Odunlade Adekola, Antar Laniyan, My Dad And I-TAIWO AROMOKUN
She’s one of the newest generations of wave making actresses that are currently on high demand. Her name is Taiwo Aromokun the toast of every producer and marketer in the Yoruba movie industry right now. The delectable actress who has shone in interesting movies like, Atinuke Ololo, Alasela, Aye Jagidijagan, Otan, Kutukutu, Nkan Lile, Dabira and so on as a producer recently hosted Enquirer’s Faith Irabor and Abideen Shittu in her Surulere, Lagos home. Expectedly the pretty lady, in this rare chat, took us through family background, her sojourn into the movie industry, what you’ve been dying to know about her romance with top Yoruba actor, Odunlade Adekola and other interesting issues that will blow your mind. You’d enjoy the master piece.
You’re not doing badly in your career considering the fact that you’re one of the newest discoveries, what will you attribute this to?
It is God; He has been my source of inspiration right from childhood and He is still my inspiration up till now, I try as much as possible to always put in my best once am acting because to me giving me script is like a big opportunity that I will not want to misuse.
What have you been struggling with?
I have been struggling with life to make ends meet. And I just concluded another movie now but I don’t want to talk about it yet because it’s not ready.
Can you quickly run us through your journey in the movie industry and how you became a toast?
I entered the industry in the year 2001/ 2002. I remembered back then that I actually went to a location where one of my friends, Bidemi (a costumier) was working to collect one of my Dad’s clothes, which I had borrowed her. That was where I met the likes of Antar Laniyan, Oga Bello, Rachael Oniga. So I think they were short of cast that day and was looking for a young lady to quickly fill in, it was while I was busy shouting on my friend to give me my Dad’s clothe that Antar Laniyan discovered me. He was like who is that girl, can you come and help me do justice to one scene for us and according to him the attraction was actually the way I was talking. After the filming, Antar told me I could act and stuff like that. I didn’t take it serious not until after 2 years when the movie (Ayanmo Ni Kadara) came out that people started calling me and saying am good and all that. From there I joined Dapson, one Theatre group in 2003 which Muyideen Oladapo popularly known as Lala happens to be the boss. I started following them to different locations. Later on in 2006 I produced my own movie titled Alase, and the following year 2007 I did Atinuke Ololo. That was how I started.
Where did you get the money to produce these movies?
(Smiles)My father believes so much in me and I don’t know why, though I am from a polygamous family of four wives with ten children and I am the seventh child. My mother happens to be the second wife. I could recollect that I was still in Lagos State University studying Banking& Finance and at the same time going for my rehearsals. I also remember telling him that I want to start acting and he kicked against it saying what do I think his church members will say because he was actually a pastor in Christ Apostolic Church. But how I got to convince him not just to allow me act but also sponsor me is one thing that still baffles me. I told him that dad see, this is one thing I want to do and I promise I will not disappoint you and he supported me because he knew I won’t disappoint him. So I started acting, at a point I told him to come and invest. After much conviction, he gave me the money. I had casts like Akin Lewis , the late Mrs. Remi Abiola, Tola Oladokun, Muyideen Oladapo (my boss), Funsho Adeolu, Kunle Afod, Eniola Badmus etc.
So what was the experience like?
Yeah, there were little challenges here and there because it was my first production. But above all, my casts were really encouraging especially late Aunty Remi Abiola (RIP) she was like a mother to me.
But did your performance as lead character in the movie got you another major role?
Yes it did. That was the movie titled Ayaawa Ni which had Uncle Yinka Quadri and Taiwo Hassan (Ogogo) fighting because of me in the movie. It was produced by Okiki Afolayan and directed by Abbey Lanre. At first I was scared because of the caliber of people I was to work with and at that time I had also lost my dad. But I took up the challenge, delivered it well to the best of my knowledge and since then I have never stopped.
Can you remember how much you were paid for that first major role?
I won’t say I was given any fee because for me it wasn’t about the money then. Remember I was an upcoming so I didn’t look at the money aspect but the other opportunities it was going to throw open if I did well. That was what happened. I am happy I acted in the movie and that gave me the break because the movie came out nice and people liked it. In fact the marketer had to call the producer to come out with a Part 2. After then my senior colleagues started calling me for jobs. In fact there was an actress who had to call the producer and jokingly asked why he had to use me and not her. I was like it was normal, all glory to God.
Did you envisage that you’d become a notable actress this soon?
Yes I do because I believe I have a covenant with God. Immediately I made up my mind to start acting I knew something good would come out of it, even though I studied Banking & Finance in school.
Apart the course you mentioned, what would you have been doing if not acting?
