By DEJI AROLOYE
Popular actress and movie producer, Funke Etti, wears the love and passion she has for acting like a badge. Well known for her provocative dress sense, Etti is one actress that is unpretentious. She is real and down to earth. In this chat with Entertainer, she opens up on family, career and sexual harassment among other issues. Excerpts:
How did you find your way into acting?
It was in 2002. Back then I was staying with my aunty. I told her that I wanted to go into acting but she said that most actresses go into prostitution and that made it difficult for them to get married. When I insisted, she cursed me and threatened to send me out of her house! However, I had another aunty who was working with the Censors Board. When she came around, I expressed my interest and she promised to introduce me to movie marketers. That was how the whole thing started. In 2002, I did my first ‘waka pass’ role featuring in just one scene. But I began professionally in 2003.
What were the challenges you faced at the initial stage?
At the beginning it was not easy. You see, in life, anything that will bring money will not be easy initially. I remember back then my boss would ask me to do all sorts of menial jobs. In fact, some of his friends would ask him whether he wanted to kill me with work. He would respond that he was training me. Sometimes, we slept in the bar or bus when we went on location. The truth is that people will not accept you initially; you just need determination, focus and guts.
One major problem taking the entertainment industry backwards is piracy. How do you think the fight against piracy can be won?
I have been a victim too. When I produced OwoIoya, it sold like hot cakes but we couldn’t get much from it because it was pirated. Thank God, President Buhari said he is going to support us. I believe things will work out. The pirates even make more money than you that laboured to produce the work. Some of our actors and actresses are suffering because they are not making money. Government should invest in Nollywood the way it invests in football.
Do you believe that sex-for-role is predominant in Nollywood?
I have worked with so many directors and producers and I will say that the choice is yours whether to sleep with them or not. Most of the up and coming actors and actresses are not ready to work. When you are good, marketers are willing to work with you. What people don’t know is that, you can’t go far if you are not good, and so they do that to get roles.
Are you saying you have never experienced it?
How about the rumour that you fought with your husband and you are now a single mother?
I don’t like talking about my family. If you want interview about my job, I will open up to you but if it is my family, forget it. My family needs privacy. This kind of job deprives us of our private lives. I am tired of living in a world where people monitor all your activities. I don’t discuss my husband; that is a short cut to breaking your home. All I can say is that I have a husband. I am not the one paying for my child’s school fees and house rent. My husband is not based here. He comes and goes but his family members know me. I am not separated.
How many kids do you have?
Only one, a very handsome boy. His name is Oluwajomiloju. I am proud of him. It is good to be a mother.
Is it also true that a male friend bought you a car?
It was my husband that bought the car for me.
How did your husband feel about the rumour?
In fact, he is the one that calls me because I don’t even get to hear about some of the stories. I remember a day that I was called to read something on the Internet, an interview where I said I loved wearing mini skirts. Funny enough, it is my husband that buys those clothes for me.
How do you strike a balance between work and family?
My home is number one. Sometimes you want to work but that is when your husband needs you. So, you just tell the people that need you to wait or you return their money. The truth is when you get married or pregnant; you have to withdraw a little bit.
Who are your role models?
I really respect King Sunny Ade. I love him and his music. He is a legend. I want to be like him.
Do you agree with those saying top artistes don’t want the young ones to grow?
They always accommodate and encourage us to contribute to the development of the film industry. Some of us are saying that they are getting old and it is our turn to take charge. When we make mistakes, they correct us.
Do you like accepting roles in movies that have to do with sex?
I accept all roles you can think of.
How about having sex?
I do enjoy sex. God who created man and woman has a reason for it. Why are we fooling ourselves? You don’t love sex and you have kids?
I’m not divorced –Actress, Funke Etti
By DEJI AROLOYE