Wumi Toriola is a popular Yoruba actress. She is one of the trending and hottest actress in the Nollywood. She was a few days back on City People Live Chat, where she spoke to the Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE about her life as an actress. She also opens up on her relationship with other colleagues in the industry. Below is her conversation with City People.
Let me start by congratulating you for the new ambassadorial appointment. tell us more about it?
Thank you! Before now I have had people wanted me to promote their brand, but at the time I had more offer I was pregnant and I couldn’t because sometimes I get moody during pregnancy and I would not want to do what will piss people off. So I told a lot of them to wait until I am back on track. So it’s been a while and I feel it happens at the right time, so I feel so good to be part of the family. Yes, she is doing well in business and she understood the power of social media and the power of the brand influencers. She saw she could make more sale than what she used to make and she believes in me. So I am happy to join the family.
What is the product?
It’s an hair brand. The name of The hair brand is KOJ hairways. They are on Instagram.
How do you cope with the lockdown?
It’s a pandemic and so many people are so sad about it. Somehow it affected us badly. The only thing is that I try to see positivity in every situation, and the positive side was that, it came when I needed time for my baby. Though I have been doing the motherly role before the pandemic but it gave me more time to spend with my family.
Tell us how you have been juggling all your roles as wife, mother, actress, businesswoman and brand ambassador?
To me it’s like I am doing my normal thing. I have said it times without numbers that I was brought up by a man; My Dad. I lost my mum when I was young and that influenced my person. So it’s easy for me. Before I got married I used to drive to location myself, going to Ilorin, Osogbo. I drive myself even though I had a driver.
So I am used to doing so many things myself. Though sometimes it could be tiring and I do get as much sleep as I needed.
Somebody described you recently as a good coordinator when he saw you on set. How did you discover that aspect of managing location?
Like I said, so many people see me maybe because of the roles I play as that hurry, hurry person, in talks, in attitude and hurry in speech. But so many people didn’t know the part of me that manages people. I am used to coordinating people. I like coordination. I like to make people happy. I like everyone to be well attended to.
I don’t like to see people sad I always see all these as my job and would not want to mess it up. It is just part of me.
So what has kept you going all these years, and how many years now in acting?
I started 2006, but professionally, I started getting money from 2009. I have my bad side, I am not perfect and sometimes I don’t hide my imperfection because I feel we all are not perfect except we don’t want to face it. But other times I have learnt to hide my imperfection because I see people judge me from that part. I am a very prayerful person, because it’s been God. Also it’s been support from colleagues and friends. Shout out to every senior colleagues that have helped in the journey. I really hold you guys in high esteem. I have been able to place my love in some of their hearts and they have accepted me for who I am. I have said something overtime that consistency is the key. I have been consistent, I do other businesses, but acting is still by no 1, so consistency has really been working for me.
Most time I work on myself. I still act in the mirror most time, because I am still working to get to other parts of Nollywood.
How is your movie school coming on?
My first set came last year. We intend to showcase some of them in my TV series “Iyawo Irole” but after the pandemic, we will start shooting. The first time, many people came but because I want to maintain a certain level of disciplined As I always say, I joined acting through an audition, through Funke Akindele and I say it everywhere, she is so disciplined. So, that level of discipline I gained from her and with the level of the bosses I have worked with I want to instil discipline in the students too, so we don’t have many students.
In our first set, about 100 people came and I had to do audition for them. It’s not just about talent, I still screen them based on character. So we don’t just receive people because we want to make money. Presently, I have less than 20 people and I can vouch for them anywhere because I know they can handle the standard I have inculcated in them. So, Wumi Toriola School of Acting is still on. The new set of students will be coming in hopefully after pandemic. We already have that in place.
How do you cope with negativity that comes your way?
Before now I used to overreact to negativity, but over time I have grown because I don’t expect so much from people. I have reduced my expectation from people. I see more positivity in every negativity now.
The negativity actually limited me in the past but I thank God I was able to overcome it. Now I know how to manage negativity.
Can you share with us how you and Shai have managed your relationship over the years?
She is a good sister. She is a good friend. She can help you organise things. There are so many things we do together that is not known to the media. We have been able to manage each other well. She is more coordinated than I am and I don’t take that for granted. We always work out our imperfection and make it beautiful.
Are there any project you are working on, after Covid-19 Lockdown?
Aside the movie school, I have a TV series “Iyawo Irole”. people have been looking forward to it. I also have a Yoruba movie but I am still limited by fund. I wish I get sponsors. Aside that, I want to do more. I want to explore more. I want to go beyond Yoruba movie. I want to do stories that are much challenging. This pandemic has made me see beyond. I want to do extral. I want to do more. I have not done 1% of what I can offer. So, expect more of Wumi Toriola.
Some people are asking why you and Seyi are not closed as you used to be?
It’s not like that. I am married. Shai is married and their is Covid-19, and this time really helps marriages. Most husbands and wives are now more bonded and in that way you just have to excuse. But trust me, there is nothing alarming. It’s just husband and wife thing and feel a friend is no longer needed, I don’t want to go deep but we are all fine and we are all together.
Many of your followers want to see you act with other actresses. What is your reaction to that?
I can act with any actors. I am a lover of talents. I am a lover of Art, and when I see talent, irrespective of our relationship I am open to work with them. It’s only in our industry you will expect to be friend with someone before you call them on set. Sometimes, I give kudos to some of the producers, who don’t have a relationship with us but deem it fit to still call us for jobs.
They are MVP in Yoruba movies industry because majorly, roles are now been cast on how close we are. But the narrative is changing from what it used to be. So, I am open to any fantastic actors, no matter our relationship.
Can you work with Toyin Abraham?
Who would not want to work with Toyin Abraham?
She is a fantastic actress. I will just watch her sometimes and be like “Aunty ti ya were”, just thinking aloud. She is crazy. She is a fantastic actress. So, who wouldn’t want to work with an actress that make your job easier? She makes the job lesser for you when you are on set with her. She always works with ease.
Is there a possibility of reconciliation between you and Toyin?
We have reconciled. We don’t just want to bring it online. We have reconciled and everybody is at peace now. I do tell people. Yes, our fans love us, they don’t want to see us fight but, in our industry, we are like family.
People I have issues with and the issue is elongated is because we have not seen ourselves trust me, when we see ourselves, especially when we meet at an event we always settle that is how united we are. It’s only some of our fans who make it out of proportion.
So, I am begging our fans, we are family, you won’t know when we settle. At the end of the day you will keep guessing, so please always take it easy on us. The only things that still bother me was when I was going to have my baby and someone wish my enemy to die in labour, it really hurt me. Please our fans always take it easy on us, you won’t know when we will settle and you guys will be left in the dark. Always take it easy when we are having issues.
What about Nkechi Blessing are you close?
I have never been close with Nkechi Blessing. We are colleagues. We have never been close. I can count the number of times I have seen Nkechi Blessing. We are not close. We just have a working relationship.
Someone asked who is your best friend among your colleagues?
The only best friend I have is Seyi Edun. I am closer to her. I am closer to Mercy Aigbe. though I don’t know where she lives till date, but I love her. That is the kind of relationship I have. The only person that knows much about me is Seyi Edun.
Do you have any regret in life?
I don’t really have many regrets. Instead, I re-evaluate, even with some experience that was supposed to be a regret for me but actually taught me more. I am a work in progress. I don’t regret anything.