From Time Magazine To Yahoo, Omotola Is Still Queen Of The Silver Screen
YEAR was 2013. Time Magazine had released its annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. On the list were great personalities such as the President of the United States, Barack Obama and iconic Hollywood actor Steven Spielberg. But on that well-peopled list too, of icons and the world’s most influential people, was Nigeria’s queen of the Silver Screen, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde.
Affectionately called ‘Omo T’ or ‘Omosexy’ by her fans, the actress of vast credits emerged the first and only Nigerian actor and Nollywood personality to make the ‘Time 100’ list of the world’s best and most influential people. The news that the Ondo State born actress made the list sparked a delirium, with the tremor sounding both at home and abroad.
Two years after and Omotola earns another recognition that is as significant as the Time 100 listing. This time, the recognition is from the world leading Internet site, Yahoo. They recently published a list of ‘The Highest Grossing Movie Stars You Have Probably Never Heard Of’ and Omotola made the list. Described by Yahoo in a special highlight on her profile and achievements as a ‘Nollywood Corner-stone’ and a cross between ‘Oprah Winfrey and Kim Kardeshian’, Yahoo described the actress, singer, philanthropist, activist and reality-show star as one actress who has continued to dominate and who has consistently played a raised game. Some critics back home agree with Yahoo and they add that indeed the actress has with her classical artistic contributions retained a top position for herself in the scheme of things.
Married into the Edo culture and to the debonair Matthew Ekeinde who is a trained pilot, even though Omotola is both an actress and a singer, no other genre of showbiz has achieved immense popularity and financial gain for the Estate Management graduate of Yaba College of Technology as acting has done. Even Omo T who clearly remembers that she started off as a model agrees that her decision to engage the acting turf has paid off.
Described even by colleagues as one of the very few showbiz personality who battles for minimal privacy, Omotola started out as an actress in 1995. The movie director Reginald Ebere was set to direct the urban drama ‘Venom of Justice’. He wanted a beautiful, five feet tall and fair complexioned lady, who must also be articulate for the sub lead female role in the movie. Enter the dashing Omotola whom Ebere and his crew agreed possessed the right statistics for the role. She was auditioned, got the role on the spot and that started it all for the mother of four. And since then there has been no stopping the star of the critically acclaimed movie ‘Mortal Inheritance’. Omotola has been shooting up like a meteor and her talent has continued to blaze all over the country and the continent with rave reviews.
An actress of many credits who says she may have taken part in over 300 movies with even leading industry analyst alluding that it would be so because there was a time in the history of Nollywood when a movie was considered incomplete without her engaging performance, Omotola is not only greatly loved but the old girl of Christland Nursery School Opebi Lagos, Oxford Children School, Lagos and Command Secondary School, Lagos has continued to receive accolades for her convincing performance in movies. The movies that have had the benefit of her expert portrayal include Ije, Prostitute, Up Creek, Blood on the Lagoon, Ties that Bind and Amina.
A recipient of several industry and national awards including the national honour of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR), Omo T also sings. In fact she has two albums—Gba, and Me, Myself And Eyes to her credit. But she clarified that she is not in any way striving to be a commercial musical artiste.
Asked how she has been able to combine motherhood with the rigours and excruciating schedule of acting and whether in her estimation she feels rewarded, Omotola in an earlier interview says: “It’s been brilliant and I thank God so far. He has given me a wonderful vision and he has kept me strong. He has also blessed me with a wonderful husband and family. My husband is one-of-a-kind. He is an angel and God sent to me. You see, I tell people that my story as Omotola is Gods doing really. He is in charge of what I do. Whatever he tells me to do I pray about it, I ask my husband and my family and I do it.
“So the Lord has been my strength. I go to him to keep my marriage which I take very seriously and to keep my family together in spite of my long absence most of the time. And you know I go to God for even silly thing like asking the Lord not to allow me to add weight or not to allow me receive any false call. And it has helped me. As for rewards, I think I have been richly rewarded. I count myself very lucky. In fact I consider myself one of the luckiest people around”.
Described too as evergreen and the producer’s first choice for a strong lead female actress, Omotola’s other passion is humanitarian work. The actress who by this year would have put in 20 years as an entertainer, runs both the ‘Give and Lets Give’ and Youth Empowerment Project (YEP) and assured that she would continue to reach out to the needy as long as God spares her life.
Asked where she is headed career wise and Omotola who is constantly besieged by fans almost to the point of suffocation particularly by the youths who view her success story as an affirmation of their own success especially if they work very hard at it, remarked excitedly: “I am heading for glory, for success and happiness. But seriously, I cannot sit here and say where I am headed. It is in the hands of God. I cannot boast in my tomorrow. I live more in today. I am a believer of making the best of what you have today. I know that my future is bright. I know that ears have not heard, neither has eyes seen what God has in stock for me. I know that I will affect my generation. I know that my name will be written in gold in this generation. That much I know by His grace”.