I don’t feel intimidated by big actors –Adebanjo
Yeside Adebanjo is an actress who has a movie production to her credit despite being relatively young on the entertainment scene. In this interview with KOLA MUHAMMED, she speaks on how she managed to achieve a lot within a short time and the challenges she is facing.
You are relatively new in the movie industry but you have a name and face that movie producers love to cast in their movies. How have you been handling the attention you are getting?
There is no special attention. I am just being me. I love paying a lot of attention to my craft and always seeking for new ways of delivering the job in hand. All that I am and will become, I owe it all to God. I am a very resilient person that sometimes, I ask myself where I get the strength from. Another fact is that I am very steadfast and versatile. For me, the only thing impossible is what I do not want to do. I go for what I want and I ensure that I do it very well. The job is not done if Yeside is not involved. That’s the way I see myself.
It is quite a common thing in the industry for starters to struggle. In fact, we heard that you may have to be into relationship with some prominent producers and even marketers to rise to the top. What has been your experience?
I heard such too and I believe it’s been happening from way back, but I can tell you that it has not happened to me. To be candid, I have not had personal experiences in that aspect. It’s quite sad to see anyone go through that and it shouldn’t have to continue that way. I think it is a trend that should be discontinued
How did you start the acting journey?
It all started professionally with ‘Oghenekome’, a series about Niger Delta, where I played the role of Francesca, an Ivorien in Nigeria. It was a French role. It was as exciting as it made me nervous. Even though I wasn’t expecting to be part of the series, It just happened that I got that role. That’s one of the advantages studying French gives me.
Has acting been what you have always wanted or you got into it by chance?
Acting has always been part of what I wanted to do in life while I was growing up. I have always put extra efforts in all I do, even since my university days. I represented UNILAG within and outside the country for a French theatrical performance. I am that low-key clown but I really love to be happy. I love to make everyone around me catch the positive vibe around me.
How have you coped with challenges so far?
Challenges are part of life. I pray as often as I can. I’m not a saint but I love God. I was taught to be ready to face whatever comes my way and not give in to negativity or worry. There are days that things worked out and days that things went otherwise. It has not been easy working with some big actors.
Do you feel intimidated working with them?
It is not about being intimidated. It is just a feeling of comporting yourself and doing your job very well. The big actors started just like every other person. It is normal for one to be nervous once in a while but I have enjoyed tremendous support from most of the big actors I’ve worked with. They have never stopped encouraging me. Nonetheless, the industry is about every man for himself. I draw my energy from God alone.
Looking back on the journey and how far you have come in a short time, what has been the greatest lesson for you?
I don’t like it when people say I have come far. For me, I am even yet to climb that ladder of success. In fact, I’m still looking for the ladder to climb. I have a long way to go, if you ask me. I have not even started the journey as far as I am concerned. There’s so much I want to give the world. I’ve learnt to remain focused and determined and not allowing anything deter my goals.
You have produced a movie already. How did you make it happen despite the financial constraints actors face?
It wasn’t easy putting the funds together but when it’s time, nothing can stop it. I have had other businesses before going into the movie industry and I’m also blessed to have people who want to see me succeed by all means. With God’s help and theirs, it didn’t seem hard to achieve.
It is believed that a lot of movies are sponsored by moneybags who always want something in return. Did you experience such?
Please, I want a moneybags. As I said earlier, I funded my movie myself with the help of people around me. In fact, one person played a major role but I didn’t have to do or give anything in return. I can say it loudly that I am one of the people who are genuinely hardworking. I always try to maintain a honest life.
You seem decent and always up to one thing or the other, what’s the deal with Yeside?
I try to be as decent as I can, even though, as I said earlier, I’m not a saint.
So you like to throw caution to the wind like your colleagues do?
It depends on what you mean by throwing caution to the wind. It’s a choice. Yeside is a symbol of happiness. I like to give as much as I can. I try to be kind always which, of course, makes people to take advantage of me but then I remind myself that great men make bigger sacrifices and that keeps me going.
You are also into fashion. It seems that shows that it true that acting does not pay much?
It is not a hidden truth. I think it’s still like this for me because I’m still up-and-coming. Entertainment is a big business. I’m still learning about it and I hope to make it big soon. However, at this moment, I can’t say that I solely survive on what I make from acting. I’m a strong believer of having multiple sources of income. Apart from acting and fashion, I am also into foods and event catering. I love to cook. It’s something I can do all day and not get tired.
Of all the actors and actresses you have worked with, which of them challenged you most?
Each of them comes with his or her peculiarities. Some are friendly and encouraging while some are not so friendly. I’ve not really worked with any difficult person. But I have quite a number of them that I admire and look up to.
As a university graduate, did you consider white-collar jobs?
Yes I did. I worked with different companies that are well known in Nigeria, ranging from travel companies, telecommunications, food companies, radio houses and many more. But acting kept calling and I am glad to be here.
Let’s talk about your new movie ‘Ara’. What’s the story like and what inspired it?
‘Ara’ is basically a story of how God can suddenly change a life from bad to good. The film portrays how lending a hand can be all it takes to save a life. It teaches hope. It is also the first movie I produced.
You are a pretty woman, how have you been coping with pressure from men?
This, for me, is one inevitable pressure, because pressure comes from every angle. Staying focused and knowing what you want from life are good principles to live by. I am guided by this principle and it works for me like magic
How did your growing up affect your career choice?
I grew up in a large family. I lived with siblings, family members, friends and sometimes complete strangers. My father was welcoming; his home was open to all there were days he gave all we had to strangers and he would tell us that we were blessed because we were certain to get more, even if at that moment we might likely be hungry or be in need. He taught me never to let anything defeat me and when I lost, I should just try again the following day. I can go on and on about my family as my father was a music lover and my mother was a dancer, God rest their souls. We spent weekends making our own songs on tapes. Then we listened to ourselves or entertained guests. We loved to party. That I’m into entertainment is not a mistake.
What’s your biggest dream as an actress?
I would love to one day own a studio as big or even bigger than that of Tyler Perry, a place where different worlds can be created and experienced. A world where art lives.