By Ebun Babalola & Olayinka Latona
Doris Simeon Ademinokan is one of the popular female characters in Wale Adenuga Productions, Papa Ajasco. Now, she is a reputed Yoruba and English actress even though she is not Yoruba by birth.
Doris was born and bred in Lagos by her Edo parents and had her basic education in Lagos as well.Â She went to Pencils Film and Television, Institute, PEFTI, for production management. Her journey into acting began some 10 years ago.
She is happily married to Daniel and they have a son. In this interview with Saturday Vanguard, Doris speaks of her works and marital life as well as the efforts sheâ€™s making toÂ ensure that her marriage stays.
Read on! How did you meet him?
On a location sometime in 2005. The name of the film was,Omojayejaye. And that was the firstÂ Yoruba film, he produced. It was after featuring in that movie that we became friends, and started working together. He directed some of my films.
DidÂ you ever consider the implicationÂ of marrying a star like him, perhaps that he might take another woman?
I never developed such notion in my life and there is no fear about that. The only thing I know is that a relationship built on trust is capable of withstanding any challenge that may arise in future. Besides, I trust my husband and he trusts me too.
Do you operate joint account?
Yes. I belong to the school of thought that says couples should operate joint account because they are one and indivisible entity. Joint account will help strengthen the love they have for each other. Also,Â it will foster mutual understanding and trust for themselves. This would also help the children.
How does he react to the romantic roles you play?
That is where professionalism and maturity come in. When we are on set, we know it is theÂ job. Our roles as a husband and wife do not change whenever we are at home. Knowing full well that movie isÂ make-believe and it is our responsibility to ensure that people believe us.
Especially now, that you areÂ married?
I engage in more romantic roles based on my husbandâ€™s permission. He encourages me to be more professional when acting. I remember he told me that, â€œif I had to kiss on screen, I should be more professional because those who are watching movies are not fools.â€ He said, I should adhere to my directorâ€™s direction instead of beingÂ fake. At times, I ask him why he wants me to continue acting romantic movies but his answers are always, â€œyou must be professionalâ€.
There are times,he quarrells with some of the directors over non-professionalism.Â He is also a director and produces films.
Do you produce films together?
Since I have a competent hand at hand, there is no point looking for a director elsewhere to direct my script.
And you payÂ for his service too?
Most times, I pay in kind.
When it comes to emotion, how would you describe yourself?
The truth is that Iâ€™m a hard person. And when it comes to emotion, it has to be what really touched me. But Iâ€™m jovial and play with my colleagues on set but I should to be a shy person. Being emotional is professional. One must be able to handle a role and perfect it.
Does professionalism also entail acting nude?
Nigerian culture does not encourage acting nude. And the fact that what we are trying to portray in such movie is a reflection of what is happening in our communities. Iâ€™m not in the school of thought that says artistes should act nude, even if the money is attractive. Even in pornography, they still put on clothes, only that it can be scandalous in nature.
Some people are of the opinion that artistes are cheap?
Everything depends on the background of such individual. Maybe he or she doesnâ€™t know the nitty gritty of the job. So, when such opportunity is open to them, they misuse it.
But there are some who know the nitty gritty of the profession, yet still go wayward.
Then, it depends on the company of friends they keep. Maybe, they are the type that are anxious of gaining recognition by all means and in no time, fade off.
What film brought you to limelight?
It was â€œOloju-ede.â€Â It was a role I did alongside Pasuma Wonder. But I started with Papa-Ajasco and company. I did two to three episodes before I left.
What challenges did you face after your first appearance in Oloju-ede?
It became very difficult to walk on the streets of Lagos and beyond. As an artist, you must pay your dues. But this time around, I paid especially because of the artistes involved. The fact that I acted a role alongside Pasuma made me pay squarely. So, it became very necessary for me to give every â€œarea boyâ€ money on the streets of Lagos.Â Although, I wasnâ€™t preparing for such situation. So, I became mad at it and almost got fed up with the whole setting.
Are you saying youÂ regret acting with Pasuma?
