Interviews

‘SEX FOR ROLE IS REAL IN MOVIE INDUSTRY’ – Actress BANKE ADEWUNMI explodes

Banke Adewunmi

 

+ Launches N10 million Porsche Cayenne as birthday gift

One of the toasts of movie producers right now is Banke Adewunmi. She is a graduate of Micro Biology, Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago Iwoye, Ogun State. She started her career in 2010. Since then, she has been waxing stronger and stronger. She is also the CEO, Glitters and Glamour, Magodo, Lagos.

In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly on Saturday, May 31, 2014, in Ikeja, Lagos, the gorgeous and brilliant thespian narrated her journey, so far. The Ilaro, Ogun born role interpreter cum business woman also opened up on sundry issues, including her birthday, new car, career and more.

 

Let’s know how the journey into acting started?

My foray into acting began sometime in September 2009. I was always in love with acting, even when I was a kid. When I was in secondary school, I wanted to be in art class but when the Junior West African Examination Council (WAEC) results came out, I did well in science subjects. That eventually put me in science class in Senior Secondary School (SS 1) because we’re graded by our results.

So, I was posted to a science class. The principal told me that if I wanted to be in art class, I had to tell my parents to inform the school authority about my decision. When I got home, I explained everything to my parents. I told them that I wanted to be an actress, that’s why I loved to study art instead of science subjects. But they kicked against it.

They said they’re not comfortable with the way people talked about the profession. So, I had to accept my parents’ decision because I was too young to decide on my own. But at that I was still attending art classes, I didn’t want to go to science class. One of my teachers told me that I would fail if I refused to go to science class because my name was not on the list of art students. That’s why I had to go back to science department. After my secondary school, I got admission into Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU). That’s 2003.

I studied Micro Biology, and graduated in 2008. I did my National Youth Service Corp scheme in Abuja. Along the line, even before I finished my degree, I was always a business person. And after my youth service, I continued my business.

After a while, I discovered that I was no longer a kid, I just decided to go into acting. That’s 2010. Since then, I have been doing movies. I have decided to make a career out of it.

How would you describe the experience so far?

One has to be honest, it has not been easy because of the way some people behave in the industry. There is always this issue of caucus. But in my caucus, I have always been invited to movie sets, where I played some roles. And it has been wonderful.

Which caucus do you belong?

I belong to Odunfa Caucus. I have done quite some movies, including Ifegbona, King Search, Eja Tutu, oruka Ojosi and others but I am yet to feature as a lead actress. But now, I am working on my own production. Very soon, work will begin.

How much have you earmark for the movie?

It’s going to cost a lot of money. It’s surely a high budget flick. I pray I get sponsors because it may be difficult for me alone to foot the bill. But in everything I do, God has always been my pillar of support. And I am very sure, He won’t disappoint in the project.

What’s the title of the movie?

At the beginning like this, what you can only have is called working title, which may be changed later. It all depends on the development that unfolds as you progress. As of now, I have Asake Atole or Eje mi (my blood).

I am still contemplating not using Eje mi because the title will not keep people in suspense. It will be very easy for them to guess how the movie would end. One thing is that people can easily predict what’s going to happen in the next scene, which, to me it’s not good. That’s why I just feel I should concentrate on Asake Atole.

Who are the stars the movie is expected to parade?

I am still working on the list. But I am hoping to feature Funke Akindele, Sunny Ali, Femi Adebayo and other notable faces that may be drawn mainly from Odunfa Caucus. I still have to consult my bosses in the caucus.

Are you aware of this sex for role syndrome in the industry?

Yes, it’s real.

Have you experienced it?

I said it’s real but that doesn’t mean I have experienced it. I don’t even want to comment further on that. They won’t want to call you for job unless you do one or two things with them. Left to me, I think I am above that.

That’s why I just do those ones I can do and ignore those who may attach unnecessary conditions to featuring me. I have made up my mind, I can’t sleep with anybody because I want to appear in a movie. I am not, I am still repeating it, I’m not in any way ready to sleep with anybody for one useless role. It’s God that makes a star.

