giving up. I went through a lot, suffered a great deal in the industry but the story is different today and I give God all the glory. I am so happy I am where I am right now, unlike before when I had to struggle to get roles and get something to put food on the table. I remember way back then, I often had to tip movie producers and directors to call me for roles, but now, things are different and I am grateful to God for this. Today, Kemi Korede makes her own demand, and sometimes I insist on producers meeting my fees otherwise I won’t accept the role. Sometimes though, I try to be a little flexible so that one is not seen as being too rigid or pompous.
Can you still remember the movie that shot you into limelight?
Oh, yes, that was ‘Ile Olorogun’, a film produced by my boss, Sunday Soyinka. I played sub lead in the movie alongside late Uncle Bakare, Laide Bakare, Aunty Wunmi, Aunty Peju Ogunmola, they were all in the movie, this was in 1998, I think.
And how did you move on from that point?
Well, from that point, I had my graduation from the group and got my blessings from my boss back then. I am now my own boss now, I own Kemi Korede Film Productions. And I can boldly say it anywhere that I have not done badly at all, God has been good.
Tell us, what has Kemi Korede done differently in the last few years that brought about the sudden transformation and all the glamour around Kemi Korede today?
What I have done differently is that number one, I have learnt to respect people a lot more, showing respect and courtesy to everyone I meet along the way. And secondly, like I said earlier, I have had to keep working harder, even when the results were not coming. I just kept working and working until God blessed the work of my hands. So, with prayers, everything worked out perfectly in the end.
Be honest with me, how easy has it been for you dealing with male admirers because even right here inside the hall, I could see a lot of men staring at you each time you leave your table?
Well, you know, as a married woman, the first thing I do is playfully tell them, ha, my brother, I am just like a sister to you. Just take me as one of your sisters, please. And I think a lot of them appreciate the way I talk to them so that enables me to maintain a normal friendship with them.
You seem to me like a simple, cheerful person who is not likely to go out of her way to offend anyone unless she was provoked into doing so, but still, there would be times when people can get on your nerves, right?
Of course, it happens, especially with our fans. Some of them can be very difficult to deal with. For instance, a fan can say to you, “Kemi Korede, I am greeting you and you just snubbed me!” Meanwhile, the fan didn’t greet me, he or she just wanted attention and probably wanted to get me upset. What I normally do in such instance is that I just say sorry, I didn’t hear you, and I move on. I try to avoid situations where they start spreading negative news about Kemi Korede, it’s not good for my brand. Even in the face of intense provocation, I have disciplined myself to the point where I can control myself and avoid getting into messy situations that will affect my name or my brand. I don’t like it when people bad mouth me or run me down. And I am also somebody who likes sharing whatever she has. If I don’t have, I have brothers who are always there for me. They are always eager to support me whenever I call on them. I do not pass my boundary. I live my life with moderation.
Kemi Korede is a wife and a mother, yet you still look young and trendy like you’re in your late twenties, how have you kept looking attractive all these years?
Well, it’s the glory of God, let me just put it that way.
What else do you do to enhance your beauty apart from enjoying the glory of God?
Okay, I am a brand ambassador to a beauty product and I use their products for my skin and it also helps to keep my beauty glowing.
You are also an ambassador to a couple of other brands, right?
Yes, I am. I am one of the ambassadors of Feranmi Spiritual Empire.
How were you able to get these ambassadorial contracts coming one after the other for you?
It’s largely by referrals. Sometimes, I just get calls from somebody saying she got my number from a friend who spoke highly of me and recommended me to be one of their ambassadors and that’s it. They tell me, can you please be our ambassador for like six months and let’s see how it goes and I say no problems and we agree on terms and that seals it. So, that’s basically how it goes.