Multifarious actor, screen writer and producer, Sola Sobowale, remains a viewers’ delight any day. The delectable lady of the tube was away from the make-believe industry for nearly two decades, but her enigmatic strides returned her to the spotlight, a feat very hard to achieve in the sector that produces new stars nearly every passing quarter. In this interview with LANRE ODUKOYA, she speaks about her return through the acclaimed movie, Wedding Party, family and career.
Were you not skeptical about how fans would receive you after your long hiatus from the movie industry especially when you were cast in Wedding Party?
It’s God who provides for the birds of the sky, the same God provides for fishes in the ocean and it’s impossible for Him to forget me whom He created in His own image. God didn’t give me talent by half measure, He didn’t also give me strength in halves- so all that God gave me I put it 100 percent into whatever I’m doing and that’s why success is automatic.
I keep saying, never lean on your understanding, have faith in God, even when you make mistakes, go back to whatever it is you’re doing and you can do it better. That is my philosophy. I don’t look at anybody when I’m taking decisions, I just do what I want to do and when I do it, I put things before God Almighty and after it, I commit the rest to Him.
It’s true that I left Nigeria for a long time- in fact, I left the country 18 years ago. But acting is my passion, there’s nothing else that I think I can do in life, I don’t do any other thing apart from acting. It’s what God ordained me to do, but if I would even consider a career detour, I still want to do what put smiles on people’s faces- that is the only kind of job I would do.
So how did you get the role in the Wedding Party?
I wasn’t even invited for that role in Wedding Party- it didn’t come to me on a platter. I’d never even seen Mo Abudu before then in my life, I didn’t know her. Apart for another investor, Chris, he’s dead and may his soul rest in perfect peace. He was the only one I knew and I didn’t even know he was involved in the Wedding Party project.
I got the role through my daughter, Olamide. She was a consultant and there was this company that was on its way to Nigeria and they were looking for people who matter in the movie industry. They went online and the name that popped up was Kemi Adetiba, they read and realised the lady was going to be directing a movie produced by Mo Abudu. They realised Mo Abudu was the same lady who produced the movie titled ‘50’.
Then my daughter told me that, “mum, there’s this woman who produced 50 and she’s producing another one. That’s the kind of movie you want to be involved in. Mum, you have to go back to Nigeria and do what you love to do best.”
She also told me that I must go for an audition. And I believe that we learn every day and I’m still learning. I’m not too big to be auditioned. If I see any movie and I like it, I would go for the audition.
So, when my daughter told me the audition was just two days to go and that I had to go. I forgot again and I was just sleeping, she called me again and said “mum, where are you?” I told her I was still in bed and she said, “no mum, you can’t be in bed.
Have you gone for the audition?” I apologised that I couldn’t go and I went the following day. I got there, did the audition and got the role. I give God all the glory for everything. I don’t know how to thank God enough for the privilege.
How did it feel to witness the real wedding party of Banky W and Adesua Etomi who acted as a couple in the movie titled Wedding Party?
This couple made us to believe that there’s still hope for love in life. Banky and Adesua made us believe there’s still hope for marriage- I love them with a passion. I bless God for making their marriage come to reality. They epitomize love and you’d see that all over them.
I’m so glad, happy and honoured to be part of it. When I heard it was time for the aso-ebi, I hurried to get my own and told them apart from the biological parents of Adesua, I told them that I was the ‘iya-iyawo’ (bride’s mother).
I demanded that they find my clothing material for the occasion, they found it and I wore it so happily. Everybody who attended would tell you that it was a fantastic event. I also believe God for grace like this because I have three beautiful daughters. It’s what every good mother covets and I pray it happens to us all.
From last year till now, the buzz has only been on Wedding Party, between last year when you did part one of the movie and now, have you had time to shoot any Yoruba film for which people know you more?
When the Yoruba movie makers are ready, I am ready. Sola Sobowale loves Nigeria and I’m a typical African woman. I don’t joke with my root. I always even advise that when we want to produce a movie, don’t just do straight English language, code-switch and co-mix appropriately.
I like it when we input our culture in movies. Whether the movie maker is Hausa, Igbo or Yoruba, I’m ready to act any day. I don’t have a shop where I sell, the only thing I do is to act and I’m ever ready.
You featured in another movie titled Witness Box whose trailer had stirred positive vibes, this made it seem like you never even left the industry for a day. How does that feel?
I didn’t just come back to the industry, God brought me back.
There are many sides to you as we see in movies, some portray you as being very hot, at other times very meek and you could also be lukewarm- who exactly are you in real life situations?
You see, what you saw in Wedding Party mirrors what Sola Sobowale is in real life- I love my family passionately. I protect my family. With me what you get is what you get because I call a spade a spade. I don’t mince my words because I’m a very down to earth person.
I’m also a very free person; I play with a lot of people a lot, male and female alike. I love people around me. I don’t like to be around unhappy people and if I find myself there, I’d do my best to make them happy. I’m always smiling and you can tell that my therapy is on my face. If you brood and waste time thinking evil, soon virus would enter into your system. I’m a very happy person.
Do you have any of your children acting already?
When I was abroad, one of my daughters was acting in Everyday People playing the role of a princess. She’s now into advertising , I have an accountant, an engineer, and everybody is on their own lane. But if anyone of them decides to drop what they’re doing tomorrow and say he or she wants to act, my hands are open. I don’t choose for them, I ask God to guide them.
Now that you’re fully back on the grind, what would you suggest should be done differently in the industry?
The only major remark I can make now is that we’re growing very well in the industry. I thank God for how well we’ve grown, but we need more money, frankly speaking. This is where we need investors because the industry has made the world respect us more than before.
Nigeria is no longer seen as the land of corruption and diseases anymore. They know us more outside Nigeria today as renowned movie makers. It has also in a way boosted our tourism. They see a lot of films that excite them and made them form positive impression without stepping their feet on Nigerian soil.
We show the world strength, culture and the beauty of our heterogeneity. These and more are the reasons the government should invest in this industry to make greater impacts.
How do you feel emerging Actor of the Year (Female) at New Telegraph Awards?
It’s so humbling because I didn’t know that I’m still relevant in the industry at all. Leaving for so long and coming back with this much honour around me- I can only give God the glory. I’m very honoured- this is awesome and fabulous.