She is one promising and dazzling talent that any producer in search of an actress would want to have on set. Damilola Adegbite started her acting career with Tinsel a M-Net production over five years ago. According to her, acting has been her childhood dream, which explains why she dumped her certificate in Business Administration from Bowen University, for the make-believe world. Dammy believes her certificate is not wasted as she could still use the experience she acquired as a business administrator in a tertiary institution when she owned her business. She spoke with Saturday Sun on her acting career, her life and other things.
How is life as an actress been?
I thank God. I am not doing badly. I am an upcoming artiste. I am not really where I want to be but I’m working towards it. Aside that, we are not doing badly. God has been on our side so far. We are learning everyday as we progress. We are hopeful about the future.
How did you get on Tinsel set?
That was a while ago, five or six years ago. Like every other person, I was auditioned. Then Tinsel was just getting started. There were a lot of auditions around the country and I was one of the last people auditioned. I was auditioned and I got the part.
What is the part you are playing?
I play Telema Duke.
Tell us about the character.
Telema Duke is a young lady, an ex-beauty queen who broke into acting. Telema’s title as a beauty queen was taken away because she was involved in a “sex scandal”. She started building another career for herself as an actress after overcoming her title scandal. There is some sort of controversy because she turned in between two guys, she dated, Soji Bankole for a while and also Kwame Mensah for some time. Both of them were dragging her and she is confused on who to go with. I personally think she loves both of them but in different ways. Telema on Tinsel is being focused on her acting career and achievements.
You interpreted the character more than any actress would do, could we say your character is similar to the role you play?
We do have some similar treat but then again if you started watching Tinsel from the beginning, you will find out that the way she was then is the way she is now. Being that over the years I have become Telema, I have learnt to give her certain kind of image. So, now if you ask me any kind of random question I will tell you what Telema can or cannot do and what she can say or not. It evolved over the years. The movie writer created a personality for her, which is what I am working with every time you see Telema on set. It is not Damilola, its Telema.
What are your aspirations in life?
Like every human being, we all strive to be better in what we do. We all try to build a reputable name for ourselves, improve with our lives and not be content with where we are. I am working on having a few more movies or be involved in a lot more films both in the entertainment industry and out of entertainment industry as well. That’s all I am focusing on for now.
Before going on Tinsel set, have you been involved in acting?
No, not professionally. I went to Queens College, Yaba, Lagos, at the time it was a very social school. Our dramatic club and our social clubs were very vibrant and active. I was in dramatic society then and the Vice President at some point. We were exposed to a lot of professionals, people from the national troupe of Nigeria. So, we had already learned from them and also infuse our knowledge with them as well. From then I was exposed to what proper acting should be. Besides that from secondary school, may be a few things in church and all of that, I was never in anything professional before Tinsel.
Is that what influenced your choice of acting as a career?
Definitely. Right from when I was a kid I had always wanted to be an actress. From my childhood, I was already on the part to be an actress, which explains why I was very active in school.
Can you let us into background?
I am the last of two girls. I don’t like considering myself as the last born. My mum is from Cross River State while my dad is from Oyo State. I was born and brought up in Lagos, but I also schooled in Bowen University in Osun State.
You studied Business Administration in the university, why did you dump the lucrative financial world for the make-believe world (acting)?
I always knew I was going to be an actress. As I would advise any human being that they should try as much as possible not to put all their eggs in one basket, regardless of whatever it is you are doing. Whatever profession you are involved in. So, because Business Administration is a course where you can learn how to manage your own businesses or learn about entrepreneurship, I knew that being an actress someday, I would want to have my own studio, boutique, mall or my own entertainment agency. So, I should have some level of knowledge about what it take to run a business, which was actually my mother’s idea because left to me I would have gone for Theatre Art. One of the reasons I did it also is that as at then Bowen University didn’t have Theatre Arts course but I don’t know of now. I am sure if there is the course, then it could have been a huge struggle between me and my mum because I would probably want to do it but like every mother should, she explained why she wanted me to study the course. Although, at that point I didn’t really understand, I just wanted her to be satisfied by doing the course, but today I am very grateful I gave it a shot. Besides being an actress, I have a degree. If I decide now to change my heart about acting and go to a bank, I can. At least, I still have small hope in the outside world.
If you are not an actress, what would you have been doing?
I will still be in the industry. I will probably be a singer or a writer but I would have loved to be a dancer. In fact, in my next life I will like to be a dancer and all my children must dance. Before they eat they will dance for me. I will start teaching them how to dance from when they can walk because I love dances, I love to watch people dancing. It is a very interesting talent. If you can’t dance, you can’t dance it is not something you go to school to learn.
Can you dance very well?
I won’t say I dance very well. I can’t do street dance or go for a dancing competition but I like to dance.
