Sexual harassment made me abandon acting for a while — Actress, Sotayo Sobola

Nollywood actress, Sotayo Sobola is an actress who has spoken out about sex in the entertainment industry and nollywood to be precise. Read her recent interview as reported by Vanguard news.

How many movies have you done so far?

I can’t trace them because when I started initially, it was just minor roles I was doing. If you’re talking about self produced movies, I would say, three.  My first movie production was Arewa Onijogbon, produced in 2010 or thereabout, then I did Corper Jide and now I have Bella that is yet to be released

How was growing up like for you?

I grew up in a polygamous family. I stayed with my mom all through and it wasn’t easy because I was never allowed to mingle and go out. I don’t know how I’ll put it but it was just challenging

Were your parents strict when you were growing up?
Sotayo-SobolaYeah, my mom was extremely strict; they call her ‘Thatcher’. She is a kind of mom who wouldn’t allow you to mix with others. After school, she would tell you to stay put in your room and even restrict you from visiting family members. Back then I saw her as just being wicked but honestly now, I think I really appreciate the fact that she did all those things. Now I’m beginning to see the good part and the result so far and I thank God my mom was like that. Maybe if she hadn’t been strict with me I wouldn’t have turned out as good as this today.

Did you ever protest or fight with her?

I didn’t do any kind of fighting with her but at one point I started sneaking out of the house to go for shows and all that. Then one day somebody brought pictures I took at an event to my house and gave them to me in my mom’s presence. The pictures had dates on them and when my mom saw them she was surprised and asked how I was able to be at the events on such days. Even when she started seeing me on TV she wasn’t impressed, to her, she thought I was just going wild. But in my mind I knew what I wanted to do. She would abuse me, fight me, talk and talk, but I kept on with what I was doing. Thank God all is history now. She now supports me.

Have you worked with any big actors?

I’ve done movies with so many people. In the movie Molewa, I acted alongside Odunlade Adekola, we both played the lead. I’ve also acted with Femi Adebayo, Yemi Blaq, he was a star actor in my movie, the yet to be released Bella. We both also played the lead in Ewu Loko Longe. I’ve acted with loads of them

Between English and Yoruba movies, which one do you enjoy more?

The English movie, that’s where I started from, I got so good I’ve started doing the both of them all over again. I like the English movie because that’s just me; I get to speak the normal way I know how to speak. I’m very comfortable and I’m myself but when it comes to Yoruba movie, I have to try to blend into it, though I’m Yoruba but there are some things I can’t bring out well in Yoruba. I feel more comfortable speaking in English than in Yoruba. Hey, I speak Yoruba very well, for crying out loud I am Yoruba. But when it comes to the dialectical part of it then it becomes an effort to speak the language.

What do you consider a challenging role in a movie?

The ability to do something that you don’t do normally, doing something out of your box, something you don’t do regularly. Like in Corper Jide, I was toned down to another character entirely, a girl suffering and all that, my look and everything had to change. There was this other movie I did that I just finished recently Moremi and the Fighting Chance   I had to go all down to the Ghetto, I had to speak the ghetto language and cut my hair low. Everything had to change about me and I didn’t even recognise myself the next day.

Can you kiss a girl in a movie?

Kissing a girl in a movie, I don’t know if I can. I’m always careful when it comes to picking my scripts. I ask them I hope there’s no kissing scene? If there’s a kissing scene I tell them I can’t do it.

Can you do something like a moaning scene in the bedroom?

Yes I can, sure I can. Why can’t I? It’s not like I’m doing sex for real so it’s just for me to make the sound and all that. I think I did that some couple of weeks back in a movie.

When is your latest work set for release?

Bella is going to be released sometime in December or January but I’m premiering it at 10 Degrees event center on the 28th of December which is my Birthday. It’s going to be an ‘All White Party’ and strictly by invite. Red carpet starts for 2 o’clock. Denrele Edun is the host for the ‘gold carpet’ then we have MC Abbey and Eniola Badmus as the hosts of the day. We have musical performances by Pasuma, Olamide, Jaywon, W4, Orezi, and many others.

How would you describe yourself off camera?

I wouldn’t want to rate myself as ‘a down-to-earth person but the truth is, I’m actually a very free person. I laugh with everybody, I talk to people and my arms are actually wide open to everyone. I’m just me, like every normal person you meet in the street

From your point of view, do you believe sex should be before marriage or after marriage?

Before marriage, because you don’t know how good or how fertile the person is and you should know that before you just get into marriage. It’s not like you’re trying to get pregnant before wedding, what I’m just trying to say is, you have to know how healthy a person is before you can say you want to go into marriage. Marriage is not something you pop in and pop out just like that, so you have to know your partner very well, sexually and otherwise before you jump into it.

Who do you feel enjoys sex more, men or women?

Both of them, I wouldn’t say men or women. It depends on the part or the side it’s coming from and where your mind is set. I wouldn’t say it’s the lady or the man

Because some women act as if sex is evil, like it’s just for childbirth?

Don’t mind them, they are just pretenders. Most people pretend to hate sex when they actually enjoy it than most others.

Is having tattoos not a wild thing to do?

Well, for me, I love tattoos, so I decided to go out and get few ones. I don’t think it makes anybody wild. If you’re trying to look down on some people for the fact that they’ve got tattoos, I think you’re off point because some don’t have tattoos on them and they’re very evil. Tattoos have nothing to do with someone being wild or not.

Apart from the tattoo on your arm, do you have any hidden tattoos?

My tattoos are not hidden, I have got just 3; one on my left arm, my right leg then behind my right shoulder

You were seen in a photo shoot smoking a cigarette, do you smoke?

I don’t smoke, that was just an electronic cigarette. What I did was a photo shoot with an e-cigarette to see how it would turn out.

We’ve been hearing of sexual harassment in Nollywood, has anyone ever harassed you sexually?

Sotayo-SobolaaIt is normal. That sexual harassment thing I keep hearing it every time. Sexual harassment is everywhere, not just in Nollywood, it happens everywhere even in Churches and Mosques. It now depends on you to make a decision if you want to buy into it or not.

Has anyone ever harassed you before?

Yes o, except I want to lie. That was a long time ago, like in 2004; it has happened to me before but I’m not going to mention names. I know one day I’m going to run into that person and look straight into his eyes again

Can we share your experience?

I’ll give you an example. You’ve been cast for a role, you’ve been given the role and the next thing you hear is: ‘If you know you can’t come and meet me in my hotel room or come and date me then you should bring back my script’. It was part of the reason why I stopped acting English movies. I just stopped acting and went to complete my education. I had a diploma in Law from Lagos State University and got my first degree in Public Administration from Onabisi Onabanjo University. Because of sexual harassment I just stopped everything that had to do with entertainment. I was so discouraged.

You’re being casted for a role and because you refused to sleep with a producer or something, next minute you won’t even know, you’ll just hear that they’ve started shooting the job or they ask you to bring back the script for someone else.

Do you know anybody that has gotten a role by sleeping with a producer?

So many, I’m not going to mention names but it happens every day. Some did it successfully and some failed. Some did it and dropped it and some are still doing it, so, it’s a normal thing.





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