By Tolulope Abereoje
Dark and lovely Opeyemi Adetunji who has featured in Yoruba blockbuster movies like Omo Alhaja 2, Omo Ijoba, to mention just a few, is a woman fired up to carve a niche for herself in the movie industry.
Having produced one movie of her own ‘Mopelola’, she’s poised to rub shoulders with the top guns in the industry. As our guest star, Opeyemi Adesola Adetunji opens up on her journey so far among many other things.
What caucus do you belong to in the Yoruba movie industry?
I belong to TAMPAN. The likes of Femi Adebayo, Toyosi Adesanya, Toyin Abraham, Adebayo Tijani, Afeez Eniola, Muyiwa Ademola, Dele Odule and a host of others are also members of the caucus.
Do you think belonging to a caucus is healthy for the industry?
Yes, it is. It’s basically for check and balance, you should belong to a family. We come together, talk and share ideas. There are people we look up to in the “family”, the elderly ones. You get to know what is expected of you and everyone doesn’t just do as they like.
How did acting start for you?
Well, acting has always been there from childhood. I act anywhere, in the neighborhood, in the church and then at a point I realized that anywhere I go people always want to see me act and that was where I started getting the push to go into acting. Acting is fun, it is what I like to do.
Do your parents support you?
Well, my mum supports me, but so far my dad hasn’t said anything about my career
How did you get into the industry?
Getting into the industry wasn’t that easy because I didn’t really know how to talk to people and ask for help at that time but there was this sister of mine who was temporarily into acting and worked at the school modern clinic where I was doing my NCE. So I approached her and told her that I had interest in acting, so she gave me the contact of my current boss and he asked me to come down to Oyo. I went to see him and that how it started.
Why the Yoruba Movie Industry?
I’m a Yoruba girl from Ile-Ife. I’ve always loved the Yoruba movie industry and I’ll always be there. If I get a role from other industries, fine, but I’m not going to leave the Yoruba movie industry for anything. I feel we can come together and promote our culture and if everybody should run to the English industry, who are the people that will remain in the Yoruba industry?.
Who are your mentors in the industry?
I’ve always looked up to Sola Sobowale, I always get inspired whenever I watch her movies and then I really want to do more, that was before I got into the industry though. Funny enough, I’ve never met her before. So far, I’ve met a lot of people in the industry that makes me want to do more, Mercy Johnson, Toyin Abraham, Rita Dominic and many more, they all look ageless and sometimes make me feel like I’ve done nothing and then I aspire for greater heights.
How many movies have you featured in so far?
Well, I’ve featured in Omo Alhaja part 2, Asebi, Eni Owo, Omo Ijoba and then my own movie, Mopelola.
Have you ever been sexually harassed in the industry?
No, it has never happened. People get attracted to each other and it’s left to the lady to say yes or no to a proposal. Sexual harassment to me is when you are forced to do what you don’t want to do. Whenever a male colleague comes to me and asks me out and I say no, no is no and if I’m interested and I say yes, good luck to you.
Like my boss normally says, if someone sleeps with you and you are not talented, it won’t make you get roles and if at all it does, it won’t sustain you. But if you are talented, you’ll be called upon. So far, I’ve not slept with anybody for movie roles, I can boldly say it anywhere, anytime.
Why do you think celebrity marriages crash?
Some people don’t reach their bus-stop before they stop and compatibility is very important in marriage, you have to be sure if you can cope with your partner’s personality. We actresses are at locations all the time, we spend 3-4 days sometimes and some men might not be able to endure it and this may lead to marital issues
So are the wedding bells going to ring soon for you?
Laughs. God’s time is the best.
What is the hardest part of being a celebrity?
I think the hardest part is living up to the fame. It’s really not so easy to cope and sustain that fame. People get to know everything that goes on in your life. For example, I can’t go to Aswani market in Lagos and start picking clothes. We are restricted to a particular lifestyle because of our image.
Do you believe some celebrities live fake lives?
No, I don’t think so. I know a good number of stars that are real, they are themselves and not fake. I’ve worked with Toyin Abraham and I must say that she never fakes it, she’s one of the realest people I know. She can decide to eat anywhere, she plays with everybody and there are a lot of others that are like that also, very real.
What is very crucial to sustain an actor in the industry?
Hardwork and prayer is very important. There are lots of actors that come up all of a sudden and before you know it, they are nowhere to be found even with all their connections. This is because they are not hardworking. Talent is also very important because no matter how long you keep pushing your luck, the audience will definitely notice that you are not so good, you’ll start losing roles and gradually you’ll fall.
Sex, money, love. Which do you have flair for?
Love is what I’ll always choose because love is the greatest of all. As a Christian, I was made to know that love is greater than anything. Even when there is no money, I believe love can sustain us.
What are the challenges you’ve faced so far?
There is this believe that fairer actresses get more roles than we the dark ones and that has been a major challenge. Also getting close to those you really like and want to work with is another challenge. When your capability is not known is another one, because no producer will drop money and ask me to take the lead role when he doesn’t know what I am capable of doing. It’s not always easy to get bigger roles, as an upcoming actress, you get 2-4 roles, that is the maximum you can get.
Who is your celebrity crush?
Well, I don’t have a male celebrity crush
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up has been rough but I thank God. Life is not a bed of roses as we all know. I was born into a Christian family, my dad was once an elder in the church and my mum is a good Christian.
I’m the second of four children. We had our fun days too though, I’m very close to my elder sister and mum. Whenever you come to our house, you’ll think I’m my mum’s younger sister, she calls us aunty Ope, aunty Funmi, it’s funny hearing our mum call us that you know and we all receive a peck from my dad whenever he returns from work.