Interviews | 19 July 2016 00:35 CET

What I find attractive in a man – Actress Ade Laoye

By The Citizen

Adejoke  Laoye is an actress, who is currently on the MNET-sponsored Africa Magic popular TV series, 'Hush'.

 Her character, Oye, an assistant to a governorship aspirant, has continued to impress her audience and  growing fan base.

However, Ade, who is a Philadelphia State University-groomed actress, comes from a lineage of singers.

The former Ebony Life TV presenter said in this interview that she chose acting over music because of the fascination also says, among other things, that she admires authenticity in men.  

How long have you been acting?
I have been acting for a long time. I studied acting in the university at the Pennsylvania State University where I majored in Theatre Arts. I have been acting professionally ever since I graduated in 2006.

Did you start acting in Nigeria or in the US?

Professionally, I started in the USA. But I have always had a flair for drama before I went to the US. I come from a very artistic family: the Laoye family. My grand uncle,  just to clarify,  Oba John Adetoyese Laoye, the Timi Agbale of Ede, was popularly known as 'The Drummer King'. Art is in my blood. Nikki Laoye, the gospel singer, is my cousin. We all sing. We all love music.

But in choosing a career path, why did you choose acting instead of singing?

Well, I have always loved to sing. I sing, in fact. But being able to embody different personalities has always fascinated me. I chose to study Theatre Arts out of curiosity. Growing up in Nigeria, my parents wanted me to study medicine. It was either Medicine or Engineering, you know, the usual. But when it was time to go to the university, after looking at the courses available, the fascination led me to Theatre Arts. It was something I felt  I would do for the rest of my life because the fascination was strong.

After your graduation, how long did you stay before coming back?

I stayed five years before coming back. I was working. I lived in Philadelphia and later New York, where I worked as a professional actor. I majored in stage plays in Philadelphia and New York. I went on tour. I taught acting in some schools and summer camps.

Why did you decide to return to Nigeria?
I made the decision based on a couple of factors. First, I am a restless person. It's probably the reason I chose acting. I was feeling restless and bored. I realised I needed a change of environment. I was working in the States, but I felt lost. It's easy to lose yourself in the US. Though it was a much larger industry, the competition was really fierce. I knew I was talented, but I wasn't being fully utilised. I was feeling that there weren't as many opportunities to do what I could do. Secondly, a year before I moved, I had been in Nigeria for Christmas and I remembered not wanting to go back. A lot of my friends had started moving back. I heard of how things were happening in Nigeria. That was in 2011. I started meeting people in the entertainment industry. I started networking and asking questions. It was also great to be home and close to family. I had been away for a long time, being back was kind of a new feeling. I weighed my options. Nigeria started seeming like a viable opportunity. I moved back for all of these reasons.

You major in TV series more than the movies
No and yes. No, because I have a lot of experience in stage performance, only just recently did I start doing TV.  And yes because I haven't done as much film as I have done TV. However, people recognise me in stage performances such as 'Carol', the musical. I played the character of Jane. I was also in 'Waka', the musical as Ngozi. Both stage plays were produced by Bolanle Austin-Peters. In terms of movies, I had a small role in EmemIsong's 'Knocking on Heaven's Door' and I played a teacher; Uche, in Seyi Babatope's 'Launch Time Heroes'. Two movies. But I have done a number of TV series.  I was in 'Dowry', a series that was aired on EbonyLife TV. I also did another series called Studio that one was aired on AIT and I am currently working on 'Hush', airing on African Magic.

Having been adequately immersed in two cultures and industries, what would you say are the noticeable distinctions?

In my experience, I think a certain level of seriousness of the craft is needed here. People invest a lot of time, resources and money in developing themselves, whether it is taking classes or attending seminars in the US. I find that there aren't many of such opportunities here. Sometimes I feel rusty and want to take an acting class or a voice lesson. We don't have a lot of these training environments in Nigeria. We have some, but they are not enough. It's easy to take a quick audition class, capital development class or voice lesson in New York. There are so many resources, too many, it is hard to choose. I find that it is hard to find a training centre here. I also think that a lot of people kind of wake up to want to act without realising how much work goes into the craft. I think I miss being in an environment where everyone is itching to learn, to be better, to challenge themselves. It is not always about being famous or being recognised. Feeling fulfilled as an artiste is important to me. It is hard to get that feeling here.

