If there is one woman who likes to have her hands in different pies, then the name that comes to mind is Foluso Lala. A writer, an actress and media personality with more than 20 years experience, Lala has written over 25 movie scripts and produced a few. She was the immediate past chairperson of National Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ), Oyo State. In this interview by SEGUN ADEBAYO, she speaks about her life as actress and media personality.
It seemed you have had your hands in many pies over the years. From journalism to sport and movies, what part of your formative years prepared you for this life you are living?
I had wanted to study Theatre Arts in the university with second option of Mass Communications while my father of blessed memory wanted me to study Law. My interest in theatre apart from the fact that I used to act plays in my primary school days and in the church became strong when my uncle, Ayo Thomas and Dr Sola Fosudo were studying Theatre Arts at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University and they and their colleagues used to come to our house at Ogbomoso. Their displays then caught my attention seriously. As God would have it I ended up with Bsc and MMP in Psychology. I also have a PGD in Journalism. During my NYSC, I served in the Public Relations Office of the Nigeria Police Zonal Headquarters, Zone 4, Makurdi. My beat then was to write press releases. Afterwards I gained employment in Tribune. All along from my primary to secondary school days I’ve been taking part in drama with passion for writing short stories. I was engrossed in reading and summarising novels. I remembered that my father used to buy Sunday Concord newspaper for me because of my love for the column ‘Dele Giwa on Sunday’.
You were the immediate past chairperson of NAWOJ in Oyo State, what would you say was your greatest moment during your tenure?
By nature I am a very compassionate person. I always have emparthy for women and children who are the vulnerable to all kinds of vices. Nature is not so kind to the womenfolk which in no doubt have effects on the children. My coming onboard as the chairperson of NAWOJ was with a hindsight of contributing my own quota in making life meaningful for the women. Let me mention two cases amongst others. My tenure went at length by way of carrying out four different surgeries on a young boy named Aanuoluwa Rafiu who suffered extra growth in his leg and buttock. It wasn’t an easy task but God helped us out. The boy is back in school and very intelligent. We also rescued a day-old baby boy whose mother deliberately delivered by the roadside to be abandoned but for providence that hooked her from running away. We sourced for assistance. The mother and child are doing well.
Talking about movies now, what informed your decision to become a thespian; does being a writer qualify one as an actor?
Like I said earlier, I had wanted to study Theatre Arts. The urge to act has been with me unabated. For me, acting is a talent and not a skill while my ability to write well doubles as a talent and a skill too. It is not automatic that a writer can as well be an actor. Some can write but may not be able to act. Some might be able to act but might not be graced to write. Whereas some are graced to write and act. Good acting requires excellent interpretation of roles with perfect body language, amongst others. In my own case, I am powered with both writing and acting. To my credit, I have over 25 movie scripts written by me and I’ve taken part in a number of cinema and movie productions.
You are a writer and you have been one for a long time. But you have also been acting as well. When are you going to start producing cinema-standard movies like some of your colleagues do?
I’m glad to inform you that I have produced one of my creative writings into a movie with the title ABEGAN. Any good script can be produced for the cinema but the financial implication is the main issue. Cinema work is a serious matter that requires involvement of serious investors but because people don’t really know it’s viability, they stylishly brush it aside. And, the investors who had tasted it and found out that it is very lucrative won’t tell. I have this strong belief that sooner than later I will be producing cinema stuffs, in sequence. I am in need of serious minded investors to power my heavy scripts.
For someone who had more than a stint in journalism and has continued to thrive in the business of information dissemination, what comes to your mind when you see how mediocrity is fast destroying the profession?
Firstly, let me correct your impression about having a short period of practice in journalism. I’ve been in the profession since 1991 till date but for between 2003-2004 on a special assignment in the 8th All Africa Games COJA. All the while I’ve been practising in the pen profession. I started in the African Newspaper sof Nigeria, publishers of Tribune titles; Daily Times; defunct Oracle Newspaper; Alliance of Human Rights Action (AHRA) magazine and presently an information officer in the Oyo State Local Government Service Commission. Information officers are journalists with degrees in Communication Arts and/or PGD in Journalism and are members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ).
Journalism is a distinctively noble profession that commands respect from both the highly placed and the downtrodden. As the Fourth Estate of the Realm, the highly placed tremble at the sight of a journalist while the downtrodden sees journalists as their mouthpiece to voice out their mind, to table their cause in such a way that governments would work in their favour. T
With your experience in the movie industry and a professional at that, why does it seem you are yet to break into the mainstream where we get to see more of your works on screens?
