Nollywood Diva, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde is one of the most successful movie stars in Nigeria today and she has taken her talents abroad to compete on a global platform. Over the last three years or so, this tall and pretty diva often described as the queen of Nollywood has been off the movie scene but she has been doing a lot abroad.
That is why today, Omotola Jalade-Ekehinde travels round the world to attend international events. In the last 6 months, she has delivered powerful speeches at many world summits. She has also been involved in other projects like the reality show titled “Omotola, The Real Me”. That is why she has not been too visible in the Nigeria movie scene for quite a while now. And she says the reason for this is because she has not been getting good scripts that fires her up to want to act.
Married to Captain Matthew Ekehinde an airline pilot since 1996, Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde has 4 kids.She is a multiple award winning Nigerian actress, Director, Singer, UNWFP Ambassador, Amnesty International Activist and founder of Omotola Youth Empowerment Programme (OYEP). She was cited by CNN as the 5th sexiest accent in the world, also by TIME Magazine in February 2013 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world alongside Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton, Jay Z, and Beyoncé. She was also recently named as the “Queen of Nollywood” by UK Telegraph and on 29th of September, she was decorated by President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with an MFR (Member of the Federal Republic) Award. Omotola is one of the most intriguing women to ever grace the African screen.
Q: How do you feel winning the City people Social Media Award as the Female Entertainment Personality of the year?
Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde : I am very, very grateful. I am very honoured to receive this from City People.
Q: What’s your take on Social Media in Nigeria? How has it helped your career?
Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde : It’s amazing that it is such a big phenomenon now. When it started, most of us thought it was a joke, and most of us did not take it serious. I was one of the last set of people to hop unto social media to be frank. But to see how far it has come and to see how powerful it is now, it’s amazing.
I just got back from L.A and I was meeting with the MD of BET. One of the first question she asked was “Oh, can I get your social media handles”, I thought she was just asking a routine question just to follow me later. So, I gave it to her and before I knew what was happening, she had read up on it. She then said, “Oh, this actually very impressive.” Apparently, she had gone through it in that short space of time. That is how important it is now in business, and even in the movie industry. Now, once you meet people, they ask you for your social media profile.
Q: How have you been able to grow your followership online?
Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde : There is no real template or reason for why people follow you. I think people just follow what they want to see, either you are inspiring them, or they are following you because you crack them up. In my own case, I am not a comedian. I want to believe it is because people find my page inspiring. I don’t believe that with social media, you should give out so much. I don’t think I over expose my personal life. I just try do more about my work really. Before social media, a lot of people had this major disconnect with a lot us, especially me, because I don’t really go out much. So people often misinterpret that, saying I’m snobbish or I don’t like to mix with people. Social media has helped me bridge that gap. Now, I can talk with people, I communicate with people even though I’m not good at it yet.
With the few times that I come online, I try to make it impactful. So, I might just be there maybe once a month. But I like to make them feel my impact, like look I’m here! Stay like 1hr or 2hrs and spend time with my people. I think that is one of the reasons why people follow me. Maybe because they trust what I put up there.
Q: Are there aspects of social media that you don’t like?
Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde : Yes, I don’t promote negativity. To what end? That is not what I promote. That is not what I am about. That is why I don’t join other people to attack my colleagues. If I see that you attack a colleague of mine, I silently block you. You don’t even have to attack me, because I don’t want such people following me, seriously I am like that. Have not said this before and this is the first time am saying it, I silently block people who attack my colleagues. I have blocked a lot of people. I can take criticism. You can criticize people but don’t be demeaning or insultive because you really cannot insult me if you see me one on one anyways. So why do it on the internet, it’s just not fair.
And my kids are a no go area. You cannot say anything stupid about my kids because I am a mother and my 1st job is to protect my kids. If you say anything nasty about my kids, you are blocked. It’s just as simple as that. Don’t bring any negativity around me.
Q: Do you also get to reward your fans?
Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde : I am sure you have heard about the group “O sexy Nation”. My fan movement is very large and I think it is one of the most intense fan movement actually in Nigeria and the world now because there are some countries I go to and they will say “I am part of the O Sexy Nation or I am an “O Sexy national”. I have very intense and very passionate fan base and I have met a lot of them one-on-one. Like most times when I am doing events, most of them come. They often get themselves together. They have a group on Whats App, they all meet and talk about things.
So do I reward them? I don’t like to demean people. That is why during interviews, I say that I am more of an activist than a humanitarian. People don’t get it. I feel like humanitarianism actually teaches you to beg, to wait on somebody. I believe more in empowering people. I believe in people understanding what their strength is, what their power is, what their rights are because at the end of the day everybody can survive if there is a conducive environment for them to thrive. I don’t want to give fans the impression that I am the big one that always has to give you. Nooo! I try to encourage them and make them understand that look, you can be anything you want to be. I want to see you as an equal, not someone am dropping things down at.
Q: On Facebook, you have over 2.6 million followership. How do you keep up? Do you manage your online platform yourself or you have people who monitor your profile for you? Do you have plans to do more, like to become a motivational speaker?
Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde : Absolutely, I am a motivational speaker. I speak a lot. Infact, that is how I have made my money in the last 3 years, I have not been acting you know. I have been speaking around the whole world, at very impressive places you know, at places I never dreamt I will go.
Q: Like where and where?
Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde : At the world Encomium Forum, the World innovative Summit on Education (WISE). In Nigeria here, I have spoken at so many events as well. And like you asked me, I am the one who writes these posts? I write all those myself. Nobody has any password to my social media accounts. I am very, very paranoid about being misinterpreted. It’s one of the biggest paranoia I have in my life. From the beginning of my career that is what I have always told the press. If you hear any rumour about me, please call me or do your homework well. If you write something about me that isn’t, I will come after you with everything I have.