More often than not, women have been discriminated on various fronts and the importance of their wellbeing downplayed in the scheme of things. As we bowed out of the month of March which is specially dedicated to women, Genevieve Magazine’s Jeffrey Oparah sat down with Nollywood’s actor, Bolanle Ninalowo who spoke highly of women. In this interview, he highlighted the importance of women to the world, her participation in politics as well as his journey in the movie industry. He also opened up on his special relationship with his daughter and a few things you probably don’t know about the talented actor. Enjoy it…
We’re going to start on the woman’s note; the theme of this year’s international women’s day celebration is “Press for progress”; do you think women have been denied certain privileges that would warrant the “press for progress”?
Absolutely! I think there is a lot of discrimination against women because of the idea that they’re “women”; automatically coming with a stigma that women are supposed to be this way and are not supposed to do certain things men do. But I think that fact is changing and I think it’s something people need to talk more about and collectively we need to put our women where they ought to be because without them, we won’t be here. So I think they’ve been segregated and discriminated a lot.
Would you encourage more women to get involved in politics?
Of course. Absolutely! Maybe that’s what we need. We have failed over and over again, so maybe if the women get the chance to do that and you know women are more emotional, they’re more truthful. We’ve never carried babies in our stomach, they have, they know the pain; so when they see people suffer, I think they can connect to suffering more than we men can because they have endured the pain to being men to life. So, I think that’s what we need for a change and until we try that, we wouldn’t know. So I’m hoping for a woman president someday in this country.
How do you handle the perks and downfall that comes with being an actor?
First and first, I put God first in everything I do and I try to stay as positive as I can in every situation. I believe everything that happens to me is meant to be, I don’t believe in coincidence. So whatever happens to me, I always think about the positive effects of that situation. So for me, I always look at the silver lining between things.
We’re aware you have a beautiful daughter whom you always celebrate on social media, could you tell us about her ?
That’s Aaliyah. That’s my daughter, that’s my first child, I have two a girl and a boy. She just made 12 years old. As everybody knows, that’s my everything, that’s my heart, that’s my life. She’s important in everything that has happened to me in my life as a person, so I carry her along in everything I do, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
So where is she?
She’s in Atlanta. She lives with their mom in Atlanta.
Thinking about your career till date, what has been your greatest accomplishment as an actor?
My greatest accomplishment as an actor is being able to impact lives. Do you know what it feels like when people want to be like you? I’m equally human, I can’t remember calling anybody to say I want to be like them; for people to say that, that’s a great privilege for me and that’s an accomplishment which means I’ve done something right. People want to emulate success, they idolize people that are successful. So I believe that my daily activities,my rituals,my character are the things that create the impact in peoples lives. Hence, you see a nature of that in my acting. For every role that we play, there is something that an actor brings to that role that exists in that actor.
From a professional point of view, what do you feel is your greatest weakness or strength?
From a professional point, my greatest strength is “character”. Talent without character is a failure, it’s a tragedy. Talent is never enough for me. When people ask me how I’ve been able to achieve the things I’ve done in four years (I’ve been in Nollywood for four years); seeing all my achievement and accomplishment, first of all it’s God’s grace, I tie everything to grace. But when we speak professionally which is typical, determination, discipline. I have zero limits to perseverance. There are no failures to me there are only results. My positivity is what I’ve gotten me here. So for me, my character, my ritual, my habits is what I’ve gotten me here not the talent itself. Those things have allowed the people to see my talent. In terms of weaknesses, I think the only weakness I have is my heart. People that know me say I have a heart to die for. One thing they know about me is that like to see another man suffer.
The movie Picture Perfect was one that catapulted you into the limelight, although you were involved in Rok tv’s Husbands of Lagos and a couple of other productions; how did you immerse yourself into that character of being a Lagos tout despite your strong foreign affiliations?
First I thank God for grace. The reason we’re speaking about this is because of God’s grace on that work. I had an interview and I was asked what I thought RMD and Ramsey Nouah had done right for them to still be here today and relevant; and my only answer was “grace”. Gods grace on what you do is what shines your light. I became a bus conductor for two weeks before I shot “picture perfect”. I knew that if I wasn’t gonna change or add to this industry, then I’m wasting my time. I can’t be the finest boy, I can’t have the finest body and If I did, someone else will come. The only way they will not be able to take me out of the game is the impact that I’ve made. I’ve never seen a man impact an industry and his name gets wiped off. I got the script of picture perfect and they were laughing and saying “can Nino so this”? Before picture perfect I had already broken into the industry, picture perfect was my breakout!
Are you anything like the role you play in the movies?
Every character that I’ve played I’ve actually lived the life before or there’s a possibility that I can live that life. When I shot “Husbands of Lagos”, I didn’t really understand what acting was, I didn’t even know what I had gotten into. The only thing that got me in there was the passion to excel in Nigeria. Whatever it was, I’m not out there for perfection, I’m out there to learn, do what I know how to do now and what I know how to do better I’ll do better.
Blonde or brunette?
Mouth odour or body odour?
Neither (laughs). Oh! I’ll have to choose one. Mouth odour. Because I can just get you a good toothpaste or something but body odour, I don’t know what to get for that.
What will you not be caught doing?
I’ll never be caught stealing and I’ll never be caught making someone else feel sad.
Day you will never forget?
The day my daughter was born.
The proudest moment of my life was the day my daughter said “daddy I believe in you”. You know, the reality that I was going to be separated from their mom, and with tears in my eyes I was still trying to plead with their mom so we could work things out, but she just wouldn’t give me an ear. Then I went into the bathroom and was crying and my daughter put her head on my head and said “daddy I believe in you”. My daughter was what you saw in picture perfect. There were some moments in the movie that connected to the fans a lot. If you’ve seen the film, there’s a part Jobe came, always tried to be a part of the daughter’s life, was emotional at a point; Aaliyah was who did that for me. So I owe all my success to my daughter, if that girl wasn’t there, I won’t have all the equipment for picture perfect. I think she made it work for me.
That you so much Bolanle for speaking to us.
Thank you! Thank you!