The untold story of Stella Damasus and why she has not remarried
lot has been said about this pretty face, Stella Damasus Aboderin especially since the demise of her husband Jaiye Aboderin. In this interview with the mother of two, Stella speaks on how she copes with widowhood and what she is doing right now to keep herself busy plus lessons she learnt from the story of her parents.
What is the secret behind this gorgeous looks?
First of all it is God because if God does not give you good looks, no matter how much you have, you can't anything about it.
Then my children, when I look at my children everyday, they give me joy and they make me appreciate who I am. So I can't help but try to stay healthy and try to be fresh.
I don't have any beauty routine and I don't have any extra thing that I do. I just try to remember that I have to be healthy because of the nature of my job but the major thing is God because he is the one who gives good looks and freshness.
Was Charly Boy show your first journey into the showbiz and entertainment industry?
I was already working in Klink studios and I was already a singer at Jazz Ville an I had already started doing movies. I had done about three films before I started doing the Charlie Boy Show.
I met Charly Boy and his wife in Ilupeju when I used to stay with my late husband before we got legally married.
They used to record there and I liked what they were doing and I told them I would love to be on the show and he said, 'okay, why not, let's try it out' and I did and I liked it. That was how I started but I had done films and some live shows before then.
Which is your first movie?
My first movie is titled Abuse. It is about eleven years old now. My getting into acting was actually by accident, I did not come to Lagos to become an actress, I wanted to be a singer and that was what I started with.
I just escorted a friend of mine to an audition, I didn't audition, I just waited for her and when she finished, as we were leaving, the Director saw me and said he did not see my face in the audition room.
I told him I did not come to be auditioned and he said 'why not'?. He said he loved my face and the way I spoke . He said that I should try out for the role, and I did. Three weeks later, he came to Klink studio to tell me that I got the part and that was how I got my first role. In my first movie, I shot with Kenneth Okonkwo, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, and some other big stars. I was excited because in my first film, I was acting with people that were already popular.
You seem to be an all-rounder, how do you combine your musical career with acting?
It is just because it is in this part of the world, every other part of the world, if you are a singer, you can be a singer and if you an actor you can be but if you are an artist, a total artist, you have to be able to combine all of them and I see myself as a total artist and apart from that I studied Theater Art which includes music, dance, drama, set design, costume, lighting.
If you study the course that I studied, you will be able to know all of these, even though you might not be a master of all but you will have some that you are stronger in. For instance I am not a strong person in set design or lighting but I had to do exams on them because I studied Art.
I have the talent and passion for singing, there are some things you can not have a talent for because talent is the natural ability.
People have skills, which is the ability but talent is the natural one that you don't learn and I have them, ie the voice to sing and acting so I now studied the skill to do all these things that I do, so it is easier for somebody like me to do all of that because I am a total artist. I can do a stage production, I can do a musical production where I have to sing .
It's not everybody that understands the meaning of being a total artist. Some people believe that if I'm an actress, I must be able to sing, I must act, I must be able to dance, it might not work out for you like that if you don't have the natural ability to do it.
I put in my best in everything I do and I don't kill myself with too much. I take time out, if I want to do singing, for the next two to three months, I concentrate on my rehearsals with the band and then I take a break and then I go into movies and when I do some movies, I take a break and go for my dance class and so on so, I do one thing at a time.
The most important thing is that I try to put everything in the scale of preference according to their importance to me.
The first most important thing to me is to be a good mother to my children which is why on Saturdays if I'm not working, I prefer to stay at home instead of going for a wedding or any outing of such. I would rather be home with my children.
From Monday, I now decide which one is more important, do I have a job to do or do I have a meeting to attend. If someone calls me in the middle of a tight schedule to tell me I have a movie for you, I have to be honest and tell the person I won't have time for the movie, but a lot of people have difficult schedule because they don't know how to organize their time.
I have somebody here who is my assistant, who does all of that and tells me madam, from Monday to Friday, you are not going to be around or from this time to this time, you will not be able to do this it is not easy doing everything that I do being a single mother, being a woman with all the society ills, it is not easy for a woman to come up in a field where it is being dominated by men.
I love challenges, I love the fact that despite being a single mother I can go out there and stand up, work and take care of my children and give them the best that I can.
What are some of these challenges you went through being a single mother?
Not having a man around is one of the most challenging things that any single mother can face, especially when you had a man in your life.
There are different women, there are some women that just want to have kids for a man with no intentions of marrying the man, they just want to be single mothers. But for somebody like me who was married and I had a particular lifestyle, all of that just changed overnight.
For instance now, my generator is bad and instead of thinking of what I'm going to buy in the market and be the woman, I have to deal with it.
'Oh the generator is bad, oh my child is not feeling well, there is nobody to call and say 'honey, Angelica is not well, let's take her to the hospital' everything has to be me, myself and I. If I want to go out and buy some things there is no 'my dear, can you raise me some money' there's nobody to advise me.
I come home after work, I make sure the children are sleeping and there's nobody with me in the bedroom. At times I call my children to come and sleep with me but it's not everytime that they can do that.
Some nights like that when I find myself alone, the only thing I can do is to pray to God to please comfort me right now. Sometimes I cry and sometimes I just go on my knees and cry to God because I have learnt that sitting back and saying God help me will not get me anywhere.
Everybody s doing that but when it really hurts all I can do is to goon my knees and cry to God to help me out and somehow, God helps, he sorts me out. It is not easy because you have to do that regularly.
It is very challenging. I'm on the road driving and my car breaks down, there's no more 'Jaiye, the car has stopped or there's no money' because normally my husband would say 'okay, get into a cab and leave the car there, just come home, I'll send somebody to do it, don't worry, I'll sort it out' I was used to hearing, don't worry my dear, I will sort it out.
