I WISHED I WAS RICHER AND HAD MANY CHILDREN....JOKE SILVA
Beyond the known fact that you are a renowned actress can you tell us more about yourself?
I was born in 1961 in Lagos, a child among five children by Chief Emmanuel Afolabi Silva, who hails from Isale-eko, while my mother Dr. [Mrs]. Marianne Abimbola Silva, hailed from Abeokuta, although I didn't stay with them until l was five years old. So religious and disciplined they were in training us that I went to one of the best schools in Lagos, Holy Child College. They were always there for us; tutored and trained us on the path of greatness.
Was acting your dream in your growing up years
l never wanted to go into acting or rather being an actress, a doctor because my mother was. I also wanted to be lawyer, because my aunty was a lawyer, l wasn't too sure of what l wanted to do as a young girl but I felt any of these profession would be worth my while.
But like I said earlier on l never knew my parents knew what was best for me and God had His plans for me in life. My parents had known what I'm best at doing, but l never knew. They took me to Holy Girls College where most of our great icons in the profession went, due to the premium placed on extra-moral classes with theatre as one of their major areas, later, l proceeded to England to study for A level programme in Went Worth Month. After l finished, my parents told me to come home, in 1981 and exploit the industry and see whether I wanted to practice acting as a profession and equally understand the nitty-gritty of the profession.
In my first year in the industry, l was working round the clock; working on the radio early in the morning, in the afternoon in the theatre, night, l will be on the television, working on a full-time. Working with people like Jide Ogunbada, Kunle Bamtefa, on television, Francisca Emmanuel at the national theatre; they were all a source of encouragement for me as a starter in the industry .
There I was filling so much excited about going into the profession as I was equally being paid for all I did. Then I proceeded back to the United Kingdom for a Diploma in Theatre Arts at the Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts. There I was schooling and equally doing some part time radio broadcast with the BBC. Then I had so many of my friends wanting me to stay back but I refused, owing to the explosion I got there but that was not enough a reason for me to stay back as many Nigerians there then at that time had so many challenges in making it. Due to the excitement and ecstasy I got working here in Nigeria, I came back home, to continue to explore my profession and at that time, I started a chat show series.
With the fame you now enjoy as an actress would you say that you are a fulfilled woman?
When you are at peace with God, you will be fulfilled because no matter the challenges you face in life, one knows that there is someone who' is capable of taking care of your challenges, hence you don't need to have any undue worry. God has promised He will meet my needs and He has always been faithful to His promise. I am what I am today by God's grace. Although there are still mountains to climb, but I know I will surely get there
What is your definition of fulfillment?
Like my mum said while I was young, due to the challenges she had, taught us this verse in the scriptures that those who wait upon the Lord, He shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagle, they shall walk and not faint, they shall run and not be weary. Of course I buy into that, trusting the Lord for any challenge that come my way.
You seem so spiritual, how relevant has that been to your success in the industry?
You cannot succeed in this industry without the Lord especially in an industry where it involves so much of creativity and again the glamour that one gets, one could easily stray away but I thanked God for He has been merciful to me hence, it takes conscious efforts on my part to always reference Him
What was the important thing you learnt during your growing days?
You know then we had an educational system that was working, more than 20 years ago, our universities were ranked as one of the best in the world, as our institutions were not just turning out graduates with first class but well cultured students, but now, that standard is falling, graduates dole out about 20 years ago will have to go for a thorough re-training before he or she can fit into the system.
What is the happiest moment of your life?
One of the happiest moments of my life was Yoruba play in 1993 called "Owurolojo" which also got me noticed by the Yoruba audience. It was a lovely role because it took me from an adolescent girl to a thirty-year-old woman in one story.
What is the most embarrassing moment of your life?
One of the most embarrassing moments of my life was when I forgot my lines on stage in front of a large audience I felt bad and immediately I ran back crying.
How many movies have you taken part in?
