interviewBy John Iwori
Omoli Oboli is one actress with a difference in all ramifications. She remains one of the few Nollywood actresses today whose marriages are intact. In this interview with Chinyere Okoye, she speaks about her passion for film making
Recently, you celebrated 12 years of marriage. How were you able to keep your marriage up till now?
Well, I feel great celebrating 12 years of marriage. It's amazing but it seems just like yesterday that we got married. It doesn't feel like 12 years has come and gone. I am so thankful to God for 12 beautiful years. I have been happy, fulfilled and above all, there's so much love in my home. My husband and I are best friends and we put Jesus in the mix. He is with us in the marriage and a three-fold cord cannot be easily broken! We don't keep malice with each other, no matter what; we always try to sort out our differences even if we have to agree to disagree, that's the secret. God is part of my marriage so it's not just Nnamdi and I, it's Nnamdi, I and Christ, so with three of us in a marriage, we find a way to make it work.
How do you combine the responsibilities of being a wife, mum and your career as an actress?
It's just the same way the woman selling tomatoes in the market combines that with being a mum and a wife. As women, we are built to multi-tasks; so the fact that you're an actress doesn't mean that you are going to allow your marriage or your kids to suffer. You still have to do what every mum should do.
You have to find time to actually be with them and spend quality time with them. I am an actress but I still find time to be with my children, to bake with them, to cook with them, play with them and find time to be with my husband and be a proper wife to him and not a celebrity wife.
Does your marriage and obligation to your husband affect the kind of roles you choose in any way?
No, it doesn't and I'm not open to any role at the same time. I pick the roles that call out to me. My marriage doesn't affect the roles that I pick, but I don't pick just any role. I think my faith plays a role as well.
What else do you do apart from acting, being a mum and a wife?
I run an NGO, The Omoni Oboli Foundation. It's an NGO that was set up to cater for under-privileged women and children.
You have been sighted at several events with your husband, is he your manager or what?
He is my manager but he is also my friend and that is why we go out together because really when you are going out, you would want your friend to be with you.
Being that your children are boys, do they sometimes wear you out?
My kids are pretty well behaved to be honest. My husband is a very good disciplinarian so he's managed to straighten them out. My house is not a mad house. They are very boisterous but not destructive.
Are you planning on having more kids?
No, thank you.
Who is Omoni Oboli aside screen diva?
I am just a home girl. I am pretty much like the girl next door. I have a big heart. To be honest, my personality outside is the same as my personality inside. I don't put on any airs or whatever, I am just who I am. I don't even have the energy to try to be anything else.
Would you call yourself a very fashionable person?
It depends on what you mean by fashionable. I wear what I am comfortable in, I wear what makes me happy. Someone might think it's not fashionable but if I'm comfortable, if it makes me happy and if I look good in my eyes, then it's fine.
What are your most interesting fashion pieces?
My bags. I like bags.
How many movies have you featured?
A little more than 20. Some of them are Sweet Tomorrow, Bent Arrows, Behind The Smile, Guilty Pleasures, Anchor Baby and The Figurine.
What do you look out for before accepting a movie role?
I look at the story first of all, the story has to be captivating. And then I look at the style of writing. It has to be intelligent. The role has to be memorable.
What were you doing professionally in the United Kingdom?
I was mostly a stay-at-home mum. That was the period when I was having my kids so I was mostly a home maker.
A 10-year break, did you not feel like you forget how to act?
Actors are born, that is what I believe. You don't forget who you are. If it's inside you, it's not going to go anywhere. You just need to do something and then it comes out again.
How easy or difficult was it for you to return to Nollywood after the break?
It definitely wasn't easy. If I sit down here and tell you it was easy then I would be lying. You don't leave something for ten years and expect to just pick up where you left off. By the time I came back, most people didn't even remember who I was. So many people had come and gone.
A lot of the producers I'd worked with before then were not doing as many movies any more. I met Lancelot Imasuen because I had done a movie with him before. He was like "Where have you been? Your mates that started with you are big stars now. Why did you have to go?" But anyway, he introduced me to Emem Isong and I did a couple of movies with her. That was the beginning of everything.
Tell me about your journey into acting?
When I was in my first year in University of Benin, one of my friends came to Lagos and met some movie producers.
I have always loved acting; bing part of school plays and church plays, so I was interested because it was something I really liked to do.
So I came with them to Lagos and I got two minor roles and two lead roles in some movies. By the time I was in my second year in the University, it became too much to juggle both of them.
How did you come about being a script writer?
Again, it's the passion. And with all things we have passion for, when we develop it, it can become a career or a source of income.
But I didn't go to any school to learn how to write scripts. Even though when I went to New York Film Academy in 2010, I went to study Digital Film Making, but we had courses in Script Writing, Editing and almost every aspect of film making.