Iyabo Ojo is one of the most successful actresses in the movie industry with countless movies to her credit. She is indeed a case study for younger actresses. In this interview, she spoke on her private life detailing her successes, failures, challenges, while also clearing some speculations about her.
You are one of the actresses in the movie industry that is doing well, what is your secret?
I have been learning the art of doing business, making money, and saving over the years. I have actually been in the industry for 22 years.
2020 was a funny year, did it affect you bearing in mind that it was the year that the pandemic broke out?
Yes, it affected my business. A lot of the time people say you do a lot of businesses, you are a jack of all trade and master of none, but in Nigeria you have to be a jack of all trade and a master of all.
Why do you say this?
Because I can imagine what it would have been like if I was running my lounge alone. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, I had to close my lounge. We just started operating the lounge in March not even fully and the pandemic started, so you can imagine what it would have been like if that was the only business I had. The boutique also got affected because I couldn’t travel, there was lockdown, but because I wasn’t doing one business I was able to survive.
How did you manage?
Initially, there was a total lockdown, but as it went, there were reliefs. Food became essential services, I had to do the delivery, I can say that during the lockdown, I made more money than I would naturally have made on a normal day through the restaurant business because we had to deliver food to people. Even though the restaurant was not open, we were still able to function. So, the pandemic affected us in a way, but we were still able to manage it.
Does this explain the source of funds for your recently celebrated house?
I had already been saying for my house even before the lockdown. The house is not something I just woke up one morning and bought. I had been saving, a lot of people don’t know, I had been saving. I also saved for my children’s school fees ahead. It is easy for me to do these things because I plan for them. When my kids were in primary school, I was saving for their secondary school. When they were in secondary school, I was saving for their university both abroad and in Nigeria. They are almost done with their university and I am already saving for their Masters, and it is the same way that I had been saving for the house I eventually acquired. So, it wasn’t a yesterday job. It was just like when I started my business. When I started my first shop, I eventually closed it down because I couldn’t manage it alone. So, in life, as you pursue, you will fall, but the beauty is that you have to learn how to rise again. And then you don’t blame anybody. When you fail, you are learning, try to keep it private. When it is right, the world would see. A lot of young girls who also do business along with acting in my industry do it because we told them that they can’t survive in an industry where the money is small, do other businesses. For me, with the help of other platforms I have been able to survive, what the platforms need is to know that you have the credibility to pay back.
What is your prayer for your colleagues who are yet to own their own houses?
As a new landlady, it is my desire and dream to see a lot of young people get their own property.
Let’s talk about your Tic Tok videos, what are they all about?
Like I said earlier, the lockdown was nice to me because Tic Tok came along and I was able to start creating a lot of mind-blowing Tic Tok videos that got the attention of a lot of corporate bodies. I started getting a lot of jobs even while we were on lockdown, I was doing a lot of advert videos, promotional videos, and you know that I love to dance, I was promoting the music and videos of a lot of youngsters. I really made a lot of millions.
For some, it has been surgery that has kept them shapely, what is your secret?
I have always been this way. But I did do surgery on my tummy, you know when you have children you also have this extra skin. I hate it, so I did the surgery for my own self-confidence; you know when I’m walking around naked in my house I want to feel sexy, I want to feel good, so I did that. But even if I didn’t do it, I have always been this way. I watch what I eat, I don’t eat much, I exercise a lot, I drink a lot of water. You know when you are a celebrity or in the limelight you have to take care of yourself because a lot of people look up to you, you have fans and when you are not looking good they are worried. Even when you are not happy, you need to look good for some people because your smile gives them courage.
What kind of mum are you?
A very strict one, I am too strict, my children know it. I play with my children, but they know that I can go from zero to a hundred.
Any future plans you would want us to know about?
I will soon be coming out with my own programme where I will talk a lot about my past and my private life because I really don’t do that. And because I really don’t do that, a lot of people don’t understand the things that I do.