The truth is I would have probably be doing buying & selling. I was considering travelling abroad and buying stuffs to sell or something related if not acting. Another strong calling I know I have is being a motivational speaker because I love counseling people a lot.
Is there any member of your family that is in the line of counseling?
Yes one of my mum’s younger brothers is a pastor, he does counseling. I remember when I was like twenty one years old I stayed with him for 3 years. Then whenever he finished talking to his clients; he would come home to me and share the person’s story with me. At those time, I also give him suggestions and all. He said I will do well as a counselor. I know within me I love making people happy.
Can we have a peep into your educational background?
I attended Innocent Children Primary School in Surulere, Lagos, Anglican Girls Grammar School for my secondary school, also here in Lagos and then proceeded to Lagos State University, where I studied Banking & Finance.
Can you remember the first time you kissed deeply in a movie and who was the actor?
(Laughs) ah! I think it was Femi Brainard and it was in the movie titled Eni Agbelebu.
What was the feeling like, considering the fact that it was your first time with cameras and crew watching?
I must confess that it was really challenging because I didn’t see myself doing it. The director of the movie Yemi Remi was indeed a wonderful one because he did a perfect job to make me do it well. One thing is as an actor no matter how good you are, you still need a director to put you through. This is why I respect Uncle Tade Ogidan he was the director that made me, I shed real tears in a movie without using rob or any stimulant. He is good.
Back to my question after the kiss and the movie, was there a crush on either of you two?
(Loud laughter) Noooo… there was nothing like that o because before the movie Femi Brainard had always been like a brother to me. We met on the set of Family Ties and we have been close, we talk often. He was even available during my dad’s burial and he was wonderful.
Are you saying getting to kiss him wasn’t that difficult?
I don’t know what happened to my producer, Jaiye Kuti, she didn’t tell me who I was going to kiss. In fact we have done like several scenes and I still didn’t know it was him. At the end of the day the kissing scene came and it was Femi Brainard, and I was like so why the suspense all along? Let’s just say it went well anyway because we did it passionately. (Laughs)
Has there been any harder decision or role you have played apart from the kissing role?
Yes, that was in my last movie titled Dabira because I remembered one of the promises I gave my dad was that I will not smoke or drink in a movie but I had to break that promise. It was hard for me because I don’t drink or smoke in real life and I did in the movie.
How did you fit into that character; did you get somebody to teach you how to smoke or drink?
I will give it to my director Odunlade Adekola because he successfully got me into that character very well. He is somebody that you can’t just understand; and he is a director that when he is directing you he will be acting along with you.
Was the story of Dabira from a personal experience, I mean have you been hurt before?
This is a very beautiful question. Yes.
Really, do you mind sharing that experience with us because I have seen the movie and something told me it’s likely to be your true life story to some extent?
Yes, it was a long term relationship that crashed when I least expected it because I was hoping it was altar bound.
But sincerely were you found wanting, I mean were you the cause of the break up?
The truth is it wasn’t my fault. Well I told my dad everything that led to the breakup and he told me bluntly that the relationship is not for me so that’s all I will say about it.
Now that you are a star; have you guys seen again and is he now married?
Yes of course and he is still not married. He wants us back but unfortunately I can’t go back. My father told me in what sounded like a prophecy before his death that he is still coming back but strongly warned that I must not go back.
Now to the real business, let’s talk about you and Odunlade Adekola; how did you meet?
(Loud laugher) Real business? Ok I met him on the set of Antar Laniyan’s movie in Ikorodu at King Size Hot el around 2007/2008 to be precise. I think before then he was actually supposed to act in my movie. I remembered my Production Manager called him but he wasn’t disposed to it so I had to settle for Eniola Olaniyan. After that time, it was now on this particular set in Ikorodu when Uncle Antar was trying to introduce me to him that we first met. I wasn’t interested in him because he had disappointed me when I needed him in my production, so I shunned him but on that set I discovered that he tried to be jovial and even told me that I shouldn’t be crossed with him. We did the job, exchanged contacts. No calls after then until we met on another set where we acted as husband and wife in Oba Torikan Sekan. It was on that set that we got talking and became very close. I remember that it got to a point anytime that I take calls and most times I address the caller as love; he became jealous that he asked me who this love is. I gave him the call and he found out that the caller was my dad. He laughed and said so I love my dad very much. There was a set we were supposed to be together but I couldn’t make it then because my dad just passed on so he called and I told him I wouldn’t make it. Guess what? The next person I saw in my house was Odunlade. He came to condole me; he was even there during my father’s burial and all. It was on this day that he asked if he could be like a confidant to me since I have lost the person I loved (my dad). I gave him the opportunity and we became very close.