But now, I have to deal with all of that on my own. And then I look at people with their own husbands and I'm like, anyway, there's a reason for it, God this had better be a very good reason.
A lot has been said about you, who is the real Stella?
Everything that people know about Stella is what they have read, heard or seen on the television but the real Stella is the simplest of all. The real Stella is so simple and down to earth that you will be shocked. Stella likes to be a normal person, Stella likes to have fun, Stella likes to go to the market herself, she likes to be a good family woman.
She likes to be a good friend that will be there for you all through thick and thin. Stella is not a flashy high flier, Stella is not a very glamorous person.
Stella is not the kind of person that if she has an award ceremony to attend, she will plan for the dress she will wear for the ceremony two, three weeks ahead, no, Stella will go to her wardrobe , find something she will wear as long as it is comfortable for her.
Stella does not pose , Stella does not feel that she has achieved, no Stella feels that she is blessed, not by money not by name but by Family. To me I have the best family in the world and that is where my wealth is. I am a very rich person in Jesus name because of my family.
A while ago my elder sister and her husband just came in to visit me, two days ago, the one that is next to her came to spend two nights with me.
That's my family showing me a lot of love and attention, I am just a very simple person. In my house, I have domestic staffs everywhere, I don't disturb them, I'm always in my room, if not for the fact that you are here, I 'll be upstairs in my room. Stella is not the cry- cry baby that everybody thinks, Stella is a more focused person.
People don't know the business side of Stella. Stella has a company now that she has not made people know about because it is about to blow up. Stella has a television programme coming up, Stella has just signed a contract to be the PR and Consultant of a very huge Maritime company.
I'm going into Maritime, I'm going into Oil and Gas. A lot of people don't know where all these are coming from, if not for work, I have registered LPS but I have to push it to June because I have a lot of work to do.
A lot of people don't know what I do because I don't put it in their faces. For the past seven to eight months, I have been doing MC jobs, I've been compering, almost all the Nigerian Breweries shows, I've been compering all of them to the last one. I did two in three days, I am not a noisy person and besides I am a very private person.
I don't go out of my house unless I have a job to do out there. I am also a very caring person which was why some people take me for granted but I can't change who I am. Stella is just a simple everyday girl.
What exactly are you going to be doing in Maritime?
I will be handling their PR and media consulting, same thing with the Oil and gas so I have been doing a lot of research on maritime and Oil and gas sector. The name of my company is SDA.
I have been attending a lot of business seminars and workshops. That is the side of me that people don't know and I like because I like being myself.
For me entertainment is just a hobby but my money is coming from these different sources. In entertainment it is when jobs come that you get paid and to be a single mother, you have to pay bills everyday, the children's school fees are there, it is not easy at all, so there is need to do something more stable.
Now that you are single, how do you cope with advances from men because I know that they will be coming in droves considering the fact that you are a very beautiful and young person?
I don't have to lie about it, they come but for me, man is not my priority right now and that is the truth.
I need to heal, I need to stabilize my life. Even with all of these that I'm doing, I am not the same Stella that I used to be. When you live with a person for about eight years and all of a sudden, he's taken away from you just like that, it takes time to re-adjust your life.
I am still trying to be a person, still trying to discover who I truely am now that I am a single mother,. I may not be able to say I want to remarry or settle down, I can't do that yet,. The most I can do now is to have a male companion who understands what's going on in my life and who cares about my children who can say come, what are you doing, how are you and how are the children doing, let me take you out for dinner or something.
That I know I can do but I am not ready yet to settle down with anybody. I don't know what will happen in the future.
Men have been coming but the difficult thing about me is that it will be very difficult for me to know the ones that are coming for the right reasons. Some may just want to come to you because they know you are popular, you're good-looking and all that but a lot of people are not very honest. I married Jaiye when I was very young and there are so many experiences that I have not had about relationship.
I'm just being very careful because I have gone through a lot of pain and I don't want to go through any again.
Having been through all these experiences, do you have any intention to pen it down as a book or do a movie out of it someday?
Everybody have been asking me about it and I have been thinking about it. It is not going to be easy because people are going to be like what? You mean you went through all these and you are still standing.
Well for the sake of my children, I will do it. I don't know which one to do first because I want to do a book of my parents because my parent's history is so thrilling.
They were together during the war and got separated for years that my father thought my mom had died before they eventually re unite.
My original surname is Ojukwu but the reason why my name is Damasus now is because of the things that happened during the war. We were usually mistaken to be members of Odumegwu Ojukwu of the Biafran soldiers and when it became a threat to our lives my family had to change the name to Damasus.
My mother had a child on her back , held one in each arms and was like that for months, no bath, no food, no nothing and had to run from state to state with her children thinking that my father was dead because they have captured all the men that was going from Lagos route because my mother was in Asaba .
She ran back to her village on hearing that some soldiers were released and brought home, thinking that my dad was among them but he was not there.
For so long so many other men were coming to look for her to marry her but she was always saying until she sees her husband's body, she will not marry anybody else and also my father , how he suffered and was tortured at concentration camps.
It is a story indeed.
No matter what I have gone through, it will not be half of what my parents went through. So I am still thinking which I will have to do first and I think I will rather have a book than a movie.
My life is so dramatic, may be that is why all that is happening to me happens, there's a reason for this. I have been shielding my family from the media for a very, very long time, this is the first time I'm talking about it.
I really want to do something to honor them, I am going to do a book because a lot of people don't know the meaning of love anymore, so when they told me that experience, I was crying and I promised myself that if I am going to get married, it has to be for love and if my love will not be as strong as my parent's own, I'm not doing it.