Nollywood At Large | 16 June 2008 12:27 CET


Do you know what has been happening to Omotola Jalade of recent or perhaps what really kept her busy? She has consolidated her acting career. How? Find out in this interview with TOPE OLUKOLE, plus details of her NGO and ambassadorial work.

You have been around for a while now, can you speak on your youth empowerment programme?

I guess this is when I can actually take care of it. All this while, we never thought about the idea anyway. It only came up in 2005 when I was celebrating my tenth anniversary on screen and the release of my debut album. Then, I had started doing a lot of Non Governmental Organisation things and we just thought of what I would do to give back to the society after 10 years. I was already doing certain things with children.

What is it all about?

It is an empowerment programme like the name says; initially, we didn't set out to be an NGO. We wanted to just be a movement of ideas, pushing ideas and challenging one's thinking. But we were told we wouldn't be registered as a movement, but as an NGO. So, I had to now change a few things about what we wanted to do. But then, as an NGO, we now found out that we needed members because when we started a lot of people got to know about us and were giving us offers. That's the way we were penciled down. Then I said we should just reform ourselves so that it will actually be a blessing to help people.

How do you finance the NGO?

Well, I was financing it myself before our convention held at University of Lagos; but we had a lot of people that supported our dream, like First Atlantic Bank, then Skye Bank and so many other people that over time have seen what we are doing and believe in us.

What in your earlier life had prepared you for the entertainer that you are now?

I don't know, but they always said that when I was young I was very entertaining. I went to Chrisland, Opebi, Lagos, and in most of my results, they wrote extra-curricular activities in which I was involoved; I never noticed anything when I was small. My sojourn into entertainment started when I was a model and that was after secondary school. And when I was in secondary school, I was a dancer; we used to mime and dance, maybe that showed a part of who I was, but I never said I would be an actress because I was more into music while in the school. I was more of a dancer and a singer than actress because I never did acting apart from the normal student-acting.

Are you into music now to show us the real you?

I think that's my soul. The depth of my heart is music. That's where I really feel love. I write my songs; I wrote 80% of the music you hear in 'Gba'. Only two songs in that album were not written by me. Even if you don't like my song, at least, I know that so many people call me from abroad about the vitals of my songs, that means I write very, very inspiring songs and I write them from my heart. That's the truth.

A lot of people know you as Omosexy, how will you explain the name to a child when he or she asks you?

It depends on his or her age. I will explain to him or her by the age. I will never run away from the question. My name doesn't have anything to do with sex. Sexy does not mean sex. After we've gotten that straight, I will explain it to them like any other parent will do.

How do your children and husband feel anytime you are called Omosexy?

My husband named me Omosexy, so they don't feel anyhow. That's his pet-name for me and my kids know about it.

What is your greatest fear in life?

God. I fear God.

Which part of your body do you cherish most, such that if anything should go wrong with it you won't be yourself again?

It couldn't be my body. There is no part of my body that I cherish most. I cherish my mind more. If my mind goes out of tune, then, I'm in trouble. There is nothing in my body I can't control. If my mind is sound, then I'm okay. I cherish every part of my body but I adore my mind.

In the next ten years, how will Omotola be looking?

Sexy. I will still be looking sexy.

What do you do to keep in shape?

Nothing precisely, when I feel like working out, I work out, when I feel like dieting, I diet. I just know when to stop a little, it's not like I do anything constantly. I do quick fixing and it works for me. I'm just generally conscious and I'm very prayerful about my weight too, and I believe God answers. Seriously, people will think God can't be bothered about things like that but He works them out for me. You can imagine out of all things you tell God, something that is mundane. Give it a trial.

Will you agree with me that starting child-bearing early helps keep you in shape?

I want to believe so. It also helps because it is easier for you to go back to shape. But again I have seen people that gave birth early and had gone out of shape. So, not necessarily but then it can help if you have kids in time and then you watch your weight. It's easier to maintain it.

Why did you make up your mind to get married early?

I didn't decide to. It just happened, I just met someone I love, I thought he is the right person and we got married. Why waiting.

What was your parents' reaction?

My parents are late now. But then, my father wasn't happy but he didn't have a choice, so he supported me but I knew I was making the right choice.

For how long did you court?

Two years.

Having kids at the early stage a planned thing?

I got married before I started having kids. When you are married, the next thing is for you to have kids. I didn't have kids before I married. I got married at 18 and had my first baby at 19. I left secondary school when I was 15.

Aside movies and the NGO you are championing, what else do you do?

I do so many things aside movies. I have my ambassadorial work for children, which I do. I have another office in Ikeja GRA to run; I have my music.

What do you do in your Allen and Ikeja GRA offices?

Allen office runs Red Hunt Concert; we do documentaries, we package people's brands, while Ikeja is the parent office that takes care of the NGO and many other businesses that we do. It is a children club and hair place. That's probably the first real children hair place for boys and girls.

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