Foluke Daramola is a well-known face in the Nigerian movie industry, as she came into the limelight in the late 90s with her appearance in Palace, a soap opera back then. She spoke with AJIBADE ALABI on many issues, especially her marriage to her new husband and on the feud with her friend, Princess Bukola Fasuyi. Excerpts:
Many people believed Foluke Daramola joined the movie industry not quite long. Can you tell us when you joined the industry?
I don‘t know of anyone that would say that I joined the movie industry not quite long. Thank God, you know how it all began. If I can still remember, we have met in location many times, even outside Lagos. There was a year we met in Osogbo, Osun State; I am talking about the year 2000. That was more than 12 years ago, and before then, I have been in the industry. I started in the 90s before I got admitted into the university. I started with talk shows on DBN and AIT and eventually, I got a role in Palace and while I was acting, I was studying with it.
So, can you tell us your educational background?
I went to Maryland Covenant and Anthony Model Primary Schools. I was at Ikeja High School, Ifako International School and LAFROGRAMS. I studied International Relations at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and for my Masters degree; I studied International Law and Diplomacy at the University of Lagos. Also, I did some professional courses too. I did some directing and I did a leadership course at Daystar Church.
Since you started acting before getting admission into the university, why didn’t you study Theatre Arts instead of International Relations?
My first love has always been to be a diplomat. I discovered acting along the line. I don’t have to go to the school of acting before acting well. I actually got admitted into OAU to study Accounting, but I just wanted to be a diplomat, so I changed my course to International Relations. I already have acting as a talent, so I don t need to study Theatre Arts.
Who are your mentors in the movie industry?
They are Olu and Joke Jacobs, Richard Mofe Damijo. In directing, my mentors are Amaka Igwe, Lola Fani-Kayode, Tade Ogidan and Tunde Kelani
What is your relationship with your colleagues in the movie industry?
It is cordial, but I am a private person. I don t keep friends apart from the younger ones that I have. It doesn’t mean that I have people as my enemies. I still maintain a very cordial relationship with my colleagues when we are off set and I know I can get in touch with them when we have one or two things to do together. I love privacy, so I like to keep myself to myself
The first time you were on set, how did you feel?
I was excited but scared. I was excited because I was acting with big names, like Liz Benson, Yomi Obileye and a whole lot of them, but I was really scared of them. Although, I had to get a slap, because my director, Uncle Tunji Bamishigbin, was asking: “what s wrong with you?” Because, I was not just getting my line so, I had to be slapped to get back on my feet and after that, I’ve been wonderful. It is like a part of me already
Have you been embarrassed by your fans before?
Several times. A lot of times, you get a lot of embarrassment. People would ask this or that about your personal life. But you know you have to relate with your fans, no matter what, you will diplomatically know how to handle them. I have been in the industry for many years and I have made up my mind that I would never take away the real Foluke Daramola, the showbiz person.
I relate with people the way I am relating with you. If I am in a hurry to do something, I can go to the bus stop and pick a bike and go, not that I don’t see myself as a celebrity. Being a celebrity does not make me different from the next person, so I should be able to relate with everybody on the platform that you will be able to know that this person is an original person.
I am an original person and that is what I have trained my children to be. No matter what situation you find yourself in, you should be able to adapt to it. I tell people that there is hardly any situation that I cannot adapt to and I have inculcated that into my kids. I see myself as Foluke Daramola and I see you as yourself, either you are a journalist or not. If a pepper seller wants to talk to me, I would relate with her on that level and if a meat seller wants to talk to with me, I would relate with him on that level.
I don’t want airs around me. In fact, I don t know it, because if you allow that, that means your environment is ruling you. And once the environment is ruling you, the environment will eventually ruin you because it will be dictating your pace of life. If you cannot maintain that status, the standard you have set for yourself becomes a huge problem.
But there is this general belief that you are arrogant?
There is this Yoruba proverb that says, “ori o kin ri ara e” (the head cannot see itself). I see you like my brother doing your job and I am doing mine, if you don’t interview me, there are one thousand and one people you can interview. And when it comes to pride, I am not fantastic but I am very close to God, I pray, I talk to God and I believe I am a sinner and God will forgive me. But the Bible says he that brings himself down, God will raise him up and that he that raises himself up God will bring him down.
Pride is something that I don t believe in. I know a lot of people but if I see an iota of pride in you I will never associate with you. As I said, I am a very original person and I can relate with both the downtrodden and influential people. That is what is called true celebrity, being able to adapt to any situation but being proud is not in my dictionary.
Sometimes when you are in an environment and you are not comfortable in that environment, you can tend to look and “bone” your face but if you greet me, I would never bring you down. My godfather, Uncle Yomi Obileye, once told me that as a true celebrity, in your worst of moods, when your fans greet you, always force a smile.
When he said that thing, I thought it was something easy for me to do, but over time, I realised it is the most difficult thing to do, because I might have a misunderstanding with my partner in the car and someone will just shout, “Foluke Daramola”. Of course, it would not be easy for me to force a smile, but then, I discover that if you can do it, it goes a long way. I always try to give a good impression to people, no matter what.
Are you separated or divorced?
I’m naturally divorced because it is over four years since I left him. But the paper work is not yet done. I don’t want complications really, complications in the sense that I don’t want my children involved in that mess and moreover, I’m not getting married tomorrow or any time soon.
Let talk on your marriage to Kayode. Howe did you feel?
Of course, I felt good. I am happy in my marriage
But people said you snatched somebody’s husband?
I did not snatch anybody’s husband. I never asked her to pack out of her husband’s house. Moreover, I did not meet her at home when I married Kayode.
But, when you were dating him, you knew he was married?
But you still went ahead to marry him?
That is between him and me.
What about your children, don’t they ask after their father?
Whenever they are talking about their father, I always tell them that when they are old enough to use a phone, I will buy it for them and they can communicate with him, but when he says he wants to communicate with them, I allow him to do so. I never stopped him from doing so. I never stop him from communicating with them.
Your friend, Princess Fajuyi Bukola claimed you used charm to snatch Kayode from his wife. What would you say to that?
See, I don’t have anything to say to that, she can go ahead and say whatever she likes.
But the story is all over the town, she even claimed she took you to the man?
That is her problem. Why is she just saying it now? I don’t have anything to say to that. All I know is now I am happy in my marriage.
Is it true you love wearing revealing clothes?
I used to wear them but the Bible says when I was a child, I acted like a child, when I became a man, I stopped being childish. When I was younger, I used to wear revealing clothes. When I was in OAU, I was myself, I clubbed, I partied, I had fun, I had relationships and I had heartbreaks. Now, I am much older, I no longer believe in wearing revealing clothes because I am more matured and I see things differently.
Even sometimes, when I see people wear it, I say with time, they would stop it, it is not things you can tell people to do or not to do. Then I used to believe that if you don’t wear anything skimpy or revealing, you were not in vogue, but now, if you tell me to wear it, I would just look at it and say no.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming actors?
First, they should be educated because for me, education is very important. Also, they have to put God first. They should be hardworking, focused and enduring. True success doesn’t come from being lazy or cutting corners.
How fulfilled are you?
I am content but it is not that I am not working hard. I want to live a good life. I am okay.
Any word to your fans?
To my fans, I would say thank you, without them there won’t be me. But sometimes, when we make mistakes, celebrities generally, it is not that we want to make mistakes. That is just what makes us human and nobody is perfect.