Ace Yoruba Actress and Producer Dayo Amusa is a feisty and daring lady given to innovation; a combination of traits that has exposed her countless scandals. In this interview with out correspondent, FRANCIS OGBONNA, she opens up on her life; relationship and her career both as an actress and producer. Excerpts…
Can we meet you?
My name is Dayo Amusa; I am an actress and a film maker. I am the first child of my family of five and a graduate of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic.
You juts premiered a new film, “Unforgivable”, why the tag “Unforgiveable, is there any story around it?
Yeah,” Unforgiveable” addresses a common societal ill. The story centers majorly on domestic violence and what you call spousal abuse. We all know that domestic violence is so rampant in the society today, so the film (“Unforgivable”) is just thought of a way of campaigning about it.
Have you been a victim of domestic violence?
Not really, it’s just that I have seen people around me fall victim of it and have even read a lot about it. I have seen documentaries about women being abused.
What number does “Unforgivable” bring the number of films you have done to as a producer?
Unforgivable is my 8th film as a producer.
When did acting start for you?
It started sometime in June 2002.
Has acting always been a part of you or something you just stumbled on by chance?
It is something that I have always wanted to do, it was just that I wasn’t given chance to get into it when I wanted to. My parents didn’t want me to act, my mum for one was someone who believed a lot in Academics and doing professional jobs, she was really not taken into acting as a profession and believed I was intelligent enough to study any course I wanted than being in showbiz. So she didn’t really agree until my Uncle intervened. Somehow he was able to convince her on my behalf, telling her that I should be allowed to do whatever I wanted to do and shouldn’t be forced into a line of career that I didn’t want to and to God be the glory, here I am today.
How many films have you played a role in a whole?
Wow! I have actually lost count…
You don’t remember? Ok which one of them would you say gave you your break or if you like, brought you to limelight?
That was “Aje Ogbodo” that I produced in 2006. It was a film about lesbianism and HIV/AIDS. It was actually a message for women out there that being a Lesbian doe not rule out the fact that one could contract HIV/AIDS.
What were the people’s reactions to it?
People had a lot ton learn from it, despite the fact that some people felt that for me to be able to pull that through (that is produce an all female cast movie that had to do with Lesbianism) meant that I was a Lesbian too, but I was able to ultimately make them understand that I was an actress/producer just trying to pass a message across and that there was no way I could be part of a thing and still be preaching against it.
Now, let me ask this, every profession has it’s up and down, have you had bad moments as an actress? Or better put, do you have regrets?
Oh well, I don’t have any regrets so far being an actress. The only negative effects that I have so far is the fact that people tend to expect too much from one, forgetting that you are also human and liable to make mistakes therefore. You can not be perfect! A lot of people, majority of them not familiar with the kind of person you are, just take only the stuff they read in the papers as your true person. They really haven’t had any personal encounter with you and yet they judge you from just hear say. People publish so condemning stories forgetting that they are humans as well and liable to make mistakes as well. Sincerely I don’t even think that they even have a better life than we do. It is kind of annoying because, no one is perfect. Everyone in life happens to have something that is some kind of flaw, some have even dirtier secrets and yet they sit down and criticize because their flaws are no glaring. Thankfully, those things don’t bother me any more; I am really less concerned about them. Most of these criticisms are due to journalists or bloggers who write things that they are not sure of. I understand that as Journalist that they must churn out stories and report to their Editors so they could be paid, but it is an act of unprofessionalism for someone to cook up a story or just hear a gist without making proper founding and you go ahead and publish. At least you should be 50% sure of your information before you go to the press. I am sorry to say, but that is the reason why some journalist rise quickly and then fade away.
From our discussion so far, it is obvious that like some artistes you have had your fare share of scandals, which according to you may be true or false. May be we should take that as a cue and have you address some recent scandals you have had, like the K1 and you being lovers?
Oh that one? It came up when I wanted to premier “Dewunmi Iberu”. The real story is not hidden to those close to me. As a matter of fact, I originally had Ayefele in mind, because I wanted it to be some kind of Christian programme, but during planning, I was discussing with my PA and a friend, and my friend about what shape the premier should take and my friend suggested that why don’t we use K1 instead and I said wow, that would be good. I had his contact, because we had met somewhere before, some years back, so I put a call through and told him what I had in mind and he was so supportive of my plan, though he knew that I could pay his bill. He then told me what to do and that I did, so forever I will be grateful to him for that. Now because people couldn’t believe the fact that K1 will ever want to play in a premier, since it wasn’t his practice; infact he had never played in any before made them conclude that since she can’t pay K1 then something must be going on between the two of them. That was how people started spreading that rumour about me being in a relationship with him. But I am grateful that he helps, I see in him a good father and he sees a good daughter in me.
What about the story about you being caught in the act, you know, the sex tape or picture thing?
