By Bolatito Adebayo
April Joju Muse is a Nollywood actress who studied Public Administration at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State. She was introduced to stardom when she emerged the 3rd runner-up in the Next Movie Star Reality TV show in 2012. The actress who has many blockbuster movies to her credit shared with us what it was like growing up with a strict mum.
Could you tell us a little about your mum?
My mum is a sweetheart. She is strict and like everybody, she has a good and a bad side but her good side overwhelms her bad side. If I start talking about my mum’s good side, I won’t leave here. She is an amazing person. She is a humanitarian and she cares about other people. She is a counselor and in her own way, she tries to affect the lives of people around her. My mum is a darling and she is always looking out for people. For her, family comes first before any other thing; even most times before she thinks about herself, she will consider outsiders first.
What’s the best advice she has ever given you?
Ha, she has given me so many and they have all impacted my life greatly. But the one she is always talking about is that I should never forget the daughter of who I am and where I come from. That in everything I do in life, I should always remember where I am coming from. Those advice linger in my head always.
Are you her favourite child?
I don’t know (laughs). Really, I don’t think so.
What did she tell you about boys as a teenager?
She said to me, if any boy touches you, you would get pregnant. You know the normal thing now, “If any man touches you, you should come and report to me” and believe me; she was ready to face the person.
Did you ever have to report anybody to her?
No, you know I grew up smart, because even if she didn’t explain what the touch meant, I knew what it was, because girls are usually smarter than boys. I already knew what she meant by that time and I knew she was referring to my private part. I knew she was talking about a man touching my vagina and you know that is just the thing.
Does she have a pet name for you?
Ha, my mum doesn’t have time for that one, she is an African mum. She doesn’t have pet name for me o! I think when I was much younger she used to call me Joju international because I used to reject a lot of things. If I didn’t want to eat eba, I won’t eat it back then, no matter what she did to make me eat it and so she came up with that name. But growing up, it’s either you ate the food she gave you or you go and sleep. My mum is strict.
How does she curb your excesses?
I am adult now.
Not now, when you were much younger, did she use the cane or she tongue-lashed you?
My mum used everything. She tongue-lashed me and she used the cane too. She believed that a child that is not good belongs to the mother and she tried to do her best in putting us on the right path. So, you just had to be good and you won’t even wait for her to beat you, because if she did, you were dead already. If you were living with my mum, your head has to be very sharp; you have to be really smart, because she already knew your motives. But if you were not very smart, you would keep getting caned when you get into trouble.
Your mum seems like the bad cop in the house right?
Well, she can be a good cop too but before she can be a good cop she would have already messed you up first. (Laughs). You see it’s better she messes up with you and covers you up. But my mum doesn’t even like covering her kids up when they get into trouble. Just like a typical Yoruba mum, she believes that a child who does wrong should be exposed so that everyone will come together to scold that child.
What is her favourite food?
I think it’s Ikokore.
Which of her delicacies do you enjoy most?
I enjoy all her meals. She is a great cook and I enjoy everything she cooks. Even when I eat outside I don’t get satisfied like when I get to eat my mummy’s food. So, I am always looking forward to her food. She bakes; you know we have days when she bakes for us. So, on those days, we didn’t eat cooked food just cakes and brownies or pancakes.
Is she a caterer?
No, she is not. She just loves experimenting and cooking different dishes.
Let’s talk about fashion; is your mum very fashionable?
Yes, she is, in her SU way, my mum is fashionable.
Your mum is a born again Christian?
Yes, she is. She is an SU but she still dresses well. So, in their way of life, she is very fashionable.
Your mum is a Christian and you recently declared you are an atheist. What is she saying about that?
Yes, I am an atheist and she is not saying anything about that. You know our paths are different, our ways of life are different and everything about us is different. You see all my life, I have never been a religious person and you know there is a point in someone’s life when you have to accept the reality about yourself. Just accept who you are.
So, she never asked you why?
Well, if she says she doesn’t know then she is just pretending. She had always known from the onset that I am not a religious person. I think there was even a time her pastor told her that “your daughter is the anti-Christ”. (Laughs). This particular statement was made over 10 years ago and I remember recently that when I came out as an atheist, I said this is the fulfillment of what that man said. I don’t believe in all that stuff, because I don’t think it makes sense waking up on a Sunday and going to church. You see, I think Sundays are days for rest.
But when you were younger she made sure you went to church with her?
We went almost went every day. It was so boring back then.
So, why did you change?
I have seen everything going on in life and so I just drew my conclusions. We just tried our hope on religion; let us try it on something else. Before religion who were you?
Who are you now Joju?
I am a humanitarian and I respect life. I don’t have to focus on religion, I just want to focus on being human and making an impact in the life of people around me. If you can make an impact then I think that is an accomplishment in life. So, I don’t think we need religion to do all that, we don’t need to build churches and so on, we should focus on the people.
Do you intend producing or directing movies in future?
Yes, in future I intend directing, because I have already started directing little projects. I see a future in directing and producing.
When you told your mum, you wanted to go into acting what was her reaction?
I didn’t tell her, I just did it and she found out on her own. She looked at me and said, “You don’t tell me things before you make your decisions” and I told her that sometimes you just have to make things happen first. She didn’t want it, because it was different from her life but it’s my life. Moreover, our destinies and paths are different; in as much as I am doing the right thing, there is no problem about that.