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Beautiful queen of Yoruba home video industry, Abiola Adebayo is an enigma of a sort. When the Ilorin, Kwara State-born actress gained admission for higher education at the Lagos State University, LASU, three years ago, her choice of course was not related, in any way, to theatre arts, let alone making an inroad to the centre stage in the Yoruba movie industry in Nigeria.
Beautiful queen of Yoruba home video industry, Abiola Adebayo is an enigma of a sort. When the Ilorin, Kwara State-born actress gained admission for higher education at the Lagos State University, LASU, three years ago, her choice of course was not related, in any way, to theatre arts, let alone making an inroad to the centre stage in the Yoruba movie industry in Nigeria. It was to study History and International Relations.
Raised in an environment where she had to fend for herself and her family, hawking bread on the streets of Lagos, she, from her accounts, had to exploit her innate abilities not only to survive excruciating poverty but to also climb the ladder of success. Today, Adebayo, popularly known as Eyin Oka in the home video industry, is unarguably one of the most sought-after sex symbols in Nollywood.
She spoke about her love life, her incursion into acting, and a whole lot of other issues.
When was your first appearance in a movie?
The first time I appeared in a movie was in 2003 when I featured in For the love of you. It was a Super Story film. It was soap. My first home video in Yoruba was O jabo ko fo produced by Sikiratu Sindodo. It was also shot in 2003.
How has the stress of acting affected you?
There is no job without stress. The acting job is stressful. The stress has become a joy today.
There are insinuations that some of you were used to push out some existing actresses?
I donít know about that. Our acting skills differ. No one can be used to push another out. You cannot act exactly like me. Nobody is used to stop anybody. If you are not known today, you will be known tomorrow.
How do you feel now appearing more frequently in films than before?
I feel great. All glory is to God almighty. The truth is: donít despise the days of little beginnings because in no distant time you will get there.
Can you give an insight into your Exploits In the movie industry?
I started with the English movie industry but had to retract to the Yoruba genre when I was not getting roles. It became too difficult for me to mingle and get myself into the English movie industry because of unnecessary protocols and tribalism. I felt the requirements were rather cumbersome. I thought it was too much for me, so I decided to come back into the Yoruba movie industry. When I spoke to the guys in the English movie industry, I was made to understand that it is the marketers that produce films. So I decided to face the Yoruba movie genre. Luckily for me, my rise to stardom came slow and steady. I have paid a little price as an actress.
What was the price you paid for your quick rise to stardom?
Yes, the price was instrumental to my rise in so many ways. I was never seen as a do well by some colleagues in the industry, but thank God we are moving gradually.
Was that price responsible for your choice as lead cast by all male producers?
I donít seem to understand what you re driving at. People should stop looking at us as harlots. I never said what you are quoting. That is an erroneous interpretation of my statement. What I am trying to say is that I have suffered also before getting this far and not that I have warmed the bed of producers to go this far.
I am not too small to deny my actions. But then, issues of sex abound in all other professions also. So, why the cry on actresses always?
Donít you think the acts of your other colleagues are responsible for all these negative impressions?
Even when someone has misbehaved, others should not be seen in that light. The issue of sex-for-role is a personal decision any actress that wishes to rise and fall immediately will not consider before doing it. I never prayed to have a short fame as a star actress. I have never warmed the bed of anyone of the producers. If I want to date anyone of them, it is going to be a personal conviction and not to use it to climb the ladder of success. Moreover, I am from a morally conscious family. There are limitations to how you can even sleep outside the home. I am still under someoneís control and Iím not a desperado searching for lover boy.
Talking about lover boy, it was once reported you and Yomi Fabiyi, a producer, are lovebirds.
It goes beyond any sexual relationship with a colleague. There are no strings attached. Iím not a baby; I can date anyone I like. I am a private person. Yomi Fabiyi is just a senior colleague. There is nothing intimate between the two of us. In fact, those rumour mongers misfired. They got it all wrong. I am not dating Yomi Fabiyi. I never dated him. He is no doubt a nice person. He is a good producer. He had told me how much he likes my stature and artistic knowledge of the theatre profession. He was one of the few producers that encouraged me to patiently wait for my own time. He was the one that personally told me I will fit into any love scenes or films as a girlfriend or mummyís wife. I decided to embrace the gesture because of my desire to become a producer.
Why have you been silent over the rumour all this while?
Because I know that the relationship I have with Yomi Fabiyi does not go beyond work. So why should I bother myself?
So who is the lucky boy?
