By Benjamin Njoku

British-Nigerian actress, Oyenike Oyewunmi Olabintan popularly called Toyin Nike recently went down memory lane, recalling how she quit the football pitch for acting because of injury and what fate had in stock for her.

The mother of two children, whose debut movie, “Identical Justice” is currently enjoying rave reviews in the UK, had trial stints with Arsenal, Crystal Palace among other women’s football teams in England, before she later quit the pitch due to injury to chase other dreams.

She later found herself in Nollywood, and since her venturing into the movie industry, the Ekiti State-born actress has not looked back in her quest to be the best in what she’s doing.

Sharing her inspiring story recently in a chat with Nollywood, Toyin Nike said her  dream in life was to become a footballer.

“I set out in life to be a footballer and I was good at the trade on the pitch, but I didn’t realize that God had other things for me in life. I started playing football in Nigeria, as a hobby before moving to England where I had the opportunity of having a series of trials with big teams such as Long Lane Football Club, Arsenal, Crystal Palace, West Ham among other.

“Unfortunately, I did not last long in the football business as injury shortened my ambition and I had to quit because I didn’t succeed,” she narrated.

Toyin Nike said while her football career ended abruptly, she was faced with a choice of a new career path, and that was when she realized acting was a possible alternative.
“I was once the drama coordinator of my Church, Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) in Nigeria, and when I got to London, I was also fully involved in the drama section of a branch of the CAC I was attending. I was the  movie director of the church,” she recalled.

While she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Law from the University of Greenwich in the UK, Toyin  decided to focus on acting and directing movies. She later enrolled on an acting course at the Identity School of Acting (IDSA) in London, where she sharpened her craft.

However, returning home to be part of Nollywood, Toyin  went straight to become a producer, where she can easily star in her own movie to avoid begging for roles .

“It’s easier for me to break into Nollywood acting in my films because I cannot afford to beg any producer or director to feature me in his or her film.

“I learnt that a lot of young actresses are intimidated by the producers. I don’t want the same thing to happen to me. I just want to be producing my own movies and starring them. It makes it easier for me,” the actress.

She also recalled how popular film director-turned TV host, Dickson Iroegbu inspired her into acting.

“ Dickson sent me a message on Facebook urging me to go into acting. He said that I got the face of an actress. He was one of the reasons I went into acting,” Toyin Nike said.

Her debut movie, ‘Identical Justice’ which premiered months back at the Odeon IMAX Cinema in Greenwich, London, is said to be making waves across the world. Starring the likes of Bankole Ninalowo, Shaffy Bello, Jemia, Jemia Osuade, Akin Lewis, Abayomi Alvin among other actors, the movie was shot in Nigeria and the United Kingdom with award winner Tope Alake from Nigeria directing it alongside his UK-based counterpart, Marc Adebesin.

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