Funmiade Bank Anthony is renowned for acting and production in Nollywood, primarily Yoruba movies. Even with high demand for her works, she still ventures into charity and politics. Anthony talks to Tosin Clegg about starting out in Nollywood, her challenges, views on politics and support to the needy
Funmiade represents many things
She is a mother, entrepreneur, actor, movie maker, politician, relationship consultant and the founder of Rough Diamond Entertainment and Rough Diamond Charity Organisation. Growing up was very interesting, you can imagine being born with a silver spoon, but my parents wanted us to be streetwise at the same time. So, it was a combination of “Aje butter” at home and forming “Aje Pako” street-wise.
My charity organisation is a community health initiative which sensitises and improves the health of both young and the aged in hard to reach communities all over Nigeria. We’ll achieve this by bringing health expertise close to the community for easy accessibility and prompt diagnosis of any impending health issues. This outreach usually includes the provision of free health screening, health promotion, disease prevention and information on general health services such as free arthritis screening and free medication, Hepatitis A and B screening and free immunisation, free eye screening and eyeglasses/eye drop, Malaria and Typhoid screening and medications, HIV and AIDS screening, Diabetic screening and medication, Blood pressure and Anti-Hypertensive medications, Anti Helmithics and Expeller, amongst others. That’s one of my basic projects. We’ve been to communities like Takwa-bay, Alapere, Ibeju Lekki Waterside and we’re planning our next outreach in February.
Acting started on stage in my secondary school
Then when I got out of school, I followed a friend for an audition at Zeb Ejiros office and I was cast by chance for a movie titled ‘The Switch’ and I played alongside Jim Iyke and Gentle Jack. Back then, my family was against my career and I was asked to go back to school.
I’ve featured in several movies
Auch as Abokoku, The Switch, Five Minutes, Awamaridi, Monamona, Agbebo, Akoni Obirin, Sinregun, to mention a few. I think I’m a better actress now than when I started. More confident and more experienced. At the initial stage, you have to lobby to get a role, but as time went by, the acceptances were welcoming and encouraging.
My big break hasn’t come
I’m not yet where I want to be, but I’m moving in speed. In as much as I’ve featured in a lot of movies, my big break hasn’t come yet as that challenging role hasn’t been played yet. I intend to go out of my comfort zone to achieve this. I’m not yet where I want to be, but I’m optimistic and moving in speed. I’ve moved from being an ordinary actor to a movie producer, no award yet. I don’t want to pay or bribe to get an award; I want a well-deserved award. I’m sure it’ll come.
Peer pressure and pressure from fans are some challenges of today’s actors
Actors are expected to act and look a certain way, the pressure of that might make us live beyond our means. The pressure to be constantly relevant, so most of us live our lives on social media and in that way there’s a lot of input from people outside, and everything you do is being scrutinised, criticised and judged.
Why I went into politics
Politics is the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group. It refers to achieving and exercising positions of governance, organised control over a human community, particularly a state. That’s the definition of politics. What another way can I express my feelings, my affection and my dreams of a better Nigeria without changes and making the necessary impact in my country. I’m not contesting for any office right now, but I’ve been able to make a lot of impact in the community through my Foundation and we intend to achieve more.
An ideal government for Nigeria
My ideal government is one that’s transparent, accountable and free of corruption; a government that ensures the security of lives and property of the citizens; promotes a positive image of the country to the outside world; and allows freedom of speech and religion. Nigeria needs basic amenities such as water, light, roads, good quality free education, free medical centres, basic orientation and education for the public and so on.
Entertainers in politics
I think it’s a good idea because actors already have a large fan base which consists mostly of youths. As we know in this present day Nigeria, we need to involve our youths in the governance of our nation, after all the youths are the future.
For leisure I enjoy work-out
I enjoy the whole process of making a movie, I enjoy travelling with friends, I enjoy driving, reading and I enjoy making sensible friends. I like our traditional ways because I think it’s good to promote our own culture and our fashion designers. My favourite meal is Ogi and Akara.
What I do at Rough Diamond Entertainment
This is the sector of Rough Diamond that handles everything art, this includes movie production, music and music video productions.