BY ADERONKE ADEYERI
P lus-sized actress, Allwell Ademola is a bundle of talents, a rare
breed, who could do just about anything when it comes to entertainment. She’s an actress, scriptwriter, movie director, musician and film maker.
As interesting as her life seems, Allwell, like everyone, has her secret pains. In this Interview, she lets us into her private world, talking about her career, sex and love.
What’s your perspective of the movie industry?
I have been in the industry for a while though I came in through soaps but later moved into stage productions and now into more of film making. However, the industry has improved on so many things but we lack funds and support.
My father of blessed memory didn’t like Nigerian movies but the very first Nigerian movie he saw me do, he loved it and since then he would be the one to call my attention to auditions and adverts.
The long and short is that, we have really improved in our technicality, casting, picture quality, shootings, audio balancing, subtitling etc. Talking about casting, there was a time when most of us used our friends for some roles even when they were not appropriate for the roles. Now, that era has passed and we are doing well.
What’s the comparison like for stage performance and shooting of home videos?
Stage performances or productions are the real thing. Here, there is nothing like copy and paste because you have a life audience before you who could even stone you if you do anything silly.
Filming on the other hand can be edited; you can even be corrected while shooting. Casting and reading of scripts can take a week before the shooting commences and that too in most cases don’t take more than a week or two. Stage performance is the learning place. Also, stage performance is tasking. You have to be at the camp for months for series of rehearsals.
Today, movies seem to have taken over from cinema and stage performance, where does this lead to?
We still have stage performances at the National Theaters, Freedom Park and Terra Culture. Though stage performance is not as popular as it used to be. I featured in a stage performance titled ‘’Life of a black woman” recently.
The drama brought to light the various lifestyles of African women, some of us who refused to get married copying the westerners.
You started with English movies but have moved to the Yoruba sector, why?
I am a proud Yoruba woman and can say that was the first reason. Uncle Jide Kosoko was part of those who brought me to the Yoruba industry. Any time we met on any English set, he would always advise me to come “home” but I knew I couldn’t speak Yoruba fluently and would not want be on a set where people will be making jest of me. Some would even think I am trying to show off.
Later, I decided to work on myself. My first attempt was not funny. I remembered Madam Saje laughing at me. Again, one of the reasons it was easier for me to move from English to the Yoruba sector was because I really didn’t want to use the word tribalism but that is the truth.
The Yorubas at one time were doing well in the English sector of Nollywood. Talking about the likes of Jola Fani-Kayode,Wole Amele, Joke Silva, Olu Jacobs, Akin Lewis, Olumide Bakare and the rest of them. But all of a sudden, the Igbos pumped money into the industry (been business people) and took over. So, it wasn’t easy for us the Yorubas to shine again as we were sidelined.
You were on dreads for about five years but had to remove it because of a role in your movie, will you have done that for another person’s production?
The producer will have to pay me handsomely I must confess.
Please talk about the movie and its connection to your hair.
The movie is titled “Omo Afe Mi” where my character lost the man she loved dearly to a mysterious death. And out of curiosity and pain, she took off the most prized possession (her hair) to curse whoever was behind the death of her lover.
Last year seems to be a very busy year for you, how many films did you produce in 2016?
I produced seven movies in 2016 and that was because I had an overflow of ideas I have written and developed some years back I had the opportunity to project them last year. I believe in educating people through my films.
(Cuts in) and making more money?
It is not about the money per se but giving back to the society.
Are you saying you didn’t make money from your productions?
Producers will only begin to make money when the government helps us fight piracy. I am a singer and if I don’t make money from acting, I will from singing. Besides, I didn’t say I ran into loss.
Have you been embarrassed at any time because of your size?
That has happened a lot of times but I don’t allow it get to me. There was a day I was taking this 3in 1 Nescafe in my Pastor’s office and a lady stepped in. The lady in question didn’t know what I had in the cup , so she felt it was chocolate and started educating me on what is best for me to eat.
However, I was angry and asked her what made her think I don’t like what I look like. I even went as far as telling her I don’t wish to be like her because she was skinny. At the end of the day, she was the one who left my pastor’s office embarrassed. My father once taught me that nobody can make you inferior without your consent.
Another one happened at an eatery. I was telling the attendant what I wanted which was fried plantain, salad and moimoi. The man next to me screamed, saying I don’t need fried plantain in the presence of many. I was furious and gave him what he deserved for embarrassing me.
If there is anything you love to change about yourself, what will that be?
My heart, because I am a soft and emotional person. When I like a person, I like the person to a fault and when I dislike you, I won’t pretend about it.
Why is Allwell not married?
I would have been married some years back, I lost my man two months to our wedding. He was shot by armed robbers and I mourned him for two years. After then, I went into another relationship with my best friend who was supposed to be our best man.
(He was my friend and he later became my man’s friend.) I later realised I didn’t know him well enough after we dated for eight months. That was another heart break. Haven suffered two heartbreaks , I decided to take it easy and fell in love with my job. For now, I am fine without a man.
So how do you manage sex since you are not in a relationship?
Sex for me has to do with my mind. If I was in a relationship, I could be very active sexually but since I am not in a relationship, what could bring the thought of sex into my mind? Even when I was in a relationship, I forget about sex when I am very busy. However, because I am human and the urge comes, what I do is call some friends and we hang out together.
Thank God, there is also sex toy. Sex toy will not break one’s heart or impregnates one. But that doesn’t mean that I use sex toy, I am telling you the options available.