Funke Adeshiyan may not cut the picture of one of those actors and actresses whose faces are frequently seen on the jackets of newly released movies, but the fact remains that she can’t be denied her place among the front liners in the make-belief world. Although she has a number of movies to her credit, her larger than life image is another factor that gets her attracted to the society. She is one of those thespians who have diversified and are trying their hands in partisan politics. The Oyo State-born actress is a former aspirant for the Oyo State House of Assembly. In this interview with WOLE ADEPOJU, the amiable and talented actress speaks on sundry issues, including why she’s not desperate about marriage. Excerpts:
Could you take us down memory lane on how exactly you came into acting?
Probably I have been acting since I was in my mother’s womb, I don’t know (laughs). I grew up acting. There is a game we played when we were younger, when we were children. You play mummy, I play daddy and all of that and while I was in Primary school till the secondary school, I was in the drama group. We actually had a group in secondary school, we took plays to other schools and people paid to watch. So, acting, for me, started on a professional level when I was in secondary school. I also studied Theatre Art; maybe that gave me a little credibility in the industry.
As I’ve always said and believed, marriage is not a must for me. Everybody wants to get married, but everybody is not meant to be married. There are people who are not meant to be married by nature and if you force yourself because your brother or sister is married, you’ll discover that you’ll opt out in a few months and get divorced
When did you make it a more serious thing?
I think that started with my movie which I shot in 2007. I wrote the story and produced it. That was my first major production.
Some were attracted into the industry because of fame, money and so on. What would you say was your own attraction?
If you ask those who know me very well, they will tell you I am a very playful person. Whatever I do in life, I catch fun along the way. I think I came to the industry to have fun. I just wanted to produce, I had this fantastic story and I wanted to tell the story. Maybe it’s funny, I did not play the major role in the movie and I was the one producing the movie. I just wanted to tell the story I had. So, I just live my life. If I choose to, I walk on the street. The day I decided to ride on a BRT bus, I have fun and all that. So, I don’t believe in money because a pauper in the morning could be rich at night. Money is just a means to an end; not an end in itself. For me, happiness is an end. So, whatever I do, I try to be happy. And I also think fame just came, I never wanted to be famous. I think people saw through me, a lot of fans saw through me. They saw how I interpreted roles and they felt she’s an actress.
You seldom appear in movies. What is the reason behind this?
Maybe you guys (journalists) are in love with me that you notice I seldom appear in movies (laughs). What is your description of a good actress? Is it about how many movies you appear in? One of the people I like in the industry is Aunty Tina Mba. Her interpretation is impeccable and you do not see her everywhere. Another person like that is Aunty Joke Muyiwa. She does not act every day. To me, acting is more of a hobby than a job. I act when I feel like, I do not allow people to push me around. If I do not fit a role I am being offered, I say sorry I do not fit that role. I am not an everyday actress, I have never wanted to be a face on every movie jacket, I don’t want to do that; I just want to be remembered for being good at what I do.
What has your popularity taken away from you?
I try to have my normal life. I try to remain myself and I try not to let my freedom to be taken away from me. If I feel like eating Amala at a buka, I walk in and I eat. One million people could stare at me, but that is what I want to do. If I feel like buying roasted corn on the roadside, I park and buy. I try as much as possible not to let fame get into my head and I try to have a normal act.
Marriage does not seem to be on your table?
Like I have always said and believed, marriage is not a must for me. Everybody wants to get married but everybody is not meant to be married. There are people who are not meant to be married by nature and if you force yourself because your brother or sister is married, you’ll discover that you’ll opt out in few months and get divorced. Why did you get married in the first place, knowing you are not meant to be married? So, firstly, I think you should understand your nature. I wouldn’t say expect marriage by next week or next year. What is the most important is finding a great person. You could fall in love with the person, but it’s about finding someone that you are compatible with, someone you could cohabit together, you could stay together and be happy together.
How do you cope with attention from men?
You cannot stop men from coming after you. I don’t insult or be rude to them. To those of them I could make to understand, I tell them the best we could be is friends.
What was growing up was like for you?
Growing up for me was fun because I wanted to do anything and I think it’s still telling on me. I don’t like to be docile. I was a tomboy, I was a footballer and I was a dancer. I was everything. I did not see any limitation to whatever I wanted to achieve.
Are you ever conscious that you are a role model of some kind?
What I tell people and what I do is, just try to be yourself. A lot of people pretend to be what and who they are not just because they don’t want one person to feel bad about them. Some people somewhere will appreciate you for being who you are; don’t try to be anybody’s role model.
Your name has been mentioned in a couple of controversial matters. Do you enjoyed being talked about in that light?
I think a lot of journalists are in love with me (laughs) and I think you cannot dictate the tone in which you are being written about. So, some who are not journalists but mere writers do all stuff. I could remember a lazy journalist published something I never said. She never interviewed me. So, you can imagine that. In that case, how many people would know what actually happened; that she never spoke with me?