Twenty-six-year-old promising actress, Oluwatosin Ogundare dreams tall in the make-believe industry and the Ekiti-born graduate of Economics says there’s a place in the star for her. In a recent interview with ORUKPE NELSON, she recounted her experience as a rookie, last romance and her plan B, if acting doesn’t pay the bills.
How exactly did you start acting?
About six years ago, I went to Afeez Abiodun a.k.a Afeez Owo, a movie director and producer. He’s also like a family friend. My sister was the one who started it, she told me one day, ‘people have been saying you know how to act, why don’t you just go and enrol in any of the film classes?’ I told her that I was afraid of the film makers because of sex-for-role scandal. At that time, I loved acting so much, I didn’t have any contact. My sister insisted that there was someone we could trust, and his institute advertised training for actors then.
I had just N12,000 and the form was selling for N15,000. I went to Afeez Owo and told him I didn’t have enough money, he collected what I had and said I deserved to be encouraged. I started going for rehearsals twice a week, every Tuesday and Saturday. I was also in school at some point, so I couldn’t really balance going for rehearsals and my academics.
I studied economics at the North American University, Ouedegbe, Benin Republic. After four years, I came back to Lagos and told my boss that I would like to start acting fully. Whenever he had jobs, I followed him but because I was under training, I couldn’t really work outside his caucus. I got my first job through one of my seniors, Sherif Kazeem, who served under him, the movie was titled Jayinfa.
Who were those on the cast of the movie?
There were quite a number of star actors; Muyiwa Ademola, Ibrahim Shatta, Mide Martins and I actually played the role of a friend to the lead actress.
Have you got any lead role yet?
Yes, it was in the movie titled ‘Ibere Ese’, it will be released soon. We shot it early this year. And I just completed another one entitled ‘Dr. Romilayo’ and I’ve actually done some skits produced by Movie Train Entertainment and they are showing on Orisun on TVC and Galaxy Television.
How have you been faring since it hasn’t started paying the bills yet?
It’s not easy, I’m always responsible for my feeding, accommodation and everything.
You provide yourself accommodation and feeding on other people’s project?
Whenever they ask you to come for the job, they believe you’re a lady and that you have the means to cater for yourself. Even if you have to be there for two weeks, it’s that bad.
But that is not the standard…
Of course, I know but I know where I’m going and that’s why I’m resilient.
Did they finally ask you for sex before role?
Afeez Owo never asked me for sex, he’s like a big brother to me and his wife is like a sister. He really respects himself.
How about others that you’ve had to work with?
(Chuckles) Please don’t let me soil anyone’s name here. But the truth is that I haven’t found myself in that dilemma because I’d never presented myself as if I’m desperate. Randy men know when to cut the crab too. When they noticed you’re a lady and hungry for stardom, that’s when they’d asked you for sex and if you obliged one of them, they’ll table your matter among themselves the next time they meet at the bar.
How did you know they do this?
You just need to be close to one or two and you will see how reckless some of these guys can be.
Who is the Nigerian actor you’re dying to act with?
I think I love to act with Genevieve Nnaji, she’s a very good actress. The way she interprets her roles is amazing. I also admire Joseph Benjamin, he’s equally a sound actor.
Who are your best actors in Hollywood?
The first is Angelina Jolie and I respect Wentworth Miller (Michael Scotfield) of the Prison Break fame. I find these ones really awesome. In Yoruba movies, I love Ibrahim Shatta, he’s extremely good.
Do you do any other job aside acting?
I’ve never been a fan of 9am to 5pm jobs. I sell shoes, bags and clothing. I order online for the stuffs I sell and I market them well.
You have an incredible height, have you taken a shot at modelling?
At some point, I tried to do it and contested for Sisi Oge of Africa in 2014 but a friend of mine beat me to it. After then, I just didn’t feel the passion for it.
If you don’t finally get as much money as you anticipate from acting, what would you do?
Let’s even face it, how many people make money from acting? It’s just used as a platform to achieve other motives.
How much was the first pay you got as an actor?
I don’t want mention this please. It’s too ridiculous, the producer would just call you and start telling you how things didn’t go the way he planned, his many disappointments and how he had to borrow from banks.
Which film is your favourite?
For now, it’s the ‘Blacklist’ from Hollywood and ‘30-Days in Atlanta’ from Nollywood.
Can you date anyone from your industry?
I don’t like to have an affair with people in the limelight. I like it when romance is as private as it should be.
If it happens that you fall in love with a fellow actor, would you give up acting for him?
I doubt that men are worth it, so I cannot fall in love with an actor and if I do, I can never give up acting for love. My career won’t leave me, a man can.
Has any man broken your heart?
Well, not really, I was in love with a guy who travelled abroad and later married there.
Did he tell you he was going to marry another woman?
He didn’t tell me and I felt bad about it for a few weeks and after then, we got back as friends. I thank God I didn’t end up with him. He didn’t apologise, he just told me life goes on and he’s not back to Nigerian ever since. Are you in a relationship now?
No, I’m not.
Did you stop giving love a chance because your ex-boyfriend betrayed you?
I’ve not been in a relationship after then, I just haven’t found the right man four years after my last relationship.
Is it four years of celibacy for you?
That I’ve not been in a relationship doesn’t mean I’ve not had sex for four years.
Did your parents give you the blessing to act?
My father did but my mum was very sceptical. My mum kept on saying, ‘you cannot do this. These people are prostitutes, they have no life…’ And I convinced her that there are good and bad women, those are the two kinds of people; prostitution is not an exclusive preserve of a profession.