Biodun Okeowo took up acting as a career to follow the footsteps of her father. The sultry actress has since produced eight films and acted in over 100 others. Tall and elegant Biodun was the famed ‘Tolani Osinrin’. Her role in ‘Folashade’, a self-produced film also gave her leverage. She spoke with Oladipupo Awojobi about her one decade in Nollywood
When the delectable lady eventually ventured into acting as a profession, the first major role she played was that of an armed robber, and she was made to repeat the same role in several scripts that came her way in torrents.
Sporting a multi-coloured evening wear, the mother of two and a single parent retorted that she felt that this had to stop as she looked straight into the eyes of the interviewer in the modest room, where the interview took place.
“I don’t like being stereotyped at all. I was once stereotyped as an armed robber because I started with the role as a budding actress, and they started casting me for the same role and everybody began to wonder why I was always carrying guns in films. I had to reject the role and I started acting other roles.
“There was also a time they stereotyped me with the role of a prostitute. I had to complain again, and by the time I started acting armed robber role again people were wondering why I was doing that since I did not fit into the role anymore. Stereotyping is not challenging at all, an actress should be challenged, your leaders should challenge you to be dynamic,” she said.
But the light skinned beautiful actress would not mind wearing any kind of dress in films, while also alluding to the fact that sometimes African culture does not support indecent dressing and with a proviso that this is a new era. “I can cover my head, without putting on earring. Also, I can dress seductively and I can also dress decently depending on the role I am playing,” she said, adding emphatically that she would not act nude.
The sensational actress revealed that she had rejected a role she didn’t like in the past not minding the financial cost.
“I acted the role of a lesbian in a film I produced, but which was yet to be released and another producer wanted me to act something close to that in another film, but I said I could not do it because my own movie on the role had not come out then.”
Though Biodun is being celebrated today as a successful actress to the delight of her parents, family members and associates, she would have been prevented from achieving this dream by her mother, who didn’t want her to be an actress as she felt actresses were diabolical and that the profession was meant for reckless fellows and never-do-wells.
“But my father was an actor with the likes of Prince Jide Kosoko in ‘Awarawa Theatre Group,’ so acting is in my blood. The drive to become an actor was not motivated by anybody, but it was something I have love for,” she said with a smile, as she recalled her sojourn that has lasted 10 years.
Pressed to comment on her low moment, she paused for a moment before revealing that she once had problems with marketers such that jobs were not coming her way anymore.
“I felt like leaving the industry, but prayers kept me going. I remember that even if I played a lead role in a movie, marketers would not put me on the jacket of the movie and if they tried to put my picture there at all, they would put it in a very small place at the back of the movie jacket.
“You can imagine this for someone that had been there before and who had hit covers of movie jackets in the past, but who was relegated, I felt like quitting and I wondered what was happening to me. I felt like quitting the industry, but my prophet in the Celestial Church, which I attend, told me that it would be fine, and glory be to God, things became better later,” she narrated.
For the wave-making actress, her films such as ‘Folashade’ and ‘Ore,’ which was her last movie produced in 2014, are her favourites.
She added: “The reason I have not produced another film since 2014 is because I don’t want to produce anything below the standard of ‘Ore.’ It is a movie that people love and I don’t want to disappoint my fans.”
As a producer, Biodun has experienced many ups and downs from marketers, who she said still owe her millions of naira till now and she said she has also been dealt with by piracy, which she maintained marketers use as an excuse to owe producers, stressing that this is not actually the point.
Going down memory lane, the screen goddess recalled that she took part in a film titled; ‘Oro Oka,’ which was produced by her boss, Lasun Ray, and with laughter she said; “I wasn’t paid for the job because I was under training then. But the first film that fetched me money was the one produced by Bimbo Oshin entitled; ‘Temi Yemi.’
“She paid me N5,000 and it was huge money to me then in 2007 because I earned money for my sweat for the first time in the movie industry. I actually sneaked to the set because while training, we were not permitted to go to any location without permission from our boss.
“After that, I finished my training and the money started coming. But, I won’t disclose what I earn now because in the Yoruba movie industry, we have family ties, so we bend our rules sometimes for people that are close to us,” she said.
Notwithstanding her talent and ability to express herself in English Language, the actress has not given crossing over to English sector of Nollywood a thought.
Charity, she said, begins at home, and she doesn’t even see herself as a star or a celebrity, and she believes she still needs some experiences to go out there.
“I believe I am still at home in Yoruba Nollywood. I don’t want to go to the English speaking sector of the industry and someone would send insult back to where I am coming from and castigate me as a Yoruba actress. I still want to have more confidence in myself, so when the time comes, I could go out there and cross over,” she explained.
Scandals have actually been fair to the actress as she could recall only two, one with an upcoming actress and the other one was about a story that was written by a reporter for a magazine, but the writer had to write a rejoinder because she sued for publication of a false story about her.
Biodun was proud to declare that she is a business woman with a beauty shop, and a beauty spa, and she said she used to have a wine shop, which she is planning to re-open soon.
On her achievements, Biodun gives all glory to God, saying that she has achieved a lot. “God has been very good to me. I didn’t come to the industry with cars, properties, fame, and all that. But I have achieved those things to the glory of God,” she said.
Coincidentally, her daughter is showing interest in acting, but she would not encourage her to dabble into the profession until she finishes her education.