It’s not often you come across someone that’s beautiful, talented, young and celebrated. Kehinde Bankole has all in good measure.
For the actress, all her childhood dreams are coming true – not only is she an actor and a model as she’s always dreamed, she has bagged awards and big projects; but that’s not all, in her words, there’s more to come!
The October 1 star who gained prominence starring on the Wale Adenuga-produced Superstory and This Life drama series in this chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s MICHAEL NWOKIKE gives us a peek into her world as she talks about her career, growing up as a twin, how she handles male advances and some romance…
How does it feel when you step out knowing you are one of the most recognisable faces in Nollywood?
Oh, am I? I really don’t know, to be honest. The only thing I can tell you for free is how I feel when I meet people that appreciate my work. It is very refreshing to get feedback.
What project are you working on right now?
I’m currently looking at materials and reading scripts. At this point in my career, I’m trying to carefully select my projects so I’m not sure which is next yet.
Tell us, how and when did acting start for you?
Acting started during my secondary school days. I joined both the choir and the drama group, but I was more active in the drama group.
You could have been a professional in another field and you studied mass communication, why acting?
Why not? I could have been a doctor or accountant as well. I could have been many things but I believe in following one’s dreams and passion. I love all forms of expression so when acting called me, I answered.
Did you always dream of being an actor, or did you have a different dream while you were young?
Funny story, as a child, I dreamt of being an actor, model and a singer. I remember my “Tyra Banks moments” in front of the mirror and how I would sing songs of Michael Jackson all day. I dreamed many dreams.
What was growing up like and how did that influence your choice of career?
Growing up was fun! Myself and my five other siblings played a lot. I remember how we would act dramas, do choreographies and sing our hearts out. We were closely guarded but given the freedom to grow and experiment. I am very grateful for my upbringing as it has influenced my judgment over the years.
What’s your fondest memory of growing up as a twin?
Playing naughty pranks chasing my sister around with earth worms on a broom stick. She would scream and run away terrified. We are non-identical so we couldn’t pretend Kehinde was Taiwo and Taiwo was Kehinde.
What’s your relationship with your twin now compared to your growing up days?
It’s the same as ever. We talk about everything.
Which role would you regard as your toughest challenge yet in your career?
My role as Tawa in October 1.
Which do you consider your forte, TV drama or cinema flicks?
Both. They both require a good level of depth.
What sort of role would you never play in a movie?
Never say never!
Of all the projects you’ve featured in over the years, which do you hold dear in your heart?
I have had special moments on all sets so they all have their endearing holds. I hold all of them dear.
Did you foresee yourself achieving this much success when you started, especially starting out as a model?
I have always been excited about all sorts of possibilities but I’m not sure that one can really measure the level of success one can achieve. I believe hard work and determination eventually pays off. I’m very grateful to God for where I am but I’m not close to where I want to be. I believe there are tons of opportunities out there.
What would you attribute your success to?
If by success, you mean what I’ve achieved so far, I would say God, persistence and hard work.
Who are the movie stars that serve as inspiration for you both home and abroad?
Denzel Washington and Meryl Streep.
What do you do mostly in your spare time?
Rest, cook and listen to music.
What kind of people do you keep in your life?
Positive minded and happy people. It’s good to surround oneself with positive people.
You clearly look after yourself, what’s your beauty routine?
I have no particular routine. I drink a lot of water and stay hydrated.
What are the beauty items you don’t joke with?
My perfumes, moisturizer and mascara.
You are a beautiful young woman, how do you handle the male folk who can go overboard sometimes, especially considering you are also a popular actor?
I treat advances with respect and whoever does not return the respect, I put in his place. I can be quite strict!
How does your man take all the adulation and attention you get from your male fans and the media?
He is a confident man, so it does not bother him.
Do you subscribe to the idea of a romantic relationship with a fellow actor like some of your colleagues. Why’s that?
I believe that when it comes to romance and matters of the heart, decision should not be restricted to profession.
You were linked sometime with fellow thespian, Tope Tedela, in a romantic tale. Give us the true state of things between you two.
There was nothing to it. It was just a joke on the stage to entertain the AMVCA audience.
What are those things and people that mean the world to you?
God, family and friends.
Being a famous young actor with all the hype can be quite intoxicating, how do you remain grounded?
I stick to mothers counsel!