I’ll gladly forfeit my careerfor my home — Moji Olaiya
Moji Olaiya is the daughter of the popular high life singer, Victor Olaiya and she has been in the acting profession for close to a decade.
In this interview with Showtime's Aramide Pius, she speaks on her career, home and her view on sexual harassment in Nollywood. She says if she is compelled to make a choice between her home and her career, she'd gladly choose her home. Enjoy;
How is life and how is the acting career coming on?
Well, so far, so good. I give God the glory.
Are you enjoying it?
Yes, very well.
By the way, how did you get into the acting world?
I have been acting for more than eight years.
Which of the Olaiyas are you related to, is it Baba Sala or Victor Olaiya?
I'm Victor Olaiya's daughter.
Could it then be that you were inspired into the acting industry given your background as the daughter of a popular singer?
I don't know what led me into it, but I think it's God's will that I should be here and I believe that God has a purpose for my being here and only God knows where he wants to take me to. I think that is why he brought me into the movie industry.
As a growing child, did you ever think you'll end up becoming an actress someday?
I never thought I would end up an actress but right from when I was in secondary school, I have loved acting and I have watched people act. And as a student, I was a member of Girls Guide. Any time we have anniversary or any occasion, I was always watching people act but my going into acting is just because God sent me there. I'd dreamt of becoming a successful broadcaster.
Looking back over the last eight years, would you say that your acting career has paid off?
Which was your first movie?
My first movie was actually a soap by Wale Adenuga where I played a major role and that actually brought me to the lime- light.
What was the feeling like working with professionals for the first time?
It was challenging but I had good people like Antar Laniyan and Wale Adenuga on set with me, so along the line, I overcame my fear.
What is one good thing that the acting career has done to you?
One of the good things that acting has done to me is that it has helped me travel wide and I have met people from different walks of life, people that ordinarily I may not have met. It has also opened many doors for me and brought me fame. You enter a place and a lot of people want to come around to talk to you. This couldn't have been possible if I wasn't an actress.
What is your opinion about the Nigeria movie industry, are we meeting up to standard internationally?
Like I always tell people, Rome was not built in a day. We are not just going to become perfect in a day, it is a gradual process. If everybody plays their part, with prayers, hard work and dedication, we will definitely get there some day.
What is your perception on the issue of sexual harassment in Nollywood, do you believe it?
Well I don't
Have you ever been sexually harassed?
So does that mean that sexual harassment is not real?
I am not saying it is not real, but what I am saying is that I have never been sexually harassed. When I came into the industry, I had a vision. All I wanted was to become somebody. I wanted fame and I have been doing everything right to get there.
What I know is that when God says you will get to a place, you will definitely get there. But one problem that I have identified with young actresses of today is that they come into the industry and they want to become stars overnight. They do not want to make any sacrifice.
They just want to come into the industry today and tomorrow they want to become stars. So for such persons, they can easily become vulnerable to sexual harassment because they are desperate.
If you come into the industry and you don't want to learn, there is a possibility that you will pass through a lot of problems but if you are dedicated to your work and you are prayerful, you will become a star one day.
So how is marriage treating you?
Very well thank you.
When did you meet him?
We met in 2006 and we courted for one and half years. We got married December last year and ever since, he has been a friend, a father, a brother and a soulmate. The moment you find somebody you love, you will forget about every other thing.
How romantic is your husband?
(Laughs) That is my private life and I don't think it should be on the pages of newspapers for the public to read.
Are you scared that some girls will snatch him away from you if they know how romantic he is?
(Laughs) Never, I know that will never happen.
Does he watch your movies?
Yes, he does.
How does he feel when he sees you being kissed or smooched on set?
He understands that I am only doing my job but on my own side, I try as much as possible not to do things that will get him angry or make him lose confidence in me. So each time I get a script, I also try to see if it is something I will be able to do or not. And if I see a script and I feel it is going to affect my home, I turn it down because whether we like it or not, the home comes first while career is secondary.
If you are to make a choice between your home and your career, which will you choose?
Of course I will choose my home. Agreed that I have not really gotten to the peak of my career yet, but I will not destroy my home because of my career. But I thank God that I have an understanding husband who will not go to such extremes because he knows I also have his interest at heart.
How do you juggle the home front and your career?
I thank God that I have a very supportive husband and the grace of God has been abundant on me.
What do you do to fit into your character, are there extra things you do to fit in to your character?
I rehearse and I watch other people play such roles. I also research into the character I'm about to play.
Have you had any embarrassing moment for playing a particular role in a movie?
I've had a lot of them. In the movie Alapadupe where I played the role of a doctor who was treating a child and who eventually fell in love with the child's father.
That almost broke the man's home so when people saw me on the road then, they'll say 'ah doctor Gbokogboko,' meaning husband snatcher. It was difficult convincing them that my role in the movie is simply an interpretation of a character which in no way represents my real character.
Undermining the fact that you are a married woman, I know you must still be getting advances from male fans, how do you handle them?
I always explain to them that I'm married and that we can only be friends. I also made sure that at night when I want to sleep, I switch off all my phones and switch them on only in the morning. I always draw the line between work and play.
Has anyone ever told you that you look like Bukky Wright?
Everybody tells me that and I am happy to be her look-alike because she brought and encouraged me into the industry.
How do you unwind?
I love the game of lawn tennis and I indulge in it, anytime I'm not on set.
Are you a designer freak?
I wear whatever suits me.
What about jewellery taste?
I wear anything I can afford.