Laitan Ogungbile, otherwise known as Suga, is a fast-rising yoruba actress who loves her job passionately and believes her talent will help her to rise to the top of her game, as she continues to grow. The Osun State-born actress speaks with Stephen Gbadamosi about her rising career in this interactive session. Excerpts:
As an actress, how many films have you taken part in?
I can?t really say because I have lost count.
When did you start acting?
I started acting precisely in the year 2008 and I have featured in countless movies till date. To mention few, I was in Suga by Sunny Alli, Oko ni mofe by Sunny Alli as well, Iyo Aye by Muyiwa Ademola and others that I cannot mention now.
Are you mentioning these ones because they were remarkable?
No, It has nothing to do with that. These are the ones I could remember, but you will have to pardon me on those I couldn?t remember because I have actually lost count. Talking about the ones I produced myself, I produced Aremo ife, Fimidara ire and others. I really cannot remember all the movies as we speak now.
Which of these movies was most challenging?
I have played the lead role in many movies. I played the lead role in Suga, Oko ni Mofe, Aremo Ife, Fimidara Ire, Amaka, Ife Oju and so on.
Would you say you have fully arrived, judging by the number of movies you have produced and featured in?
I am not the type that likes to talk about achievements. I just want to focus on my job and do it to the best of my ability. I am enjoying the dimension my career is going at the moment and I give glory to God for the opportunity He has given me so far to be able prove myself in the midst of many daunting challenges. So, let?s just continue to work hard and leave everything to God. I know my fans are yet to see the best of me.
So, how would you describe yourself?
I am just a normal girl who believes in working hard and doing her job diligently and delightfully. This is one thing I know how to do best and I will continue to do it as long as God permits. Only God knows where He is taking me and I know that He will see me through. I will leave the rest to my fans out there to say what they think about my person. I am still striving very hard to push my self to that level where I won?t have to stress myself to much to get what I want.
How did you begin your acting career?
It all started in 2008. I started with Muyiwa Ademola through an uncle of mine, Wale Dada. He is a radio presenter in Abeokuta, Ogun State. I told him that I was interested in acting and he said he would introduce me to his friend, Muyiwa Ademola. Eventually, he took me to him and he accepted me. That was how the journey started. Though, it was tough when I started, now I give glory to God for His mercy. Things have started taking shape properly.
What job would you have done if you are not an actress?
Seriously, I have always loved acting. Though, I studied Botany at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun State, I wasn?t that crazy about the course, neither do I want to work with my certificate. I have always loved to be an actress.
Who would you choose as your role model in the movie industry?
In the Yoruba movie industry, I will say Muyiwa Ademola, Ayo Adesanya and Sunny Alli are my role models. I watch the way they act, react when it comes to the issue of money. In fact, whenever I had issues in the movie industry, those are the people I discuss with. In the English-speaking movie, I like Joke Silva and Bimbo Akintola. I like the way they act and interprete their roles in movies. They are my role models as well.
It is believed that in the Nigerian movie industry, when you are out on location, many things happen like exchange of sex for roles. How would you react to this?
To me, it?s not a do-or-die affair. If anybody believes he has to sleep with you before giving you a role, you have the right to accept or reject such offer. I have gone through many experiences but I have never experienced such. If I like you, fine, I can date you.
You talked about going through many experiences, how did you handle such situations?
Like the one that happened a long time ago, though it was an English-speaking movie, I met with the woman who was to act as my mother while Kola Oyewo was to be my father. At the last stage of the movie, people really appreciated me for the way I interpreted the role, they were so excited about my talent but suddenly, the director of the movie came and demanded for sex. I cried and called Uncle Muyiwa Ademola, he told me to be calm and prayerful. I told Ayo Adesanya and Sunny Alli too. Initially, I thought it was a joke because we had almost concluded the movie and in fact, the costumier had called me to come for the last costume of the last set, but to my astonishment, the director was very resolute about his devilish plans and insisted that if couldn?t sleep with him, I should go home.
How much will you take if you are asked to go unclad in a movie?
That thought has never crossed my mind for a day. The truth is that no matter the price, I can never do such. I can never expose myself because of money. That?s outrageous. I am not desperate.
Why can?t you do it?
I?m from a well-cultured home where such an act is highly condemnable.
You have been in the industry for about five years now, where do you think you are going to be in the next 10 years?
Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. I am hoping and looking up to God for a brighter future. But I wish that in the next 10 years, I would have become a famous, respected and honoured actress. Not only in the Nollywood, I would like to have raised my game beyond the shores of this country and become an ambassador of arts anywhere I go.
You have worked with most directors, which one will you say is the most outstanding?
I love working with Muyiwa Ademola. He is so cool and calm unlike some directors who are fond of shouting, screaming and so on.
Your own film that you have produced, how successful were they financially?
They were not that financially rewarding because of so many factors affecting the industry. Chief among those problems is piracy. We have been battling with piracy for a very long time. But nothing appears to have been done to check the perpetrators of this devilish act. I know things are beginning to take shape for my career, with or without piracy, I will continue to produce quality movies for my fans. I am loving every moment of my stay in the industry. I don?t see anything stopping me.