Being an actress is my calling – Fast rising actress, Omowunmi Dada

Omowunmi Dada is one of the hottest actresses rocking Nollywood right now. The fast-rising actress is also a model, presenter, voice-over artist and a television personality. She is popularly known for having acted in movies like Omugwo, Somewhere in the Dark and popular television series Jemeji. She is gifted, creative, skilful, talented in acting and interpretation of movie roles and can fit into any character given to her in movies.

She attended Ifako International Nursery and Primary School and obtained her First School Leaving Certificate. After completing her primary school education, Omowunmi Dada proceeded to Command Day Secondary School in Oshodi and obtained her West African Senior School Certificate. After completing her primary and secondary school education, Omowunmi proceeded to the University of Lagos and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Arts. Omowunmi Dada claimed she has always loved the arts from her primary school days and confessed that she has a burning desire that is unquenchable when it comes to acting and stated that, all she wanted to do was act, dance, and sing, which made her decide to study Creative Arts at the university.

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She has been acting right from her university school days as a Creative and Theatre Arts student, where she participated in several stage plays and drama. After graduating from the university, Omowunmi Dada joined the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) professionally and started acting in Nollywood movies and television series. She has featured in many television series and Nollywood movies which include Tales of Love, Yes I Don’t, Moremi, Not Right, Fear no Evil, The Antique, Ojuju, Romance is Overrated, Public Property, The Gods are Still not to Blame, Tales of Eve, Married to the Game, Tinsel, Pleasure Principles, Bimpe, So Wrong so Write, Needles Eyes, Bella’s Place, etc. Omowunmi Dada has also proven to be a force to reckon with on stage as she has done several Theatre performances where she always shines through. Some of her stage plays include Oya, For the Love of Country, Nigeria the Beautiful, Vision of St Bernadette, Death and the Kings Horsemen, Trails of Brother Jero, etc.

Apart from acting, Omowunmi is also a television presenter. She has anchored several events, as red carpet host, for a number of events and has presented several television programs such as FunZone, Kids Alone, Eagles Gathering, etc. She is a very quiet, soft-spoken, spontaneous, unpredictable, incredibly adventurous, sweet personality, high positive energy and a beautiful smile. She is a very dedicated actress, hardworking, independent, self-disciplined, creative, highly talented, playful, goal oriented and a peaceful woman. Omowunmi Dada in the cause of her acting career has won several awards. This talented young actress was at the City People Magazine office for our weekly movie roundtable interview where she spoke about her life as a budding actress.

Below are excerpts.

How does your giant strides in the industry as one of the hottest actresses make you feel?

I give glory to God because without him I know I will not be here. I know when I get this accolades, for me it is humbling. It is a thing of joy and it is fulfilling for me. I know I am probably not the most talented person on earth, there are so many other talents out there but it has been by Gods grace that people have been able to recognize my talent and craft.

You have been acting for how many years now, and how did it start?

I studied Creative Arts. I started acting right from the stage when I was at the University of Lagos but I will say professionally it is in 2013 so it’s been 5 years. I started acting in auditions when I was in school and my very first time on TV was as a Presenter, Kids alone by Fidelis Duker. I did a little bit of series when I was in school, I acted in Needles Eye, Shadows, I was even on tinsel when I was in school in 2010 so after my NYSC in 2011 ,I worked in a media company and you know the exact thing of fulfilment where at every point in time your body is telling you, this is not your place of calling and this is not your calling, you have to go back and all so yes I went back attending auditioning and the doors kept opening up. My very first major film was “Gods are still yet not to blame” which is an adaptation by Funke Fayoyin. That was my very first major movie.

Was it because you wanted to be an actress that you studied creative arts?

Initially, I wanted to be a lawyer but right from when I was in primary school, I directed my first play. I am very arts inclined since when I was young. Such played out in my primary school where I had to create a cultural group and directed the play by telling all the crew what to do. Little did I know that what I was doing was directing. So when I got into secondary school, I was an executive in Press Club, command but I wanted to really act so when it was time to go into the university, I picked theatre arts and from there I knew that was what I really want to do, this is where I want to be and I have not regretted that decision.

How far and good has it been?

