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Details Of My First Marriage Not Dirty-Iyabo Ojo

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Iyabo Ojo

Actress, Iyabo Ojo needs no introduction in the movie industry. In this interview with our reporter, she talks about her movies, man and marriage.
One of the major criticisms Nigerian producers have suffered is that they don’t up their game, what is your take on this?
Nigerian movie producers don’t do stunts. We are not stunt people, we are culture people, we tell our story and we are trying to do it right. We also put a lot of glamour because you will be left out if you don’t follow the trend. A lot of technical advancement has come into the industry and you need to use these things to actualise what you are trying to say.

Doesn’t thinking out of the box come into play?
It does and that is one of the reasons why you will give someone like Kunle Afolayan kudos. There are a lot of producers that are doing it right out there, but not everyone has the opportunity of brands supporting what they are doing like Kunle. The few people who have been able to do it well definitely have thought out of the box. It takes that for you to put out a good movie.

What is your impression of Kunle Afolayan’s latest movie CEO?
I love the title because it gives the opportunity to say “I am a CEO.” It is for the accomplished minds though. I am craving to see it. I will be there at the premiere and definitely I won’t be disappointed. Kunle keeps going higher and higher. He is doing it well representing Nigeria.
Emeka Ike has been quoted as saying that a dunce can make a good movie if given the kind of money Kunle Afolayan has access to, do you agree?
I don’t.
Why don’t you?

Because it takes an intellectual, brilliant and creative mind to make a movie, you can spend a lot of money on a movie and not understand it from start to finish because all you will see is glamour and nothing else. If you give a dunce money you shouldn’t expect anything from him because you have already called him a dunce. What more do you expect from him? He won’t even spend half of the money on the movie. He would probably spend it on other irrelevant things. He would just waste the money, give people money to shoot nonsense, but Kunle knows his onions. He knows what camera to use; he knows the kind of lightning, the cast and crew he wants on his set and all these things don’t come cheap. All these things come with the package and a dunce won’t know this. He won’t even know where to start. If you give money to a dunce, I am sure that Emeka will bring his camera and the guy will say I am shooting and he will reply continue.

What plans do you have for your production outfit?
Beyond Disability just came out on DVD. I have been trying to release Black Vow, but the market is really not that good right now. I just marketed and distributed my own movie Beyond Disability myself, so I can tell you categorically that the market is not really doing fine. But I am trying see if I can release Black Vow because the show must go on. I have another movie Ishino (Astray) it’s a Yoruba movie, where I featured music Sean Tizzle and Odunlade Adekola. That is going to be coming out soon because we are working on it presently.

When are you going to produce a movie based on your story?

I have said to myself that I am going to tell my story; I am going to write a book about myself, my story and about my fame. I initially said 40, but I will be that very soon. So, I am not going to say when I am 40 right now because you have to be mentally ready to tell the truth. You are not going to take side with yourself; you have to be honest if you want people to really learn from it.

You had it rough with marriage earlier in life, but you have made the best of it; will you pass this road if you reincarnate?
I might want to live this same life, but take my time before getting married.
Is it dirty?

Not dirty. I won’t say it’s dirty, but it’s something I have to sit and talk about with my children and see if they agree with it, if they allow it because my kids are also going to be involved in it. I need to know if they are ready to accept it. They have to know if I am going 100 percent or 80 percent. So, it is something that we have to talk about. My story is a lesson for so many mothers out there, so many women who are in marriage, for those who are depressed, who are not getting it right, so many single mothers who don’t even know how to start because I know and I have always been a very strong person. Ever since I was young I have always said I do not accept defeat, I do not accept failure, I fear nobody, but I respect people who I have to respect. That has kept me going on. I can tell you the story of how I had my son. It was so emotional, but not as emotional as when I had my daughter. These are stories that when I tell people they will ask really, how did you survive? So, it’s going to take a whole lot for me to tell the story. I will have to sit down with my family and have a proper discussion with them. Then, maybe when I am about 45 or 50 year-old I will be able to write the story and tell it, but I pray that I do it before I die. I really need to do it.

