+ Speaks on her multi-million naira outfit, Fespris
ON Sunday, August 11, 2013, pretty actress, Iyabo Ojo commissioned her new business outfit, Fespris, on Allen area, Ikeja, Lagos, and it was indeed a day of joy in the life of the top movie star. The event which was attended by family members, friends and colleagues and dignitaries from all walks of life will continue to linger in the memory of the Ilaro, Ogun born entertainer.
ENCOMIUM Weekly took the colourful entertainer on this and much more when we cornered her at a movie location in Maryland, Lagos on Thursday, August 15, 2013.
On Sunday, August 11, 2013, your new business outfit, Fespris, was commissioned, how would you describe the event?
It was a glorious day for me. It was indeed a grand event. I am really very appreciative of the people that came. The place was filled up with a lot of colourful people.
How does it feel controlling an outfit of that magnitude now?
It feels great. I feel fulfilled and I am particularly happy about it. It’s something I have been dreaming to have. Although, I have established such a business before, not in this big form. But I just thank God for everything because whatever you’re able to achieve, you just have to give God the glory.
The other time we visited the place, it was empty, what’s the situation of things now?
Now, it’s filled up with a lot of items. Everything is there intact, all the equipment are on ground. So, the salon, spa, nail department are ready. The pedicure and manicure department is also ready. My ushers and all my staffers for event management are ready. We have started working since Monday, August 12, 2013.
What’s your staff strength?
For now, I have over 10 staffers for the salon and spa. I also have enough staffers for event management. It depends on how large the party is, but I can assure you, I have enough hands that can take care of that.
How affordable are your services?
Very affordable. A lot of people have come, and assumed our services are going to be expensive because of the classy look of the office and all the equipment but they were surprised to find that our prices are very moderate. They are even a bit lower than what they can find elsewhere. We’re trying to attract customers for now. So, our pries are very much okay and affordable.
How will it be convenient to run the place because most times you are busy with movies?
I have professional hands that are very much capable of doing a lot of things. I have also employed a manager that will be manning the place. My personal assistant is also there for me. I also go there, I am just coming from there. So, if I am not on location, I am always there. But if I am on location, I always make sure I make out time to attend to all my schedules.
Don’t you think one will be affecting the other in the long run?
No, that won’t happen. You know that naturally I am not an everyday actress. I have always been doing business, and that has not affected my career. I am always very organized. I always draw my chart. I know when to face acting squarely, I also know when to produce movies. Equally, I understand when I have to face my business. Also, I know when to be at home with my kids. It is a matter of good planning.
Now that your business is bigger, would you say you have developed stronger passion for that or acting?
I think I am developing stronger passion for business because I have to put in enough time and effort into it, which I have started doing. But that does not mean I am shying away from my first love, which is acting. I am on location right now, shooting with Tinsel producer for a new tele-movie, The Target, which will be showing on DSTV and all other MNET stations. I just have to select the job I do now. I can’t just sacrifice my business for any job that’s not worth the while. But if I have a script that’s worth the while, I will be on that set. There is another one that will also be produced after The Target. What they are trying to do is to, basically, bring us together, I mean the Yoruba, Igbo and the Hausa actors to shoot a movie that will go far. The main goal is just to strengthen Nigerian movie industry. That’s why it’s called Afrohood.
That means a lot of money is involved?
Yes, they pay us well and the services are also very good. They are very professional. I really like my director because he knows what he is doing. And also, the likes of Frederick, my co-star actor because we’re both starring in the movie. So, it’s a very wonderful experience.
Who are the other star actors on the movie set?
We have a lot including Ajayi Kuti, Baba Kola Oyewo, he is also a lecturer in the university and many others.
How would you assess the movie industry generally?
I think we’re trying, we’re gradually getting there. Although we have our fault and this piracy of a thing. For instance, when Arinzo came out, the following day it was pirated, and sold at a very ridiculous price. We were so touched that we had to get the policemen and the Task Force to make sure some of these pirates were arrested. All these bring a lot of setback in the industry.
When is the part two of Arinzo coming out?
By the special grace of God, it will be out by the end of this month.
What are you now putting on ground to prevent it from being pirated?
That’s the problem, we really need the government to assist us because we’re doing everything on our own. And to be sincere with you, we can’t do it on our own. It will be very difficult for us to still put in a lot of money pursuing pirates after we have spent a lot money on the movie. No producer will be happy seeing his or her movie being pirated and sold at a very ridiculous amount after all the efforts and money. It’s very annoying and depressing. It doesn’t encourage one to spend money on quality movie again. Also, as an individual, you can’t really go deep in movie production because there are certain areas that we don’t have access to in shooting our movies. We also need corporate bodies to come around us in the aspect of supporting good stories, so that such can metamorphose into good movies. I believe Nigerian movie industry will get there one day. We also need a film village, where we will have all the things we need in shooting our movies. We don’t need to start disturbing people for places or hotels to use as locations. But for where we are today, we thank God because a lot of glamour is being put into the industry. We are also proud to have a lot of learned people among us. So, we’re moving.
Is it right to say Iyabo Ojo is a fulfilled actress?
Yes, I am always fulfilled. I have always been fulfilled since the time I had my two kids. Having those two children has been the best thing God has even done for me. So, every other thing is just additional. So, I thank God for that. Although, you never can’t be satisfied, you will always want more as a human being. I still aim high, I pray to do international movie with international stars. I pray to produce a movie that will cut across the globe. So, as an actress I am a bit fulfilled but in the area of production, I will say no because I still want to shoot a better movie than Arinzo.
Lest we forget, who were the people that supported you during the opening of Fespris?
My wonderful godmother, Princess Toyin Kolade. She really supported and inspired me. She was there for me in terms of advice and all that. She is a very wonderful woman. I will forever be grateful to her. We actually went to China together. That was the first time I will be travelling to China. She took me to where I got most of my customized furniture, she also introduced me to other businesses that I could do to make money. So, she was my strong backbone. My man was also very supportive. He was there for me financially. Also, my family, colleagues and friends were also there. I can’t also forget my very good friend, Yemisi, she was there for me as well. I also thank all the people that came, whether to support me or attend the party, and those who also gave me gifts. Equally, my group, The Pinkies Foundation, they were also very supportive. I thank them all.
You have never unveiled your man but you always talk about him, why is it difficult unveiling his identity?
It’s because I chose to, until we both make up our minds to say ‘I do.’ I want to keep it private. People only appreciate what is kept off the public eyes and knowledge. So, I want that aspect to remain private for now. The most important thing to me is not showing off with my man, and I am being happy. Apart from my two children, being happy is what I cherish most in life.
This story was first published in ENCOMIUM Weekly on Tuesday, August 27, 2013