Adebimpe Oyebade’s meteoric rise to stardom within a short space of time is undoubtedly one that not a few in the industry would wish for. Her debut role in an English-Yoruba movie titled Crossroad (Agbede Meji) had earned her love and acceptance from people within and outside the industry. It further opened doors of opportunities and paved her ways in modeling. Her career soon witnessed another height following her impressive performance in the blockbuster movie ‘ Adebimpe Omo Oba’, which she is now widely referred to as. The actress/model, in this encounter with Ferdinand Ekechukwu, reveals quite a lot about her career and background
You are basically known as an actor what other things do you do alongside acting?
Aside acting I model; I started as a model actually. I got into acting through modeling. I’m a professional model. And I also have businesses I run. I have a fashion line called Adefits. I have a makeup line too – Shades of Mo Beauty. So that’s basically what I do. So if I’m not on set working, I’m either shooting or at work, I mean my empire.
Tell us about your background, childhood, growing up. What was it like?
Well I grew up in a family of five. I’m the last born of my family. We are four girls, one boy. I would say my growing up was a bit different because I didn’t have friends growing up. And that’s why even till now, I still don’t bow to make friends. I grew up in the midst of my siblings; they were my friends. I grew up in Akure, that’s in Ondo State. And I attended my nursery, primary and secondary school there. Then I moved to Ado Ekiti, in Ekiti State for my University. I studied English. It was UNAD then but I think Ekiti State University now. I finished 2015, immediately I went for NYSC in Benin. And I finished NYSC 2016. I think that’s about it.
You said you didn’t have friends growing up, was it as a result of parental restriction or what?
Well, I wouldn’t really say restriction actually because I was the last born. But you know… Back then as the baby of the house, I was always with my mum, I always want to be at home. Then I think it’s just how we were brought up generally. And let’s say probably because we lived in an apartment where you can’t just go and say you want to be making friends. I have siblings, so we just play in our house and that’s it. I grew up that way. Even when I was in the University, I will just be in my hostel; private hostel and all that.
Can one say you were born with a silver spoon?
Not really; not really. But let’s say from a privileged average family.
Let’s talk about acting which is your mainstay actually… You started by modeling then you transitioned into acting. Tell us about that journey, how did it start?
Yes. I was modeling then signed to G & G Models. But at the same time, I was serving. You know all this WhatsApp broadcasts we get a lot of it usually in our model platform like they need model for a movie role. But that particular one came, and the prescription, it was for a lead role this time around. The prescription really fits me. In fact everyone was like ‘Bimpe, this is for you’, so I was like ‘I’m not interested’ and truly I wasn’t interested in acting. I had never thought about it. I never participated in anything acting. There were a lot of opportunities from auditions; every time they will say ‘oh come and do this role’. But I will always run and hide because I was a very shy person. But then, when that one came, they were like ‘try this…try this bla bla bla’ but I said no to the audition. I’m not even sure I can make it. I wasn’t even in Lagos then that I was in Benin. I told my manager that I could not make it there. But you know how agencies are. They don’t like to be disappointed. But he was like ‘I can make it if I want to.’ That was it.
But I think after two weeks or more, the same set of people that dropped the first information came again that they couldn’t find the perfect cast for that role. So they needed us this time to start sending in audition videos. They dropped their email address and this guy, the manager, now called me personally, saying ‘you don’t even know if this is for you’. But then, he just encouraged me that ‘it’s not like you are travelling for this. This is just to record a video and send.’ So, the people that were with me encouraged me that I should just do it since it’s just a video just have fun lounging. Then I said ‘okay let me try it’ because it was two videos. Then I recorded it, then I recorded the two monologues and I sent it. Then they got back to me. They were like ‘you are the pick for this, can you come to Lagos for a script reading?’ How come?! So, that was how I got into acting.
What movie was that?
That was Crossroad, an English-Yoruba movie. I played alongside Gabriel Afolayan and Toyin Abraham. It was produced by Yomi Fabiyi. After that movie, I got a lot of feedback.
The love and acceptance from people within the industry and people outside when the movie came out gingered me to do more of acting and that opened doors for other roles for me. It did…a lot of directors, producers reached out.
We have heard stories of people like girls been challenged and taken advantage of for the fact that they want to be featured or given lead roles in a movie and all that were you in any way faced with such challenge at that point coming into the industry?
Okay… You want to talk about it?
