I TELL MY HUSBAND EVERYTHING THAT GOES ON WITH ME IF I’M ON SET ––TOPE OSHIN-OGUN
Tope Oshin-Ogun is one of the few artistes who has successfully combined home front with acting. In this interview with GBENGA ADERANTI, she speaks about her marriage, career, her sunglasses and why she has not had any scandal in the media
Nigerian movie industry is classified into three major parts. Which one do you be long to?
I do more work with what people refer to as English ITPAN people. For example most people think I have not been working in the past four to five years, but I have actually been doing some work . The difference is that they, Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN), take their time to release their movies, they don't churn them out like the Nollywood people. So, the movies I have done have actually taken a little bit of time to come out.
Does that mean they don't invite you to do Yoruba movies or you don't like to feature in Yoruba movies?
I've actually done four Yoruba movies. The last one I did was about three years ago. But I don't know. I actually prefer where I am, “English” plays. But even then, I will love to do Yoruba once in a while. You have a very tight schedule.
You have to be on location and at the same time take care of your four little boys. How do you cope?
I sit down and I wonder how I do it. I just put it all down to God because it is really tiring. Taking care of just one boy is a lot of work. I have four boys. I have a 4month-old baby; a set of twins and 2-year-old boy. It is not really easy.
When did you start acting?
About nine years ago. About 1997/98.
When did you go pro?
I went pro in '98 because I started with stage plays. I didn't start with movies. I did a movie in '98. The next movie I did was in 2000. From there I moved to soap. My career has really been more of doing soap operas than movies.
Of all the numerous courses available, why theatre arts?
The funny thing is that there was never a point in my life where I decided that I wanted to be an actress. It was something that happened to me by accident. It was at a point where I was supposed to have an admission at the University of Ilorin, it turned out bad, after I had wasted a year and half at the University of Ilorin. I had to come to Lagos to try to see what I could do. It was that time they wanted to start Theatre Arts department at the Lagos State University ( LASU) and I got an admission. From the outset of my life, I never thought I would be in the public. I thought I would probably have gone for something safe, maybe bank or office work. Something normal and away from the crowd but I just found myself doing it (acting). I realised that I enjoy doing it as well. I enjoy being other people apart from myself, particularly because I'm a reserved person. It gives me the opportunity of being different human being at different point in time and getting back to myself. There is this feeling of eating my cake and having it.
Have you had any cause to reject a role?
When I get a call to do a job, the first thing I ask for is the script. I want to see the script I want to see the role the producer wants me to play and I go through the script and what the character has to do. If I do not agree with it, immediately, I let the director know, 'sorry o! I can't do this. If you can adjust for me it is fine. If you can't, I'll gladly let it go. I never held on to something too tight. I believe mine will always come.
That means you dictate to the producer.
I do not dictate.I just let them know what I am comfortable with. If you are going to force an actor to do something he is not comfortable with, he will not perform well. That is my policy and that is what I adhered with.
Most artistes complain about sexual harassment. Have you ever been sexually harassed?
Well, I have never. I don't know about other people. Probably, because I've never presented myself as being desperate about any role. A lot of young, up and coming artistes would want to give anything to have a role or to have a lead role. Probably because of the desperation, they are sexually harassed. These so called people who harass them want to take advantage of them, but I personally, I have never experienced it.
Was there anytime your husband complained about your role in a movie? We have never had a quarrel over my role because even before I got married, I deliberately and carefully choose my role. I would not like to do something that I would watch later and start thinking or someone somewhere else, maybe my father or someone that cares about me will see and be embarrassed. I've never had it bad with my father or my husband. They trust me when it comes to role and all that.
Scandal is synonymous with showbiz. You must have had your own fair share.
I've never had a scandal and I will never have a scandal by God's grace. I hope not to.
You are speaking like somebody who is very careful? I am very careful. You can't afford not to be very careful in this industry in Nigeria; otherwise, you get messed up. Artistes are known to have unstable homes, how stable is yours?