Omowunmi Dada is one of the emerging faces in Nollywood. She’s also a model and TV presenter.
In this chat, the University of Lagos graduate and star of Somewhere in the Dark opens up on career, nudity and other interesting issues.
What do you look out for in a story before you decide to be part of it?
First, the storyline must be very important. I try to figure out those that will learn from my role. It is not just about getting entertained.
So, what kind of storyline is a turn-off for you?
That’s when I don’t believe in the character I am offered. Most times, it doesn’t really have to be lead; it could be a minor but informative and didactic role. Like I always say, no character is small. I look out for stuff like ‘is the character believable?’ There is no small role, only small actors.
What do you stand for in the industry?
I stand for professionalism, quality and discipline. I stand for integrity and consistency. Again, no matter the challenges, keep working. Nobody wants to work with a lazy actor.
Is nudity a no-no for you?
It depends on the nature of what you mean by nudity. Nudity could be achieved in a very creative and tasteful way. What is the essence of the nudity? This question is very important because it is not just like I want to show off my curves. For example, if you want to act a rape scene, there is no way a dress will not be ripped. Well, it is really not a bad idea to act in the buff (laughter). I can’t believe I just said that. But it is fine.
What advice would you give a younger version of yourself?
Oh! What I will tell the younger Omowumi? First, ‘don’t ever forget what you are made of. Life could be hard but you have to find inner strength to go on, girl. Everything you need to survive in life is all within you and in God’s hands. It is okay to be you, but know one thing, you are destined to be great and nothing anybody does will set you back’. I will whisper to her ‘Omowumi Dada, you know what, you are a star and you are going to change the world’. Go girl!
Would you attribute your success to just hard work?
I always say that in whatever you do, always give your best. Sometimes it only takes one scene for someone to notice your skills, and that could land you a referral for projects that you never imagined in your entire life. Always remember, your success is in the hands of God and you.
Could you take us back to your days of auditions?
I can’t rule that out of my life, anyway. I went for auditions, lots of auditions. You can’t become a star in a day. You must pay your price, and no matter how challenging, enjoy the process because it hones your skills and opens up platforms for networking. And these are the things that make you a professional. You must be diligent. I gave me this advice a long time ago, and I have always strived to give my best at every point in time.
What was the title of your first movie?
The very first time I was on TV was as a presenter. It was a reality show for kids. That was in 2008. But my first movie ever was an epic entitled, Oya.
Which movie would you say brought you into limelight?
Some people would say it is Kinky Afolayan or Omugo while others will say it is Somewhere in the Dark. Again, some would say it is an Mnet soap in which I featured. But the truth is so many people are yet to know me, and that is the truth. That is why I need to constantly give my best in all that I do. I feel appreciated and honoured for all the jobs I have done so far.
Which do you prefer, TV presenting or acting?
I am an all round act. I can do any of the two perfectly. There is this saying that those who study Theatre Arts are better in role interpretation compared to the ‘I found myself in here’ group. Well, there is training and training is key. No matter or whatever you do as an actor, you can’t run away from training. You can’t just wake up and jump into what you are not trained for. In every profession, there is talent and you surely have to be well trained to be effective. We have a lot of people who studied Theater Arts but are now in banking halls, thriving. For someone like me, passion is key. If I am at home and I am not working or on set, I become restless.
Can marriage stop you from acting?
No! Don’t even bother to ask the question again (laughter). I want to be old and grey still acting, because it is what I love; it gives me fulfillment.
Which has been your most challenging role ever?
It’s Moremi where I acted a boxer. I had to train like a boxer for like two months. And then I just did Omoture courtesy Ebonylife TV. It is not out yet. I had to do research on the role. When the private screening was done, I saw a lot people crying and I was so happy. I don’t run away from challenges and hard work.
Is there anyone you look up to in the industry?
That should be Tina Mba. She is very professional and disciplined, and I love the way she handles her private life. I love that because I am also a private person. Most times, I love to drop Omowumi at home and project my professional self for the sake of my job and fans.
So, how do you balance both worlds?
That’s my secret-o. I am not going to let you know that (laughter).
How have you been coping with fame?
I am still myself; nothing has changed. I see myself as the regular Omowumi and what she does just demands a little attention. I don’t let that get into my head. I feel so honoured when people walk up to me and say they love what I do.
Do you still go shopping; do you still stop by the roadsides to buy corn or boli?
Yes, very well. I do it lots of the time. I was once stock in traffic and I simply alighted and boarded a bike that took me to a location speedily. I don’t compromise with my job.