Tell us about your role as Oye in 'Hush'
Yes. I play the character of Oye. Oye is a campaign manager of a woman running for governor. Oye is sort of a fixer. Her job is to get things done - you know, find solutions. She does it quite well and sometimes a little too well, gets herself into trouble sometimes. She is very sassy and she gets to play with the big boys. She lives with her sister. This is the first time I am in a long running series.

How long has 'Hush' been on air?
For a year now. It is interesting to see how Oye is evolving.

What has been the feedback from fans?
So far, the feedback has been amazing. Whenever the show is on air, Twitter goes crazy. And we try to engage fans on social media whenever it's airing. I believe my character is an audience favourite.

But it seems a lot of people misjudge your character, do you share that view?

Yes. A lot of people still haven't gotten a firm grip of the personal motivation and struggle of my character. I don't think they know who she is.

Do you want to enlighten us here?
No! You've got to watch it through. In the next few months, people would get to know who she is and not get to define her by what she does.

What is Oye's personal motivation?
I think she has defined herself a lot by what she does. I think her goal is to be number one. She sees herself as a leader. I think all the decisions that she makes were to put herself in a position of power. She is someone who is attracted to power. I think she is a fighter. She can do anything to get to the top.

Is she planning any strategic move that you want to share? [Laughs] I can't tell you that! Just keep watching.

What are the challenges you have encountered playing Oye?

First, it is a long series. I don't know how the story is going to end. We get our scripts in chunks. I don't know what will happen to my character along the way. Your character evolves with the story.  I sort of try to keep in mind what my driving force is, what my character wants, while also anticipating changes. Secondly, we shoot out of sequence. Today's scene and next week's can be shot today. Sometimes the timeline might get mixed up, but you have to be careful to track your emotional states so that you don't laugh where you are supposed to cry. Switching emotions is another challenge. Not carrying the baggage of an emotional scene into another is one heck of a job. Again, never losing sight of what your character was is important. Every character wants something. Making sure that your objective this minute contributes to the objective of the movie from point A to B is important.

We seem to know who Oye is, who is Ade Laoye?

My real name is Adejoke Laoye. My friends call me Ade. So, professionally I am called Ade Laoye. I am from Ibadan, Oyo State. I come from a closely knit family. I come from a family of five. We are five girls. I am the third of five children. My sisters are my best friends. We share everything. I like to think I am a loyal friend. I love my friends fiercely. I am someone who feels extremely grateful and blessed  to live the kind of life that I live. I haven't done anything to deserve it. I am grateful to family and to God. I feel lucky in a lot of ways. I don't take anything for granted. I love ice cream. It makes me happy. I love food. I don't like to cook. Note, I didn't say I can't cook. I think I am curious and adventurous. I love learning things. I love travelling. I love to learn about cultures and fascinating things about the world.

How do you assess men who come around you?
Ultimately, I am attracted to authenticity. I believe who you are is more interesting than who you are trying to be. I hear a lot of people say a guy must be rich and handsome and God-fearing. I think who a person is, is more valuable than money. I am also attracted to people who are courageous. If you want to talk to me, do it boldly. What is the worst that could happen? The people who get my attention are those who are bold about it. So if you are brave and courageous you will get my attention. Otherwise, be you. If we click we click. If we don't, we don't. A foundation of friendship is the basis for any relationship.

Are you in a relationship right now?
Because we are in Nigeria, one would ask, do you intend to continue disliking cooking?

Well, we all do things we don't like. I am not married at the moment. I don't have children. And having to cook for people is not my responsibility. I know how to get myself fed. I will cross that bridge when I get there.

There are different kinds of food in Nigeria, which ones can you make?

Beside making rice and stew, my Indomie is amazing. Beans and plantain come next. I can make ewedu. I come from Ibadan. Ewedu is kind of easy. But I have not tried making egusi. I have a friend who will be teaching me during the weekend.

So we shouldn't ask about Edikangikong soup? 

No. Please, don't. Learning how to make egusi is my next project. - Culled from Tribune.

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