The Nollywood actress Iyabo Ojo has been in the movie industry for 17 years. While still a rookie in the industry, she got married and had to abandon her career. She returned to acting after the break-up of her marriage and after earning a diploma in estate management.
In an exclusive interview ,Iyabo spoke on her life as a single mother and working as an actress cum producer, and finding love again.
Was it acting that made you leave you husband?
It was another thing entirely; it had nothing to do with my acting because I gave up acting immediately I found out I was pregnant. I just gave it all up because I wanted to have a home. I wasn’t known as an artist then. People would say: who is this girl? It wasn’t as if I had an established name or face. It was just the beginning of my career. The baby came and it was easy to give up everything because I was not deeply into acting then. I was just a beginner. Making up my mind to come back to acting was a result of the crash.
How have you managed as a single mother?
It is a journey that when I look up and look down all I have to say is thank you, Lord. It has not been easy. I remember when I first started that journey with my kids, even when I was married I was doing it all alone. When I came out of it I thought that Iyabo doing it all alone was temporary but now it is permanent. That kind of made me buckle up and all I kept saying to myself was that these children didn’t ask to be here, I brought them to the world, they are my responsibility and I just have to be the best mom to them. Sometime, things are difficult but that’s because I don’t do beyond my limit. I don’t copy people; I cut my coat according to my pocket and it was easy for me like that. There was a time I sold my gold jewellery. I have had to borrow from friends to pay my children’s school fees. Children have their own blessing that come with them, that is my greatest belief. Every child is a blessing. There is no perfect way of doing it, the best way is just manage it anyhow; don’t overdo it. I am always the last. They have to come first. My business have also been of a lot of help as acting alone cannot pay our bills. I started with a supermarket even before I got married but now I have two beauty shops to assisting in picking my bills as I am a breadwinner.
You have encouraged your daughter to act; aren’t you exposing her too early?
Every celebrity child is exposed whether they act or not but it now depends on how you train your children; that is what matters. My daughter is an actress. She is a part-time actress because she is still under age. Even when she gets to adulthood, I think I would still be careful because she is a lady and I know I need to put her on the right part. She doesn’t work except during holidays and on weekends when doesn’t have test or exams. I turn down movie roles for her as her manager. I am her bulldog, watching her, monitoring everything that she does. I want her to go to Hollywood; that is where the money is and I will be her manager and be collecting the money.
What about your son; has he shown any interest in acting?
No, my son has never done so although once in a while he acts, like in my movie ‘Beyond Disabilities’.
Have you tried to find love again and maybe remarry?
Yes, that is why I am not looking for the marriage thing. We are both not into the marriage thing but we are both happy with our relationship. I have never had any one support me like he does – my movies, my kids, my life. Apart from my kids that make me glow, he is the next person. I am comfortable today. I give all the glory to God and him. So I am beautifully okay with him. He makes me laugh, he understands me, and he is all about Iyabo. He is all about my achievement. He is all about what makes me fit and he is just the Mr Perfect. I cannot celebrate my relationship in the media for reasons best known to me and that is the reason why the relationship has lasted this long but I am happy honestly. My ex-husband wasn’t violent but I endured emotional torture. Honestly, we are not enemies. For the sake of our kids, we are still friends.
You were rumoured to be pregnant, were you?
I tied a lace wrapper wrongly and it gave me a bulge around my stomach. That was what the people saw and came out with the news of me being pregnant. For me pregnancy is a no. I said no, I didn’t say never because I am a Christian. God works in his ways but for me it is a no. I don’t want it. If I had wanted it I would have had it much earlier, but at that, never say never because you don’t know what might happen. Marriage for me also, for now, is a ‘no, no.’ I am sorry to disappoint my fans who are waiting to see that wedding. For me right now, marriage is not on my list but like I said earlier, never say never. If God comes tomorrow and says Iyabo it’s time to get married I could but right now it’s a no. The most important thing for me now is that my two kids are going to the university very soon that is more important to me. I have one of the four children I am taking care of already in the university so that is a three for me. I have a relationship and I am happy in my relationship.
What are the negative sides of being an actress?
I will say it has affected my private live generally. Stardom comes with a price. As an actress, you will sacrifice your private life that is the price you have to pay. I don’t see it as a negative though; if you do, then you close a lot of doors to yourself. The negative part of stardom I don’t enjoy is that people tend to judge you by what they read or the movies they watch you in.
What are the major challenges?
As you develop, you have different challenges. When we first started, the challenges were how to get it right, to follow the right path and to do the right things. After that came making a name, then reaping as you have sowed, your time and money. Challenges come as you grow; different types of challenges. I believe God will never give you what is above you. So, whatever challenges comes your way you have to learn to manage it as an actress, producer or anything.
Your movie ‘Silence” was reportedly heavily pirated; are still planning on releasing any movies soon?
I have two other movies that are already produced. ‘Beyond Disabilities’ will hit the cinemas September 24 while ‘Black Val’ will be coming out on February 14, 2016. People should watch out for Seun Akindele and Eniola Badmus in the latter movie.
Festus Ojo, Iyabo’s first son recently graduated from secondary school, and the boy made his mum proud as he was given an award for being the best behaved student in his set.