Kemi Lala-Akindoju is an award winning ctress on both stage and film, and has also dabbled in productions for plays and art events. One of her best friends and collaborators in the industry is OC Ukeje and in this new interview with the Tribune newspaper, Kemi opens up on the close relationship between the two of them, her personal life, and her role models in her career. See excerpts below:
On being a best man for OC Ukeje;
I wasn’t his best man, I was his groom’s maid. Which is a merger of a groom’s man and a bride’s maid and OC ukeje is my bestie, he is my guy and so, when your guy is getting married, you wear a suit. We have been planning that wedding day for years, and we had agreed that I will wear a suit to his wedding and not a dress, and when he finally chose a wife, she knew that I was going to put on a suit at their wedding
Did the wife have a problem with Kemi standing right behind her husband?
I didn’t stand behind him, I was on the train with the guys, just that I wore a suit.I cannot even imagine wearing a dress to OC’s wedding. Why would I? He is my ride or die guy.
On what makes her Kemi Lala?
I’m an expressive person, I’m the girl next door and there are no airs to me, I think the only thing besides Jesus that I’m only passionate about is my job, I can die on my job, I do it will my soul, body and mind, I breathe , eat ,sleep my work. My social life is in my work . I love to play like a small child, I’m also an avid film watcher, my friends know that I have a whole night dedicated to watching movies. I love music, I appreciate every form of music, at a point, my father thought I was going to be a musician.
Is she a romantic person?
Oh my God, I’m such a romantic person, but some people think it’s because I am an actor and I live what I see in the movies, but that’s not the point, I’m romantic to the point that when people say they don’t like flowers, I actually love flowers, “ bring me flowers, I want them”. I want my man to send me text messages at the middle of the day, I want him to call my name and just say he felt like calling my name. The little things matter. I’m very sensitive and emotional. I have very few friends and the people I call my friends are very few, but I love them. I am a lover and I love intensely and if you are not my kind of person, I may appear cold, which is not deliberate.
How her foray into acting began;
I was an undergraduate in University of Lagos at that time and wasn’t sure the direction my life was going to take, but I loved to perform on stage by singing and dancing and a friend from church was looking for casts to a two-man play, I did the play in 2005 and it was beautiful. I loved the way that I felt on stage, also relieving people’s expectations is something word’s can’t describe, I did another play in 2007 ,but in 2008, I got into acting professionally.
Role models in the industry;
Top of the list is Joke Silva, she is a role model. I admire her so much. One thing about her is that she is excited about raising young people that will take over. One thing about up and coming artistes is the fear of whom will guide them and make a way for them in the industry, but Aunty Joke’s mission is to constantly make a room for one who is just entering the industry to shine, and that way, she even shines more, but people don’t understand that.
She has been working for over 30 years in this industry and has stayed relevant and she is still a professional to the core. I employed her in my play, ‘The Wives’ in 2014 and she played the lead role, she said yes to the process, I was her boss, she obeyed and was always punctual and ready to adjust to the rules.
Kate Henshaw is also my big sister. I also admire Tunde Kelani because he has achieved so much and has managed to stay humble. I just tweeted now that Tunde Kelani is a legend, Kunle Afolayan too has been able to merge the old and the new and become a phenomenal producer.