That was a location picture that was shot on set and it was not even a love making scene, but that of domestic violence. You see, sometime I really wonder how they journalist write their headlines, it was a location pictures and in that scene I was being battered and that was how they came up with that story….but like I said, I don’t really care what they cast.
It looks like you have developed thick skin over time?
Of course, initially during my early years in the industry, when they write such stories about me, I used to complain, but now I know what most of them do is just to exaggerate so they can get a better story and be paid or probably get promotions at the end of the day, but what I am saying is that writing stories are not the issues, but try and least make proper findings, then this phrase “behind every smoke there is fire” can be applicable. You know how some journalist gets stories? They just attend functions and there they find maybe a group of people talking about an artist and they tell themselves, “I don get story”. That’s not fare! Now look, I have been on set since 3 am and all of this we do just to make people happy, so the least they could do is just show a little support.
Don’t you think that some times it might just be because they are concerned?
I don’t think so, for example, a lot of people have been talking about my weight. They keep saying “Dayo you need to loose weight”. Funny enough some of these people asking me to loose are plus size themselves and yet they say “Dayo is too fat”, do they expect everyone in the world to be slim? I didn’t create myself and being fat is not always about what you eat. I have seen people who overeat and still are not fat. It is not food sometime but nature.
Let me ask you this question, you were also quoted somewhere as saying “No Man is bold enough to propose to you”, how true is that?
That wasn’t what I said. I had an interview sometime ago with one journalist and he asked me why I wasn’t married yet, so I told him, that if I happen to get the right man that I will get married and then he asked what exactly did I mean? And then I said, there are some men who may be interested in me but because of my status or position in the society or what I do, may not be bold enough to walk up to me and the next thing I saw was this headline “No man id bold enough to approach me”. It is annoying. I think these people are poorly trained that’s why they write such headlines…must I disclose who I am dating? What if I am already married, but prefer to keep that aspect of my life secret?
Are you saying that you are married?
No I’ m not.
But are you in a relationship?
I ain’t gonna answer that.
How do you manage your male fans?
Well it’s very simple. I have a lot of them, because I am a very jovial person and a realist who doesn’t hide her feelings in any way. Somehow, I have this tom-boyish nature, which helps me relate with my male fans and admirers very well.
Do you have some of them insisting that they want to marry you?
(She laughs). Well sometime I am too funny to notice when they are really serious. I always like to present this friendly kind of disposition irrespective of what fans demands from me.
What is your ideal man like?
Let me leave that to myself…
You never know who could be reading this interview?
I don’t need to know! In fact I am not searching; I don’t need application….
Is marriage an immediate or distant plan for you?
It depends; marriage for me is not a do or die affair. Though I believe marriage is honourable before God and man, it is really when you find someone compatible with you; but considering the way things are going right now, even people who are married are trying to opt out of it. So for me I wouldn’t say it is an immediate or distant plan, all I know is that when the right time comes, it has come.
How rich is Dayo?
I am comfortable.
The word “comfortable” is relative, are you super comfortable or averagely comfortable?
Let me just say that I am comfortable enough for a lady of my age; comfortable enough to take care of my needs and comfortable enough to take care of my immediate family.
Where do you see Dayo in the next 5 years?
For me, my achievement has no limitations and I am not God. However, I know that I am not a lazy bone. I am a go-getter. So I don’t like setting long time plans, because what God has in store for me may be bigger that what I have planned for myself. 5 years ago, I didn’t envisage I will be where I am today, so I don’t have to know where I will be in the next five years.
You are good with English language; are articulate as well and have a pretty face to go with it, why do you seem to act more Yoruba films than English?
Well I started out as a Yoruba actress and unfortunately that was during when there was a huge gap between Yoruba and English films, though now it has changed. Today you see artistes from both groups relating very well and even acting together. You see Nollywood has nothing to do with tribe or ethnicity. Nollywood is one big industry. So we should come together and promote this industry.
If you were not an actress what would you have been doing?
If I wasn’t an actress, I would have been a broadcaster or a marketer.
What did you study?
Food Science Technology (FST)…
Food Science Technology?
Yes you see while we were growing up, it was a general believe in my family (My grand dad married ten wives and everyone including grandchildren lived in one big compound) that those who didn’t do sciences were “Olodo” (not intelligent). So if you wanted to be taken serious by my relatives you had to study anything science related. That was what influenced my studying FST and I did very well studying it. In fact, when I did my IT in Cocoa Cola, I had the best result. Si if my mum eventually did not give her consent then, I still would have been successful in FST as a career, because I was very brilliant.
Any last word?
Well I will like to tell my fans, loved ones and supporters out there that I love; appreciate and adore them. For those who don’t appreciate me, I will also like to say that I am sorry and I remain Dayo and don’t intend changing, fat; black; short or yellow paw-paw, I am who I am and the sooner they accept me for who I am the better for all of us, but I love them all the same.
Thank you very much for your time.
You are welcome.