I have taken part in 50 films; aside the stage plays l produced and managed
When did you go into acting and what was your first film?
I started acting right from secondary school at the Holy Girl College, but I was called into the profession while in England studying in 1981, when one of my teachers told me that I am good at acting if I can consider it as a career I prayed about it and God gave me the direction to go ahead. The first English film I performed in was in 1990, Mind Bending, an incredible story, while the first Yoruba film was Owurolojo in 1993.
What has acting or rather being a celebrity denied you?
As for me, l have no anonymity, I live like a gold fish in a bowl, I don't live beyond my reach, I cannot live like an Hollywood star. l have children l want to bring up in which case I try to live a normal life, hence being a celebrity to me is never an anonymity for me .
When did you marry?
I married in 1985 to an internationally acclaimed actor, Mr. Olu Jacob and we have two children one is presently studying Petroleum Economy and Politics in Cameron University in the United States of America, while the younger one is still in secondary school.
How were you able to cope with your parental responsibilities, schooling and your career as an actress?
Yes, I got married and after giving birth to my second son, I continued my schooling at. University of Lagos. Although it was very hard but it was funny because for we older students, we were a bit more focused than the younger ones.
What did you hope to achieve when you were growing up?
I expected to be richer than this and have more children than l have now. l expected to have had six children but God gave me two. I thank God,. Apart from that I'm okay.
What are the challenges you are facing in your career?
For me because l do a lot of production (stage production), a lot of producing, a lot of stage production, investment that will put my production on a high production value is a big challenge for me. .For instance, to compete favourably with the challenges, one needs good lighting, artistes, set, rehearsal space, accomplished actor, well written script, funds, good publicity person who understands how to market our product to the media people these are big challenges for me.
What would you love to be remembered for?
I think it will be interesting for me to be remembered for as one of those who helped to put the movie industry on a firm footing. I think a lot of people have gone before us and have given their lives to the profession in which we all enjoy today but unfortunately most of them were not able to eat the fruits of their labour.
On the alleged sexual harassment in the movie industry, what is your view on this?
Sexual harassment has always been in the movie industry. Nobody wants to give a role until they make a pass at you. It is just due to the expansion that has in the industry that made it an issue, It has always been there; it's not a new thing. But I will say emphatically that it is not right.
Many of the young ones in the industry owing to the possibility of what the industry give, a lot of them are ready to sell them selves wanting to get a role by all means. Nobody has the power to sexually harass anybody in the industry. Although some of the producers complain that some of the ladies who come into the industry are prostitution and use that as an avenue to make a pass at them.
It is not right. They want to come into the industry for them to be rehabilitated hence many of them need help; we should never try to play on their ignorance for selfish gain.
How can you assess the growth and development in the industry?
I think what is fantastic about the movie industry in Nigeria is that we all know that there is a market for our products worldwide. After we have gotten the market, we need to improve on the quality, technical know-how and the distribution system. But I need to make this valid point. Presently, the industry is suffering from the distribution system of our products as there are so many of our works being pirated and that is killing our industry. But you know, everything that comes around goes around. Our marketers are cheating us, because so many of them make money from our films but often times tell us the reverse.
Is any of your children thinking of going into acting?
Yes, the eldest of my two sons is going into directing.
Recently, there seems to be a shift of so many actors and actress from film to television, what explains this?
No, it is not really a shift, but it is because there is an expansion of work in the television stations. Consequently, with the new stations coming up, there is a lot of skimming for dramatic programmes. Although there are so many people producing chat shows, magazine programmes, but few dramatic programmes due to the cost but interestingly, it is what keep the stations blossoming.
When do you hope to retire from acting?
It is a life long career, as there is no retirement in one's hubby.
What do you do apart from acting?
Apart from acting l read.
Where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
To become a bigger producer and successful in drama content.
What does it take to be a good actress?
It takes being able to let go your emotional barrier because our job is to show emotion and to be an accomplished actress without showing emotion.