She is an acclaimed international actor with over 50 years of experience in the industry, experienced communications consultant, an educationist, broadcaster, author, social commentator, columnist, and a recipient of several professional and national honours, including Officer of Order of the Niger (OON) in 2006, a Fellow of the society of Nigerian Theatre Artists and a Fellow of the University of the Third Age.
The octogenarian spoke with thelaure.com.ng recently.
How do you feel at 80 years?
Nothing. I still do my walk. I do my exercises and I clean up my house. I cook. I have always looked after myself. It’s not a question of I cannot afford to get a domestic staff, it’s a question of common sense because what you don’t use, you lose. I cook, I clean my house. I’m I not the one who came to open the gate for you? All that is not a big deal, it is simply, looking after yourself.
Mentoring young people, what advice do you have for them?
I’m surrounded by young people. I call them my family actually. Young people seek me out, male and female. It is my responsibility.
It’s like tale by moonlight. Our tradition of older people talking to people, telling them stories and their experience to inspire them. Telling them, ‘look don’t be afraid, life will toss you this way that way, it is okay and all of that’. I’m mentoring people all the time. Virtually everybody who surrounds me, they are all my children. I’m glad to say that, they are the people who make me feel my life have been worthwhile because they look after me and I live by example. You can see my life is simple, open, honest, disciplined, hardworking, service to other people. Not me, me, me, myself and I.
Advice to young people who want to be an entertainer?
Study, Study and Study. Develop all your gifts.
What is style to you?
I wear anything. I don’t have anything special. I wear boubous , I wear suits, I wear trouser suits, skirt suits, I wear Ankara , I wear lace materials, I wear Iro and Buba , and I wear long dresses. As you can see, I don’t dress like an old woman. I just wear what I like. I don’t preconceived notion of what I want to wear. I take my shower, I go into my wardrobe anything my hand touches, I wear. I was a model. Whatever training and profession you have will stick to you. I was a dancer.
What is your favourite food?
I drink a lot of water. I drink fluids throughout the day. One of my favourite foods is amala . It passes through my system easily and it’s eaten with green vegetables, efo riro, ewedu, gbegiri , they are full of nutrients, I don’t eat junk foods. I eat occasionally. I don’t eat too much swallow. A little bites but plenty of vegetables. I have vegetables in my gardens, bitter leafs, green, I have fresh tomatoes; I have a lot of garlic. I chop garlic first thing in the morning and honey I don’t eat it, I swallow with water. It’s good for the heart; it’s good for circulation and it’s antibiotics. I chew ginger for fresh breath. I eat, sleep and eat normal fresh fruits.
What is your take on these days fashion of showing cleavages and artificial butts?
I think they are idle these days, artificial, they are stupid, they are idiotic, they are dumb, and they don’t have brain, particularly in Nigeria and in Africa.
Are we saying in Nigeria they don’t have bum to have artificial bum bum?. We have always had bum bums. Why I say they are stupid, idiotic and dumb, it’s not an abuse. I’m describing them as they are because all of these nonsense started with the Kardashians. now you an African, a Nigerian in particular, who have been blessed already, beautiful, front and back, suddenly decided to add artificial stuff and you start waving your ass and tail about. Then you take picture on instagram. That worries me because what it means is that we are fashioning our lifestyle after Europeans instead of looking inwards and making better what we have.
I think journalists should be writing critical things about them.