Even, not until you feature in 1,000 movies. That same God that has been helping me all this while will continue to be with me in my career and business. That’s why I have decided to produce my movie and from there I would pick up, which is the best alternative open to you as an upcoming actress.

That means you might have also faced a lot of sexual harassments…

(Cuts in) There is sexual harassment in the industry. It’s not easy making it without being sexually harassed. Some people think it’s like trade by barter. It’s real. There should be a level playing ground for all without attaching any dirty condition. People should be allowed to showcase their God’s given talents without any hinderance.

You can be mistaken for Igbo girl, why not pitch your tent with those in the English movie genre?

Actually, I preferred English movie to Yoruba. That’s actually what I wanted to do but it’s not easy joining them because there is discrimination in that genre, especially when you’re not of Igbo origin or any related tribe.

No matter how much you look like them, you may not get any role soon. I have done one or two English movies before I finally move back to Yoruba genre. I was in one movie produced by Chidi Chidioke. We shot in Umuahia. Jim Iyke was also there. The movie also featured some Ghanaian actors.

Also, travelling that far because you want to be in a movie, spending weeks outside Lagos and all that are difficult for me. Most of their movies are usually shot in Asaba, Enugu and all that. I found it difficult following them about because of any cheap role. At the end of it, they may not even give you any role. So, I later decided to come back home because, that will be much easier for me.

You’re very pretty, how do you cope with male admirers?

It’s normal to see men making advances at you as a lady whether you’re fine or not, whether you’re an actress or not. I am not saying I am a pretty lady, you’re the one saying that but those that are not as fine as you said I am, have male admirers.

It’s just normal, men will always be men. But the most important thing is to handle the situation maturely and politely. Left to me, I don’t have time for men now. What’s important to me is my career, after that, my business.

You’re also into business, you’re the CEO, Glitter and Glamour, what exactly are you dealing in?

I am into fashion accessories. I deal in shoes, dresses of different colours and sizes for women. I do male stuff as well but only on order. I am also into cream business. I do my own cream, Glitter and Glamour and I also import some.

How do you juggle business and acting?

It has not been really easy. But I have some girls taking care of my business for me when I am not around. Now, I want to really have time for my career. And one can’t be on location every day.

You look so comfortable, what’s the secret?

No other secret apart from God, my Creator.

Are you in a relationship right now?

That’s private. I won’t answer that for now. Honestly, I have a man in my life but I don’t want to talk about him now.

On Tuesday, May 27, 2014, you added a year, how does that make you feel?

I feel so excited and above all grateful to God for what He has done, and that He’s still doing in my life. I strongly believe He will do more.

Why did you choose to celebrate with the motherless babies?

Yes, I celebrated with the motherless babies first in the afternoon. That’s at the Heritage Home, Anthony Village, Lagos. I was so happy that it coincided with Children’s Day celebration. I just felt giving out part of what God has given me won’t be a bad idea. So, I decided to touch the lives of the kids in my little way.

What did you actually donate and what’s the financial worth of everything you gave them?

I won’t want to disclose that. There is no point doing that. I was moved to give and I was glad they were all happy and fulfilled.

You later threw a big bash at Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, that same day…

Yes, I did. It was a surprise party for me. It was organized by my friend, Omoh. She took care of all, and I owe her a lot of thanks and all those that attended the event. It was a nice one

We learnt you just acquired a new ride, Porsche Cayenne, worth N10 million, how true is it?

It’s true I just acquired a white Porsche Cayenne but I can’t disclose the amount I bought it. I will only say it’s worth cool millions of naira (smiles). I give God all the glory.

You alone couldn’t have achieved everything you mentioned so far without any man sponsoring you, can you unveil the man behind the curtain?

Sure, I wouldn’t have been but the only one behind everything is God. The one that has been my strength all this while. He is my comfort, guide and above all, creator.

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