Have you ever had to pitch your kids against their father due to experiences from your marriage?
When I was growing up I didn’t know my mother because she had left. I don’t think I have ever told anyone this. I was about 9 or 10 years before I knew who my mum was. I didn’t even understand the meaning of mum, even after knowing my mum I still couldn’t relate. I was so much into my dad. When it happened to me I told myself that I don’t want my children to grow up that way. I want them to grow up having a balanced life. Even though I am going to play the role of a father and a mother to them I still want them to have a dad in their life. So that when they sit down and their peers are talking about both parents they can feel good. I don’t want my kids growing up feeling intimidated, not having courage. I said to myself I made the decision to have the first child, I made the decision to have the second even though I didn’t want to. It was my decision and it is mine to deal with. I don’t like when parent especially single mums bring in the hatred or whatever situation they have with their ex-husband or Baby Papa to the kids. It is not their issue, whatever issue you have with the man deal with it. I have had my Baby Papa calling me to say “I am calling Priscilla, but she is not picking my call” and I ask her why and she says I am fighting with my Daddy. I love it when I see my kids relate with their father. It gives them that sense of belonging that their dad is there. That way their life is balanced and they don’t feel I don’t have a dad. He has been part of their life since when they were young.
A lot of people would say that you ought to have remarried since your first marriage ended. Why the delay or have you done it secretly?
I am not going to marry secretly. If I am going to get married the whole world will know. I might not do a big and elaborate wedding, but even if I get married secretly I will still come out in the open and say I am married. I am happy the way I am. The man I am with now is a man who respects me. He also understands what I do. I am not someone who is against marriage and at the same time I am not into marriage. If I never get married I am an accomplished woman, I am a fulfilled woman. I am happy because I have a man. It is not as if I don’t have a man in my life. If eventually I get married to somebody else or to him fine, if it comes. I am a very slow and steady person. In my young age when I got married I rushed into everything and it took me a lot to understand that you don’t rush into life. If marriage comes along tomorrow fine, if it doesn’t come fine, as long as I am happy, good, as long as my kids are doing well, my business is doing well and I am sexy because a lot of marriages that have happened after mine have packed up. I am not desperate at all. In fact, I am not even searching. I have a man that I love and I am contented with.
Will you tell us about him?

I love him and I am contented with him. I don’t mention his name, I don’t talk about him, but he knows himself and he knows that I love him.

A lot of actresses have started businesses that have packed up; what has sustained yours?

First, before I go into any business I always do my feasibility study. I always want to understand what the business is all about before venturing into it. When you do that, you will understand the business itself and how you can sustain it before you start, that will keep you going. Sometimes there are going to be low periods in the business when you don’t make sales, but you also need to do a lot of marketing and advertising, that will keep you going. When you have staff who are professionals in their fields, it keeps the customers coming back.


Can you run us into your antecedents as a business woman?

I opened my first Supermarket when I was 21. My first boutique was opened in 2003. I have been doing the boutique business for a while. My saloon business was started in 2005. I have been running both together for a while before I decided to go into proper beauty and skin treatment. Rome was not built in a day; when I was running the boutique I have always wanted to expand and go beyond where I was. By studying and doing my research I got to know that there are other things that I could incorporate into my business like having a spa. For someone like me who a lot of people walk up to and say “they say you have seven colours, but your skin is so fresh and you don’t have any discolouration, what are you using?”, that made me realise that a lot of people are interested in knowing how to take care of their skin, a lot of people see me looking slim all these years. Sometimes I add a bit of flesh, but I know how to come back to shape. A lot of people wonder ‘how do you do it,’ and I thought all these things are what I can incorporate into my own business and make money out of it, as a business woman. That is the trick.

So you didn’t have the adventure of selling off your car boot?

I didn’t start that way because initially I said to myself I don’t know how to run after people for money. When you do business that way you have to know how to chase people for money. Ever before I started business, I said that I was going to get a shop; I had it done before travelling to get my stuffs. I was doing whole sale and giving people to help sell for sometimes. We do sell on credit bases, but not much. When you do the mobile sales they will ruin your business.

You must have friends in the industry who still buy on credit, do you?

My business presently doesn’t allow that because I have been able to put my feet down and say ‘if you are going to get something then you will have to pay.’ I have friends who buy on credit once in a while because I know that they will never owe me. They come in and take what they like, but maybe because they don’t have enough cash they ask for my account number and I always get my money. I know people that I can do that with and I know those I won’t try it with.
Earlier you made mention of people saying that you have seven skin colours, is this true?
It is crazy the world we are, the entertainment world. People say a lot of things about you. Iyabo Ojo is bleaching, she has four tone colours. Sometimes I look at myself and ask ‘are they really describing me or somebody else.’ I go out at times and when I speak English people say so you can speak English. All these things come, but you just have to learn to understand where everybody is coming from.
Finally, you have sustained a slim and cute figure for years, how have you succeeded at this?
I am blessed and lucky for the kind of stature God has given me. Ever since I was young and I have never said to myself that I want to have the Madam look. A lot of African women have that. I think it is changing now because of trends. A lot of years ago a lot of ladies wanted the Madam look. What I mean by this is that they eat a lot so that they can add up weight, so they can be respected in the society. I have never had that. It has always been I have to look sexy and that is why they call me “IY sexy” because I say it a lot of time. When I see someone looking good I say you look sexy. I use the word sexy a lot because that is my target. When you have that kind of mindset you will want to do everything that will make you remain that way. I believe that looking good and young is good for the business. I try to eat right; I drink a lot of water, I read about food a lot to know what I can take in and what I cannot take in, what I should have a little bit of and what I shouldn’t take a little bit of. You have to study your diet.  People should also learn not to eat at night because it increases your pot belly and such. You also have to be free spirited. I tell people that when you have a lot of negative energy inside of you it ages you. Beauty is always from within.

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