Interesting, but can you be his second wife?
I will flash you back to my background; I told you that I am from a polygamous family. But the truth is my dad who was a pastor had to marry his wives for reasons. The first wife died which made him marry my mum; later they had issues and my mum had to pack out and he had to marry another wife while the fourth wife was not legally married to him but she had a child for him. I remember that after prayers Dad will tell his sons that on no conditions should they marry two wives even though he did it and he will also tell us the female not to be a second wife especially me, Omotola because that is what he called me.
But now that your dad is no more can you break that rule?
(A heavy sigh) no I still cannot marry Odunlade Adekola because he has a wife already though we appreciate each other, the truth is we are in the relationship to boost each other’s career, show each other care and be there for each other when necessary.
How do you relax?
I relax in my house, and then once in a while I go to the beach.
Can you share your most memorable date with Odun since you guys have been together?
Yeah that should be my last birthday March 30th 2011 we were together on a location at Akure. My friends were hosting a party back home for me and my twin sister. I remember Odun was cajoling me not to go home, that I should stay. The director of the movie Ernest Obi came with a gorgeous clothe and ear-rings saying that was my costume for that day. I noticed the filming was delayed but I have dressed up. At a point I didn’t see Odun and didn’t know where he was so I was worried when we were going to shoot as he was also the lead character. In the evening I saw Odun came in with a birthday cake, wine with the whole casts and started singing birthday songs; we ate, drank, took pictures and had so much fun. In the evening, he took me out for a dinner, he fed me. Normally he is a temperamental person but that day he said he wasn’t going to get angry. At the end of the day I called my twin and friends back home that I was no longer coming home that I just had the best birthday gift ever. It was fun and romantic.
What will you say is the most ironical perception about your person?
Some people think Taiwo is proud, arrogant and does not like mixing with people. Especially with her female colleagues but it is not so. I am not proud but I will say I am actually reserved. Then I hate insult, I’ll rather stay on my own than allow people to insult me. I am very emotional.
Are you an introvert?
I can say I am. People say she doesn’t talk; she is always with Odun. And I don’t mind them, all I say is maybe he is the only person that understands me.
How do you handle this issue of having godmothers and fathers in the industry if you really want to excel?
Well I give all glory and thanks to God. I know some top female actresses that like me and even want me to be their god daughter. Some of them want me to join their caucus. I also love them because they took their time to study my kind of person. Most of them after realizing that I am a one man soldier kind of person, just decide to leave me alone. I don’t have close friends and I don’t have enemies among them; they are my friends and they are my sisters. That’s why you don’t see me at events.
How would you describe yourself?
I am me, I am who I am. And I won’t say I am satisfied because I know my maker (God) has not started with me at all and if you must know I am not in their class. Our own definition of class in the Yoruba genre of Nollywood is if you use Jeep, go to Dubai, buy gold, have ‘Aristos’ and go to parties and be flashy. But in my own perspective, the type of people I regarded as being classic are the likes of Genevieve Nnaji; I see her as a person that has a target (goal) and God is helping her. I think another person I want to give it to is Funke Akindele; you don’t see her at parties, she is not flamboyant and an Owambe kind of person. It is not all about noise making. In your simplicity and nature with good target; people will still notice you. That is why I said I am not in their class and I don’t want to be in their class because I have my own goal.
How soon do you intend settling down and who is your ideal man?
I don’t know. That is up to God because He has the final say.
Is your Twin sister married?
No she is not but she is settling down very soon. That won’t decide when I am getting married. It’s God that will decide for me.
What does she do for a living?
She’s a Banker but also into buying and selling. My twin sister is a big girl oh.
Why is she not into acting?
(Laughs) she does not like the job one bit. I remember when I was still up and coming and often go broke at times. If I go and meet Kenny to borrow me money, she would laugh at me before giving me the money, she will always remind me of what I studied and that I should go and dust my certificate for a better living instead of wasting my time doing what is not fetching me money despite all the travelling and sleepless nights.
To what extent has the industry transformed you?
The industry has really changed me because Taiwo was not the talking type. I only talk when I feel it is necessary to talk but now the industry has changed me. Networking is another thing, it gave me some connections. It helped me to meet people that on a normal day even if I were to be in my banking hall I might not meet them.
Can you act nude?
No I can’t; even in my own movie I won’t.
How many movies have you featured in so far?
To be honest I can’t remember all now but I still remember few like Sunday Dagboru, Giri Giri, Dabira, Oba Torikan Sekan, Aya wa ni, Eni Agbelebu etc.
Thanks for your time?
You’re welcome any day my sister.