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She started out as an air hostess with the now defunct Okada Air, but caught the acting bug when Zeb Ejiro gave her a role in the well celebrated but equally defunct soap opera, Ripples in the early 1990s. That formed the launch pad upon which delectable actress Lola Alao rode to stardom.
Speaking with Kieglights recently Lola disclosed what most people seem not to know about her true identity. She is from Kogi State and of the Igbira tribe, she is proud of her roots.
Lola took us down memory lane and said she still recalls how it all started for her, stressing that being an actress has always been her dream and that when the opportunity came knocking, she took it with both hands and even had to buy drinks for Zeb Ejiro for considering her good enough to be in Ripples.
However, when Ripples was rested, she took her career to another level by becoming a regular face in most Yoruba sector movies; a feat she attributed to the grace of God upon her career.
She did not mince words in admitting that being an actress cum television personality has changed her whole life positively, with fame and fortune being some of the blessings that has come with it.
Lola is presently married to a man whom she simply refers to as her husband. A man whose identity she would rather not disclose because outside her career, she has a family which she wants to protect.
Though she has lost count of how many films she has acted in, one thing she has not forgotten is the fact that the highpoint of her career was when she was adjudged the best actress in Yoruba language at the 2007 Afro Hollywood Award in London, and at the Afro Dublin Movie Awards also in 2007; success she said she owes to her colleagues who have spurred her to no end in bringing out the best in her.
Being a married woman has always proved to be a sour point in the lives of most Nigerian actresses, so we sought to know what magic she has applied in keeping her marriage intact and scandal free.
"The magic is simply the ability to know who is the man of the house; that is very important in every union,' she said. "Tolerance is another factor that has helped my marriage to grow and remain intact and that is why we have been able to understand each other.'
A professional to the core, Lola told Klieglights that movie roles, which correct societal ills are her favourite. This, according to her, is because in everything she does, her career comes first and she would do anything that would cast her career in good light.
"A good name, they say, is better than all the riches in the world and in this our career of make-believe perception matters a lot and that is why I go for scripts that have positive values to impart on the society,' Alao, who is a lead character in Eni Ma Ku Re, a movie by Lagos Television said.
Lola is also one of those actresses who have gone into movie production with a series of high profile films in her kitty.
Lola said she loves working with a wide range of practitioners. This she said was due to the fact that she doesn't have enemies or favourites, therefore she has worked with people like Yomi Fash Lanso, Bimbo Adesanya, Moji Olaiya, Remi Surutu, Femi Branch, Femi Brainard and others too numerous to mention.
Combining her career as a producer and actress, is one aspect Lola disclosed is giving her joy because she has been able to see what it takes to pay the bills of her fellow artistes, a feat which was quite tasking at first.
The A-list actress told us that practitioners in the Yoruba language speaking movie industry are better organised than their counterparts in the English language genre.
"The Yoruba language movie producers are better organised, more accommodating, as they would normally do all within their power to make an artiste who hails from a far place feel at home; this is lacking in the English speaking genre we all know as Nollywood,' she revealed.
Lola has been able to give a good account of herself as a crossover actress, who combines roles from Nollywood, alongside her Yoruba sector roles. This is a feat when one looks at the fact that only few actresses in the Yoruba sector can boast of being able to hold their own outside their industry. Lola attributed this to the fact that scripts given to artistes in the Yoruba genre are most of the time written in Yoruba, thus making it cumbersome for them to first of all interpret what the scripts says in the language and again taking instructions from the movie director who will insists on making sure that everyone gets their lines correctly. "Unlike in the English genre, where,' Lola said. "The scripts are all in English language, and artistes just read through their lines and go on set to shoot. So, these peculiarities make the industry rather different for all involved,' Lola said.
Moving away from her career as an actress, we sought to know what her beauty tips are because she is one of the most flamboyant actresses. She replied that her fashion sense is not what one can just pick up on the streets because she makes out time to ensure that she comes out looking good whenever she decides to strut the spotlight.
Lola revealed that she has a weakness for gold and that it is one fashion accessory she has spent a great deal of her earnings on. She made it clear that she would not attend an event without wearing gold jewellery.
Lola revealed that because she knows what she wants, she stands out in the motion picture industry in the country and that, one other thing for which she will forever be grateful to God is her face, which has opened doors for her in the industry, adding that she is glad she has used it to her advantage.
With her love for gold and good things of life, Lola, no doubt must be an expensive woman. She was however quick to correct the impression saying, "despite my craving for gold, I am not an expensive woman whose fees movie producers cannot afford.'
On the issue of sexual harassment in the motion picture industry, Lola said she has never been harassed by anybody for a movie role. Though she conceded to the fact that one or two persons have made passes at her and which she politely turned down.
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