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For actress turned movie producer, Olamide Odunlade, the journey to becoming one of the most celebrated thespians in Nollywood has just begun. Known as Owo Mala, Odunlade has been building a name for herself not just as an actress who gives her best to every movie role she gets, but a movie producer that wants to win laurels and be famous. She was recently engaged by SEGUN ADEBAYO as she tells the story of her journey into movie-making.

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Looking back at the journey and the career you are building for yourself, how does it feel knowing that you are fast becoming a big brand in the movie industry?

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I am grateful to God for His grace and mercy that brought me this far. To remain in the limelight is actually more difficult than getting into the limelight. It is the Grace of God and hard work that can sustain one. I also need to work more on my craft so as to make my productions exceptional. I am happy that my brand is growing and the industry appreciates what I do.

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As an actress, what comes to your mind when you are asked to appear in a new movie?

The very first thing that comes to my mind is how to relate with the people I am about to work with – crew, cast, and others. I want to give my best always to every job that comes my way because I know an actor is only as good as his last job.

Don’t you get distracted by trying to fit into the real personality that you want people to see and know?

Distraction can only come in when you are being fake; if you are your real self, nothing can get you distracted. When you are being real, you don’t have anything to worry about because every time people see you, they know they are seeing the real you.

What helps you to keep going despite the pressure that comes with your job?

Humility and diligence have really helped me to get along. I don’t see what others see as pressure because I have not been putting myself under any pressure. What works for me may not work for others but I am learning every day and I am pushing the keys into the right places to make sure that life gets easier for me and I get better at my job. I love to get things done the right way, and this has worked for me in a big way.

How do you ensure things are done the right way?

I will say I get things right by being focused on my career and minding my business. Maintaining celebrity status has to do with one’s personality; how one relates with one’s people; getting to work tirelessly to remain on the top of one’s game, and not looking down on people.

Does it bother you that the Yoruba movie industry doesn’t pay its practitioners well enough compared to what obtains in other climes?

I think we are getting better in terms of payment now, but a majority of us in the Yoruba genre are practising based on passion and not financial rewards. We crave investors in this sector of our industry to encourage us more; so I will say I’m not bothered now because we are passionate about what we do but that doesn’t mean I will work for free for anyone.

How does it feel seeing that you are fast becoming popular in the industry?

I don’t see myself as being popular. I always think I need to brace myself up and work more to be relevant, and do some contents that are relatable. Consistency and not giving up has been the major factor that has worked for me, and pushed me this far. Anytime I want to go on a movie set, I always have it at the back of my mind to beat my last performance and turn out beautifully. I don’t pay attention to whether I am popular or not, I just want to deliver my job and do it well.

Why do you think actors and actresses don’t love one another genuinely?

Not loving one another genuinely is not only in our industry; it happens everywhere. The major cause of bad blood among actors in the movie industry is competition. Some people will personally have issues with you when you get more roles than them or you have more material things than them.

When you had the opportunity to appear before the camera for the first time, what came to your mind first?

You really don’t want to hear about how I swallowed my saliva like 100 times when I heard the word action; my heart started beating very fast. I was a bit shy as I couldn’t deliver my dialogue properly. Whenever I remember that day, I laugh. Today, I give all glory to God; I am doing absolutely fine with the help of my fans and family.

With the success you have recorded in a short while, how do you rate yourself now? Would you say you have finally arrived where you have always wanted to be?

I am not where I have always wanted to be, but I am getting closer by the day. It does not just happen as you wish but you have to keep putting in the work and ensuring that you give your fans something worth their time and love for supporting you. But that being said, I can say that I am successful because I am doing what I love doing and I am getting paid for my passion. That’s a big blessing in itself.

Have you found the love of your life or you are still searching?

True love will come when the time is right.

You will be premiering your new movie in a few days, what are your expectations of the event?

I am expecting to see my loved ones come out to celebrate with me. So many things have been put in place to make everyone have fun that day. From the red carpet interviews to the major deal of the day, where Alhaji Sulaiman Malaika will be on the stage doing what he knows how to do best. With other notable artistes like Alayo Malody singer and others also mounting the stage, I really can’t wait for people to see the magic we made in Omo Mala the movie. I am actually looking forward to a successful event.

Why are people saying there is more to your closeness with Malaika, who is also popular as Omo Mala?

Alhaji Sule Alao Malaika is just like a father to me; not just me but to everyone around him. The main reason he is coming to perform at the premiere is because I am his fan. Aside that, he played a major role in this movie. So, we don’t have any romantic relationship; he’s my godfather.

What was it like shooting the movie?

We had many challenges while filming; the rain disturbed us. We had location issues because we stayed for extra days, when we couldn’t achieve what we wrote in the script due to the weather and timing. A lot of money was spent on that project in order to achieve the real picture I had in mind. From paying actors to sorting equipment and more, I really went all out for it. It is my biggest film project ever. I am thankful to God for how lovely it came out. I can’t wait to let the world see the amazing work we did.

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