Few weeks ago, the news went viral that divorced actress, Foluke Daramola, who remarried in 2013 was expecting her first child with hubby, Kayode Salako. The story emanated after the pictures of her protruded tummy surfaced online and tongues kept wagging.
In a brief chat with Entertainer, the Yoruba movie star cum producer, who had lamented that she lost her virginity to rape at 16, shared the real story behind the pregnancy drama, her new projects and how she has been dealing with sexual harassments. Excerpts:
It has really been a while, where have you been?
I have been around. I just finished the production of my movie, The Blood. I am working on my talk show, which is called ‘The Morning After’. It is all about my foundation, Passion Against Rape in Africa (PARA). The programme would soon be on air. I’m still working on it though.
‘The Morning After’, what is it about?
It is actually about my rape Foundation, but I don’t want it to be sad and hurtful story all the time, so we intend to mix it with other activities like womanhood, parenthood, and lots more. More like family issues. It would be an interesting one. There are also segments where we give back to the society, especially rape victims and those assaulted.
As a rape victim, would you say you have put the traumatic experience behind you?
Very well. I have put it behind me. It’s an experience I never thought I would put behind so quickly. I had it at either 16 or 17. I had even started acting. And because it’s a first experience, it was nasty. So, my own belief about sexual intercourse was bad. I felt frightened anytime I had a reason to do it.
Does that make you have phobia for sex?
Exactly! So, I just had to cope with it. And by the time I came out of it, I came out a better person. It even affected my psyche and confidence because I was always so afraid. When a man discusses relationship with me, I see it like there is trouble. So, at the end of the day, I can say conveniently that I have put it behind me. And the person I married today has helped me because I speak about it. If I don’t speak about it, there’s no how I would come out of it like that. Each time I speak about it, I am loosening up every form of the pain and guilt and all that, because I used to feel guilty that I was the one that caused it to happen to me. And I can tell you authoritatively that I go to conferences to talk about rape, at each time I have had women telling me that either it had happened to them or their children, but they don’t know how to discuss it with anybody other than their pastors. So, PARA wants an avenue where people can freely come out and discuss their problems, especially rape.
Foluke Daramola has been scarce in movies, could it be as a result of your pregnancy?
Please, for crying out loud, I’m not pregnant. Do I look pregnant to you? I am an African woman so I am not expected to drum my pregnancy. It shouldn’t be on the pages of the newspapers. It is my privacy. It is not something I would want to announce; I am not a Western woman but a full African. For sure, one can’t hide such things because it shows itself when the time comes.
So, how did pictures of your protruding tummy go viral?
If I get pregnant, good, but I am not pregnant at the moment. That day, I wore a long dress for a red carpet event. I was with my husband, but the dress was a bit tight on me. I am on the big side, so I make sure I wear long dresses that would hold so much on me. My dress was the reason the pictures looked like I was rocking a baby bump.
What was your reaction when you saw the news everywhere and people were calling to congratulate you?
It wasn’t funny at all. I would have sued the blogger that started that, but my husband asked me to drop it, that perhaps they were wishing me pregnant. It was indeed very crazy. If I am pregnant or if I become pregnant, I would keep it away from the prying eyes of the media till when the time is due.
What if you become pregnant now that everyone wishes so for you?
If it comes now, of course, it is a good thing. But nobody should expect a baby from me within the next nine months because I am not carrying any baby inside me right now. No hard feeling though, I was quite shocked when the news went viral.
Away from the pregnancy rumours, what other news have you read about yourself that hit you so hard?
I have heard all sorts about myself, but I guess that’s part of the sacrifice I have to pay for stardom. I have developed a thick skin over the years. I have been in the industry for so long, so I am not new to any kind of controversy. This is my 20th year in Nollywood, so I am used to the drama.
Your plus size must have done more harm than good to you in terms of harassments?
One thing about me is that I have self confidence. I don’t believe everybody has to be slimshady. Even though, I don’t want to be slim shady, maybe I would want to lose a pound or two but I like myself just the way I am. I know if I am slim, I might not look good. I am cuter as a chubby person, so whatever anybody says doesn’t affect my selfconfidence. I don’t wish to be like Genevieve Nnaji or anybody else, I love the way I am and that’s the way I treat people’s opinion about me. Secondly, my husband doesn’t like slim women. So, that also boosts my ego.
What makes you thick as an actress?
I’m a very sincere person; I call a spade a spade. I am quite realistic. Maybe, my tertiary institution also shaped that about me. At OOU (Olabisi Onabanjo University), we are well known to be very down to earth. We don’t live a mirage. I don’t fake my lifestyles or myself.
After all the showbiz and paparazzi, I always remember to go back home to be the woman I have always been, not the actress on set. Family is everything to me. This is Nollywood not Hollywood. I am very homely, that makes me unique.
How then do you manage your home and movie productions?
I’m 20 years in the industry, so I have seen it all. Now, I have divided my attention into two. 60 per cent for my family and the remaining 40 for my works. I strongly believe that my home is my backstage. At the end of the day, I still have to go back home and make it the best place ever.
What are your relationship with your kids and step kids?
If a family is based on love, there are no animosities. If it is based on true unadulterated love, nobody can come in to break them. We have so much love in Salako’s family and it has been guiding us right.