Like the saying that you can’t grow up to reach the sky in just one day. Those ones you see often have stories to tell before they became what they are today. It’s just a matter of time. Some of the works I took part in are in the cinema like Efunsetan Aniwura: The Untold Story by Funmi Holder; Balogun Ibikunle and Lagbondoko by Biodun Eleni. Others included Alapa by Tamilore Martins-Ojo; Ohun Aye; Kinni Ero Re?; Isokan Yoruba; The Sadist; Femiremi by Bosede Adelaja Mabis; Abeni and Omolewa and other ones that I can’t remember their titles. I also authored a book titled IN Awe of the King.
When should we expect a big budget movie from you or you are just going to concentrate on writing scripts and acting?
Everyone prays to do the extraordinary in their endeavours in order to showcase what they are made of. I appreciate God for the talents He embedded in me. I find script writing and acting very easy. I’ve written over 25 movie scripts and most of my scripts are financial heavyweights meaning sooner than later I will be coming out with big budget works. With the strength and grace of God I will continue to write, act and produce.
You seem to have a quiet lifestyle, but this appears not to be the same for some of your colleagues who keep flaunting fake lifestyles to keep themselves relevant in the business. Why are you not putting more of yourself out there?
There are so many actors and actresses who are super rich; some because of their backgrounds, some through hard work while some are into other streams of income that thrive very well. Those ones that wrongly present themselves to the public do not have same kind of background nor financial mussles to breast the kind of life they struggle to live. Such ones are very close to financial indebtedness and avoidable illnesses because they’ll always want to meet up. Some of them engage in what you better not imagine. At the end they’ll stretch their body, soul and spirit than necessary. There are always individual differences. I Foluso Lala don’t and will never live a fake life. Fake life is a sign of inferiority complex. If you are sure of yourself why should you paint yourself what you are not? People out there are no fools, they know the truth and won’t respect anyone who is not what he presents him/herself to be.
As a pretty woman, how do you keep temptations from men in check and does it come with pressure to stay scandal free?
Thanks for the compliment. You know temptation is everywhere. Thanks to God who in His infinite mercy created me fearfully and wonderfully in His image. Every human being is beautiful depending on how you see them. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, the saying goes. The ones you regard as not so pretty too receive compliments from time to time and with that I am not exempted. How one manages such advances is key. The way you present yourself is also key. Polite but frank rejection is required. You don’t expect me to be hopping around. I don’t fool around because I respect myself. For what? My ‘small me’ have taste! (Lol)
Tell us about your new project you are working on and your take on sex for roles which is very rampant in the industry?
Like I said, I just produced a star-studded culture-modern movie titled ABEGAN. I thank God I was able to solely finance it. The cast gives a hint on its financial implication. The movie features creme-la-creme in yoruba nollywood including Joke Muyiwa; Rykardo Agbor; Antar Laniyan; Ladi Folarin; Yetunde Ogunsola; Tamilore Martins-Ojo; Taofeek Adewale ‘Digboluja’ (Abegan); Wale Akorede Okunnu; Jomiloju Olumbe; Adelani Ariyo; Bosede Adelaja Mabis; myself and a host of others.
About the sex for role in the industry, I have, with every sense of truthfulness, never experienced it. So I may not be an authority in that wise.”
As the music business continues to expand with interests from different walks of life, more record label owners have begun to show interest in the art of nurturing music acts and providing viable platforms that could help them fulfill their dreams.
One of such labels making moves to bridge the gap with plans to put music acts on the world map is Big Achievable Dreams (B.A.D), as it comes into the industry with a breath of fresh air and throwing its weight behind the career of struggling artistes yearning for a platform to showcase their talent.
As part of its plans to lead the way, the South Africa-based company in a statement said it will support artistes with music production, marketing of their contents and branding and strategic planning, one that has the capacity to put their names on and songs on the lips of many music lovers within and outside the African shores.
“We have observed how artistes are struggling to show the world what they can offer and this is why we are offering to give them quality sound production, marketing, management and packaging for artistes of all genres. This cuts across Reggae, Pop, Hiphop, classic music and the likes.”
The record label is concerned with bringing the best out of their artistes, through engaging their sense of creativity, proper guidance, strategic planning and quality management.
On a quest to rebranding and refurbishing the entertainment industry, the record label believes in making positive changes to their local and international audience through the provision of top notch entertainment from all subsidiaries; music,film,events and lifestyle.
“We have a line-up of projects that would be coming up from December; our target is to provide opportunities for people, both young and old to explore their creative side and to develop them socially, mentally, financially as well as other aspects that would yield positive productivity”.
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