My road to Nollywood –Toyin Alausa
Toyin Alausa is one of the popular faces you see when it comes to soap operas on Nigerian television. The amiable lady has featured in so many television series especially Family Ties where she has carved a niche for herself. She looked stunning in her colourful top and jeans as she welcomed this reporter to her residence that afternoon.
Pleasantries exchanged, she pleaded with the reporter to give her some time because she was cooking her lunch. In this one-on-one with the queen of the tube, she takes you into her world and the things which make her tick. As the conversation progressed you realized that she was just as charming as she was on screen.
The lady who is in her thirties and also a single mother also talks about life as an actress, a single mother and a business woman. ''As a business woman I sell corporate wears and this for me has been very lucrative. So when I am not on location you will definitely find me busy doing my business. Personally, I believe that as a woman you need to be very busy and not just hang around and be idle''.
Alausa attended Ogun State College of Education where she learnt so much about imparting knowledge into other people. Along the line she found that her passion was elsewhere. “This gave birth to my romance with acting. So I went into this career in 1998. At that point I had acted in all kinds of children's plays at a very tender age and the experience really paid off for me''.
Alausa also recalls some memorable moments during rehearsals and auditioning which makes her happy today. “This includes Memorial Hospital, a popular TV series aired on NTA in the 90s. I must say all these programmes are important to me because they actually brought me to limelight. I am very happy that I was part of it all. It got more interesting when home videos started coming out and everybody had to fight to prove their worth.”
Going down memory lane, Alausa recalls that she was not very lucky at the beginning. ''Initially when I went for auditioning, it wasn't really easy. But to God be the glory I made it after so many trials.''
She continues: ''I stopped home videos about four years ago. I am a soap opera person but I have done so many videos and I have also acted in soaps like Family Ties, Treasures, Edge of Paradise and Doctors quarters on MNET”.
''Life as an actress, I will say, is about what you can offer. There are many people out there that are ready to take any amount to get a role or better still they even do it without collecting a dime because they just want their face on television. And that is bad because it is spoiling business for us and they are not as experienced as some of us. When a director or producer comes to you and you charge them what you are worth, they ask you where you expect them to get that kind of money. People out there look at actresses as big girls. We are not big girls because they don't pay us well and we really need to improve on that.''
Alausa talks about her role models in Nollywood. ''They include Bukky Wright, Stella Damascus and Joke Silva. All these people are female figures in the industry that you can look up to and they are also go getters. People who will always achieve something good''.
Interestingly, as a child Alausa did not have any dreams of becoming a movie star. ''But fate just played a good one on me; all I wanted was to be on the screen as an actress. Funny enough my mum was the first person that took me through acting ; she played some roles back then and they needed a daughter to fit into one of the roles and when they could not find people after so many casting, she decided to try me . I performed well that was how my journey into acting started.''
One thing that makes Alausa happy is the fact that the job has given her lots of opportunity to meet people in the society during functions and other events. ''People always admire me and also give me recognition due to my hard work. I will say one thing that made me happy was sometime ago when I went for Omotola Johnson's movie premiere and at the backdrop was my face. I watched people as they were taking my pictures and it really made me happy.''
So how does she cope with the deluge of male admirers? ''I have been able to cope with male admirers because it is not everybody that walks up to you for a relationship that you agree to, you need to be disciplined. There are lots of failed marriages in this our industry you wouldn't want to do anything that will tarnish your image. We are all adults, so we should be able to handle what comes our way in a matured manner. Some of them are just out to sleep with you''.
Everybody, she notes, wants to be on top in the industry. “I am looking forward to going to South Africa to make a name. I am sure that will give me enough exposure. I also use every opportunity to advise young people to hold on to their dreams if they really want to make it. You need to be determined and focused''.
Alausa offers useful fashion insights for the ladies. In her words: “Looking good is one thing every woman should take care of but that does not mean going out of your way to please people . Though I am a simple person when it comes to dressing I don't like to wear what is in vogue because in the long run it will still go out of fashion. I also put into consideration the type of event I am going to that determines the type of dress to wear”.
In the course of the job, Alausa noticed that people are always desperate and they may sleep with a producer just to get a job. 'I will advise young people to hold on to their dreams and not mess up with their lives. You can decide to sleep with a producer but it will be just that role and nothing more. As a lady you are meant to have integrity, you don't have to mess yourself up. I knew how long it took me before I got my job.”