We’ve been friends for about a decade and one thing that has not changed about Lala is her tenacity…
When nobody knew her name, before her peers even knew what path to tread, she went after what she wanted with all she had. Today, hardwork is paying off. Enjoy my interview with her…
Pls tell us your story it’s an inspiring one… and we love to inspire our readers.
That’s tough but…
I started acting professionally in Dec 2005 in a play All I want for Christmas,. In that play, I acted and sang and I just kinda knew that’s what I wanted to do. It was very good feeling and I loved it. Anything that allowed me to express myself was great. I, however, didn’t get paid for that!
In 2006, I was called for another play by those who saw me in the first one and that’s how I started. On those first set of jobs, I was under the impression that I would be paid but never was, but still that did not stop me. I did them as if I was being paid a million dollars.
By July 2007, when I graduated, I continued with plays like Trials of brother Jero and V Monologues, when Theatre at Terra started. Then, there were days when only one person was in attendance but I gave my performances everything as if the room was filled.
The combination of Bolanle Austen peters and Wole believed in Thetare at Terra and made it happen back then. At that time, I was actor, admin manager, make up artist, costume manager , in charge of publicity and so on. It was crazy but I was happy and enjoyed it. By then, I was certain I knew I wanted this was what I wanted . That how it all we started.
In 2011, I started working in front of the camera on Tinsel. I had to fully decide the kind of actor I wanted to be.
I studied Insurance but was were never passionate about it…
You aren’t just an actor, you are a producer, a casting director, an MC and more. Pls tell us all that you do.
I sing, I’m a global shaper on the World Economic Forum, I teach at Lufodo Academy (An acting academy run by my mentor Joke Silva) and I’m a speaker. I also work in church.
How did you know you wanted to be an actress and a producer? When did the epiphany come?
Things became clear to me as I worked on more and more productions, pivotal was the Theatre at Terra phase in 2007.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
First, the fact that I can experience the realities of other people (I feel their pain and their victories) and still be myself, its exciting for me. If I wasn’t an actor, I would be a psychologist or a teacher just so I can continue to be around human emotions.
What do you hate most or struggle with about your job?
I love my job, even the stress I love! In the past, however, I’ve struggled with the responsibility and the many obligations of brand building – looking the part and staying active on social media. Thanks to the people have worked with me to build my brand. Left to me, I wouldn’t have done much for myself.
Sometimes, I struggle with separating characters in a way that one doesn’t reflect on the other. I want to ensure I’m versatile with each character, there’s a unique expression that comes with each role and I want to be sure I give each role exactly that.
We know what you have succeeded at…what have you failed at?
I struggled with fashion in the early days. It’s gotten better, with friends and stylists who have helped me.
I’ve lost a couple of relationships on the way due to the intensity of my work. I feel I could have struck a better balance – there was a time I didn’t go to church on Sundays for three years as I had to be on set by 7am every week. I had to attend church on Mondays. I also had very little time to spend with my family. My multitasking has however improved, thankfully.
Tell us the vision behind Open Mic Night
OPEN MIC THEATRE was created in 2011, at a time when I wasn’t getting work and I wanted more. I also I realised there wasn’t a place where actors could perform, grow,m and be spotted. So my friend Ugoma Adegoke challenged me to start something with her space…and boom., here we are 5 years later.
We are fully aware you have a crazy schedule and a lot goes into what you do. Give us an idea of your typical day.
In seasons when I’m on set, I wake up really early (I hardly sleep), pray , send emails and make phone calls and I set out.
I also don’t joke with my social life, so I spend a lot of time with my friends especially at night at the cinema or at dinner.
When not working on a production, my days revolve around errands, meetings and prepping towards my next project and spending time with my mentors .
Pls share with us your daily or even weekly habits, which have contributed to your success today.
Habit 1: Constant Self Evaluation: Reminding myself of who I am and what I want to achieve and how I’m not there yet- its my “ginger” to do more!
Habit 2: Meeting people. I don’t take that for granted. I love to meet people and talk about the things I want to achieve and sometimes, these conversations lead to meetings with others who help to actualise those dreams .We need to learn to talk to the right people about what we want to achieve, that’s how to find destiny helpers.
Habit 3: Daily confessions over my life. Discouragement is all around us. I feel it too and sometimes feel like I have to hustle too much to get anything done and it weighs me down. My daily confessions have made all the difference, every thing great you’ve seen in my life, I confessed them long they happened.
Nollywood has come a long way with recognition and representation from film festivals around the world, what do you think is really responsible for that?
Any thing that’s growing, so far, its not stunted, will be recognized. We are paying more attention to details, to our scripts, our casting, delivery etc and that’s helping us grow. We are also working more on our PR and publicity and the world is paying attention.
The money being made, the quality that has improved and, of course, the quantity of movies being churned out cannot be ignored. There’s a Nigerian everywhere in the world, that means something too.
What’s next for you? What’s the next big thing you want to achieve?
Produce my film, one that I can take around the world, which will lead to more international collaborations.
What advice would you give to those looking up to you?
They need training, this includes formal training as well as master classes. They need to take advantage of all opportunities to learn and of course, get mentors and learn from them.
Your work is really tasking, how do you relax?
I watch films at the cinema with friends and family, I hang out. I also watch a lot of TV after work.
Tell us a fun fact about you, something people don’t know!
I chew garri and I travel all over the world with it. It makes me feel great.