I’m jack of all trade, but master of all – Kehinde Bankole
Kehinde Bankole is a multi-talented artiste. She started a robust acting career with Wale Adenuga's popular soap opera, Super Story. She has also featured in Nollywood movies. Now, she has a television programme and she is also taking her modelling career to the next level. In this interview with Oseyiza Oogbodo of http://nollywoodgists.com, she reveals how she has been able to cope.
Are you strictly an actress? I'm an entrepreneur, but more into anything that has to do with the media, that's what I do. I can present, I can anchor shows, anything that can bring money. I can sing, I can act, I can model and all that.
Your first big role was Ireti in Super StoryYeah, Super Story, but the major role I played was Caro, where I was the wife of Corporal Francis and the wife of a teacher at the same time. I also played Eno in Mr Lecturer, where I was a disturbed student. Super Story, let me see, what other role? Then the recent Lux Super Story where I played Chinelu. I've never played Ireti.
Why do you prefer playing wicked roles?Generally in the media, bad news sells. Things like that move fast. So I think it's because of that, and because it stayed longer. It is also because of the direction of Uncle Antar Laniyan, he was our director, he's a very good director, I got better. You know, when I did Eno, I was new, I was just being taught so many things by Antar Laniyan. So, when I now went back to do Caro, I gained some experiences, I put myself under his tutelage and became better, so I think my performance also helped.
People are expecting to see more of youI'm still acting. But you can't say because you found something that brought you into limelight, you stay with that thing forever. If you get drifted toward some other thing, why not try it out and if it doesn't work, then you can go back to where you're coming from. But what happened really was that the opportunities that came my way after Caro weren't acting. And I won't say, OK, because they are not acting, I'm not going to take it, so I took it and it started drifting me away. If I see opportunities that will take me back to acting, I will be happy and I'll do it.
So you are not a career actress?I am a career anything I touch. If I decide to go into motivational speaking, I take it up as a career, I try to learn whatever I have to learn, get people to tutor me, help me, direct me, and I'll sit down and want to make it work. If I decide I want to go into music, I'll do the proper things. Whatever I touch, because of the grace of God, turns to gold.
You're doing so many things. And you've said you do whatever comes your way. But what do you really want to do?Nobody knows tomorrow, the future belongs to God. However, my plans pertain towards anything inspirational. It could be a four package in one. What I'm gonna come up with by the grace of God, if God wills it to be that way, it maybe a program that ... I don't want to give away any information. However, I'm going to go motivational. It could be motivational speaking. It could be singing to motivate. So I am a motivational singer-actress.
You seem to be a complex personality, how and why you did you get into the media?OK. It wasn't a decision. It was just something that happened by itself. It all started with the need to make money, the need to sustain myself, the need to survive. So it actually started for me singing to make money. No, no, it started from modeling. And what inspired the modeling was that I went for a beauty pageant.
Which year was that?The first one I ever went for was Miss Commonwealth in 2003. I made top ten, but didn't win, and it made me realize, oh, even if I didn't get the crown, or made top two, I could make money from modeling, and you know I've always had the need to make money, so immediately we came out from the camp, I started going for auditions, I took my pictures around, and I got little here, little there, and all the while, I was still in the choir in the church, I used to sing, only for me to discover that you can even make money from singing, so I wrote proposals out to people.
I wrote to Jimi Odumosu, then Wale Adenuga, a few other people. The responses I got I followed up and did a few soundtracks, for Binta And Friends, Super Story, Papa Ajasco, and for Yoruba movies like Basiratu Baseje, and others. So those two things began because of the need to make money. But when I stepped into them, I began discovering other things. I began to go for drama auditions. They were bringing money. But later, I now felt more passionate about certain things among all of them. And what I'm really passionate about is acting. But the greatest passion of them all is music.
You said you have passion for acting. How do you know you are talented?Yes. You can never rate yourself. Even the yes answer I gave you now is not my answer. It's the answer of the people, because when you go for one job or audition and you are picked, that shows that whatever they needed at that time, you could provide it. That is your answer that I have the talent. Sometimes, you go for a job and you feel you didn't do well, and they call you back and say when can we have you again? That's how you know, from people and comments.
Why the urge to make money?I'm not from a poor background. I'm from a moderate home. But the need to make money came from discipline and the spirit of independence. You want to be able to do something for yourself. It's not everything that your parents can do for you. You have to do certain things for yourself. And to get those certain things done, you'll sit down and think, what can I do to make things work for me. You cannot go into prostitution. Even prostitution takes an effort. They are very courageous, bold people. Everything you get takes an amount of work. So I told myself I need this, I need that, let me not bother my parents about this. Let me be independent to be able to provide that thing for myself. So that's how the need to make money came about.
When did you made the decision to become independent?I was in about SS 2 when I decided that this is what I want to do.
And the going was easy for you.It was not. They pick you for one out of every six auditions, after you've spent a lot of money on transport, etc. It can be very discouraging. Sometimes you even get there and get discouraged. The people to audition you might say if only you were Ibo, or can you speak Hausa. Some will say we want deep Ijebu for this character. Sometimes I've been dropped because I couldn't dance. You meet challenges. Or sometimes they pick you for a role only for them to discover you can't drive. But those challenges make you get better.
Have you made money?I wanted to make money, but I've made fame. I've encountered inspiration, attained knowledge, and my mind has been broadened. I started out wanting to make just money but I've learnt about the beauty of arts. It's priceless. Nobody can pay you for your art or what you can do.
Are you living with your parents?I am. Independence is not indiscipline. It's actually a burden. You have to discipline yourself. I still live with them because they are my family. You need your family at all times, their guidance and direction. Living alone, you might survive it, but you don't want to blow things too much out of proportion. Because you are independent does not mean you have to be disobedient.
You are a twin. Are you guys identical?No. We are not.
OK. Tell us about your twin sister.Taiwo is a final year accounting student of LASPOTECH. She is very generous. I've never seen anyone as generous as she is and my elder brother, Segun. She introduced me to acting, sent me to my first audition. She got the information via late Funmi Martins, God bless her soul. She can be stubborn sometimes but she's my sister and we love ourselves so much. And apart from school, she's also into catering business. That's all.
Have you been to the university yourself?Yes. I was at Ogun State University. I studied mass communication.
Any plans to further?Yes. There's the possibility that I might do a Master's in international relations. Or something else that would further my ambition. But now I've not decided. When I decide what to do, I'll now look for something I can study that will enhance it.
There's this popular belief that your on-screen romance with Corporal Francis actually extended into real life.How can anybody say that? Wale Adebayo is a very good actor, probably that's why people could think we were dating, because we acted our roles perfectly. When you act with a senior colleague who is good, the role comes out well. Our romance ended on set.
Do you still see him?Yes. Once in a while, when he comes to work. You know, normally, artistes encounter themselves, at auditions, or one production office or the other. But beyond that, everybody goes to their homes.
Did he ever ask you out for a date?No. He's like a big brother, like an elder brother to virtually everyone who is my colleague.
Is it just about work for you?It's not just about work for me. I have a quiet interesting love life. That's it.
OK, you are single, searching?I'm single and I'm looking forward to when I'll settle down. That's all.
Do you have someone already?That is private. I'm single.
But why don't you want to talk about your relationship?There's no big deal. It's just that nobody knows tomorrow. I cannot say we are getting settled on so-so date. Who am I to say that? Only God can say that. However, anyone I date at all, has all my respect, has all the anything you can ask for in a relationship. Whomever I'm with, gets all of that. Including privacy. Because I'm on TV doesn't mean I should expose the privacy of anyone I'm dating. And I'm proud of anyone I'm dating.