Nollywood actor, model and voice-over artiste, Olaide Almaroof, in this interview with DAMOLA KOLA-DARE, speaks on his journey into the world of acting, among other issues. Excerpt:
LET’S meet you please.
My name is Olaide Almaroof. I am an actor and a professional voice-over artiste and a model. I am closer to forty than thirty. I am married by God’s grace with four kids; two girls and two boys.I had my primary education in Magbon, Mushin (Lagos).
I started my secondary education at Birch Freeman High School, Surulere, Lagos, but I didn’t finish there, so I took a transfer from there to Bishop Aggey Memorial Secondary School. I had my tertiary education at Osun State Polytechnic where I studied Electrical Electronics.
You studied Electrical Electronics but you are into acting.
It’s not a new thing again that someone who did Law is now acting or someone who did Medicine is now acting. I actually wanted to do Medicine in my secondary school days, but when you know your background you have to cut your coat, according to your material.
When I was growing up, I had this thing in me that I wanted to be an actor with the likes of RMD, Teju Baby Face; then in other films too, I saw Jim Iyke.
They were my role models and I felt I could do much better than them and I had to challenge myself. So, there was no platform for me to express what I have got.
There was one Aunty Tawa back in the days, who advised me to come to her shop to start selling at Tejuosho market (Yaba, Lagos) before it was set ablaze, that was where I met a lot of customers, including some celebrities with the likes of Rachael Oniga, Fathia Balogun, Grace Amah, so I got their contacts.
Along the line, I started selling cosmetics on my own. I had two stores so my journey as an actor began from these people I met. I also attended auditions back then. I joined the industry as a make-up artist not as a mainstream actor. I never saw myself as a make-up artist.
How does it feel to be an actor?
It feels great, extremely! One thing is for you to be passionate, another thing for you is to know you are on the right path. One of the attributes of stardom is that it opens doors to many opportunities.
The journey to stardom has been extremely rough, but I thank God for today. Though I am not where I planned to be, I am not where I used to be.
I will enter a place or a mall, one or two people will recognise me and take pictures with me and even ask for my autograph. It wasn’t like that when I started.
Then, I will go to a film set for a week or two and will return home to beg for sugar to take my garri. As a fresh actor, they didn’t even want you but now they talk to you with respect.
I even tell them to send scripts first to know how much I can charge. I had been on a set that I slept in a location bus.
Thank God for my mother. She was supportive in the days when I had to go to auditions. She would give me transport fares. She wouldn’t even condemn me; she would even feed me as an adult as a married man and a graduate.
Even my wife has been really supportive too. To God be all the glory because my story has changed for good.
What has been the most challenging role you have ever taken on set?
I am not trying to be boastful. The most challenging role is yet to come. Let me digress a bit. You know, like Messi and Ronaldo,we all know they have been dominant for over a decade. We all know Ronaldo is hard-working, Messi on the other hand, has that natural ability.
For me, acting is like what football is to Messi. Each time I find myself in front of the camera, even if you wake me up, just call action and bring it on. I am humbly saying the most challenging role is yet to come.
Who has been your biggest career influence?
No other person than the game changer, the giant himself, not in size, but in ability and creativity, Abiodun Kukoyi Jimoh. I had been acting close to decades. Another big thanks to Jumoke Odetola, a friend turned sister .
I knew her before Abiodun Jimoh;she introduced me to him. Then, I started working with him. There was a movie we shot and after that, he told me I actually ‘stabbed’ the role.
That is what every actor wants to hear. I will never take the opportunity for granted, ever since then, my career has changed drastically. I can beat my chest and tell you that I am a lead role actor.
What has been your best moment ever since you started acting?
It was when I was nominated as the best actor in the supporting role in the movie, ‘Ere Gele’. That has been my best moment.
As a handsome male actor, how do you handle female fans?
It is normal for you to have those who crush on you. Some will even send nude pictures and all of that. Thank God I have been married for long and my marriage is over eighteen years.
If I were still single now, you wouldn’t even really know who loves you because a lot of people would have been flocking around you and you wouldn’t know which to pick. I am a married man and I love my wife.
Have you encountered any embarrassing moment with a fan?
Yes, it happened at a mall. You know fans with their different ways of expressing their feelings towards you. I left a film set for another and I had exhausted my underwear, so I needed to buy some stuff.
There, a female fan met me and gave me a thunderous slap at the back. I was embarrassed, but I had to act along, though she begged me to buy anything on her bill. It was embarrassing.
Where do you see Nollywood in the next couple of years?
Over the years, the change has been a drastic one from what it used to be in terms of production. Do you know that Nollywood sits fourth in the world.
There was a time it was at the second position . As far as film-making is concerned, there is no limit to the height Nollywood can attain in the nearest future, even in the next decade.
Unfortunately, Nollywood is still facing a lot of challenges like piracy and inadequate funding. But with time, it will get better.