I canít discuss it with anyone for now. This is my private life, my personal life. I donít want my integrity to be rubbished. I might decide to have a man anywhere God wishes. It is a must I must marry. If I have said so much rubbish about my relationship, what if we later part ways or even marry each other?
So, when were you made a woman?
Itís been long but it is not meant for public consumption.
Is he an actor?
He is a person who knows me knows my character.
I donít have to deceive people for any reason. I just have to be myself. Please, I donít want any negative reports about me. It will make my mother hate me. There is nothing as nice as being natural. I have refused to leave a fake life.
Do you think of marrying soon?
I am not thinking of that for now. I leave my life as it comes. I have to finish my schooling before I can start talking about marriage. It is not something you can rush into. It is always better for a lady to get serious before a man walks up to you for marriage. I am not desperate for marriage.
I once had a relationship that almost led to marriage before it crashed. So, Iím not excited about getting married. I am not that crazy about getting married again. I know what it is to get married. I know what many homes are going through now. The only thing I think of now is how to finish my education and start producing my own films.
What is the relationship with your lucky boy?
I pray that you go to another question.
Being a movie lady, most of your fans want to know what is happening to you.
I have a very good and caring family. I have a fulfilling love relationship with males and female friends.
I still have a very good relationship with my friend. We are best of friends,
You are presumed to be one of the first five actresses considered as the new sex symbols in the Yoruba movie industry. What is your reaction to this?
One of the things I have learnt to do is being myself. I donít get carried away with such flattering. I know when men call me; they donít call me because Iím a popular face on the street. They call me because of the fact that they see me on television. It has happened several times. The truth is that they are infatuated
How do you handle advances from men?
I like being friendly with people when they come. Iíve learnt to put them in their shoes by telling them this is the way I am. Those who want to stay as a friend will stay and those that do not embrace the friendship option will go. There is no harm in meeting people, neither is there any harm in relating with people. I have even made most of them my uncles and senior brothers. I now relate to them as my brothers and uncles.
Whatís your view on men generally?
Men are not difficult to handle. Men are easy to work with or share views with. Matured and reasonable men would not play a must-get game with a lady. A caring man makes me proud.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
It was on a day a male colleague called me and one other friend prostitutes. He accused us of eavesdropping. It was not funny. I did not take it lightly with him. I have had series of such calls from guys in the past. Some will even tell you on location that they caught some of our colleagues in the act. Tell them to mention names and they will call it off with excuses. I donít have any canal relationships. It is evil.
What do you think could warrant such reactions from them?
It is because of the fact that some of us are looking for fame by all means. If you ask me for something and Iím not ready to give, I donít think there is any offence in that. I donít get offended and I donít try to please people to displease myself.
People talk about the prevalence of lesbianism in Nollywood.
No way! I have a stable relationship. In fact, we shall soon go to the altar. Since I have not finished the exploration of the menís world, why would I go for lesbianism?
What are your highs and lows?
There is a lot of joy being a successful actress. I have been able to meet so many people in high places, low places and in different fields of endeavours. Even in school, Iím happy seeing how much people appreciate me. That has paved way for me. It has open doors for me. The lows is that you cannot have a private life. People say different things about you. They say a lot of things that are not true. They carry a lot of rumors that sometimes you imagine where they get the rumours. Apart from that, the going has been very good for me.
With some cool millions of naira, can you appear nude in a film?
Not for even billions! I canít go nude. Not for any reason. For Godís sake, Iím going to be a mother one day. What will I tell my kids? No matter the amount of money that can be given to me to appear nude, in films, I always think of married life without being married. I canít go nude either in films or papers or magazines. I put my children first in anything I do. I canít go nude.
Have you ever been sexually harassed in the industry?
Itís normal for guys to see you and disturb you that they want to date you, whether in the industry or not. If it is okay for you, you will accept, and if not, you will say no. I have never been sexually harassed. I hate people talking about harassments. It is a matter of choice. If I want it, I will say Ďyesí, and if I donít, nobody can force me to bed. Itís a lie, nobody is harassing anybody.
Aside from movies and business, what is your other source of income?
I do modeling. I also sell goods. I have been a hustler since childhood. I am from a very poor background. Though we are not hungry, we fend for ourselves. I grew up from an environment where you had to survive on your own. I once sold things on the streets of Lagos to feed my family. I hawked bread as a teenager before God answered my prayer. I was nicknamed Miss Biggs because I used to package food in small plastics to sell to bank workers in the past.
Where do you hope to be in the next three years?
I hope to be higher than where I am. I want to be greater. In the next three years, I would have produced not less than two or three films
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