Of course; I wouldn’t want to say I didn’t go through it because there’s one thing I would say. When people say ‘oh the industry is this, is that’ I feel like it happens everywhere. The reason we talk about the industry is because we are in public space so people can talk because even when I was in school, my lecturer wanted to sleep with me. As a student, my own project supervisor (laughing) wanted to sleep with me. So when I was coming into the industry, I wasn’t even expecting less because as a woman you are not, even if you are ugly, men would still get attracted to you. So I feel like the problem of sex for role is not the fault of the men! I blame the women more.
Really, how do you mean?
Yeah. Because we encourage it…
How, because this is coming from a lady and its quite revealing so to say?
See, let me be honest with you. The reason I’m saying this is we already know men are, sorry to say this you are a man, but men can be stupid sometimes. So they have been asking stupid things. When they feel like they can approach you with anything and you know, thinking they have the right to do this or that with you. So I feel like women do not really appreciate or know their worth. If you are sleeping with men for role and you are doing it/this you are encouraging them! The reason it is still happening in the industry is because a lot of people have encouraged it.
So, if they had rejected it for a long time (speaks in Yoruba), it would have reduced. I went through it. Even as I wouldn’t want to mention names, I went through it a lot with some of them. And I was like ‘ah what kind of industry is this?’ In fact, when I got in at every point everybody wants to sleep with me. I was like ‘is this how it is here?’ But you know it wasn’t something I wasn’t expecting. I just didn’t know it was that bad that at every point, at every location an actor is trying to sleep with you, a producer is trying to sleep with you, a director is trying to sleep with you. But then I just feel like we women need to handle things better. That’s what I feel.
So how did you survive it? You mean you didn’t concede to such demand to give you roles?
I wasn’t maybe because… a lot of people say maybe the reason I escaped this thing was because I wasn’t desperate. And I wasn’t desperate. I wasn’t exposed to even social media, like Instagram. I wasn’t on Instagram. Then I didn’t know this celebrity world or this celebrity lifestyle, I didn’t come to the industry to be a celebrity. I didn’t know what I was exposing myself to. It just happened. You get what I’m saying. A lot of people do dirty things because they want to achieve things they want to jump from zero to hundred. I feel like it takes work, it takes patience. I know quite a lot of people but not everyone is like that in the industry. Though the first person that featured me, even though it was through an audition, he did not ask me out. He did not say ‘oh come and sleep with me or something’. Though, after the shoot, he started asking me out, and that is the reason. Then, maybe because aside the fact that I wasn’t desperate, when I was coming in, I just wanted to do my thing. I had other plans. You know we plan our lives but God’s plan is superior. I had plans to travel. I was just doing this acting thing as plan B. And it was from that first movie that everything went up. So, there was no reason for me to say ‘oh I want to sleep with this person or that’.
What was your dream career/profession before modeling/acting?
Newscaster or Airhostess, though my parents wanted me to be a lawyer.
Do you have any plans of leaving acting for some other career anytime?
Well, that will be for my Masters. But I don’t plan to leave acting for now. Even though my dad wants me to go for my Masters, he’s always begging me. I feel like at a point I will do that. But for now I’m still here.
So which would you say is your biggest movie role and what was the experience like? I mean you started from 2016 and this is 2021, like 5 years now in the industry and you have done pretty well for yourself looking at the roles you have played?
I actually started I featured in that movie (Crossroad) 2016 December. But I went back for NYSC. You know, I didn’t know anyone in the industry. The movie came out 2017 September. That was when I started acting. That was when I now came back because as at then I was already done with NYSC. So, when the movie came out, people started reaching out to me, especially through Facebook. Like ‘oh are you the “Onikede” in Crossroad?’ ‘We want to see you. We want to shoot a movie.’ So I would say I started officially in 2017 September.
So that would be taken as the movie that brought you to the limelight?
I would just say ‘Agbede Meji’, that first movie ‘Crossroad’. It made people know me.
What role did you play in that movie? Tell us about your role and character?
Yeah the character name was Onikede. And she was a young girl who grew up in a village. We shot it in Abeokuta. So, there were these educated guys who came to the village to work and she fell in love with one of them (Gabriel Afolayan). And he took the girl back to the city. It’s just a story about a young girl who wanted more in life. So, he promised he’s going to give her education and the good life. When they got to Lagos, everything just changed because he was a very jealous lover, so obsessed with her… But then, I would say my biggest movie right now is ‘Adebimpe Omo Oba’. ‘Adebimpe Omo Oba’ took me to another height and it got nominated for AMVCA last year (2020). And it took me to another level entirely after the AMVCA nomination. Good movies, good productions started reaching out to me. And of course, brands. And then I walk around the streets or when I just go out people started shouting “Adebimpe Omo Oba”, you know that’s what everyone calls me “Adebimpe Omo Oba”, “Adebimpe Omo Oba”. So right now I’m shooting a story something like that for the big screen very soon. Something inspired by that.
