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People think, as movie stars, you must have money —Sheyi Ashekun

Oluwasheyi Temitope Ashekun, a Mass Communication graduate of Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State, is a Nollywood actress and producer. In this interview with TAYO GESINDE, she speaks on her foray into acting, how she almost quit the industry, among other issues. Excerpts:

 

Educational background

For my primary education; I attended Command Children School, Bony Camp, then I went to Reagan Memorial Baptist Girls Secondary School, both in Lagos State. For my university education, I attended Babcock University where I studied Mass Communication.

 

Foray into acting

I got into the movie industry professionally in 2010. I acted in a soap opera in 2006; I was in school and getting education was my first priority at that time. So, I didn’t want anything to get in the way. I had to wait until I graduated and did my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in October, 2009, before I decided that acting was what I wanted to do. Having made that decision, I started speaking with people I knew could be of help. I met Alhaji Akeem Balogun (Olasco films) who sent me to Adebayo Tijani and that was how the journey started in 2010

 

The journey so far

I have experienced the high, low and everything in between. There were times when it looked very good and promising and there were times when it was draining and discouraging and I considered quitting, but I thank God for the good people who believed I could do it and encouraged me to keep doing it. Today, I’m happy I listened to them. I give all thanks to God. I have featured in quite a number of movies, like Agbelebu, Onikaluku; Eni Owo, and Iman. I have produced two of my own movies entitled Fifehanmi and Aranbada.

 

Most challenging role so far

I am yet to play a role I would tag ‘challenging.”

 

Other things I do aside acting

For now, acting is all I do. This job requires time for one to grow. I’m giving it that time now.

 

Role models

Some of my role models are Ronke Ojo, Fathia Balogun, Omotola Jalade Ekehinde and a few others.

 

Coping with competition

The sky is wide enough for different birds to fly without one hindering the movement of the other. I’m not in a competition with anyone. I simply choose to focus on myself, my growth and development. I want to be as versatile and as flexible as possible so that I can interprete my characters the best way I can.

 

Pains and gains of being a celebrity

The gains are: going to a place and being recognised and getting things that normally would take time done in a couple of minutes because you are known and people love you and want to assist you. The pains are that you can’t do things and get away with them. So you constantly have to be careful and some people even expect you to be a superhuman. Also you spend more, because people think you have a lot of money because you are on TV.

 

Most embarrassing things that fans have done to me

People expect you to know them because they know you. They start talking about you right to your face and claim you are not greeting them. Sometimes, I feel they expect you to greet everyone on the road whether or not they know you. If you greet me, I will answer politely and respectfully.

 

Assessment of Nollywood

Nollywood is growing and I’m so proud and feel lucky to be part of the growth.

 

Philosophy of life

My philosophy of life is “To yourself, be true.” Be true to yourself and your conscience always.

 

How I handle my male admirers

Most male fans are courteous and respectful, but the ones that choose to be disrespectful, I set them straight.

 

Definition of style

My definition of style is; be comfortable and wear things you feel good in.

 

Beauty regimen

My beauty routine involves a lot of sleep when I’m not working, I try to eat right and spend time only with people that give me positive vibes.

 

Fashion obsessions

Shoes. I love shoes a lot.

 

Opinion on toning

My opinion on it is this: if it boosts your self confidence, then go for it because in the end, confidence is the major thing you need to reach any height.

 

My take on provocative dressing

On provocative dressing, again, your confidence is what matters. If you feel you have the body to pull it off, please, go for it. However, you have to consider the community you are living in, the beliefs of the people and how liberal or rigid they may be, so you don’t get hurt.

 

My view on cosmetic surgery

Whatever you choose to correct, please do it for yourself; your happiness, to boost your self-esteem and not for anyone.

 

Special treat

When I want to pamper myself, I go on vacation outside the country. I receive less calls when I’m away from work. I just rest, see new places and do some shopping.

 

Qualities I want in a man

Respect for God, for himself, for everyone he comes across and, of course, for me.

 

Advice for aspiring actors

Life is not a bed of roses, so be prepared to work. Acting is not a joke; it’s not child’s play and you don’t get to the top the moment you get in. You grow gradually and if you are tenacious enough, you will surely get there.