I'm like a sweet banana-Opeyemi Aiyeola

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Fame came very quickly for favourite actress, Opeyemi Aiyeola. Barely half a decade in the movie industry, her credits run through ten fingers and more. Last Tuesday, Opeyemi was billed for a role in a movie. The cast and crew were already on location in Ikorodu, a Lagos outskirt. But she kept the date with Closeup.

As we sat opposite each other in the office of a top movie marketer In Lagos, she exuded a feeling of self-assurance, not a tad of false susceptibility or false modesty. She maintained an imperturbable manner.

Her foray into acting was quite fortuitous. She'd gone to Binta f International School to see her kid brother, when late movie director, Yomi Ogunmola, known for his canny eyes for talents, sighted her.

"Acting was not actually on my mind then. But Yomi Ogunmola told me that I had the carriage and beauty of an actress. Before 1 knew it, I was on the set of Papa 'Ajasco. The first time I was on set, I was very, very nervous."

Next came Rotimi Makinde's Aso Iyi in which she starred as the lead actress. She's followed it up with credits in Eja Osan, Aweni Baku, Ige Adubi, and popular TV soaps -Genius, Izozo, Tight Rope Schemes and Super Story.

If her role in Thuraya L'omo is considered sexy,then watch Opeyemi in her first ever produced movie, Sweet Banana (Ogede Dundun), due for release next week. Her character, Bose, alongside Bimbo Akintola, Dele Odule, Yemi Solade is matter-of-fact stunning. Sweet Banana, written by Biola Hughes was tinkered with by Opeyemi and her directors -Abbey Lanre and Yemi Amodu. "1 was actually having a story with family issues as the theme, but Biola Hughes advised me to do something with a slice of life, entertaining and appealing to my age, and my generation so, he brought Sweet Banana (Ogede Dundun)."

Sweet Banana tells the story of Bose, a young girl from a rich family, but with eyes on the fast lane. She finds a soul mate in Aramide (Bimbo Akintola) . Bose's first love, Ogogo (Taiwo Hussan) walks away when he returns from a course abroad to hear unpleasant tales about her. She also moves on and finds love in nouveau-riche, Tunde (Dele Odule), I who later dates her friend, Aramide. When Aramide wouldn't let Tunde go, Bose cut the relationship short. Suddenly, she turns bitchy, obsessive and adventurous. Living wide off mark, she later meets Yomi (Yemi Solade), who, unknown to her, is an armed robber. Love struck Bose follows him wherever he goes, but it turns a bad outing when Yomi walks into the arm of the law for his sins."It's really a didactic movie, not an intense romantic movie.It's deep, it teaches a lot of lessons. Many girls get Iured easily by guys whose means of livelihood are suspect.. But we go on because we believe we are in love. There should be some restraints. "

Opeyemi recalled that several things challenged her during the shooting of the movie, among which is the picking of the cast for Bose's mother. "It was a bit difficult, in the sense that, practically everybody I had in mind was not around. But I later found a more reliable hand in Peju Ogunmola. People have often told me we look alike." .

The movie with the title, Sweet Banana, Opeyemi disclosed, "was taken from Bose's conviction that she is sweet. Bose believes that girls nowadays are as sweet as banana, irresistible. They believe men would bow at their feet because of their beauty. "

But isn't she sweet? "I'm sweet too, sweet like banana in character and looks. I don't have to be hopping from one bed to another. Friends tell me I'm sweet, my photographs show it. I can also see myself in the mirror and 1 thank God. Women, however, should not allow their
beauty to go into their heads. She worries about the kinds of film in which she finds herself. "1 won't strip for any money, not even for a million dollars or pounds. Ha,that's not African, maybe if I was born a British or American; my opinion about playing nude or stripping might be different. Besides, my Christian background and environment won't allow that."

With a rising profile, Opeyemi wishes to launch into the mainstream of English movies.l would really love to do more English movies, but I can't Iobby for roles. I believe my works should be able to speak for me."

In all the movies she has featured, only two have made her edgy ."I take every job 1 do as the last I'll ever do, but so far, Awenibaku and Yinka Quadri's forthcoming 150 Million challenged me. The two movies took me out of the usual." Independent in spirit, not even her ex-lover's reservations about her new found love acting could change her.

"He jilted me without a good reason. I felt terribly bad but not bowed. I tried to ask him why he walked away, but he didn't tell me. But I knew he couldn't stand the nature of my job. The attention I was getting made him feel uncomfortable. Even if he'd asked me to quit acting, I wouldn't have."

Perhaps he felt someone took advantage of her. "No, nobody can take advantage of me.I'm an adult.I know where it begins and where it stops."

Opeyemi, standing 5 feet 7 inches, is currently a 400 level Accounting student at the Lagos State university (LASU) Ojo, Lagos. She had a stint in modelling, while studying Accountancy at the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta. Being a movie star on campus, she hinted, is fun. "It makes me to have a lot of friends. It has changed my person, a lot. I used to be very snobbish, but I've learnt to be friendly, more friendly than ever:"

As she's poised to make it big in Nollywood,Opeyemi desires:"1 wish to co-star with Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD). I think he's the best actor. Unfortunately,I've never met him. If I meet him, what I would tell him? Ah! '1 will tell him,you're a very good actor."
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