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Since Omotola Jalade Ekeinde starred in 'Venom of Justice' in 1995, her life has never remained the same. And then she got married at the age of 18 to Captain Matthew, an airplane pilot. Her star seems to be getting brighter the older she gets. She became a United Nations (UN) ambassador of military officers' children February 7, 2008 when she turned 30. SAMUEL OLAUWATOBI burrowed into her life late Tuesday and came back with this:

How was your day?
It was ok. Thank God.

How does it feel to be 30 years old, you know I'm not 30 yet?
It is normal; there is no special extra-ordinary feeling.

Don't you feel you are growing older?
Everybody is growing older. Don't you add extra year this year? So, why should I be bothered? I would only be bothered if everybody's age remains the same and only mine is growing.

Why did you make your birthday so loud, is it because it was round figure?
No, it was actually my friend that blew it out of proportion. I was at Abuja shooting so it wasn't as if I went there for party. My friend has a group of friends called G9, and she invited them. Before I knew what was happening the party was out of what I expected.

How did the army get involved?
My manager, Sumonu Bello-Osagie called me from London and told me that the army wanted to talk to me. The army had the idea of having a foundation for officers' children. The brigadier, George Amu thought the occasion would best suit the avenue to present it to me formally.

That means we can no longer harass you because you now have military men to call to deal with us?
So be careful (laughs)…

What does your new status entail?
Unfortunately I don't know. We lost the brigadier yesterday. I'm actually dedicating this interview to him. He was such a wonderful person from the short time that I knew him. He was the one who is acting as the link.

You are also the United Nation (UN) ambassador for children. Why did you weep when you got to Sierra Leone?
We wanted to do a movie for a military man who wanted to do a movie about Abure, who is a legend there. I was there with Olu Jacobs, Fred Amata, Genevieve, and Zack Orji. When we got there the whole country was on the street to welcome us. When we were in the plane everything was transmitted live on radio. When we were in the car, a particular woman who was backing a baby was running after our car looking for me. When she found me, the class was up and she had her hand on the glass but the car would not stop. And the security guards said I should not wind down. Before we knew it she was running after us and at a point she tripped. And that was when I burst out in tear. I was overwhelmed with her open affection and resolution to see the person she admires.

Why is everybody appointing you as ambassador for children?
I don't know may be because children like me. With the UN I work with the women as well. I work also with another children foundation in London.

When are you going to be ambassador for 'Save Young Men Looking for wives'?
You are not serious (Laughs)…

What is the year 2008 going to be for you?
The year started on a very high note, and for my birthday I got wonderful gifts despite the fact that I was in Abuja. People were sending me gifts. So I believe it is going to be a wonderful year though it is still very young.

We would have sent you a gift but the courier company went on strike.
I know, and the planes were not flying.

Tell me top 10 of the gifts you got.
I got loads of special gifts and enough money to last me a life time. You know Nigerians have gone sophisticated for their own good. People were like 'I'm not able to get you a gift but can you manage this $10 000? And I got loads and loads of other gifts.

What did Captain Matthew give you?
He did not present me a car, if that is what you want to year. He gave me some really nice gifts. He bought me some lovely shares. He also gave me some unexpected private and personal gift that I am not going to tell you about.

Can I make a guess?
Even if you make a guest I'll be silent about it.

You've successfully kept your marriage for 12 year. What is the secret?
If I tell you that I know any special secret I would be lying. I think if one puts God first he would try to reciprocate that to us. My husband and I don't joke with God's position in our lives. We try the best we can to do his words. I am not saying we are saint but you know there is difference between saying his word and doing it. After that we are both committed to work on our relationship. I think marriage is a work in progress. My husband and I don't even remember that we are married for 12 years. When we were getting married we decided that divorce is not an option. You know you cannot divorce your parents no matter the quarrel, and he is like my father. We have disagreement and either of us can go somewhere to cool off before coming back. We also respect each other. He respects me as an individual, allows me to express myself and be all I want to be.

