I Would Have Gone Mad... - Ronke Oshodi- Oke
Let me use this opportunity to congratulate you on your wedding. Thank you very much
Although your marriage is still very young, how is it so far?
It is good. Like every other woman is enjoying her marriage, I am also enjoying mine.
What were you doing then before you finally hooked up with acting?
I was into petty trading. A sister of mine used to go to Dubai to buy some stuff like Jeans and some other thing for me to sell in Nigeria. I also used to go to Cotonou once in a while to buy things and to re-sell.
Who gave you the leverage to join the acting world?
I have been a lover of films for a very long time, even in the era of old Indian films. More so, my parent used to take us to National Theatre, and Pen Cinema, then to watch the films of the likes of the late Hubert Ogunde, Baba Sala among many others.
Are you now saying that nobody helped you into the industry?
Yes! Nobody, I walked up to them by myself
You walk up to whom?
That was the late Mufutau Oladokun a.k.a Baba Alaran. I was under his tutelage before he passed away.
So, how has it been in the movie industry?
It has been fine, I just thank God for everything because I have never regretted.
It is no doubt the Yoruba genre of the Nigerian movies industry is booming, and the influx of many new faces are affecting the industry negatively. What is your own take on this?
It is not the movie industry alone. Generally, Nigeria itself is sick; there is no job and what they thought as the easiest way out is to join the movie industry. And when they come, once you are good, and know what you are doing, the sky is the limit. Some people do not really like it, but they have no choice, because instead of sitting down at home, at least, they would have something to do.
Don't you see that as a threat to the famous faces like you?
No! Because, nobody would ever claim to be Ronke Oshodi Oke. Nobody can steal that name from me, and that is not really a threat to anybody or to me, the sky is big enough for everybody. New faces are allowed because I also met some people in the industry, and some other new people would definitely meet me, it is like that everywhere.
You are blessed with a rare sense of humour, is it because you passed through 'Baba Alaran' who was a gifted comedian?
I would say yes, but even if I passed through Alaran, and I am not my real self, people will know. That is just me, that is the way I behave. I see myself like any other person, because we are one in the presence of God almighty. Some people do tell me that I don't see myself as a star. Yes, because I had never seen myself like one. Nobody can tell may be the very day I would start to see myself as someone important or as a star that is when things would take a new turn in my life.
Although you are claiming not to be a star, what about your achievement as an actress?
I thank God that I am now married, blessed with a child, living comfortable in my own little way, and I am proud to say that I have traveled a lot. I think that is an achievement, and people always appreciate and love me more whenever my movies come out.
What are the pains attached to fame?
One has to pay his or her dues. There was one lady whose nude pictures were splashed on the pages of newspaper sometimes ago.
Are you talking about Anita Hogan?
Yes! Anita Hogan, I watched one of her interviews, and I really appreciated what she said that, when you are coming into the entertainment industry most especially movie industry, always come with extra shock absorber. I always have that in my head, and with that, I added to my shock absorber. So whatever comes my way, I always take it as it comes.
Let take your most memorable moment.
There is one song sang by Saheed Osupa, the popular Fuji music artiste, and it goes thus: (Singing). I remember when I was nobody, when the road was rough and tough, I remember when I was nobody, and I had never thought of becoming somebody'. I like that song very much, because when you sit down to take a re-cap of what you have passed though in life, it is not easy. I have lots of memorable moments and whenever I sit down at the corner of my room, listening to that song, I always give praise and thanks to God. I don't want to start saying that this is my most memorable moment, but I must confess, it has not been easy.
What about the bad moment?
I don't look at my bad moments. I always look out the future, and what is going to happen next.
How do you normally get into your characters?
Apart from what the script says, inspiration always comes whenever I see camera. There are some things which I say on movie set, which I always ask myself where I get them from, because, the normal me would not say that kind of a thing. Once I am in the front of cameras, the inspiration comes.
Probably, that is because Yoruba movie producers are not using scripts?
That is not true; because for the past few years, I have not done any movies that were not scripted. I have one job now with a big script. Most Yoruba films are scripted, and it is even more difficult than English scripts, because we speak and read English language everyday, you understand it when you go through it once. You know that Yoruba language has some signs to distinguish some words which are synonymous, and at times, these signs are not there, so you have to crack your brain, read it two or three times before you could actually understand it.
