name Yewande Adekoya Abiodun may not ring a bell to many lovers of
Yoruba home videos but the name Kudi Klepto will. In this interview with
TAYO GESINDE, the award winning actress and producer speaks on where
she gets inspiration for her movies, how she combines the home front
with her career and fashion preferences. Excerpts:
Growing up was fun. I was born in Lagos State but I hail from Ososa
Ijebu in Ogun State. I am the first born of my family. I have four
siblings. My parents made sure we attended very good schools. It was
always about discipline and focus. They wanted us all to turn out right
and I thank God we did. They are the best parents anyone could ever ask
for. I attended Bright Star Nursery and Primary School and Bright Star
Comprehensive High School. I proceeded to Babcock University, where I
obtained a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Mass Communications. I am married
Foray into acting
I started doing stage plays right from my primary school days. I
however took a bold step in 2002 while still an undergraduate by joining
Alpha Bash Music and Theatre Group. We were majorly into stage
performances. I scripted and produced my first movie in 2006 entitled:
“Life Secret.” I have been an actress but I started Ednawey Productions
Ltd 10 years ago.
I faced a lot of challenges back then. I used to attend a lot of
auditions. They used to tell me that I was a very good actress, but I
looked very tiny and I am not too pretty. They always expected me to
have a big physique as an actress. If one is tall and beautiful, one can
easily win the hearts of directors and producers but the funniest part
of this mindset is that, viewers don’t care if an actress is short or
tall, they only want somebody who can entertain them. Moreover, I have
been a story teller since my primary school days, my classmates back
then can testify to that. So, while I was with Alpha Bash Theatre Group
as an actress, I knew that someday I was going to launch my career as a
writer and film producer. So, since I didn’t really have the statistics
that the directors wanted back then in order to go mainstream, this
prompted me to start producing my own movies sooner than I thought. That
way I could make my own rules. Movie fans started noticing and
following my movies and this helped me in getting roles from other
producers and directors. From there, I was able to go mainstream. I
thank God that things have changed drastically when it comes to casting
these days. It is not just about your colour or your height and stature.
Now, it is about how best you can deliver your role.
My role models in the industry
To tell you the truth, I don’t have a role model in the industry but I
have a lot of senior colleagues who I sincerely admire for their
talents and originality. In Hollywood, I admire people like Julia
Roberts, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Lopez. In Nigeria, I admire the
likes of Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Bimbo Akintola,
Faithia Balogun, Bukky Wright, Funke Akindele and so on. I must confess
there are a lot of them I admire. If I continue to mention names, we
will not leave here.
Where I get inspiration for my stories
I get my inspiration from God Almighty. Story telling for me is
something I discovered I had in me when I was in primary school. I was
very little and I didn’t know where the stories were coming from. All I
knew was that I used to pick up pencil and paper to do some
illustrations as I tell my stories to almost half of my class during our
break periods. I actually learnt how to properly script my stories
while I was in secondary school. You can see why I said my inspiration
comes from Almighty God who gave me the talent. I give Him all the
My favourite work so far
That is a very difficult question. I love all my movies. When I
released Kudi Klepto, it was well accepted by the fans and earned me a
lot of accolade. When Kurukuru was released, it also got me accolade.
Why I shot Kurukuru during pregnancy
Around August, 2014, I started preparing for my next movie shoot
which was slated for January/February, 2015. I was already pregnant in
August and I was preparing to shoot an epic movie early the following
year, I later realised it wasn’t going to work out because I would have
been heavy by then and I won’t be able to fit into my character well.
So, I had to put aside the script for the time being and then picked up
my kurukuru script which ended up being the most appropriate for my
pregnant status at the time.
My husband’s reaction to my shooting a movie during pregnancy
Yes, He was in support of me shooting Kurukuru. He is my number one
fan. Aside from being his wife, he understands my job and the fact that
the show must go on. I am always in his prayers and he was with me
throughout the shoot in Osogbo.
