Ogun State born Nollywood actress Omowunmi Dada has proven her acting prowess through her craft. The Theater Artist graduate from University of Lagos (UNILAG) has acted in numerous films, soap operas and plays. In this interview with SEYI SOKOYA, she talks about life, career and other matters. fragments:
How did your first AMVCA win as Best Supporting Actress affect your career?
Honestly, I didn’t see this coming at all, given the other beautiful contenders in that category. This victory is only an indication that one day; your talent will pay off. I’ve learned to never give up, even though there were times when I thought, What’s the essence of coming out as the best graduating student in my class? My best is yet to come and the industry better look out for more promising jobs from me. It’s a welcome development and I don’t take it for granted. The award has put a feather in my cap and I believe this will go a long way.
You are a lover of traditional movies, how much do you think it reflects the image of Nigeria, knowing that our image is not well represented worldwide?
Day by day, every step is important to renew the image of the Nigerian people. We have our skills to do this. I feel that art and culture, film or music is a ministry for human emancipation, for telling stories and for changing the story. We do it one day at a time and we will get better. I just feel that the most important thing is that it starts with you and I being focused on the things we do every day.
How did you discover your passion for acting?
I have always been passionate about art. I’ve always said that for me it’s not just about talent, it’s a ministry. I’m very passionate about the kind of scripts I take on, the kind of stories I’m a part of. I reject a lot of scripts, but the truth is that if you don’t know where you’re going, everywhere the road will look, but if you know where you’re going, from the beginning of your career, you channel your path and your are very aware of it. Sometimes it seems like ‘what are you doing’, but if you have a bigger picture in mind, you will certainly get there. Nothing good comes easy.
What factor would make you reject a script?
If I don’t believe in the story, if I don’t like the script itself and don’t believe in what it preaches, then I’ll turn it down. This isn’t a shadow for a producer or director, but I know we’re getting better every day and telling better stories.
What about financially?
It is talent, career, passion but it is also a profession. You also have to make money with it. If the money isn’t good, but I believe in the story, I’ll take it because sometimes money isn’t everything. It is more important to leave your name in the right sands of the times.
What do you stand for as a leading brand in the industry?
I stand for professionalism, quality, discipline, integrity and consistency, because at any time; keep working because nobody wants to work with a lazy actor.
Is nudity a no go area for you?
It depends on how the nudity is created. You can create nudity in a very creative way and it will be done tastefully; also what is the essence of that nudity? Again, it’s not like I want to show my body, for example, you want to play a scene with a rape victim, there’s no way it would be played and the dress won’t be ripped. Well, it really isn’t a bad thing to be naked.
What is your advice for the young person?
Never forget what you are made of, life would be hard, but you need to find inner strength to carry on. Everything you need to make it in life is in you and God’s hands; it is deposited by God. It’s okay to be you but know one thing you’re destined to be great and you’ll be great and no one will do or say anything that’ll drag you back and I’ll just whisper that to her, Omowunmi Dada knows just that you are a star and you are going to change the world.
Think it’s hard work that paved the way for you?
This I always say that whatever you do, always try your best because sometimes it only takes one scene before someone notices your good job for reference in projects you can never imagine in your life. Your success is in the hands of God and yours.
How would you describe the days when you went auditioning?
I can’t rule that out of my life anyway, because that’s part of the build-up for me too. You cannot become a star overnight; I enjoy the process because it makes me more professional and diligent as it will motivate me even more to always give my best in every moment.
Which movie do you think has put you in the spotlight?
For me, the first time I was on TV as a host in a Nigeria Reality show for children was in 2008, but my first movie was an epic movie, titled ‘Oya’. I’ve been in countless movies and soap operas but the truth is that so many people don’t know me yet and that’s why I have to constantly try my best in case someone comes across me and likes who this person is, but honestly I can’t choose it exactly one out. But for every job I’ve done, I feel so honored to do them all.
What do you prefer doing, TV presenting or acting?
For me I am an all-round actress; I can do either of the two perfectly.
Is there this belief that those who study theater arts are better role performers than those who have just started acting?
Either way, one thing is definitely constant, which is training, because whatever you have to do as an actor; you can’t run away from a workout because you can’t just wake up and indulge in something you weren’t trained for. There is talent in every profession and you have to be well trained before the job can be done well. We have a lot of people who have done Theater art in school and things are going well in the bank hall now. For someone like me, my passion is the key. If I’m home and not working or not on set, I won’t be happy inside.
Don’t you think marriage can keep you from acting?
No. Even marriage can’t stop me from acting, because I want to be old with all my gray hair, because this is what I was born for. It gives 100 percent fulfillment.
As an actor, what do you consider to be the most challenging role you’ve ever played?
I will say when I acted in the movie entitled ‘Moremi’, in which I played the role of a boxer. For me to be able to fulfill the role; I had to train as a boxer for two months. I also just finished a project with Ebonylife; there too I had to go to great lengths to research the part and when we sometimes ago had the private screening and I saw a lot of people crying I was so happy with what I was doing for myself with the part I was playing. For me as a brand, I don’t shy away from challenges and hard work.
In the cause of building your acting brand; what are some of the challenges you have encountered?
The first challenge I had as an actress was my stature. Back then, when I attended auditions, people would usually say to me, “Oh, you’re very good and quite talented, but unfortunately you’re short in stature.” I used to be very thin and am still not tall, so my small stature was a challenge. Even the color of my skin was another big challenge. Sometimes people would tell me that I have dark skin and that they want a light-skinned person for a certain role, but I’m very happy that filmmakers are now looking beyond the skin color of actors and the emphasis is now on talents and what can bring to the table. It is now about what you have in you, your level of discipline and your profession. Those were some of the things I had to deal with and I overcame them. Of course I like challenges and I like to play characters that I can challenge myself with. I don’t like to play in movies with boring characters. The further I am from a character, the more excited I am to take on challenges.
What dream role are you looking forward to acting?
There are many dream roles, but the most important for me right now is getting an action role in a Hollywood movie.
How will you define your style?
I would say comfortable, stylish and edgy.
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