Does any of you leave home to cool off somewhere during misunderstanding?
He is the one always doing that. And not for many days o, it is just for hours. He just drives around and come back. He would then say I'm healed now. I would just say 'who inflicted injury on you before?' He has only done that twice.

Is it true you could be very stubborn?
Yes, even if I have to say it myself.

Is it true you said you would have gone into juvenile if you did not marry early?
I did not say that. How could I have said that? Even before I got married I never went into any juvenile stuff. I was one of the most disciplined teenagers that I know at my time. Anybody who knows me would tell you that I was one of the most disciplined children ever. I lost my father early and my mother was a matron at Christ Apostolic Church (CAC). She was very strict and I gave my life to Christ early and I think that helped. My father was dead and I had so many things on my mind than thinking of any bullshit. I had to go to school and my younger ones too had to go. So, there was no time to start thinking about boys. The only thing I would have said was that I would have been confused. This is because I know that when you become famous it is very hard to find people that genuinely love you for who you are. Many people would just be drawn to you for the wrong reasons.

Your mother barred you from partaking in the first two roles you got, Nneka and The Testament. How does it feel to be free to do what you want to do now?
I am not exactly free to do what I want to do; neither am I in bondage. I was with her that time, if I were to have been married she wouldn't have stopped me then. I miss her not because she is not here to censor my movie but to be my mother.

Whom do you talk to now?
My husband, he is all I have. I am an orphan.

You got N40 000 for 'Venom of Justice', your first movie. Did that not kind of 'open' your eyes?
It did. I would say I've been really favoured from the beginning of my career. God has been very fair to me. I never really struggled to get it. The director has seen me auditioned for another movie and he said this one is not bad, I'm sure your mother would not say no. people practically begged me to take it. That made me realise who I was and what I carry.

Could that have been a great relief to a girl that needed money badly?
I don't think they paid me all that money, though that was what we negotiated. And it wasn't that we were broke but we could do with such surprises once in a while. My mum was working. At that time the fear of tomorrow was greater than our present circumstances.

Is that why you were serious as a child?
Yes, if my dad hadn't died I would have just been any normal kid. We were very comfortable before he died. He was popular in his own way and he was a socialite. He was manager of Lagos country club. He was well known and all those stuff. If I had grown up like normal kids I would not have been where I am now, and I don't think he would have allowed me to act.

After your ban was lifted, you were quiet. What happened?
After the ban was lifted I started my own personal ban. I was upset about some certain things that have been done before we came back and I got the result.

What were the certain things, you wanted more money than the N400,000?
It was not a matter of N400,000, I was just against the fact that some people felt they could set boundary for where we could pass. But we have all passed that stage. We have all put that behind us.

What should we expect from your new album?
I am taking my time. I hope to be able to show some improvement. It is not going to be boring. I did the first one to know what it feels but now I know so I will come back better.

Why is it that we don't get to see you perform on stage?
I don't have the time. A lot of people approached me, especially for campus shows but I turned them down because there was no time.

Could it be because you made more money in movie than music?
Maybe and maybe not. I don't think I am strong enough to pursue that both acting and music career now. May be it will be later in the future. I turned down a lot because of time. I can't just be jumping around.

You told me some years ago that you would go back to Yaba College of Technology to complete your higher education. Why didn't you?
I didn't go back o! My brother, family life is not easy. I am planning to go to somewhere for another course. But I am not going to tell you so that you don't ask some years later why I did not go. But now I am going to do something that relates to acting. I don't need estate management for anything now.

I can't imagine my wife getting home this late.
That is why I have a wonderful man. He knows my individuality.

Is that a simple way of saying I am not so wonderful?
May be you are myopic (laughter). My husband used to say he understands that God wants to do a lot through me and he won't stand on my way.

Peck him for me when you get home.
I do that all the time. I won't do it for you; I'll do it for myself.