interviewBy Adie Vanessa Offiong and Blessing Omogani
Omolola Yetunde Shokeye, aka Pee Lola, has been singing for eight years and is also a known face in Nollywood. She has starred in over ten movies in lead and sub-lead roles including epic movies 'Inale' alongside Hakeem Kazeem and 'Black Gold' directed by Jeta Amata. Currently doing her national service as a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member, Omolola spoke on her venture into Nollywood and the possibility of maintaining a 9-5 job.
What's your academic background?
I studied finance as a major and economics as minor.
How do you manage entertainment, finance and economics?
I put economics and finance at the back seat. They have been there for the past six years. It is only now that I am serving I want to bring back my finance and economics background. I want to get into the labour market and I know I'll need them.
What happens to acting?
Acting is still there, it is just to make extra money.
How rewarding has Nollywood been to you?
It could be, at times. But there are some other times that it is not really that rewarding. Looking at it, as a singer and as an actress. Though music takes money in terms of promotion and a lot of things. So when I do get money from either acting or music I feel myself sinking back into the entertainment industry what it has given me and that is not really working too well for me because in all quest I'm a lady and I need extra money.
So anyway that I can make that extra money, I am up for it. I'm signed on doing music, and I'm so signed on acting. But for now, I just want to work.
Which movies are you working on?
A couple of new ones that I don't know the names. You know, you don't really know the names until they come out.
Why is that?
I don't know, but you don't know the names until they come out or even if you do know the names, after a while there might be changes.
But my past movies I was on 'Inale' a Jeta Amata movie, 'Black gold', 'When the heart lies', 'Blood on irons', 'Evil fingers' and 'Wind of love' to mention a few.
I believe all the movies you've mentioned deal with different issues, how did you find/define yourself in those issues each one discussed?
Once I read the script, I start thinking on how best I can get into that role, and then I start bringing experiences that can help me.
Real life experiences and if I haven't experienced it, I think of somebody who has. That can help me get into character and get into that role. Like 'Inale', I heard the story/tale and somehow I just pictured myself as this person. I played the role as Inale's sister in the movie.
'Inale' is an epic, how easy was it for you to get in character?
The story had to do with a slave (my role) that killed her sister. She had to be the one suffering. So I just put myself in character. For example, if I do have a sister what will happen if she was killed? I just started thinking about it and before I knew it I ended up getting myself into character.
Which of them as been the most challenging has for you?
I will say that is when I just started acting and that has to be 'Evil finger'. It was challenging for me because I was new, and I didn't know what I was doing and it was like 'what is this'? And I had to act like I was eager because you cannot show that you are frightened. So I just had to act like I knew what I was doing and I didn't really know what I was doing. That was the most challenging for me.
Who have you had the most fun working with?
I had the most fun on Jeta Amata's set; the set in general because it was more organized than any other set that I have been on.
It was a very diverse set that had all kinds of people were there and it wasn't like a purely Igbo set or purely Yoruba set. It was really a diverse set and not just Nigerians, foreigners too. But it was wonderful.
How were you discovered?
I went to an award that they were having for Nigerian actors and actresses in the US. So when I got in there I met Lancelot Imasuen. I told him that I want to be an actress and I gave him my head shoot and I said I really want to be an actress. So he said okay when you come to Nigeria we will talk.
The following year I came to Nigeria and somehow he still didn't get me the role. Somehow we met one of the marketers who now gave me breakthrough 'Evil finger'. That is my first movie.
So that was how I was discovered and somehow when I went to Lagos I was just going and I bumped in Mr. Imasuen.
He was like what are you doing here in Lagos? And I said I am here for my album and he said, is like you need to go for an audition. I went for the audition and I got the role.
What about your music, how did that start for you?
I started music as an R&B singer and got into Pop music. Music is more of my experiences, and also I feel good doing music. Some of the time and lately I've been kind of taking it easy because of my NYSC, I didn't really want music to interfere with what am doing. So I kind of took a step back just to complete this year's service. I've kind of been under cover a beat for just six years.