I NEVER DATED GOVERNOR SARAKI---LOLA ALAO
Lola Alao is one of the wave-making artistes in the movie industry. But her fame was not instantaneous, she paid her dues before she started soaring higher than high.
To many who may not know her one-on-one, it would seem as if the light complexioned actress carry so much airs around her. But come close to her and you would find out that she is just like the girl next door, as Spectacles found out during her latest movie premiere held in Lagos last Sunday.
Lola's acting career started years ago with her role in the soap, Ripples. She showed her diversity as an actress when she switched over to movies by taking part in Black Encounter, an English movie. But she did not become a household name until she started featuring in Yoruba movies.
Now, Lola has become not only an actress, but also a producer and a scriptwriter. Many may call it being Jack of all trade; Lola would calls it competence.
“I read Theatre Arts. I know what it takes to be a full-fledged entertainment person. I know virtually all there is to know in all genres of the arts, but I chose to restrict myself to just these three,” she said.
Before she established herself as an actress, Lola was an air hostess.
“I was an air hostess with Okada Airlines. I did that a couple of years before I left.”
For somebody who had been an air hostess, it was ironic that she suddenly developed phobia for flying. She quickly had to resign. Don't blame her though, a plane crash that claimed the lives of some soldiers years back got her wary of flying.
“My father was a soldier. When a plane crash killed those soldiers, I had to have a re-think. I found out that the job was so risky, so I resigned.”
After her resignation, she was able to work in a few other places before making her first contact with the movie industry.
“I was in Zeb Ejiro's Ripples. Thereafter, I featured in Fortunes as well as Magnet; and then, Super Story before I decided to produce my own movie, Bitter Encounter.”
Though she became a screen wonder, Lola decided to go to school to hone her skills in the acting world and to overcome inferiority complex.
“I believe that whatever you do, you should do it well and become a professional in it. I love acting, so I had to go get a degree so that when others are talking, I too will boldly step out as a graduate.”
Now, she has been shot to the limelight with well over 60 movies in her back pocket. She no longer dances to anybody's tunes.
“It has gotten to a stage where I can dictate to producers and tell them what I want. They are no longer doing me a favour. I no longer beg for roles. It is no longer like those days we were looking for fame, and then we would bow down and tell them, 'Thank you sir', for using me in their movies.”
Many may not even know that this actress started off with English movies. Now, Lola is stuck with her roles in the Yoruba movies and she does not even intend to stop.
She speaks Yoruba language fluently and hardly would one know that she is not Yoruba.
“I am from Kogi State. I am an Igbira lady. But I love the Yoruba people. They are very accommodating and that was the reason why I changed from doing English movies to Yoruba movies.”
As she has gotten to the top (or close to it), Lola readily agrees that stardom has affected her lifestyle, both positively and negatively.
“If I am travelling now, I am treated very well at the airport. There was a time I was coming back from London. The Customs officers at the airport said they wanted to search me. I agreed. Just as they opened my bag and saw CD jackets of my movies with my face plastered all over them, they asked me if I was a star and I said yes. Immediately, they apologised and they let me through. In Nigeria, I get things at the snap of my fingers. However, Agberos (miscreants) would not let me rest. They would hit on the car and ask for money. You are no longer free to do whatever you want to do.”
If she could go through customs at the airport without the routine check, could she not use the opportunity to engage in drug peddling like some of her colleagues are doing, Spectacles asked.
“I tell you, I have a daughter that I love so much. I know the kind of home that I came from and I cannot afford to spoil the name I have built over the years. It really depends on the individual. As far as I am concerned, I cannot descend so low to engage in drug peddling.”
She has not been engaged in any drug-related scandal, but she has sure been linked with extra-marital scandals. It was rumored that this damsel was dating one of the most dashing governors in the North-Central. It was even rumored that Lola's husband was ready to boot her out because of the affair she was having with the governor.
But the Ale Ariwo actress debunked such rumours as a pack of lies.
“For crying out loud! The governor in question is Bukola Saraki. I never had anything to do with him. I am a married woman. I don't know how the rumour came about.”
But there is usually some truth in every rumour, Spectacles posited.
“As for this particular rumour, there is no truth in it at all. I met him at the City Peoples awards. We did not come together. We did not sit together. He was on his own and I was on my own. I still don't know how they managed to link us. If I see him today, I might not be able to recognise him let alone visit him. I have never spoken to him in my entire life.”
Lola said if she was not married to a very understanding husband, her marriage would have packed up.
“My husband knows me well and believes so much in me. You can imagine what that scandal would have caused if he didn't trust me.”
The scandal didn't make her quit her job either.
“He married me as an actress. When we were about getting married, I told him he was going to support me and he agreed. He cannot ask me to quit because he has been very supportive of my career. He has been wonderful.”
Lola has been married for five years and she is having the greatest time of her life.
“My husband is a very quiet person. He does not believe in all these gossips or whatever people say about me. He is very caring. Though marriages have ups and downs, we have been able to overcome all challenges and we are still together. I thank God for him because he has been there for me.”
With the way she was going on and on about her husband, you would think they see each other every day. But the duo are seas and oceans apart.
“My husband is based in America. He stays like three months in the US and comes back home and stays like one month. We speak virtually every day on the phone.”
Does she really trust her husband that much to allow him stay far away from her, Spectacles asked.
“I don't mind that he is overseas. Between man and God, I trust my husband with my life. I trust him to a fault. I believe so much in him and he believes so much in me. The problem of infidelity has no reason to arise at all.”
To up-and-coming actresses Lola advised, “Do not sell yourself because you want to be a star. I can boldly stand and say I never dated anybody in this industry. If I could do it and still was able to get to this level, then anybody can do it as well. Don't give up on your dreams. If it is your destiny to get to the top, you will. Just trust in God."