Nigerian actress, Motunrayo Oluwakemi opens up on her life and career in this thrilling interview.
I had a good childhood even though I was not born with a silver spoon. There were many ups and downs but my utmost joy is that I triumphed against all that life threw at me. My parents went through a lot for us (children) to survive. I seize this opportunity to commend my mum for her efforts; she is a great woman indeed. She raised me and my siblings well despite the hurdles that were thrown our way.
I attended Ajegunle Junior High School for my primary education, and Keke Senior High School for my secondary education (both schools are in Lagos).
I went on to the Lagos State Polytechnic.
When I told my parents about my intention to join the movie industry, my mum was initially not in support of my decision. She was worried of the wild rumours and scandals around actresses. She was also scared about the issue of sex in exchange for movie roles. Thankfully, my mum did a good job of raising me and my case was different. She’s is always happy and proud anytime she watches my movies.
Getting into the movie industry was not a walk in the park for me. I got a lot of advances from actors and directors that offered me roles in exchange for sex.
When I first came into the industry in 2009, the competition between actresses was much but I thank God I am still alive and doing well for myself.
I do not think I have made any big sacrifice for my career, per say. I have been heavily dependent on God for absolute guidance and protection.
I think my beauty is one of the qualities that have helped me get to where I am today. I am also a jovial and respectful person. I respect senior colleagues that had been in the industry before me.
As a celebrity, rumours are bound to surround one, whether one likes it or not. Some destructive rumours might even cause a mental breakdown for the person in question. However, I feel the best way to handle rumour mongers is to ignore whatever is said around one.
One of my most embarrassing moments was when I played a supporting role in a movie. On that day, I was at the movie location reading my script when an actress walked in and said I should stand up, so she could seat. My jaws dropped in surprise. I still remember how I cried hard. Even though I was an adult, I cried like a baby after that incident.
In those early years, one could go to movie locations for days without getting a single role.
I think the most challenging aspect of being an actress is the way people perceive us. The untrue assumptions are quite disturbing. Some people classify actresses as runs girls (prostitutes) in disguise and I think it is not appropriate to have such thoughts. For instance, I just bought a new SUV and some people were quick to say it was my sugar daddy that bought it for me.
I don’t have any fears for now. I am only worried about relenting and losing my focus. Although there are a lot of actors in the industry, one’s talents and consistency would make one stand out. I know that no diabolical means can take anyone far in this industry. I trust God and his process. I don’t want any fortified (fetish) soap. It is just the grace of God I pray for.
I have been involved in a lot of sexual scandals which were not true. But, I have refused to dwell on them. I really do not want to talk about the different scandals that I have been involved in because they are just rumours.
Over the years, I have continually improved on my appearances and interactions with fans. I have also improved on the way I interact with colleagues and the production crew on any movie set. Some people also praise me for my fashion sense, thanks to my designers.
I think it is quite unfortunate that a lot of people believe actresses live wayward lifestyles. But, everyone is entitled to their opinion. As long as those unsolicited opinions do not reduce the money in my bank account, it is fine by me.
There are a lot of back-stabbers in the movie industry. I have also discovered that people will only associate and respect one if one is rich. Nobody will want to be friends with a broke person but a rich person will have friends. I have had my own fair share of backbiting in the past when I had nothing. I vividly remember a friend spreading fake ‘gists’ about me that I slept with directors and actors in exchange for movie roles. I was extremely shocked and hurt when I heard this, but I guess that’s one of life’s lessons. The best thing is to be on one’s lane in the course of life.
I went to Double A Entertainment training school. I got admitted with the help of another actor and director, Damola Olatunji, who is like a brother and friend to me. I spent two years in the school where I got certified as an actress. I have made it thus far with support from my family and friends.
There is a lot of rivalry in the movie industry but it is not peculiar to Nollywood alone. Having rivals is almost the same as having competition. I have learnt to constantly improve myself because I do not want anybody to trample on me or overshadow me.
While growing up, I remember watching my senior colleague, Funke Akindele- Bello, in movies. I was inspired by her acting prowess because she could pull off different characters effortlessly. Her versatility always amazed me and she made me see acting as fun. That spurred my decision to try out the profession.
Acting has been an interesting venture, even more than I ever imagined.
Irrespective of the fee anyone is willing to offer me, I would never accept sexual roles or any role that would make me reveal (sensitive parts of) my body.
Male fans are not easy to handle but I have learnt to relate well with them. I painstakingly make it clear that I am not interested in relationships. All I am after is to succeed in my career. I am happy they always understand me.
Aside from being an actress, I run an online store. I am fabric merchant. I know how to run a business very well.
One of my most unforgettable yet memorable moments was when I attended a star-studded awards ceremony some years back. The host of the show was interviewing some actors but when it was my turn to be interviewed, she walked away from me. I walked up to her and asked why she did that. She said it was because I was not so popular at the time. But to the glory of God, I ended up bagging an award that night and she was ashamed. She had to apologise to me after the show but I did not hold any grudges towards her.