Beautiful Nollywood actress, movie director and producer, Iyabo Ojo, recently released a movie, Black Valentine, starring top Nollywood acts like Antar Laniyan, Bukky Wright, Tina Mba, Eniola Badmus, Belinda Effah, Chacha Eke, amongst others. The movie which is a story of love, family and betrayal was directed by Desmond Elliiot.
ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chat with the delectable thespian and she told us all about the movie, her family and love life…
What inspired your latest flick, Black Valentine?
It was inspired by the experience of friends, married couples and a lot of issues that they go through in their marriage. Hearing about a lot of stories from families with issues and I decided to write about their travails.
I found out that a lot of people deal with pain differently. I had a situation like that. It happened to a very close friend of mine, so I decided to put it into action.
You recently gave your personal assistant a brand new car, why?
She is a very hard working girl and very humble. She is dedicated to what she is doing and she has made me proud. She just graduated from the University of Lagos. She studied Biochemistry. I remember when she came, her parents were concerned about her going around with a celebrity and I told them not to worry that she would not lose focus. She listens to me when I tell her what to do. I’ve always said I was going to give her a car before she graduated. I knew she was going to graduate in a month. Moreover, it was her birthday.
What are the things that you think needs to be changed in the Nigerian movie industry?
There are a whole lot of things that need to be changed and controlled. Piracy is number one. Infrastructure are not also readily available. We need the government to intervene. We also need a lot of corporate bodies to support what we are doing. We still need a lot of things put in place because most producers struggle to produce their own movies. We need a movie village.
For example, we need more cinemas in Nigeria. We have very few cinemas. You can imagine if every local government has a cinema and you take your movies round the cinemas, you are going to make a lot of profit.
Do you always recoup the money invested in your movies?
Yes, I do, but we don’t make so much. Kudos to Ibaka, Africa Magic and Nollywood in London. From them we are able to generate money. So, I would always support them.
Have you ever thought of giving up on movie making?
There is no time I have never thought of giving up because I love what I do. You have to love what you do. There isn’t so much money in it, but you have to balance everything. I also have other businesses. I’ve always been a business person. I own a spa, salon and a fashion house. I always try to find ways to raise funds while I do what I love doing, telling stories and acting.
How do you balance motherhood with your career?
My children are teenagers now. My son is already in America studying. He will be 17 and my daughter is almost done with secondary school. So, they are grownups.
After two grownup children, you still look so young. What’s the secret?
It is God! I had my kids early, so it was easy. I raised them well. They are well mannered and well trained. I always find time to balance everything. There are times when I am on set and I have to be with them.
March 13, is my daughter’s birthday. I would be with her and make her happy, give her a special day. I also take them travelling during the holidays.
Are you looking at marriage soon, now that your children are all grown?
We never can say. I am not someone who is so particular about marriage, but if it comes, it is fine. I have a man in my life and I am okay with him.
It might lead to marriage and it might not, I don’t know. I leave everything in the hands of God, because God is the only one that can lead you in that path.
What were the challenges while producing Black Valentine?
I really didn’t face many challenges. The only challenge we had were getting the locations. We couldn’t get the locations we needed. Sometimes getting the ambulance, the police and other little things. I’m used to it because I produce almost every time.
Black Valentine was in the cinema for a couple of weeks, what was the response?
The response was beautiful, but it is out of the cinema now. It’s on Ibaka Television. I got a call from them this morning that it has the highest rating right now on ibakatv.com.