Aishat Oladunni Lawal is an upcoming actress who has been a delight to many of his admirers. Indeed, the law graduate-turned-actress is one of the few who has cut her teeth in the film industry. The talented, beautiful and hardworking lady has produced seven movies which are not only interesting but have made her a household name. In this interview with WESTERN POST’s ADEOLA OLADELE and AYOYINKA OLUTUYI, the Nollywood star, speaks about her sojourn in the movie industry as well as other sundry issues. EXCERPTS:
Tell us a little about your background:
My name is Aishat Lawal Oladunni. I attended Adeen International School, FGC, Ogbomoso for my secondary school education. I am a graduate of Law as first degree and Public Administration as second degree. I’m an artiste, an interior decorator and a producer, I’m into most things that are lucrative, I like money anyway and I like talking. I was born and brought up in Ibadan. I am from the family of three and I’m the middle child.
When did you venture into acting?
I started acting in 2007. I started off on stage; I was on stage for three years before I went for my diploma in Theatre Arts at J-15 School of Performing Art (a Femi Adebayo concept).
What actually motivated you to go into acting?
Basically, I had a flair for acting. When I was in the university, we were asked to take one vocational course before we can graduate, so I decided to venture into acting, so I went on stage and I did “Moremi” and it felt good.
So who are your role models?
I would say Genevieve; I like almost everything about her. Every good person has been my role model.
So what is the most difficult character you ever had to play?
It was playing the role of the wife of the comedian “Sanyeri”. He’s so difficult because he’s a comedian and you cannot predict his next line of action because he doesn’t follow script, so I had to be on my toes and keep my head straight. There was another time I had to play multiple characters.
What kind of role do you prefer?
As a good and fantastic actor, there should be no preferred role, versatility should be the key.
What make you stand out?
I would say it is hard work, focus and hope.
What is the hardest part of being a celebrity?
Let me say it is not having freedom to do whatever you want to do. I love eating ”boli and epa” but now I can’t just walk to the market and buy it, and also I can’t do my shopping myself anymore, so I always have to accept whatever is brought to me.
What would you describe as your greatest achievement in the industry?
So far, so good, I know I’m doing great; I don’t want to mention my achievements.
What do you enjoy most about your chosen career?
It is like being paid for what you enjoy doing, because acting is my hobby. Being on set is like being with your family, the happiness just literally make you forget your worries. We try to make one another happy.
What are the challenges confronting the Nigerian movie industry?
The major challenge is piracy.
What are the supports you have been getting from the government?
We have been pleading for acts and bills to be passed to prevent people from pirating our intellectual property.
As an actress, what keep you going?
It takes being humble, being intelligent, and being persistent and creative.
How many movies have you participated in as an artiste?
I’ve lost count, but I have produced seven movies myself. The most recent one is “Ojiji”. It is a contemporary, multilingual movie, featuring languages such as; English, Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa and French. The multilingual aspect was inspired by the fact that I want everyone who watches the movie to feel like a part of them is represented in the movie.
Is your husband an artiste too?
I don’t want to disclose anything about my personal life, but no, he is not an artiste.
How does he feel seeing you relate with other men in movies?
He understands what I have to do as an artiste; he understands the job quite well.
How do you manage the male admirers out there?
It is a good thing to have admirers (laughs). No one prays to have a child that won’t be admired (laughs). Once you are a lady or a woman, if you don’t have admirers, you should go to mountain for deliverance. It all depends on your ability to manage them. I’ve being able to manage it because I don’t encourage it unnecessarily and I’m not harsh on them either.
How did your parents feel about your chosen career?
My dad would have loved it, but unfortunately he’s dead, and as for my mum, she is still not cool with it.
What is your advice to aspiring artiste?
For people that are aspiring to come into the industry, be yourself, be persistent, be humble, put God first and most importantly be educated, because whatever is worth doing, is worth doing well.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I see myself on television screens, receiving awards from Grammy, from Oscar, MTV and the likes of them.
Would you describe yourself as an up-coming artiste or a professional?
I will leave that to my admirers to determine, but I’m positive.