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Saturday, 17 November 2012 00:00
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Entertainers should not live in penury - Jayeola

AT a first glance, Chief (Mrs.) Yemisi Jayeola, (Adesqueen), wouldn't strike you as an actress. The extremely shy and quiet personae and gait she presents gives an image of a highly successful banker, living a low profile.

But Jayeola, who is in her 50s, is in the make-believe world where the glamour and razzmatazz could not be avoided, and she has had to live her life right in the public glare. An encounter with her would make you wonder how she made a foray into Nollywood, in spite of her obvious love for privacy.

According to her, inquisitiveness drove her into it, and before she knew it, she was moving from one film location to another, and having film scripts falling on her laps.

"After I returned from France where I went for schooling and settled down to raising a family, I became interested in knowing how films were acted on locations. I started following my former bosom friend, Folashade Aliu, (who acted as Orisabunmi in Arelu) to film locations.

It became a normal thing for me to be seen at such locations and gradually, I developed an interest in it and became an actress," she says in reminiscence. Jayeola, who has carved a niche for herself as a woman of substance, produced the first film she ever acted in.

"My love for the profession made me decide to invest in it, and having gotten a good script, I decided to produce it", she said.

The film, entitled Ija Ife, (Agony of Love), in 1994, was an instant success. This fueled her desire to produce more, and Oyeronke   and  Iyalode followed suit in quick succession; also recording more successes. Jayeola loves to dance right from her youthful days. She was encouraged to put in her best into the  entertainment world by renown juju music maestro, King Sunny Ade, (KSA).

"KSA is my mentor. He gave me a lot of encouragement. I also decided to sing, although, not as a secular musician, because of the encouragement I got from him," she said. Her first gospel album, Mo Wa Dupe also because   an   instant success, and this proved to Jayeola that she was born to be in the entertainment world.

"The entertainment profession is a very lucrative one if properly annexed. There are a lot of potentials in it, and I will tell you that it beats a lot of white collar jobs. The practitioners need an enabling environment and massive government support to further develop the industry, which I believe is still at a teething stage in Nigeria, when compared to developed countries of the world," she posited.

Jayeola, who believes certain measures need to be put in place to curtail the excesses of pirates says: "The government should give life imprisonment to anybody caught selling pirated jobs. They need to come to our aid to put the pirates at bay. The pirates reap where they don't sow, and this often makes nonsense of the funds expended on film projects. Unstable supply of electricity also affects the sales of film products. This problem should also be looked into," she added. The highly fashionable woman, who unwinds at Dcoyi Club, Lagos, where she has membership certificate, declared that acting has robbed her of her privacy.

"Area boys trail me wherever I go, and sometimes, I have to spend through my nose before they give me a semblance of peace", she said.

The Nollywood icon has vivid memory of her youth: "My grandmother, (who is now late), used to spoil me to a fault. People thought I was her last born because of the way she pampered me. When I was growing up with her in Ikirun, (Osun State), I lacked nothing.

I was devastated when she passed on," she lamented. She revealed that she is currently working on an epic movie which would further raise the bar in film production in Nigeria. "It is a big-budget movie that will feature many Nollywood stars and impress the audience with its unique story-line", she pledged.

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