Veteran actress, Sola Sobowale, the popular
'Toyin Tomato' of TV dramatization, 'Super Story', is all that one could want in a motion picture character.
She's emotional, dynamic and enrapturing. Sola's family as a respectable actor was for quite some time built up when she sometimes prior featured in the famous soup opera show, 'Town Headmaster'.
She went off the radar for some time and returned bursting in blockbuster films like 'Wedding Party' and 'king of Boys'. In this meeting with ABIOLA ALABA PETERS, she opens up on why she was missing for some time and how she's had the capacity to make an achievement of her marriage and career.
How long have you been practicing as an actor?
I have been practicing for about four decades now. Movies are everything to me; there is absolutely nothing I can do aside acting.
That’s about 40 years and you have remained relevant till date, what is your secret?
God is my secret; I believe so much in him. I believe that God is the one who has given me the grace to remain relevant. I am very sure that if I had towed a different career path I would have been forgotten by now, so this is what I have been led to do.
Kindly take us back to how it all started?
I dropped out of a college of education to pursue my dream of becoming an actor. I started by going to Ibadan; then it was the hub of entertainment in Nigeria. I initially enrolled as a Secretary in training at Sight & Sound, Ibadan. However, Tunji Oyelana, (Sura Di Tailor), who married my elder sister, Kikelomo, enrolled me in the University of Ibadan’s Department of Music. But I switched to Theatre Arts. I did a couple of movies, including stage productions and here I am today, God has been faithful. Every time I look back to how I started my journey into Nollywood, I can’t help but thank God.
How would you describe your type of person and your craft?
As an actress, I’m a typical Nigerian lady, and I like to be seen and heard all over. I do everything provided the script has content, substance, and people can learn from it. And off camera, I’m a very principled person. I don’t like to pretend or fake anything. I am the type of woman who loves and puts family first.
What’s your take on the present state of Nollywood today?
The industry is growing. We are doing very well now compared to some years back; I mean the days of VHS, celluloid and all. Today, it is a different thing entirely; now we are competing with international market. Our movies are being watched and celebrated across the globe; international festivals are recognising our efforts, so basically, Nollywood today is far better than where it started from. Although, there are some challenges, I am hopeful; we are going to rise above it.
For a very long time you were absent from movies, what happened?
Nothing happened; I just took a decision which I think was best for me. And I’m happy I made such decision.
You mean you are actually happy you abandoned a profession that would have earned you a lot of money for that long?
Of course I am happy; there is no amount of money in the world that can take the place of my family.
Oh, so it’s actually about family?
Yes, I needed time to be there for my children. You know children did not ask to be born, so when you have them, you must take care of them. I couldn’t do two things at a time, meaning I couldn’t face my career and carry out my responsibility as a mother. So, I had to sacrifice one for the other. I’ve got five children so I had to take care of them. Now that they are older, I am back to doing what I know how to do best which is acting. The truth is if I am not acting, I won’t be fulfilled. I am back!
While you were away, did you miss the industry?
Yes I did, but at least, now I have my time. Most holidays, I’m always with my family. And one good thing is that, ‘Wedding Party’ came at the right time. It was just an opportunity for me to tell my fans I’m back, all thanks to God and the producers, who considered me for the role.
Talking about the ‘Wedding Party’, how would you describe the whole experience?
Fantastic, awesome! It is one experience I will never forget. And that is why I will remain grateful to the producers for giving me the opportunity to showcase my talent. Finding me worthy to be on the film means a lot to me; ‘Wedding Party’ is everything.
Considering your status as one of the most sought-after actresses in the Nigerian movie industry, you still have a successful marriage and controversy-free, what has helped you to achieve this?
I will attribute it to God. Since I found my feet as an actress, God has made the path easy for me. While it was difficult for some of my colleagues to manage the home front and career, it was a walk in the park for me. I recall that whenever my children were on holidays and I was shooting a film, I lodged them in another hotel. That way I was not too far away from them. I always had my camp gas with me and so I cooked for them. I also had sisters and daughters who babysit for me at some point. I didn’t have any difficulty raising them. I left for England because I wanted the best for my children, education-wise.
What influences what you wear?
Well, occasions and my mood. I love to be modest; in some cases, I made my dresses, my daughter helps too. I am not really the type who likes to look flashy; I love something I am comfortable with.
What are your favourite fashion accessories?
I love dresses, shoes, bags, perfumes and my hair. I love jewellery too.
How do you relax?
I relax by been spending quality time with my family. I am not the party type; I am not condemning those who go to parties, but I rather spend time with my family than hanging out with friends. I always want to be with my family.