Almost every artiste you meet, either started from the church or school. Uche began at The Over comers Church. And did she over come? Not without mentioning the fact that her initial dream was to become a top model and beauty queen until she could not sustain her slim figure. Her modeling dream thus passed away and the home video industry took possession of her. Uji was second runner up at the Miss Lagos Island Pageant in 2001.
Laide Bakare is one of the most active Yoruba actresses, considering the fact that she started way back in 1999. In this interview with Tunde Ayanda, she speaks on how she got into the industry, her take on nudity and her family. Excerpts:
Can you tell us exactly how you got into acting?
I joined the movie industry through my dad. Several artistes used to lodge in my dad’s hotel in Ibadan and there was a particular time when my father was celebrating his birthday with a house warming and we all went to his hotel which was the venue of the party. And on getting there, we saw so many film makers, some of them liked me and when they needed anything, they’d ask me which I provided for them. It was there that they asked me if I would like to join them. I must confess that I actually love acting and anything that has to do with film production. My father travels a lot and he buys a lot of equipment like cameras for shooting and recording and people that rented them used to tell me of their usefulness in movie production and that was how it started.Later I sought and gained admission into the University of Ibadan to study Theatre Arts for my first degree and then the University of Lagos for my postgraduate and the rest is history.
Can you remember your first movie?
The very first movie was Adeyemi and it was produced by Muka Ray. I played a major role and acted so well in it that people couldn’t believe it was my first time, it was in 1999.
Before coming to the industry, who were the people that attracted you into acting?
Unfortunately, home videos were not so popular when I was growing up, but I had some role models in broadcasting. There were also some in acting, people like Joke Silva, Bimpe Adekola, Jide Kosoko, Olu Jacobs and quite a number of them that have made their marks in the industry.
Let me compare the Nigerian movie industry with other professions like banking, law or the medical line, do you think you are getting what you actually deserved in the industry compared to related professions?
You don’t judge through financial benefits but fulfilment and happiness. I might not be happy being a banker, a lawyer or what have you. The movie industry is where I know I belong, the profession is what gives me joy and I’m happy doing it. I must also tell you that its not as bad as people think it is. Honestly, we are not doing badly except for some challenges in distribution, you know we distribute all over Africa, also in Europe and America.At times, you’ll discover that your movie did not get to where it is supposed to touch. Again, the internet too is not helping matters as people will put your film on the internet without consulting you or paying you any form of royalty. These are the challenges we are facing and once they can be corrected, we are fine.
You do more of Yoruba movies than Igbo, why?
Because the Yoruba producers patronise me more, they appreciate me and give me roles, they know my worth and respect me so much. When you are faced with other challenges and you know the producers are tribalistic and only want to give roles to people of their tribe, it doesn’t bother me. This is because I know I’ve been treated well by producers that know my worth and want me to be in their movies where they pay better money, I won’t be bothered.
You are one of the most prominent actresses we have around, how do you ward off male advances, especially if they come from people you believe are your fans?
Its so easy and simple. When one is dealing with admirers, it depends on the person, its the way you present yourself. Normally, they will not appreciate you more than being an actress, they will either reserve any ulterior motive that can bring them embarrassment. You know men are no fools, they read countenance and understand what is available for them and what is not, so its simply putting them in check.
Who do you think rock it right between the three beauty queens at the 2010 HHWAwards: Munachi Nwankwo-Abii, Omowunmi Akinnifesu or Chinenye Ochuba?
Munachi Nwankwo-Abii – The Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2007
Omowunmi Akinnifesi – The Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2005
Chinenye Ochuba – The Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2002