An encounter with Actress Lola Adenike

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Apart from the fact that Nigeria ranks as the third movie producing industry in the world after America and India, the industry also parades highly talented actors and actresses whose acting prowess and role interpretations are appreciated and applauded in Nigeria and the world in general.

Among the fast rising actresses in Nollywood is the ever smiling, ebony beauty Miss Omolola, Adenike Toluwalase who has featured in many movies in the industry.

On Thursday this week, our senior reporter, Mr Jacob Obinna of the Entertainment desk cornered her at the Integrated Cultural Centre, Port Harcourt, where she bared her mind on her experience in Nollywood and other pertinent issues, excerpts:

The Tide: Can we know you please, your background?

Lola: I am Omolola Toluwalase the first of six children, I am from Ekiti State, I am an actress as well as movie producer. I have my own outfit Motola Multiconcept, which has produced two films. The first one is “Unknown Evil” the second is “Battle of the gods,” I have also produced a comedy film which will soon be out. I have also featured in many films in Nollywood including “Enemies of the Law,” “Exchange of Soul,” “Unknown Evil,” “Men at War,” “Staff of Odo” and many others I cannot remember right now.

The Tide: What is your Educational background?

Lola: I attended Government Girls Secondary School, Rumuokwuta, I later went to University of Jos where I had a Diploma in Law. Presently, I am a 400 level law student of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt.

The Tide: What attracted you to Nollywood?

Lola: Actually I have always had the flare for acting. I will say mine is a gift from God, I didn't go to learn how to act. My father never wanted me to act, because he saw acting as a thing for nuisance, the same thing with football. Now there is awareness for people. As at then they saw actors and actresses as no good people, but not so. For me artistes are people who are talented, because it takes a lot for comedians to make you laugh. It's not everybody that can make people laugh and not everybody that can sing. So the first film I featured in was “Goodbye Nnengi,” the executive producer, is a friend, of mine,she called me and said you can modulate very well, and would like me to feature in her movie. I spoke with few people about it and they encouraged me. So I went along and featured in the film, it was shot here in Rivers State a couple of years ago.

The Tide: What has been your challenges in Nollywood?

Lola: I think it's just the normal thing every industry is facing. We Nigerians have very silly mentality, tribal dichotomy, and favouritism. This exists in the banking and medical industry etc., it also exists in Nollywood.

The Tide: It is alleged that actresses flirt with directors and producers in order to achieve stardom, what is your reaction to that?

Lola: It is true people say things like that, for me I would not say I have not experinced such advances from directors, producers and actors but I am someone that believes in God's time. I don't move ahead of God's plans I wait for God's time and God has been helping me.

The Tide: How do you see the problem of nudity in Nollywood?

Lola: I don't think Nollywood actresses like to appear nude. I think the case of nudity we had in Nollywood may be people who took nude pictures of themselves in their cell phones and it got to the wrong hands, but Nollywood does not encourage nudity. It is not allowed, for instance, if you dress in a way that your cleavages are exposed, the Censors Board will tell the producer to “yank” that off, we don't like it. Apart from that, culturally, I think nudity is not acceptable in Africa, let's face it.

If any actress wishes to act nude, the best place is Hollywood. Even at that, Hollywood too is not all about nudity, except maybe you want to feature in pornographic films.

The Tide: How encouraging is the artistes fee in Nollywood?

Lola: Like it was said earlier on, in every industry you have a price to pay. Some people are paid well, some are not. People that are well paid today started from somewhere. Everybody has a story to tell you, some will say they slept on the floor initially, the likes of Kanayo O. Kanayo, Justice Esiri, Omotola etc. Everybody has a story. Like Omotola the first time she went for an award, there was no chair for her, but today, she is among the most popular and rich actresses in Nollywood. Today seats are reserved for her but I don't think that's an issue. For me I won't discuss how much I was paid initially.

The Tide: You said you featured in countless movies, which of them brought you to limelight?

Lola: Every role I played contributed to my popularity, but I have not gotten the sort of limelight I want, but people appreciate my roles.

The Tide: Among the roles, which one do you consider most challenging.

Lola: Every role I was given to play I played it well. The job I did recently in Bayelsa is the one I consider most challenging, and the movie is titled “The Way we Are” it is about the restiveness in the Niger Delta. I actually played the lead role. It was produced by Justice Esiri and directed by Ifeanyi Onyeabor. It was in that film I carried a real gun in my life, I had never touched a gun in my life before and I also noticed that these guns they carry are very heavy. It was in that movie I also fired a gun for the first time in my life. Actually the scene was a cult war, you know what a cult war looks like, but I did not shoot anybody.

The Tide: Nollywood is rated third in the whole world after Hollywood in America and Bollywood in India. Do you think we merit that?

Lola: Considering the fact that Nigeria happens to produce movies that go beyond Africa, but goes around the world. For instance, friends who left this country never called to say they were leaving Nigeria, only to call and say that our movies are well accepted all around the world. I'm not surprised because our artists in Nollywood and the industry as a whole, merit it.

The Tide: Have you ever embarked on a movie tour abroad?

Lola: I have not actually travelled outside the country on movie tour, but I have travelled outside the country before joining Nollywood.

The Tide: What is your marital status?

Lola: Laughter, I am still single but involved in a serious relationship.