By Ayo Onikoyi
Ronke Ojo Anthony, whom everybody calls Oshodi Oke, due to her natural frontal endowment, is quite heavy. She is big in every ramification .If you want to be witty, naughty, smart or intelligent, Ronke is equal to the task and she is a good actress. The star actress, in this interview reveals intimate secrets about her life, career, marriage and future ambitions.
How did you come about acting?
I started acting as a result of some challenges that came my way when growing up. My father was a custom officer and my mother a grade II teacher. Things were smooth for us until my father had issues with the Nigeria Customs and there was a turn around. My mum’s income was not enough for our upkeep and as the first child of the family, I wanted to support her. I moved into selling of clothes and other petty businesses at Tincan Island . But before that, I had loved entertainment, simply by watching home videos. Music and films were part of me. I had a cousin who I used to accompany to Fadeyi to see a friend of his. Then actors had their caucus known as ‘Star Parade’ there and each time we went visiting, I felt like becoming part of them. In 1997, I walked up to Mufutau Oladokun (Baba Alaran) who later became my boss and that was how I found my way into the world of acting.
What is acting to you?
I believe the blood of acting runs in my family. Even my father was a member of cultural and theatre group in his university days at Obafemi Awolowo University, O.A.U. He was also part of stage productions like Macbeth where he even acted as a lady. But It took me sixteen times to get a scene right the first time I was in front of the camera; Although the film didn’t leave the shelf.
Apart from your innate passion for acting, who else inspired you into acting?
The late Ireti. I loved her acting and I am glad I worked with her before her demise. She was my heroine and mentor.
Some people refer to you as an illiterate because you never attended a university, your comment?
I have a good background and valued education. But going to the university was something I had to sacrifice when things became rough for my family. I have the plan of going back to school but as the breadwinner of my family, a career woman, mother and a wife, it has not been easy. But when the time comes, I will, even if it means going abroad to avoid distraction.
Your source of motivation?
I have seen many things in life that motivate me. But I get inspired when inside or around water. When I am in the bathroom, many things come to my mind. I love nature a lot.
Which film brought you to limelight?
It was Oshodi Oke, written and produced by Sunday Soyinka in 2000. A friend introduced me to him and I went to the location. On getting there, Iyabo Yoyo and the producer had issues and she left angrily. I didn’t know what was happening but I was given her role, the lead role in the movie. I never knew it was the lead role, the joy of having to take up such a big role was enough for me and I enjoyed every bit of it. When the film was premiered at the National Theatre, everybody loved it and that was when it dawned on me that I was cheated because I wasn’t made to understand I was taking a lead role or rewarded as such. But I was too happy to care, I shed tears.
How did you come about comedy?
It was Saheed Balogun who discovered that side of me when we were eating together in London. We were also watching a comedy film while eating. He looked sternly at me and told me I could do it. He did everything but I produced the film. All thanks to him.
How do you manage between comedy and other roles?
Acting is all make-believe and that is what it means to be called Ronke Oshodi Oke. Today, I could be a dancer, tomorrow a doctor and I must put out the character perfectly to remain relevant in the industry. Ronke Ojo and Ronke Oshodi Oke are two different people using one image.
You have big boobs, have they caused you any embarrassment?
Before now, I get ashamed of them. But I later began to see the beautiful side and stopped hiding them because they fit me. People appreciate my boobs and I also love it. My boobs are one of the things that brought me to limelight in the movie industry.
Is your boobs your selling point?
Yes, it is and apart from that it is one part of my body I cherish most.
How will you react to the increase in premarital sex among our youths?
Sex is a normal part of life just like money. I know I am a Yoruba ambassador but personally I believe any body above 18 and has a serious relationship can have sex even outside marriage. The couple should know what they have underneath their clothes before they get committed to each other for life. What if I do not like the size as a lady? Frankly, it is one of the reasons why many go into extra marital affairs. Even when a man has everything in the world and does not satisfy me sexually, there is serious trouble. I cannot go into a marriage and start regretting, besides, you won’t be able to tell your family members what you are going through in the name of marriage. I can not manage sex, it is either I enjoy it or disapprove it.
Are you happily married?
Yes, I am.
Why are you not living with your spouse?
I prefer how we live apart. At the early stage of our courtship, it was a bone of contention but later he knew what I wanted and I appreciate him for that. If I really want to be successful in my marriage and career, this is how best we feel we can go about it.
It was also gathered that you once broke up with your spouse?
I met my husband in1999 after Ronke Oshodi Oke came out. We became lovers in 2000 but we could not move to the next level because of certain differences. Most Nigerian guys would think twice before marrying an actress. We dated for four years and went our separate ways. In-between those four years I met another guy whom I had my first child for. A year after I had my first issue, my then lover, who is now my husband came back and we began our affair in secret, though he proposed to me three times during the time.
Why the secret affair?
I did not want to have kids for different men. But because we were best of friends, he was always there for me and we were in love, we settled our differences and came back together.
Why did you leave the father of your first child?
He wanted me to come stay in Canada with him and I can not live outside Nigeria for any reason, I can only go visiting . Moreover, living in Canada will affect my career. I could not get happiness from the union but I waited five years before going into another marriage officially.
Can we say it is one of the reasons you are reluctant to live with your husband?
Not at all. It only shows we understand ourselves very well. My husband is my friend.
How have you been coping as mother, career woman and a wife?
It has not been easy but as an African woman I have been managing well. Besides, I have a very supportive mother and an understanding husband. My children stay with my mum and I come around when I am free.
Despite your popularity, why did it take so long to get citizenship card for your son?
Getting a citizenship card has its processes irrespective of who you are and I don’t believe in using the back door in doing things.
If you have the chance to marry an actor, which actor would you go for?
Many journalists have asked this same question but I dodge the question each time. Honestly, I would go for Akin Lewis because he is a very matured man who I hold in high esteem.
Yoruba films seem to promote the act of one person doing almost everything in a film, why?
Film-making ought to be a division of labour but at the same time, one can decide to be a jack of all trades so far it is done well. At times, there could be difficulty in getting the right person for the job. If you could not get a person to interprete a particular role, what is wrong with doing it yourself? I am not good at scriptwriting so I invite someone who does that for me and we later come together to edit.
What are those things you think need to be changed or corrected in Nollywood?
I will do a thorough screening of those joining the industry. Different people have different talents. Not all of us must be in front of the cameras. There is a place for everyone.We can not all be in entertainment too.
Why is single motherhood on the increase in Nigeria?
Our men want to live the way our forefathers did, and it is almost impossible. But our fathers never asked their wives for money. I mean they didn’t share financial responsibilities with their wives and this made it easy for their wives to be 100% dependent, loyal and respectful to them. It will be difficult for a man who shares responsibilities with his wife to control her fully. Many homes today have the wife as the breadwinner. And this is not because the man does not have money but because he is only irresponsible and doesn’t want to face his responsibilities squarely. I cannot respect a man who does not know how I do my things or even respect my opinion. When we have two masters in a ship, the ship will capsize. Many men have one wife but with numerous concubines.
How do you relate with male friends?
I relate with them like any other lady. It is just one of the principles of life that opposite sex attracts one another more.
Anything new from you?
I am working on a comedy film that will be in pidgin English to make it universal. Also, I will be releasing my album by November 17th featuring Oritsefemi and others.