It has been challenging but most importantly it has been fulfilling. I am in my place of grace. This is my calling. For me, an art is not just a talent or career. For me, it is a ministry where you get to showcase your talent to the world, where you had to use your craft to tell stories and the world will see it and appreciate it. I am grateful to God for helping thus far.

How many movies have you acted in and which role did you admire as most challenging?

I have lost count of all the movies but it is pretty much. My most challenging role would be Moremi which is not out yet, but it is not the regular or epic miss Moremi that we know, it is just a character where I played a boxer. I trained with Isaac Ekpo who is like commonwealth belt holder, he is super big, I trained with the biggest and craziest boxers. It was really drilling, that was super challenging for me. Another one would be Omugwo by Kunle Afolayan, not because the character was every day but the character took me a point where I did a lot of research, I did extensive research and I saw also discovered a lot of things, how women go through postpartum depression, I had to watch videos of women giving birth which is quite gory just to help my character but when it was time to do it, I did it so well. They were really challenging. For series, I was part of Casino where I played a woman who had cancer and the truth is, after that experience, it took me a while to get out of that character because I was so immersed in the character that every time I come on set, if you knew Wunmi before, you would know there was something wrong, I was too immersed in ‘Adanma’ that was the character that it was hard to get out but I did come out of it. There was also “Jemeji” which is one of the most interesting characters I played Folake. Jemeji is an Africa Magic series and we are on it for about a year, we did 260 episodes, it is a Badagry setting but we shot mostly in Ipaja, Itele, Epe and all, you can imagine doing that for a year.

How was the experience acting alongside one of Nollywood best, Mercy Johnson?

Ooh, she is very cool, very pleasant and very sweet. She is very calm. She is very good. She is an embodiment the of grace irrespective of the character she plays on set. When you see her, you just want to love her. She is all-encompassing, very accommodating. She has this welcoming aura when you see her, you want to greet her and strike a conversation with her. She is a wonderful person and every time I get to act with her, I get to learn many things from her. She is so good, so versatile.

Who is your mentor in the industry?

My number one mentor that I say all the time is Tina Mba.i love that woman so much. like give her any character, she kills it. She is not a stalk actor, very versatile, very fluid, she can be whatever you want her to be and it is extremely believable. Put her on stage, put her behind the microphone because she does radio drama, put her in front of a camera for TV, Film, she is great, for me I call her Almighty Tina Mba,she is so sweet as a person then I like the fact that she has successfully kept her private life private which I emulate a lot,I believe a lot in keeping a private life private. She started when she was pretty young and still relevant now, for me I want to be like her.

How do you cope with fame?

I am still Omowunmi dada, I told myself that I will not lose touch with who I am, I am still the real Omowunmi dada, I don’t know how to form. I am just a simple girl doing what she loves to do and I am so grateful that the world accepts what I am doing and appreciate my crafts so fame has not really taken anything away, I am still me so it is a thing of honour. I really don’t see myself as a celebrity, I see myself as Omowunmi so when you see me, I am still my very self, I am not necessarily under the fame pressure to look a certain way because people see me that I am quite famous. People know me for my craft, I have to continue sticking through the craft, it is work, it is our job. We tell stories, people relates to it and learn from us.

How do you handle male counterparts having gotten to this height?

I just appreciate them for appreciating their craft, nobody has put me in any awkward situation. I get this all the time and I reply it. These are people who watch me and appreciate my crafts.so it is the love from my fans that is making me get more roles. Marketers want actors that will get into the heart of people and appreciate what they do. Male admirers are normal so I put them in their place.

Which do you prefer? English or Yoruba movies?

I have only done one movie, Somewhere in the dark by Abiodun Jimoh, that is the first Yoruba that I did. Then the other one is not out yet. I think they are both telling stories but in different languages. I love the Yoruba language a lot and I think if we get better scripts, the Yoruba genre will be better than where we are. I think I prefer English for now but if I get a good script, like Tunde Kelani called me for lion and the jewel and I am looking forward to it, working with him but because I was in Jemeji, I couldn’t do it but I have been looking forward to it. I love Yoruba a lot,I really want to do more Yoruba films but then the story has to be really good no the execution. I mean I am grateful to Somewhere in the dark. It won AMVCA, in The best indigenous language category.

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