A Nollywood actress born in Ogun State, Omowunmi Dada is a popular face on television, having featured in countless films, soap operas and plays. The University of Lagos Theater Arts graduate, in a chat with reporters, spoke about her AMVCA win, her career, her challenges, why marriage can’t stop her from ‘to act. Friday Treat brings snippets.
Congratulations on your first AMVCA Best Supporting Actress win, how do you feel?
I’m still speechless babe, as I didn’t see this coming at all considering the other beautiful contenders in this category. This victory is just an indication that one day your talent will pay off. I learned to never give up although there were times when I felt the essence of becoming the top grad student in my class. My best is yet to come and the industry better look for more promising jobs from me.
You are a lover of traditional films, how well do you think it projects the image of Nigeria, knowing that overall the image is not properly portrayed?
One day at a time, each step is important to renew the image of the Nigerian people. We have our art to do it. I feel like art and culture, cinema or music is a ministry for human emancipation, for telling stories and for changing the narrative. We take it one day at a time and we will get better. I just think the most important thing is that you and I are intentional about the things we do on a daily basis.
I’ve seen you in movies and you’re intentional about how you take on your role, how did you develop that passion?
I have always been passionate about art. I’ve always said it’s not just about talent for me, it’s a ministry. I’m very intentional about the type of scripts I take on, the type of stories I’m a part of. I turn down a lot of scripts but the truth is when you don’t know where you’re going everywhere will look like the path but when you know where you’re going from the start of your career you channel your path and you’re very intentional on this subject. Sometimes it sounds like “what are you doing”, but if you have the big picture in mind, you will definitely get there. Nothing good comes easy.
So, speaking of a script, what factor would make you reject a script?
If I don’t believe the story, if I don’t like the script itself and don’t believe what it preaches, I will turn it down. It’s not a shadow for any producer or director, but I know that day by day we’re getting better and telling better stories.
What about financially?
It’s talent, career, passion but it’s also a profession. You also have to make money from it. If the money is no good but I believe in the story, I will take it because sometimes money is not everything. Leaving your footprints on the sands of time is more important.
As a leading brand, what do you represent in the industry?
I strongly defend professionalism, quality, discipline, integrity and consistency because at each particular moment; keep working because no one wants to work with a lazy actor
Is nudity a prohibited area for you?
Well, that depends on how the nudity is created. You can create nudity very creatively and it will be tastefully done. also what is the essence of this nudity. Again it’s not just like I want to show my sexy body for example you want to play a rape scene there’s no way it’s being played and the dress isn’t torn. Well it’s really not bad to be naked.
If you had to advise a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give?
Oh! What I will say to young Omowunmi is above all, never forget what you are made of, life would be hard but you have to find the inner strength to carry on my daughter!! Everything you need to survive in life is in your hands and God’s; it was laid down by God. It’s good to be you but know one thing you’re destined to be awesome and you’ll be awesome and nothing anyone will do or say that’ll bring you back and I’ll just whisper to him that Omowunmi Dada knows just that you are a star and you are going to change the world.
Do you think it was hard work that got you this far?
I always say whatever you do, always do your best because sometimes all it takes is one scene for someone to notice your good work for SEO in projects that you can never imagine in your life. Your success is in the hands of God and you.
How would you describe your days spent at auditions?
I can’t rule that out of my life anyway because that’s part of the build for me too. You can’t become a star overnight; I enjoy the process because it makes me more professional and diligent because it will motivate me more to always give my best in every moment.
What film do you think put you in the limelight?
Well, for me, my first time in TV was as a presenter on a Nigerian kids reality show in 2008, but my debut movie was an epic film called “Oya”. I’ve been in countless movies and soap operas, but the truth is so many people don’t know me yet, and that’s why I constantly have to give my best to everything I do just in case. someone would bump into me and be like awwww who is that person but honestly I can’t pick one exactly. But for every job I’ve done, I feel so honored to do them all.
What are you most comfortable doing, presenting on TV or acting?
For me, I am a complete act; I can perfectly do one of the two.
There is this belief that those who study theater arts as a course are better role performers than those who have just fallen into acting?
Either way, one thing is constant, and that’s practice, because whatever you have to do as an actor; you can’t run away from training because you can’t just wake up and jump into what you’re not trained for. In every profession there is talent and of course you have to be well trained before the job can be done well. We have a lot of people who took drama classes in school and are now doing well in the banking room. For someone like me, my passion is key. If I’m at home and not working or on set, I will be provoked within me.
Don’t you think that marriage can prevent you from acting?
Surely not!!! Even marriage can’t stop me from acting because I want to be old with all my gray hair because that’s what I was born to do. It gives me 100% satisfaction.
As an actor, what role would you consider to be the most difficult you have ever played?
I will say when I acted in the movie called ‘Moremi’ where I played the role of a boxer. For me to be able to fill the role; I had to train as a boxer for two months. I also just finished a project with Ebonylife; there too i had to go all the way to research the role and when we had the private screening there sometimes and i saw a lot of people crying and i was so happy that i did for me with the role I played. For me as a brand, I don’t shy away from challenges and hard work
During the building of your acting brand; What challenges have you encountered?
The first challenge I had as an actor was my stature. When I attended auditions back then, people would usually say to me, “Oh, you’re very good and very talented, but unfortunately, you’re short.” I was very skinny and I’m still not tall now, so my small stature posed a challenge. Even the color of my skin was another major challenge. Sometimes people would tell me that I was dark-skinned and wanted a light-skinned person for a particular role, but I’m very happy that right now the filmmakers are looking beyond the complexion of the actors. and now focus on talent and what you can bring to the table. Now it’s about what you have inside of you, your level of discipline and your craft. These are some of the things I had to face and overcome. Of course, I like challenges and I like playing characters that allow me to take charge. I don’t like being in movies with dull characters. The further away I am from a character, the more excited I am about taking on challenges.
What dream role do you hope to play?
There are a lot of dream roles, but the biggest thing for me right now is getting an action role in a Hollywood movie.
How will you define your style?
I would say comfortable, chic and avant-garde.
What are your hobbies?
I like listening to music and sleeping.