Talented actress, Debbie Shokoya is an interviewer’s delight. She doesn’t shy away from fielding questions bordering on any issue, be it career, romance or sex.
In this chat, she bares it all. Please enjoy it.
Can you give an insight into your growing up?
My name is Deborah Shokoya popularly known as Debbie. I am from Ijebu Remo in Ogun State. I attended my primary and secondary schools in Lagos, and proceeded to The Polytechnic Ibadan where I studied Public Administration. My growing up was fun, and a little bit strict because I have a very strict father, a disciplinarian, who would let you know that you can’t just be there playing, you have to be engaged with one work or the other at a particular time. I was born into a family of 10 children and I am the 8th. Sincerely, my growing up was so amazing that if you misbehaved, you had everyone, old and young scolding you. I love the fact that I came from that kind of home. It restricted me in a kind of way and it has really helped me in my career. My mother is a woman of style and dignity. She would always tell you not to ever get intimidated, and that is it. So, my growing up played a major role in who I am today.
What is special about you?
I love uncommon things… from my clothes to my shoes, and every other thing. I don’t like when something is common. I don’t like when you can predict something or come across it anyhow. It should be something that is rare, unique, different and unusual. That is what I stand for. I am unusual. I am sure that part of me is so special. You can’t predict me, because the moment you do, I get myself more complicated. I want to go far from what you can think of and that makes people want to know me more. They are always like, ‘who is she?’
How did you come into acting?
I came into acting some years back. Acting has been something I so much love. I remember back then, I could go to every video club in my area to get the latest movies, especially Yoruba movies. I got so addicted to them at that time. So, it got into me that I became so dramatic. But I am still that shy girl that won’t want to come out. I love giving directives than leading the scene, but as fate would have it, I joined a movie caucus called ‘Creative Man’ owned by John Olakunle Da’silva, and I got trained and kept pushing all by myself till date.
What is the role that brought you into the limelight?
The role that brought me into the limelight was the one I played with Ibrahim Chatta, Tunde Owokoniran, Dele Odunle and Peju Ogunmola. In the movie, Aye Loja, I played a very sharp mouth and sensitive baby of the house. I emerged the second best character, so that was the movie that made people to notice me.
This minute you are all posh and sophisticated, the next minute you appear street and razz. How are you so comfortable switching personality?
I sincerely don’t know. But all I know is that I love what I do. When I am ready to be dramatic, I go all the way.
Who are your mentors in the industry?
I will always pick Ibrahim Chatta. And I am very sure if you ask any of my contemporaries in the industry, they will say this same thing about him. He is super amazing. He’s never selfish with knowledge; he’s always ready to put you through. I remember my first day on set alongside veteran actors, Dele Odunle and Peju Ogunmola; I was all shaking. The next thing Uncle Ibrahim (Chatta) said was ‘Deborah, hold your peace and do it like you’re being your normal self. These people that got you fidgeting are all here to deliver their roles like you’. And boom! Immediately that got into me, I started taking my roles normally, without fear. Another mentor of mine is Richard Mofe-Damijo (RMD). He is so timeless in his craft. Again, I will choose Toyin Abraham for always putting all her energy into her work, and then Funke Akindele-Bello.
Would you take fame over money or money over fame?
For me, it’s money any day. If you have money, fame will follow. In fact, with money you don’t need to buy fame, it will come automatically. Even people you don’t know will want to attach themselves to you. So, I will always pick money over fame.
What’s the secret of your good skin?
The secret is my brand, my skincare line, Stay Natural by DBS. It’s a natural product that makes your skin go all popping and yummy. I don’t bleach, because at the end of it all, you are going to damage your skin; and when it’s damaged, it can never be the same again. So, I do natural stuff that makes my skin colour glow.
Is Debbie taken?
I am not taken! I believe when I am married that is when I am taken. I am not engaged either, but that’s not to say I am single because I am in a relationship. However, I am still single… until the person gives me a ring; so whoever wants to come can slid into my DM or whatever. If you pass, why not, I am not taken.
What is your parents’ reaction to your acting career?
Sincerely, my father wasn’t in support of it at all. Also, my siblings were not in support; my mum was the only one that stood by me. She saw how passionate I was about it and she gave me all her support. Till date, she has always been my number one fan. Anytime I go on location, she wants to know everything; the role allocated to me, and all; even as old as I am. My mum loves this movie world of a thing.
Have you any regret?
I have no regret. Sincerely no! Absolutely no regret. I snap out easily from past event and move on as if it never happened. I try as much as I can to keep away negative vibes. I am positive in all what I do.
Do you act under any influence?
I hear some people act under the influence of alcohol and they do really well. But I will never think of that because if I do, I will just scatter the set and beat up the director. Honestly, I don’t act under anything at all, not even juice.