Ayo Adesanya is an actress and movie producer who has featured in many English and Yoruba movies. In this interview with TAYO GESINDE, the Communication and Language Arts graduate of the University of Ibadan (UI), Ibadan, Oyo State, speaks on how she has been able to carve a niche for herself in the movie industry, fashion preference, among other issues.
Foray into acting
I started acting when I was five years old as a student of Oritamefa Baptist Nursery and Primary School, Ibadan, Oyo State. We had a drama group and a television station used to come to our school to record our drama. We used to act from plays written by William Shakespeare and so on. And anytime I was at home, I used to act for my dad and he would give me money. That really encouraged me. I also used to go to the theatre to watch movies and used to think that I would love to act. Those were the things that motivated me into acting.
How I have been able to remain relevant in the industry
I will say it is God because I wasn’t as active as this at a point. I was doing just one movie, a year. I see myself as a very lucky person and this is due to the fact that in this career, if you say you want to leave for a while and come back, it is not always easy because a lot of people are coming up everyday. The industry is very competitive, so you can’t afford to be away for long. I was away for 10 years and for God to have brought me this far and for a lot of people to still appreciate what I do, I believe it is because He loves me.
Acting in both English and Yoruba movies
I actually started with English movies. I started acting Yoruba when I came back fully into the industry seven years ago. As I said, it is God. To break into both genre of the movie industry is not easy, so, I will still attribute the fact that I am able to do the two successfully to God. Well, I started with English and being a Yoruba lady, I can speak Yoruba fluently, even the Oyo dialect. So, I can act in both English and Yoruba effortlessly. Also, when God gives you a talent, you have to make use of it. And when making use of it, you must challenge yourself as well and I do that a lot. I do things that ordinarily Ayo wouldn’t have done because I am a very reserved person. People who are close to me know that. I love to push myself because I love challenges. That has really been part of what has made me come this far.
Most defining moment of my career
I believe every moment has been a defining one for me because it is what has moulded me. I learn from everything I do. I have derived success from everything I had done. It is a little bit from here and there, that has been what has defined who I am. Every job I did, I picked something from and that has made me a better person. Even the character we act preaches to us at times. We are all human beings, we make mistakes. We are bound to make mistakes because of our flesh. So, we learn from this and that and it moulds us. That is why I always say, I don’t have a favourite among my jobs. I love every movie I’ve ever done. I always talk to God before I go on set to help me to do this character well. At the end of the day, I would discover that God had added another feather to my cap.
What I consider before accepting scripts
First, I want to know who is handling the project; that is very important to me because these days, if you are not careful, you may end up doing trashy things that you will regret for the rest of your life. I love to know the storyline and the role I’m playing, the director, producers and my co-actors. The location too is important because of the insecurity in the country, I wouldn’t want to go to a place my life would be endangered. I rarely have limitation as far as roles are concerned. Yes, I have reservations about nudity but I believe there are ways we can play around it. We don’t have to be nude in the real sense of it. There are ways you can play erotic stuffs that will look real but it is not. If you ask me to play a role, it means you believe I can do it. I will take the role and give it the best I have got.
How I handle negative publicity
When you read negative things about yourself, you are human, no matter how strong your shell is, it will be penetrated. How long the penetration stays is what makes the difference. Things like that get you depressed but you must quickly get out of it. I take it as part of the job and move on. If I am not doing this job, I will not be getting attention as nobody will know me.
Secret of my beauty
It is God and good genes. I got it from my parents; my mum looks younger every day and she is over 60. So, I don’t do anything extraordinary. Sometimes, I diet. The kind of job I do, I have to look good. That doesn’t mean I don’t take soft drinks, wine or sugar, it is just that I try to control them. As human beings, there are times we need to binge on things but getting back on track is the most important thing. For beauty routine, I do normal things that people do. And seriously, I spend a lot of money on myself. I think if I am not an actress and I do regular jobs, I think I will be a bit relaxed but being on TV, I need to do a lot more. I need to enhance my look most times. As an actress, one has to look good because that is what one is selling.
Definition of style
For me, style has to do with my mood. Sometimes, I will wake up and say, today, I just want to look top notch, smell great, just look my best and at other times, I will just stay in bed and wear my nightie all day. That is me. But then, people see me and say, “AY, you are just sexy. At this age you can still keep this sexiness.” I love colours. I like being sexy, I can conveniently say that. It is just me. Funny enough, I do it effortlessly. It is just part of me, I love to look appealing. So style, to me is, look sexy, not trashy.
I love bags, I love shoes, and I like heels a lot because I have fine legs. I am not bragging, I do have fine legs. I love perfumes, weave-ons and wigs.
Apart from my legs, my eyes. God just gave me these eyes for the whole of Nigeria and these eyes are doing wonders. He just gave me this “balloon eyes” that take them chop. Sometimes people will give me some roles because of my eyes.
Handling advances from male admirers
These days, it is worse, especially on social media. There are a lot of dangers lurking out there. It is easier for people to get in touch with us now and if you are not careful, you can make blunders. We need to be extremely careful because a lot is happening out there. If you are not careful, you may get into funny traps. So I am wary of them these days.
Combining the home front with my career
I try as much as possible to spend the little time I have with my family. For instance, I am working in Ibadan now I brought them with me so that we can spend time together. I love hanging out with my family. The more times you spend together, you will be able to have memories that will last a lifetime.
Life as a single mother
As a single mum, your child is the most important thing in your life, remember that at all times. You have to teach and nurture him, correct him, guide him till he or she gets married. Show him love and be there for him. And God in His infinite mercy will see you through. It is when things are so difficult that God will show up for you. So, always have that at the back of your mind and don’t panic. It is something I have been experiencing for the past 12 years. So I understand how it feels. You just have to worship and serve God. When you do, He will be there for you. I am not saying I am perfect. I am not even near a saint.
Pains and gains of being an actress
The gains are so many, that was why I turned the little pains into gains. The gains are too many. Seriously, people overwhelm me, maybe because I am a reserved person.When people show me love, it gets to me.