What are the challenges you are facing as an upcoming actress?
I am grateful to God because I know some people have struggled harder and longer than me but have not had the opportunity to be where I am today. I know it is not by my power, so I am grateful to God because I have not had to suffer like that. Straight from when I got out from school I got Tinsel, though I have gone to a few auditions. In fact, I was on the set of another Soap when I was called for Tinsel. I was dressed up just about to shoot when the call came in. I lied to them that I wanted to ease myself and I was out. I always thank God I have not faced joblessness or disappointments upcoming actresses face. So, I am grateful.
Dumping a set that you are about to shoot for Tinsel means they (M-Net) pay very well?
Of course, Tinsel pays well. I think I weighed the magnitude of where I was and where I wanted to be. Where I was at the time was a local production and I figured that I have two options, that it is either I stay local or go international. So, which would anybody choose? I figured I should go with M-Net.
After Tinsel what next?
I won’t say after Tinsel because I hope Tinsel is not going to end. The vision is to make Tinsel a really long running soap like the like of Egoli, The Bold & Beautiful, you know most of the cast in Bold & Beautiful back then are still in the soap but are now ageing even on the show. That’s what our vision is for Tinsel. So, hopefully, we will still be on the show and maybe doing other things apart.
You featured in Ghanian movie and most of their movies feature semi-nude or acting nude on set, can you act nude on set?
I don’t know what I can or can’t do but it has to depend on where in my life I am at that moment (I mean when I get the offer). As for people that get semi-nude, obviously they feel very comfortable with their body. If someone like me is asked to go semi-nude, I will be visiting the gym everyday. There are many foreign movies that we watch and we enjoy. It really doesn’t matter much as long as at the end of it there is a message being passed as opposed to everyone stripping around naked. Sometimes, it may be required that they go extra mile for you to pass the message. Someone acting as a prostitute is not going to wear jeans and a turtleneck dress; it is not going to make any sense. Sometimes, it requires that as an actress you might have to do that though it depends on your own personal view on it. For me, I don’t know. I think it will depend on where I am or what the movie is about. It depends on a lot of things.
What are the things you are looking at that may prompt you to act it?
As I said, it depends on the motive of the film. If I am supposed to act as a prostitute and it is a script that makes sense to me. Firstly, I am very careful of what I’m involved in because I have a reputation I’m building for myself and I would rather be in few quality movies than in a lot of not very good ones. So, if I get a script that makes sense that I am leading like 6 Hours To Christmas film. When, I was reading the script of the film I haven’t been called for an audition, I was just reading the script and I loved it from the first page and I said to myself I want to be part of this film. It was interesting from the first page.
Are you married?
No, I am not married.
Who is your ideal man?
Jesus Christ. If I could just get Him to come down and marry me, that will be alright.
Do you mean you don’t have anybody you are going out with?
I wouldn’t say yes or no. It is complicated.
If you are in an audition and there is a condition that you will have to have fun with the producer or director before you get a role, what wiould you do?
I will first curse the daylight out of the producer or director, then pack my bags and go to wherever I come from.
What are the pranks you played as a kid?
Actually, I was a very shy kid but some people mistake that for being snobbish. I am this kind of person that would rather sit down and watch people than actually being involved with them. I was a bit of an introvert. I think what could have added to me not playing any prank was that it was just two of us, me and my sister. So, I wasn’t really used to a crowd and I am also very reserved.
What is your most saddest experience?
Like every other human being I think I have my own. Maybe my most recent would be the demise of my father. It was a huge shock and very unexpected- it was different from may be he was ill for a while and you are expecting his death. It was very sudden. He just slept and didn’t wake up again. It shook all of us a bit but I console myself everyday with the fact that he is in a better place. I think that is my saddest one.
What will you miss most about him?
I will miss his encouragement. He was very encouraging especially to my career. He was an entertainer in his own way. He played a lot of instruments as a musician.
Who is your role model in the industry?
I don’t have any role model in the industry being that I am my own role model. I know where I want to be and that is what pushes me to do the things that I should do to be there. I am not going to be looking up to anyone except the image that I have of myself. Although, there are a few women that I respect being that they have worked very hard in the industry. Oprah Winfrey is one of them, despite her story that she has every reason to give up but she didn’t. She is today a very prominent figure in the world. She is somebody I respected a lot and wants to meet.
What are your expectations in life?
I expect to be happy because happiness is very important to me. I want peace of mind because I want to be able to close my eyes and sleep well at night not having any worries. I want all the positive things God and life can give. Coincidentally, I have been feeling very bright lately. I hope that is a sign of something good coming. And I also think that now that my dad is dead, somebody is there soliciting for me.
By Anthony Obi and Okogbue Ngozi