What are those things you normally search for in the scripts before taking them?
Before I collect any script, I always ask of the director of that movie and the writer of the scripts. You know that we have the good and bad movies; I have to choose which one I would love to feature in before even reading the scripts, so that I can contribute. And if I see that it is perfect for me, I collect the script
What about the challenges as an upcoming actress then, most especially when you have to sleep with the director or producer for a role?
No! That has never happened to me. I always tell people that I have never heard that a producer or director raped an upcoming or star actress. It is what you do willingly. If you are so sure of yourself, it would only take time but you will get there. Some people can even be boastful, that they can do better than Ronke Oshodi Oke, while many would say that they will give all what it takes to become a star. It is only those with the passion for the job that would last. I have passion for acting, though it has not been easy. I went through some bad things which I do not want to mention, but I stood my feet to achieve my goals. This issue of actresses sleeping with movie producers or directors has been like that for a very long time, even before I joined the industry. But thanks to the God almighty, I did not sleep with any producer before I became Ronke Oshodi Oke. I would not say that I do not have friends among them, or I do not have relationship with any of them, I do, but that was then, and it was not before I became a star. Even when I was dating the guy, nobody knew him.
Can you mention his name?
No! I don't want to mention names. He is now married and we are now friends.
Are you also saying that you have not gone out of your ways to get scripts?
I have never done that, because there is one thing about me, what is going be is going to be, what goes up must surely come down.
I make friends with people because I am a jovial person. I respect people a lot, and some are even saying that I am humble. I have never gone out of my way to beg producer for scripts, for what?
Probably that is because most Yoruba actresses have the opportunity to produce their own films?
Yeah! May be I had an opportunity of becoming a producer, I had never begged for scripts. I can only call the producer if I hear about a classic movie that is coming out, and probably I would love to be part of it.
How much was your first payment?
(Laughs) That was in the year 2000, the producer promised me six thousand naira but he ended up paying me five thousand naira.
What was the title of the movies?
What actually fetched you the alias 'Ronke Oshodi Oke?
Oshodi Oke was actually a title of a film produced by Sunday Soyinka of Korede films
Which year was that?
That was in the year 1998, but the film came out in 1999.
You have been seen as one of the most controversial actresses, how far is that true?
I don't know! (Laughs) Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but for me I don't know.
But do you actually see yourself as being controversial?
I don't know, it is you that would tell me if I am controversial, because I don't see myself as anything.
You must agree to the fact that there were lots of negative reports about you in the newspapers and magazines before you finally married?
Go and check my past records. I don't think I have ever had any scandal.
What about the news making the round about the paternity of your child, tongues were wagging that you don't know his father?
You know what? Journalists can make you and ruin you at the same time. Sometimes you see then as friends and likewise as enemy. One has to be diplomatic about things. I always remember when Ireti died; it was the issue about her baby that led to her death. When the same thing now happened to me, I asked myself if I am really sure of having the baby. I asked myself if I want to continue with my career, or do I want my parent to lose me? I sat down to think about many things that is being attached to me.
I don't even read newspapers or magazines, because I don't want to hear anything, whatever they say it is their own problem. It is because we are relevant in the society or probably because you are somebody that is why people talk bad and good things about you. It is only when you are no longer relevant that people would stop saying things or imagines things about you. I am still thanking God that people are having things to say about me. My baby is now five years old, and up till now, I don't think I have any scandal.
But people were saying that you have two kids, not one?
No! I have just a baby. And as big as I am, I don't think I would have a baby that I would not know the father, even if I don't know the father of my child, it has absolutely nothing to do with anybody
But as a celebrity, it makes news to the people.
Yes! A case like that happens everyday, it is just because I am a celebrity, I don't see it as anything. I don't have any problem; I have every right not to disclose the identity of my baby's father if I chose not to do so, that is my personal life. I have not committed any crime if at all I don't know my baby's father. But I know the father of my child, he now stays in Canada
You are very humble and jovial; does that depict your kind of person or one of those characters in the home videos?
That is me.
Do you have friends in the industry?
