- Speaks About Her Career, Fame & Men
Sola Popoola is an Ibadan-based fast rising star in the Yoruba movie industry. Her success didn’t just happen overnight; she worked for it and she has paid her dues as far as the industry is concerned. Having set out to make a great mark in her profession right from the onset, Sola is today a known actor. Though she has not reached her target of becoming an international super star, but she grateful for her success so far and can only look up for better days ahead. Sola Popoola is not just an actor; she is a stakeholder, she is the Pubic Relation Secretary of the Theatre Arts & Movie Practitioners Association of Nigeria (TAMPAN), Oyo State chapter. But as popular and as beautiful Sola Popoola is, why is she still single? What is her ideal man like? Who modelled her in the movie industry? These and many more issues formed part of discuss as City People’s Correspondent, DARE ADENIRAN, engaged the highly intelligent, cool and beautiful actress, Sola Popoola in an explosive interview session. During which she bares it all about her private life, career and success. Read the excerpts.
While some planned their going into the theatre business, some find themselves there by providence or mistake. What is it like in your own case?
Well, I can’t really explain the part that some go into a particular profession by mistake because it depends on individual’s choice. In my own case I can say that I have been involved in acting directly or directly since my childhood. It is something I am in love with right from the onset, it is something I am seriously passionate about and that is what I have been doing all these years. I can also say that I was motivated by this woman called, Opeyemi Orimolade, she is a newscaster with BCOS. I just like everything about her; her dressing, presentation and each time I see her on television back then, I would be like ‘’one day I will appear on T.V like this’’.
I used to tell my family, friends and everyone around me then that, I must appear on T.V one day. So as I grow up I developed interest in dancing, singing and all. I have been part of the drama group in my church all along because I was one of those kids they referred to as ‘’being too inquisitive’’, and you know people always want such kid around them. That was how it all started, now I thank God for my life.
So at what point in time would you say your passion for acting fully grown into a profession?
That was when I was in school around 2014 but I was fully registered as a professional actor in 2006 under the then ANTP. I wanted to go to Polytechnic, Ibadan to study Mass Communication but something happened so I had to rewrite my exams and all that. At the end of the day I was able to secure an admission to Ogun State University (now Olabisi Onabanjo University) for Mass Communication.
Why Mass Communication and not theatre acts?
Funny enough, I never knew there was Performing Act course in Osu then. But anytime they were doing their practical I will go there because that is actually what I wanted to do. From there I joined a drama group through my brother, Segun Atewolara..
You just mentioned ANTP, ANTP, TAMPAN, as one of the stakeholders why do you think politics is dividing our actors?
It won’t be out of place to say that there is politics everywhere, It is not peculiar to any organization or group; that is part of our day to day lives. But as far as TAMPAN is concerned, it is a case of trying to change the norms. You can’t be in one place forever. You won’t be stagnant in whatever you do if you want to progress. So TAMPAN is a platform for young and talented actors to re-brand not only themselves but the image of the profession itself.
But there are many parallel bodies?
I can only speak for TAMPAN as a reformed, repackaged and re-branded organization for those in the acting profession to soar. We were part of ANTP then but now we have come to realize the reason for us to move forward so that we won’t be left behind by other professions.
The story out there is that TAMPAN was formed by the younger generation in the profession to relegate the older ones and that seems to be true because most of the veterans don’t feature in Yoruba movies like before?
I beg to disagree with you. To the best of my knowledge TAMPAN was not formed to relegate anybody, the motive behind its formation was solely for the progress of the theatre profession and its practitioners, which I am a bonafide member.
Many people only see your face in Yoruba movies; they don’t know your real name. Tell us more about yourself and your acting career?
My name is Sola Popoola Dorcas, an actor and film producer. I am from Ogun State, in Ijebu-Igbo to be précised. I am a Mass Communication graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, 2006.
You said acting is a passion you have nursed and nurtured right from the childhood. How would you describe your experience so far since you fully go into it professionally? Would you say it has been encouraging?
Well, it is been good, it is been wonderful experience knowing people, great people here and there; people you learn a lot from and sometimes people you wouldn’t have wished you meet. That is life and that is part of what will shape you as a person. But in all i can say that I am proud of what I do. Maybe because I have a strong passion for acting; I love doing it, so whatever comes out of it I will take it like that. No regrets. I can only. Look forward to a better future when I will beomce an international super star.
There is this notion out there that for any female actor to find her way to stardom, such must have used what she has to get what she wants. Did you encounter that on your way up too?
I can’t speak for any other person; I can only speak for myself. I have never encountered that in my years of practising this profession and it has not happened to anyone around me. But mind you, there is no crime in a man wooing a woman; it is not by force, it is a matter of yes or no. Aside that, I have not been harassed; no one has ever embarrassed me. And no one close to me has ever reported to me that it has happened to them.
Tell us about your background, growing up and your parents’ reaction when they knew you were going into acting?