Let’s talk about actors’ lifestyle. Many actors seem to live fake life, from your lexperience in the industry within this short time why do you think it’s like that?
Well, I don’t want to make excuse for them. But I would just say one or two things. I feel like the reason most of these actors live this fake life is because of pressure; pressure from the society like from fans, from people. Just from the environment.
So because let’s take for example, if you have a face, you have a name, you are popular on Instagram, at the market, everywhere you are popular and you don’t have a car and you want to go out. You feel like ‘oh I want to be presentable to my fans maybe you have a Meet and Greet’, they will now start borrowing cars, doing this and that. And the truth is the fans, I wouldn’t blame them.
They feel like once they start seeing you in movie, or you are a popular face then you should be superhuman.
Even when they see you wear some kind of hair they are like ‘oh how can you a whole you be wearing this thing’ when they don’t even know how much you have in your account. A lot of people do not know how to handle that. That’s why they do a lot of things to live all sorts of lives, especially the females. Because you want to look good on Instagram, you want to pose for the glam.
So on what do you spend the most?
I like investing o! But on material things that would be jewelries, gold jewelries. I used to spend on hair before I got signed to a hair brand. So jewelries, and makeup, that was even why I decided to have my own makeup line. So I would just say bags and jewelries right now.
Which is the most expensive of the bags and the jewelries? What is the worth? Can you put a figure to each of them?
The most expensive of…ah ejor o! Ah I don’t think I want to answer that question.
Okay tell me off camera I wouldn’t put it in the public…
Are you sure?
I have given you my words I wouldn’t. I just want to know…
Okay… but like I said I just love jewelries (laughing). And because it’s gold, I have a diamond ring, me I can spend any money on gold if I have. But you know they could get missing.
Let’s talk a little more, what’s the craziest thing a fan or critic has ever done or say to you?
Sending me dicks o! Yes o via DM… Like different guys they just send it. No conversation whatsoever, nothing led to it, they will just send you their stuff. Randomly… you get what I’m saying. So, when I see such, I just block them. Because I feel like it’s crazy. How can you just do such? What if I post it? It’s crazy. I just block them because what conversation do I want to be having with crazy people like that? You know I feel like it’s crazy. So I just block them.
But really what’s your kind of man?
God fearing, hardworking; because I’m very hardworking, loving, kind, I think that’s it.
How do you handle advances from men, male fans?
That one has been tough o but then as a woman you know advances from men will keep coming. It’s not something that would stop like anytime. Even if you get married, guys will still come at you and all that. It’s something one should handle from time to time. One should learn to handle it. So, basically, what I do is I avoid personal conversations. I don’t. I’m a very difficult person to reach.
How about the stubborn ones you know there are some like that? They will insist sending you gift, send you this and that?
They do. They do. But I’m not. I don’t even have friends you can get me through, like my address.
But the gift they send reaches you?
They just ask me to send them my details. Male fans, that’s what they do most too female celebrities. They just say ‘hi you are so beautiful oh my God bla bla bla, please I just need your account number’. I have seen a lot. I have gotten that a lot. ‘Please can I just send you money, I don’t want anything from you’. ‘Just to appreciate you’ (laughing). It’s a lie o! They will send you money and that’s where they will now start with their wahala. So, I try to avoid anything like that. So when you come to me, of course I have gotten gift from a male fan. I wouldn’t say I haven’t. And of course female fans too when I produce movies, when I have new movies out. They say ‘nothing attached, I just want to send you money for this movie.’ And I’m like ‘are you sure it’s the reason?’ I have asked people that. I just ask straight up, just let me know if it is my number you really want or you want something else? No you are not getting my number. It’s a lot of work actually.
Maybe you have not gotten one powerful one that will woo you with everything that has to be offered in this life, woo you with heavenly offers?
I have even from some politicians, known ones. You know it’s just you knowing what you want.
So what’s the most expensive gift item you have ever received maybe from an admirer or fans?
That’s a car gift.
What brand of car gift is it a Range Rover because that seem to be the in-thing now in the industry?
A Mercedes Benz actually…