Take it or leave it, she is one of the few Nollywood actress who is scandal free. Not many know her by her real name, as her stage name, “Omoge Campus” an appellation she got from her lead role in a movie also entitled “Omoge Campus”. Born Aishat Abimbola is one of the leading Nollywood superstar who knowns her onion in the industry. Although she is known for playing tough roles which a lot have considered her true character but the Lagos born actress is one of the most polite of them all. Aishat own a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Hotel and Catering management from Lagos State Polytechnic. In this tell all interview with AJIBADE ALABI, Aishat disclosed he sojourn into the movie industry, why she choose to stay decent and why most actors who has no talent sleeps with marketers.
Have you ever envisage while growing up that you will be an actress?
I will not really say from my childhood but from a very young age. Let me just put it this way: from my primary school days, I joined this theatre group, that dancing troupe, that cultural group and all that. I did it even before I was an actress. I have done job as Master of Ceremony on several which I equally kick- started while in school. I think I grew up being an entertainer because I was already a pain in the neck in my classroom. I made so much noise, disturbed the whole class, cracked one jokes or the other, so some of my friends that I had in school were not actually surprised that I am into the industry.
How will you describe your growing up?
Growing up to me was tough but I thank God, I scaled through. I grew up on the Island and I spent most of my life there. I am a Lagosian. Then I spent some years in the North, changing schools which made my education very slow but I thank God.
Tell us about your family background?
My parents are both late. I lost Mom and in 1984 and Daddy in 2002.The two of them are gone but God has been with me. I am from a polygamous home and I have quite a number of older and younger ones. My mom was the youngest wife until her death. I equally have quite a lot of siblings.
Acting for you, how did it all started?
Actually, I had nursed the ambition of being an actress while I was growing up. As luck would have it, there was a day the crew of Wale Adenuga came to Isolo campus of our school to shoot a scene. Then I saw Antar Laniyan who was the director of the film. I told him I wanted to act. He was kind of looking at me as somebody who was not serious, but I told him, I meant what I said. Luckily for me somebody who was supposed to act a role of a philanthropist was not around. I was asked to fill the vacancy, and to the surprise of Antar Laniyan, who was the director, I performed excellently well. Ever since, there has not been any looking back.
Looking at your journey in the movie industry; what are some of those positive things that acting has brought to you?
Acting has taken me to places I never imagined. I have met people. I have gone to places and one of the things that happen is when the whole world is on queue to get something and you get there, people would say “oh, you are welcome, it is nice to have you around” it has brought out the success in me. I have always loved give back to the society. I have seen people that would come to me and say I like you; I just want to be like you. Such things move me, I love such things.
And what about the things that fame has changed about you?
I am a perfectionist when it comes to picking my things; I want to buy my things myself. I like to go to Mile 12 market, get my fresh fruits. I love shopping myself. I would have loved to go to the remote areas, get the things I want. I still go to Idumota because I am from there. I go to Oke -Arin. The noise would be there, hoodlums here and there but I still appreciate my fans. You know I can’t do it the way I want to. I really love to bargain very well and say within myself, okay I have not wasted money but you really can’t do that much now because they would say ” spend this money, a whole you!” It is good, I still go to the market but not the way I would have to. I am not the kind of person who hides her feelings, if you have done something wrong and I want to give it to you right there, I will tell you this is wrong, but then I will just have to look around to see who’s watching and when I see people around sometimes, I just fake a smile and say it is okay. That kind of thing
If it wasn’t acting, what would it be?
May be I would have been a pastor. I would have also be a good MC, which I am doing with my acting job, or I would have been a cook because I read hotel management and catering. I would have been an hotelier or owned a restaurant. But I will still be acting in those jobs.
You said you would have been a pastor, even with your Islamic background?
That is testimony, my parents were Muslims and even before my dad died, I had been attending church. It was a little bit painful in the first place but he would not just stop me. Then when you have some convictions within you, not that anybody has told you, nobody would stop you. And that was why I went into Christianity. It is what nobody told me to do; it is what I wanted to do. I wanted to do it a long time ago and I told my dad, so he was aware before his death.
How did you feel acting alongside professional when you started this profession?
My first job had too many professionals. The first one was Omoge Campus and the second one was Eje Adegbenro which was written and produced by Jide Kosoko. It was a little bit intimidating, it was very challenging. There was Racheal Oniga, Saheed Balogun, Opeyemi Aiyeola, Yinka Quadri, everyone was on set. I was wondering how I would cope alongside those people. I remember I was not getting at that point. I was rushing my line and Uncle Jide Kosoko just told me and said,” you are a good actress, this show is all about you, so relax and deliver your lines” and that was all I needed. The next scene that was shot got me a standing ovation and everybody was clapping and then I knew I was going to do something good with this job.
What is the biggest step up you have ever taken?
Going to school. Yes because I was changing schools and then I made up my mind that I was not going to get married until I become a graduate. Do you know what it feels like for all your younger ones to have had children and nobody dares call you by your name? You know it is Yoruba tradition they would call me Big Mummy because they could not call me by name. Even when Islamic clerics come around during naming ceremonies they would say ” Allah consider this our elder sister too as you have blessed the family with a baby. It was so tough, it was crazy, but I stood my ground that I would graduate so it was a tough experience and today I can chest out and say I m a graduate and not just for pass, I had a good grades. When I did my youth service, I said yes, thank God I didn’t t drop out of school. I didn’t t know I was going to get married
What are those bold steps you have taken in the movie industry?
In the industry, the bold step I would say I have taken was having my own mind and staying decent despite the challenges of wanting to do otherwise, being able to stand my ground that I am not going to do this and I am not going to do that. It was a very bold step for me because challenges would come and men would come, you would go on dates, people that you have never even imagined you would meet in your life would come for you, but taking a bold step like I am not going to fall for this temptation in this kind of, industry and this permissive world of ours. I tried (Laughs)
Does that means as an up-coming actress then, you were not sexually harassed?
I have never been sexually harassed. See this sexual harassment of a thing is everywhere. But it all depends on how you carry yourself. Those actresses that always claim of being sexually harassed are not talented. If you know your onions, no producer or director can harass you, but because some of these actresses are not talented, they hide under the guise of been sexually harassed. For me, I have never been harassed. Let us examine this thing call sexual harassment very well. It is not possible for any producer or director to just start harassing an actress sexually, the director or the producer must have studied the lady involved not to be intelligent enough or not so talented before she will be harassed sexually. If you are talented and good in your profession, there is no way you can be harassed
But what would you have done, if you were sexually harassed?
That was what I was saying, before I became an actress, I knew what I wanted, and I knew I have the talent to excel, so I did not go to the industry to embarrass myself. There is no way I should have been sexually harassed, I know what I went to do in the industry
You are known to be play the tough girl roles in most movies; are you not judged by that in real life?
You cannot judge me with the role I play in movie. In a movie I followed scripts, I am acting another person character, but in real life I am my real self. Or are you telling me the fact that I smoke and act as prostitute in a movie make me to be one? No, no they are not the same thing. Aishat of camera is different from Aishat off camera.