We lost our mother when I was very young then, so there was no mother to say don’t do this or that. In my father’s case though he is late now too, he was always in supportive of whatever you wish to do to succeed in life so far it is not going to tarnish the family name. So I am from a humble background, not rich and not too poor family of four girls and one boy. Thank God for my brother, the first child and only male child of the family, Mr. Sesan Popoola, he is the one who stood behind us as father and mother till we grew up to be on our own. He is a banker; he made sure we lacked noting.
What is the most challenging role you have played as an actor?
I don’t think there has been any because as a professional actor you must be prepared to act any role. I can act and act well any role in movie. That is why I keep upgrading myself from time to time. You must fit into any role as an actor who knows his or her worth.
So like how many films have you featured in as a start actress?
I have lost count. “Ferebiekun’’, ‘’Apesin’’,’’ Modorisa’’, ‘’Iji’’ etc.
Which film would you say brought you into the limelight as an actress?
‘’Ayowamiri’’ produced by my humble self in 2011 and directed by Odunlade Adekola. It was comedy movie.
How many films have you produced?
I have produced six, “Ayowamiri’’, ‘Sangbajale’’, ‘’Ramoni’’, ‘’Toyobo’’, ‘’Egbaorun’’ and ‘’Obe’.
You said there is no limit to role you can play while on set, can you act nude?
What if the pay is right?
That is the last thing I will do as an actor, no matter the pay. I am a proper, well trained Yoruba woman. I am still going to get marry for Christ sake, what do you want me to tell my children?
Sola Popoola is a star actress in the Yoruba movie industry; beautiful and cool. Why are you still single and how do you handle advances from your male fans?
I am looking for Mr. right (laughs). About male fans, I know when to draw the line. I am an adult I know what is good for me and what I can’t do. I believe there is a man for a woman, no matter how bad or ugly.
Are you saying there are no suitors coming to you?
When I see the one I like I would let you know.
Judging by the marriage break-ups we have witnessed in the movie industry, do you support actors marrying each other?
Why not? In fact, it would have been the best for actors to marry themselves because they are suppose to understand one another very well. But it also depends on personal choice. Because no profession can actually be tagged with marriage break-up, it happens everywhere. It is just because theatre practitioners are public figures.
What are the qualities you are looking out for in a man, what is your ideal man should look like?
A man of average height; God fearing, caring, that will be capable of taking care of myself and my children.
What would you say is your most embarrassing moment in this profession?
It was at Abeokuta, I went to see a friend there that day and I didn’t take my car. Immediately I got down from commercial vehicle, while trying to call my friend to come and pick me, a lady ran after me and held my cloth as if I was owing her. Before a blink of an eye people had gathered to know what happened, only for her to start shouting ‘’you don’t know her, she is an actress’’. But as pissed as I was I couldn’t do anything.. And most unfortunate for me too, that I was wearing White and Pink, I could see mark of her ten fingers on my top, and it wasn’t funny at all.
There must have been some goals you set for yourself while venturing into acting years back. If you look back today, would you say you have achieved those goals?
Thank God for how far He has taken me, but I still trust Him for a better tomorrow. You know whatever you want to do in the multitude; you need to apply your sense. In an organization where you have thousands of members, there is bound to be misunderstanding here and there and you still have to mingle no matter what. So all I can do is to thank God. Today, I am the Public Relation Secretary (PPS) of Oyo State branch of TAMPAN, where I believe I am making positive impacts. God has used us to achieve so many things for the association; out programs are getting sponsors, some places we have not been able to reach before now, we have reached and we are still matching forward by His grace.
Who would you say brought you into the industry?
Toyin Adegbola aka ‘’Asewo To Re Meca’’. I respect her so much.
What was the connection?
Well, you know when you get to some places like that and you don’t know anybody to go to, you don’t know who to mingle with. Remember I told you my boss is a male so there was this kind of gap between us. There was a day we were trying to sort an issue with the then Governor of ANTP, Elder Feso Oyewole and Aunty Toyin was his Deputy. So she came in while the pleading was ongoing and asked some questions about me and from there we became so close. When my boss (Atewolara) saw the closeness he said, ‘’since you are both females its better you start following her’’. That was in 2007 and since I have been following Aunty Toyin and she has and still positively impacting my life and career. We are so close that many referred to me as ‘’Sola Asewo’’ because we go everywhere together, you know her alias is ‘’Asewo To Re Meca’’. She has really helped my career; she is the one that will be taking from one location to the other.
How do you spend your time when you are not on set?
I go to Church, I am a Church person. I am one of the head of a ministry in my Church. I attend TREM. At times I travel abroad for two or three weeks to relax.
What are you working on presently?
My fans should watch out for my new film, ‘Gboingboin’. We arei presently working on it and it will be out any time from now.
What is that thing you can’t be caught doing?
Fighting. I hate people shouting at me. I prefer to be known for good and positive things.
Have you ever had cause to fight anyone on set?
Never! Even if you have grudges against anybody, as a professional, you must keep it to yourself one you are on set. Some directors don’t even tolerate any nonsense from anybody.