Actress and movie producer, Idowu Akinsade, left Nigeria for the US in search of greener pastures but never lost touch with acting and moviemaking. In this interview by SEGUN ADEBAYO, she shares the story behind her relocation, career, among other issues. Excerpts:
Your journey into the movie industry must have had its good and bad sides over the years; when you look back at the very beginning, what comes to your mind?
Contrary to what many don’t know, my acting journey started a long time ago. I was introduced into the profession by my friend and popular actor, Ernest Asuzu. I featured in two English movies then. After that however, my mum did not allow me to continue on the acting journey.
Why did your mum discourage you from going further?
She did not agree with it so I had to quit. But I knew acting was for me. It is something I do easily. Growing up, I was a drama queen because I knew I had what it took to be one of the best actors around. I waited for the right time when it would be easy for me. So one day, I contacted a producer who is based here in the US. Her name is Ayo Adey-Kosh. She gave me all the necessary contacts, information and advice and today, the rest is history.
Looking back on where it all started, would you say your decision to go fully into acting has started paying off?
Looking back and being fulfilled are two different things. I feel honoured by the fact that I am being called to feature in some movies and I am also glad I am able to produce my movies as well. I mean right now, I can tell you that I am no longer where I used to be. The journey has not been rosy but I am grateful for how far I have come and we look forward to a wonderful career ahead of me.
They say you are a producers’ delight because you have a face they always want to have in their films, how do you feel about this?
It is a great honour for me. I feel quite good about that. Talking about one of the pretty faces in the industry, well I don’t know about that, but I welcome the compliments from those who say it. Being cast in a movie is not a joke and I don’t take it for granted. As much as I appreciate the compliments, I want to remain focused on the goal. I am highly focused on my career.
The acting job does not pay well but most of your colleagues won’t stop hustling for roles despite claims that the pay is not commensurate with the efforts put into the job. Why is this so?
For me, passion overrides a lot of things and acting is just one of those things. When you are passionate about something, you would always want to give in your best and stick in your neck despite the odds standing against you. You can only continue to be hopeful while you keep your gaze on the prize.
What was the experience like when you appeared in your first movie?
I appeared in my first movie many years ago and it was a beautiful experience if I may recall well. It was an English movie that was produced by veteran actor Emeka Enyiocha. Honestly, it was a beautiful experience because acting has always been what I love to do.
How many movies have you produced so far?
So far I have successfully produced three movies: Deceit, which I co-produced with a colleague of mine and then I produced Last laugh and Mosunmola.
With many of your colleagues trying to make their mark, how do you rate your chances of staying relevant and ahead of others?
I just have to keep making efforts to remain relevant. I have 100 per cent chances of remaining relevant because that for me is one of the goals. I am not in competition with anyone, so there are no thoughts of staying ahead of anyone. I just want to keep getting better and doing my job well. Once I am able to focus on these things, I will definitely be on top of my game.
You stay abroad but you have your eyes on the industry in Nigeria; how do you cope with the pressure?
Staying abroad and being in the industry is a lot of work. The pressure is much because you have to do all necessary things. Being a healthcare professional and an entrepreneur, a wife, mum and an actor isn’t easy here. It’s a lot of pressure but it all still goes down to my passion for acting. I strategise and prioritise my work and plan ahead so that I don’t run into hitches in doing one while another suffers.
Living in the US and still acting in movies in Nigeria are not things many people can do. How do you make it happen?
Living in the US and acting is not an easy thing. As an actor and producer, it is overwhelming but I have the support of my family and that has really been helpful to me. My passion for acting has always helped me to make it happen.
How has life been in the US?
Life has been good in the US but it is not a bed of roses. However, we have to keep praying and hoping.
With the outbreak of coronavirus, how is the Nigerian community reacting to it?
The outbreak is becoming scary by the day. We are scared because the number keeps increasing but most of us are adhering to the preventive measures. I believe it is a phase and it will soon pass.
What took you out of Nigeria in the first place?
The terrible situation of the country and the dangerous dimension it was assuming became scary and I had to leave. At the moment, I don’t have plans to relocate, but never say never. Till then, I only want to keep visiting.