By ADETUTU ADESOJI
On-the-rise actress and producer, Folashade Olona embarked on her acting journey in 2007 when she joined Adebayo Tijani’s drama group while studying mass communications in the University. The Tai Solarin’s mass communications graduate has become a household name in the Yoruba sector of the industry having acted in countless films and produced two successful movies. The Oyo state born actress in this interview talks career, relationship and other issues.
Why must a Yoruba actor train under a boss like an apprentice to be accepted in the industry?
If anybody walks up to me to say he/she is interested in acting I would tell them to join a group, because from that group they will be able to associate themselves with some set of people. Also, some producers will not take the risk of giving someone who did not train under anybody a role.
Another thing is that, if an actress for example, does not have a boss, there is a probability that a producer will want to have his way with her before giving her a script, so, it is better to train under someone. For someone who has money and can solely produce a movie, there won’t be a need to train under any boss, such a person just has to be a part of the association and pay dues.
It is said that actors in the English sector tend to be richer than their Yoruba counterparts because the Yoruba actors help one another in film productions without collecting fees for their service. How true is that?
It is very true; I will say we do this because of our culture. In the Yoruba culture you have to accord people some certain respect for who they are. After partaking in such productions, some people will pay while others won’t. Also, we sometimes take part in each other’s production just for moral support, although after the production some people will offer money, it is left for you to take it or not.
Do your colleagues do the same for you?
Of course they do! Aunty Fathia Balogun especially, I will always give her credit for that.
What is the most challenging aspect of being a producer?
I consider myself lucky because of the group I belong. Whenever I produce, it is always less stressful for me because I’m used to the system and I can coordinate well. I’m into production accounting and when I was training under my boss he would put me in charge of the accounts, from there I learnt how to manage a production. Although if I want to produce a big project it might be a challenge, but a normal project would not be a challenge at all because I know what I’m doing and I know how to do my calculation, it’s all about budgeting.
When you say big and normal project, are you referring to a cinema and DVD movie?
Exactly, producing a cinema movie is a big project because you spend much more, while a DVD movie is a normal project.
How much will it cost to make a DVD movie?
Market has not been good these days, but if you have about seven hundred thousand to one million naira you would produce a DVD movie.
Some people say they produce movies because they have stories to tell, is it the same for you or did you go into production for the financial benefits of it?
I produce movies for both reasons. I definitely have stories to tell and when I have a story in mind I know the people that can portray each character very well. Writing a story is like putting a vision to writing, it is a gift from God. I believe I can tell my story better when I do it myself. Also, I can make more money by producing a movie unlike when I take part in someone’s production as an actress.
Is it true that actresses live above their means?
I can’t speak for everyone; I will only speak for myself, I don’t live above my means and I don’t live a fake life. In life one has to be content with what they have. I like to say that the contentment of the heart is the wealth of all. I don’t have to look at other people’s lifestyle to live mine. If I’m financially okay to do something, I will and if not I will forget such a thing, I don’t stress myself unnecessarily. These material things will come and go; there are some things you don’t have to pursue so hard because when the time is right you will get them. I don’t have a car at the moment and it doesn’t bother me, I will get one when the time comes. People tell me that I spend a lot on taxi, I told them that as long as I can afford to pay my taxi fare I’m fine, I don’t have to borrow a car to move around and pretend it is mine.
Are you married yet?
I’m not married but I’m in a relationship.
What are the things you look out for in a man?
I like a good-looking and an understanding man; he must be prayerful and willing to support me in anything that I do. My current partner supports me in my career.
In your opinion, just how important is sex in a relationship?
Religiously, sex before marriage is wrong, but we are in a global world now and I will say sex is very important in a relationship. I don’t understand how people will be in a relationship for a period of time and there won’t be intimacy. No relationship can work without deep intimacy.
What are you hobbies?
I love watching movies, especially Bollywood movies, I know literally all their actors. I enjoy listening to music also, I like 9ice, Davido, Barrister and King Sunny Ade, and I like to dance although I don’t dance well.
How would you describe your personality?
I’m an emotional person and I’m stubborn to the core. I trust easily, I’m generous, selfless and religious.
What is the most ridiculous thing you have read or heard about yourself?
There is one I remember but I don’t want to talk about it, it is personal and whenever I talk about it, it hurts me.