I was the breadwinner - Moji Olaiya


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Mojisola Olaiya is the daughter of highlife musician, Sir Victor Olaiya. The actress came into the limelight when she starred in Wale Adenuga’s television soap: ‘No pains, No Gains’. She spoke with Adunola Oladapo on issues bordering on her life and the movie industry. Excerpts:

As a child of a famous musician, you were born into publicity and fame. Would you say this had any impact on your growing up?
If my father’s fame had any impact on my life, it has always been positive. We enjoyed privileges, people wanted to associate with us, but one thing I know for sure was that it never got into our heads. My dad taught us to be humble. We were trained to be good children, to keep our heads low and to be friendly with everyone and I imbibed all the good trainings, so it never had any negative effect on me.

Now that you have grown to stardom in the make-believe industry, how do you manage the fame?
Fame is not strange to me and I know how to handle it. One can be famous for good or for bad and I know my family and I personally have been famous for good. I had very good, cultured and proper upbringing, so fame cannot get into my head. I lived and grew up in fame, so it’s no big deal but the big deal is not to soil the family name and my own name too.

So, I handle it maturely and perfectly, probably because I am well-cultured and a good, strong Christian. Although, one of the prices we pay for being known is to live an open life; I am used to it and I try as much as possible to manage it. I was already used to people looking my way, shouting my name and all that. I don’t need anyone to tell me that I don’t have a private life; I know the aftermath of a careless life. I wouldn’t dare it.

Would you say your upbringing has been responsible for the controversy- free life you are noted for?
Of course, in a way, but I owe my scandal-free life and career to God Almighty because I am not perfect. I have very strict and disciplined parents and I grew up with good morals, respect and values. I grew up looking up to real, credible people as role models. If top, known actresses like Peju Ogunmola, Iya Rainbow, Joke Jacobs, Iya Awero etc, became super stars up till this moment and have scandal-free career, why should I? I am not perfect though, but I try hard to live a good moral and well-cultured life. So, to some extent, the values and culture planted in me by my parents added up to my scandal- free career.

How will you describe your father?
My father is my greatest fan; he is a loving and wonderful father. Though, very strict and disciplined, but yet very caring, loving and understanding.

Though, I am from a polygamous home but you will never know because he taught and impacted love into us the children, there was no differentiating between the wives’ kids.

He loved us equally and we never lacked anything good. If I come into this world again, I will choose my father again and again. He is a very good man, he is hardworking. He is a responsible man. He cared for us as children and was not found wanting in any of his duties as a father. He created a good name that we all cherish and enjoy till today.

His good name, I must confess, is working for me up till today. Several doors that ordinarily would not have opened for me keep opening even before I touch the knobs. He was focused and knew what he wanted very early in life. I get things that even my own personality would not get easily done whenever I mention his name. He has a highly-respected and worthy name; I emulate his lifestyle and wish to leave such legacy for my children too.

You speak so highly of good upbringing, strict dad, very good Christian and so on. What was your parents’ reaction when you started acting, especially then when artistes were seen as drop-outs?
To start with, I never liked or thought of becoming an actress, even though, I was in drama groups in church and in school but I never dreamt of acting professionally. I had always dreamt of becoming a broadcaster and be famous. So, for me, acting came by accident and maybe also destined by God.

When I started acting professionally, which was the role of Ireti in Wale Adenuga’s Super Story, I never told them at home. In fact, I was scared to inform my parents, so I did it secretly. I made sure I never slept out, did all my rehearsals and shooting and made sure I came back home to sleep. I just went out normally and came back, my parents didn’t suspect at all.

But to my greatest surprise, when my dad saw me in Super Story, at first he didn’t believe it, he said ‘she looks like Moji, but my daughter does not have tribal marks’. Eventually, he knew I was the one from the casting. You won’t believe that he fell in love with my performance, the way I acted the character well and I was very happy. Before then, my dad only watched news on TV, he doesn’t watch films or soaps but since that day, my father looked out for me and started watching home videos, soaps, Nigerian films and all that.

He is my greatest fan. He feels very proud of me and my career and my entire family supports me all the way. He only reminded me to remember the good name of the family and keep it glowing and not soil it. So, since then, I became encouraged the more. In fact, he would tell his friends ‘oh my daughter ,Moji the Ireti’ and tells them to watch out for me in movies.

So, you never dreamt of becoming an actress but now you act so well with passion. How did it happen?
Well, like I said, I never liked acting because I was very shy growing up and I just didn’t fancy the profession, my passion was in broadcasting and to achieve this, I made sure I passed English language and Literature, in fact, I had A1 in both papers but I didn’t get admission to study Mass Communication.

I then settled for Hotel Management and Catering, though I still did a diploma course in Mass Communication from University of Lagos. I will, however, say what has worked for me is handwork, perseverance and dedication to my job. Besides, after my experience in Super Story, I somehow fell in love with acting. I had always admired fame for myself and I now knew I could achieve it in acting too. So, now, I’m in love with the job and very passionate about it. Once I am into something worth the while, I give it my all.

You enjoyed so much success and fame immediately you hit the screens, what has been the secret of your success in this career?
It has been God all the way. He is the bedrock of my success. Yes, my father is famous but he is a musician, not an actor. Wale Adenuga’s No Pains, No Gains soap was my first time of doing something like that and I thank God that I did not disappoint the person that introduced me to the Super Story crew and my viewers.

I did not do anything special or discreet, I only tried to put in my best and I am glad it worked out well for me. It has just been God and hard work and this applies to anything I do. My motto is: Whatever is worth doing at all is worth doing well. I have been taught to always give my best to whatever I do and that is what I do at all time. Whatever role they give me, I try to give it the best shot. I just try to make it natural; I don’t take any assignment given to me with levity, I do it with all my strength and mind. This is the mindset with which I do my jobs.

Do you apply so much dedication to marriage too?
Oh yes, I do. Marriage is an institution by God and a lifetime affair, so if I dedicate so much passion to my job, how much more my marriage? I am a very good Christian and I respect the marriage institution a lot.

So, in what state is your marriage as we speak, are you still with your husband?
I want to use this medium to say categorically and officially that I am separated for life with my husband. I have never talked about this officially before because I was thinking we could amend and make it work again but I am saying emphatically here that all is forever over between me and my husband. This has been on for two years now but I thank God I have been able to pick my life back and move ahead.