The most embarrassing thing a fan has ever done to me
I remember sometimes in 2008, I was walking down the road and two
teenagers about 15 or thereabout passed by. One of them noticed me and
then told the other excitedly that “see that aunty that we usually see
in Life Secret. She is an actress, don’t you know her? The other boy
told her that it was not possible, he insisted that I couldn’t be the
one. He said that how could an actress be walking on the street of Lagos
without a car, adding that how can celebrities be seen on the streets? I
felt so sad because at that time in my life, I was seriously struggling
with gaining acceptance in the Nigerian film industry. I produced Life
Secret myself because no one would give me a role and I couldn’t
believe that there could be someone somewhere who could even think that I
couldn’t have come up with such a beautiful production or that I
couldn’t possibly be the one in the soap opera. It was that bad but I
thank God for my life today. God has been good to me. All those who
looked at me with contempt back then have a different opinion about me
The pains and gains of being a celebrity
I have always practiced moderation in everything I do. So the pains and the gains are being properly managed.
How I have been coping with competition in the industry
I am in competition with no one. I run my own race. I have no desire
to play the game of being better than anyone. I just aim to improve to
be better than I was before. That’s me, and I’m free. Moreover, fans
can’t say because they love Mr A, they won’t buy Mr B’s films. If Mr A, B
and C give their fans their best at all times, all their movies will be
bought because our fans are insatiable and all they need is quality
entertainment. The sky is free for all birds to fly. There is no need
for unhealthy competition.
Philosophy of life
I believe in the Law of Karma. Whatever you sow, you will reap. So, I
try as much as possible to be good to myself and to the people around
Definition of style
I am down-to-earth and level headed. I am almost a workaholic.
Definition of style
Simplicity is my watchword. However, simplicity also encompasses
poise, trend and elegance. I wear whatever makes me comfortable. I am
not crazy about trend per say. But I always try to use some of what is
trending to create my own style
I don’t have a strict regimen. Aside using facial cleansers, I try as
much as possible to always wash my face before going to bed.
A weekend getaway with my husband always does the trick.
I don’t have any.
Choice of accessory
I don’t have a soft spot for any particular accessory so there is no accessory that is indispensable for me.
That is a very hard question to answer. There are so many amazing
designers out there. I think I don’t have a specific favourite designer.
It’s very common for me to have favourite items or stuff of different
designers. Once I am in love with an item, I purchase it.
Opinion on toning
Our weather here is very harsh, so we have a lot of people with skin
discolorations, sunburns and all that which makes it expedient for most
people to take extra care of their skin in order for the skin to glow. I
am not in favour of skin bleaching. It is very dangerous to one’s
health but there is nothing wrong with working towards getting a fresh
healthy glowing skin
My take on provocative dressing
Everyone is free to dress as they wish provided they are comfortable with it. As for me, moderation is my watchword.
What I will like to change about myself
Nothing. So I can’t consider cosmetic surgery.
Coping with advances from men
Thanks to almighty God, I’m coping well.
How I have been combining the home front with my career
I must confess it has not been easy but I thank God for his grace
over my life. It is not by my power at all. God has been faithful. My
husband has been very supportive and I am able to successfully combine
being a wife and a mum alongside my career. My family has been very
understanding and I’m so grateful to them, most especially my husband.
Assessment of the Nigerian movie industry
We are growing at a very fast pace and I thank God that we are fast
becoming a force to reckon with across the globe. Though we are not
there yet, there is always room for improvement.
Advice for young people who want to join the industry
Rome was not built in a day. So they shouldn’t expect to become a
big star overnight. It requires hard work and a lot of patience.
Words to my fans
I want to say a big thank you to my fans for their love and support.
I pray God bless them for me. The messages I receive from them all are
overwhelming and encouraging.
I appreciate them a lot. Mi o ni wayin ti o