I have colleagues in the industry (Laughs)
Not even a single best of friend?
No! We are all friends.
Contrary to speculations and dirty tales milling about town, you actually shock your detractors with a grand wedding ceremony, how did you do it?
It is not me but God almighty; we actually planned the wedding within two weeks
Are you sure?
Yes! As big as the wedding ceremony, it was just two weeks plan. It was ordained by God
How did you meet your husband?
We've been together for like ten years. We met at the National theatre before we parted ways due to the negative belief that actresses don't get married and all that. We later came back together after the birth of my baby.
What do you like most about him?
I like everything about him.
Will you marry him over again?
Yes! I will marry him many times over and over again.
What makes a good marriage?
It is only God that has the secret of successful marriages. I don't know, and nobody knows. It is only God that knows everything.
And you don't know what causes the crash of most of the celebrities' marriages?
Marriage crashes everyday and it is not only peculiar to the celebrities. Out of ten women in marriage, four have quit, three are planning to quit, and the remaining three are just hanging in the balance; they just want to bear somebody's name. Because it is not easy, marriage is quite different from dating. It is only God that makes marriages. Marriage does not have any thing to do with your status in the society or your career. Men, including you don't like responsibility. Once there are many responsibilities, you will complain. Men are always older than women with five or six years age difference, but they still want women to treat them like babies, and they would want to treat women like an adult. Every man wants his wife to treat him like a baby, it is not easy. African men have ego and it is too much. We are in men's world, where nobody would see anything wrong about men's doing. It is the women that always in question.
Does your husband always take you serious being an actress?
My house is just like a theater, directly or indirectly my husband is an actor. If you meet us where we are chatting, playing, or fighting, and all that, you will think that we are acting. He knows when I am serious or not.
Your fashion statement.
I am using Mary K products, I spray Gucci perfumes, and I don't buy designer cloths.
I see it as a waste of money. I love to look good, but I don't go for designer wears
What about your beauty routine?
I don't do much, but I do wash off make-ups before going to bed at night. I don't wear make-ups if I don't have somewhere to go, and I love cooking a lot.
Oh yes. You can see that I am very big in size (Laughs)
Your types of food.
I am an African woman, I can eat eba anytime. I take my eba with fish head regularly.
How do you unwind?
I am a homely person, I rarely go out, and I love playing with my children. I can say that I have two now, because my husband also has a child.
Assuming you are not opportune to join the acting world, where would you have been?
I don't know, may be I would have run mad if I am not acting. Because whenever I watch some of my movies, I always ask myself "if I had not become an actress where would I be? I would have run mad, acting is my life, and I love acting (Repeats)
Who are your contemporaries?
I don't want to mention names.
Who are those people in the industry that you really admire?
My role model was the late Ireti Adekola. I appreciate, admire and respect Aunty Joke Silva, Uncle Jide Kosoko, Funke Akindele, and Madam Saje among many others.
You speak good English. What is your academic background?
After my Secondary school, I have not been able to further my education.
So, how did you blend?
Probably because of the people I hang out with, and may be because of my family background. My father was a graduate of University of lfe, and my mother was a grade two teacher then. We mostly speak English language and my native dialects in my house. I am planning to go back to school; I have been saying this for the past four years. I know that it is not going to be easy
What are you going to study in school?
I can study anything, but probably Mass Communication.
Don't you think that it would be too late due to your age and lots of movie scripts needed to be treated?
It is a challenge, that what they call 'mogbodija' in Yoruba language (Laughs). I just want to have the certificate. Though, I will still remain an actress, I am also planning to start trading, and probably have shops around Lagos.
Your forth-coming movies titled 'Ede mi' was learnt to have gulped millions of naira. Who sponsored the film, you or Okiki films?
Both of us did.
How did you meet?
I met him through Moji Olaiya, a colleague and good friend. She was the one that introduced me to the Okiki Films boss. We later talk about the film and a deal was sealed.
When are you releasing the movie?
It is going to be out this month.
You are sharp, bold and blunt
Very bold and blunt.
Is it because of the industry that you find yourself?
No! That is just me. Ronke Ojo is quite different from Ronke Oshodi Oke. Whatever I do has absolutely nothing to do with my career.