Not exactly. Iâ€™m only exposing the attitudes of â€œarea boysâ€ and their approach to things andÂ I find it difficult to adapt to such situation.
What was your parentâ€™s reaction when you ventured into acting?
I got their full support. My parents were carrying us along. So, it was easy to know what their children were doing at a particular time. Eventually, coming into acting wasnâ€™t strange. The only thing I needed were their blessings.
Have you ever acted on stage?
Yes. That was 2008 at the University of Ibadan, during the Schoolâ€™s drama festival.
How was the experience?
The fact that stage acting is different from take 1, take 2, syndrome makes it difficult at the beginning. I was scared because I believe itâ€™s very tactful. On camera, mistake committed is easily corrected. I had series of sleepless nights just to get acquainted to the script. Despite the challenges, I still went for it and it was fun.
How would you rate sexual harassment in Nollywood?
Itâ€™s not only limited to the movie industry. Itâ€™s everywhere. But people should know that they are public figures and therefore, they should be focused. The industry is versatile. So, everyone has a stand as long as there is money. So, there is no point harassing people sexually.
The truth is that those who are sexually harassed or who harass people sexually may not get anything at the end of the day. For me,Â I donâ€™t think there is need to be desperate before you can be known in the industry.
But there are some desperate ones.
Yes, I agree but nobody forced them to it.
I never had such experience.
Maybe that is why people like you donâ€™t want to address it.
Itâ€™s not true. Anybody who has been sexually harassed should come out openly so we can address the issue. The point is that people need to be disciplined and it should start from our leaders. If this is done, then the followers will be disciplined.
Some artistesÂ fade off, especially the females.
Perhaps, they had another offer, or they lost passion for the job. But anyone who is passionate on the job will continue to wax stronger by the day.
The increase in divorce amongst celebrities especially artistes is alarming. WhatÂ is responsible for this?
Nigerians are fond of photocopy.
They do things because their fellow persons are doing it without asking questions. I believe the first question to ask is â€˜why do I want to do this particular thing?â€™ And if at the end, this is no concrete reason for my action, then, there is need to further ask questions. Anyone who goes into marriage without concrete reason will definitely go back.
Besides, broken marriages are not peculiar to one profession. And I think it happens because those people in question got married to people they had no common ground with. Both persons must be friends. I mean someone you can spend the rest of your life with and must have the backing of God.
Nollywood has been rated the number one in film production, quantity wise…
There is need for huge development in Nollywood. And the drastic development must start from the producers, directors and script writers. Nigerians should learn from Ghana. They started much more later after Nigeria, yet, they are waxing stronger by the day.
Nigerians should go back to the root. Everybody must be ready to learn the rudiments of acting. We are the organisers of African Movie Academy Award, AMAA yet, we are the greatest losers. We donâ€™t know the next country that would come and sweep the next edition of the award. Itâ€™s ridiculous. The alarming condition of the industry is not encouraging inventors to invest in the profession.
Apart from acting, what are your other responsibilities?
My husband and I are working towards running an NGO. Itâ€™s going to cut across youths and the less privileged.
Then, if not acting…
I would have been a newscaster. I have passion for entertainment, generally.
Your marital life
It hasnâ€™t been easy but I thank God. He gave me my own husband and someone who is understandable. My husband loves me for whom I am. Although, he is partially involved in the industry,Â he understands the merits and demerits in the industry.
He has been very helpful in all ramifications. He takes care of our little son. Iâ€™m proud to have been married to him because our marriage is blessing.
Why did you say demerits in the job?
The fact that you donâ€™t have time to yourself in all 24-hours is enough demerit. The work prevents you from having precious and qualitative time with your family. And for any man to accept you with such job means he is an extra-ordinary man.
I perform three basic responsibilities: one as a woman, two as a wife and three as a mother in the home. This job takes more than 85 percent of my time, so much that I hardly have time for myself.
Would you have envisaged marrying him in the first place?
Man proposes. God disposes. I never knew I was going to get married to him. It started like friends until it began to get very serious.
Actually, I never thought of dating someone from the movie industry. And it just happened. Maybe that was how God wanted it.