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Lola Adamson: Purpose is a journey, not a destination

By Esther Ijewere
11 December 2021   |   3:03 am
The secret of multitasking is that it is not actually multitasking; it’s just extreme focus and organisation. Lola Adamson fits the bill. An actor, storyteller and content creator

Lola Adamson

The secret of multitasking is that it is not actually multitasking; it’s just extreme focus and organisation. Lola Adamson fits the bill. An actor, storyteller and content creator, her love for film, art and music blossomed at a very young age. Inspired by her famous artist dad, Kenny Adamson, it is safe to say she took after him.

Lola is passionate about the film industry, motivating and entertaining people. Her love for all things film paved the way to storytelling which led to writing and reading real-life stories, untold stories and fictional stories on her platform, Short Stories with Lola.

She was a publicist and talent manager for nine years. Managing some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry such as DJ Cuppy, Tiwa Savage, MI Abaga, and others. In 2017, passion and purpose kicked in and placed her on the path to pursue her acting career, which led to her recent appearance in Eddie Murphy’s Coming To America 2.

She shares her inspiring journey with Esther Ijewere in this exclusive interview.

Growing Up
I GREW up in a creative and expressive environment. My dad is an artist, Kenny Adamson. Growing up, I spent most of my time with him. He was a single parent and I was his only child then. He taught me to express myself and to never be afraid, not even when it comes to risks or failure. He would teach me to learn from it and be a better person.

I watched my dad earn a living doing what he loves. I’d always be in the studio with him watching him sketch and paint. Listening to a wide variety of music with him as he worked, I would see the joy on his face as he tapped his feet and stroked his brush on the canvas. And after each painting was done, we would sit on our stools, no music, no sound, just the two of us, staring at the painting. Sometimes, if he was alone, he’d call me to come to sit with him and he’d ask, “tell me what you see”. It was simply beautiful.

When times were hard, I never heard him say, ‘let me learn a course or dive into a different field, because we need money.’ He would say, ‘this is all I know; this is the gift and talent God has blessed me with. God has equipped me with the tools I need to earn and with God’s help, I will always succeed.’

Why I Became A Storyteller And Pitched My Tent In The Movie Industry
From a very young age, I always knew I wanted to be an actor; it always came first. The desire has been in me since the age of 7. Deciding what course to study at University, Theater Arts was first, but I ended up studying International Relations for my undergrad and International Business for my masters. At that point, I feared I had outgrown any opportunity I had; I was afraid and lacked any form of confidence in pursuing a career in the film industry. 

After many years working in the music industry, I realised the moment I wasn’t happy anymore that something had to change. I deserved to be as happy as the clients I was managing; they’re following their dreams, why wasn’t I doing the same? And so in 2017, I decided it was time to pursue my passion. I always thought of myself as a storyteller. It’s part of the reason why I am extremely passionate about the film industry. The desire to pursue acting opened the door to storytelling.

Short Stories With Lola
In June 2021, I was thinking of what else I could do to bring in money for myself. I didn’t have a job then and I also didn’t want anything to take me fully away from pursuing a career in acting. I took a notepad and sat outside, I told the Holy Spirit to bless me with ideas and He asked me to list the things I love doing. I wrote out six different things and I got lost; didn’t know how to continue, so I closed the book and told the Holy Spirit to bring me back to these ideas when it was time. A few weeks later, during my therapy session, my therapist said, “if I say you’re a storyteller, what does that mean to do?”

I was surprised, but also really wasn’t, because it’s a part of me. She continued and said, “Lola, God wants you to start writing and telling stories.”

A week later, I opened my notepad, found myself on the page where I wrote out the things I loved doing and storytelling was the 6th thing I wrote. I started crying; it made sense. God spoke, but I was unsure of how to move ahead, and then He spoke through a familiar voice. I recorded my first story that week. That’s how Short Stories with Lola was born.

Changing Career Paths From Talent Management Into Film And Acting
We’re all on different paths. For some, that one career is the path to do all God has said they would do in life. Purpose is a journey, not a destination. God will always move us and change things in our lives; there’s always more He has for each of us.

Purpose evolves, it has different layers just like an onion. It was made a mystery for us to find. With my story, each layer has helped unlock the next. Do not limit what God can do in your life; do not put God in a box. Take the first step and move and as you move you will see, learn and understand more. For some people, within their purpose for a season is another purpose.

Impact And Lessons From Managing Some The Biggest Names In The Entertainment Industry For 9 Years
The one great important thing I learnt was, ‘in this industry, you need to have tough skin.’ That alone teaches you there will be disappointments, rejections, disrespect, but you know who you are and what your focus is. Humility will teach you how to be calm and ignore some things because really, not every action requires a reaction. 

And also, never mess with your contracts. Don’t just leave it for people to read for you. Be aware of what you’re signing, how it favors and affects you. Hold yourself accountable because it’s also not just about you, there are other souls tied to your destiny.

Highlight Of My Appearance In Coming To America 2
Being on the same production set with people I idolise growing up was unbelievable, a blessing. Looking at the cast and thinking, ‘this is real Lola, they’re real, it’s not a dream.’ It was like God showing me the more He has for me if I keep believing, trusting in Him & doing the work. I was on set for 3-4 days, 14-16 hours each day, in winter.

Many special moments, but my fav was talking to Wesley Snipes at breakfast, telling him I’m Nigerian. He saw me hours later at lunch & said, ‘Bawo ni,’ I lost my mind. I still wonder how he knew I’m Yoruba. Seeing Arsenio Hall maintain his character as Baba, when the tapes weren’t rolling was an amazing learning experience. It wasn’t just a background role for me, I was in class, learning. I didn’t worry about taking pictures with the cast; I’ll take better ones with them real soon, on set.

Three Women Who Inspire Me To Be Better And Why

First, my late aunt, my dad’s twin sister. She was a mother to me; she raised me. My aunty Taiye was all about peace. She was sweet, her words were always encouraging and soothing. As a kid, I always admired her dedication to her catering service. She catered to a few banks in VI back in the early ’90s. You’d see people from all walks of life around her, praising her, praying for her. She cared for many children in her life and watching her do that gave birth to the desire to always want to do something for children. She was the true definition of ‘your life isn’t just about you.’

Second, Laila Johnson Salami; I’ve known Laila since she was about 18 or 19. We met before she finished university and she has always inspired me. She’s always known what she wants and has gone for it. I’ve watched her grow from then to now as one of the best news broadcasters in Nigeria She’s achieved all this at the age of 25. I’m excited for her future and proud to call her friend.

Third, Rihanna; I admire her love for, and passion poured into making her country a better place. I love how she pours into her home. I desire to do that. I always say she got lemons and made the tastiest lemonade with it. I love how she’s herself, there’s a vibe to her authenticity. She’s who she is and does what she does. Her journey is one for the books

Challenges Of Being An Actor And Storyteller
The major challenge with acting is dealing with the rejections or no response to projects I’ve auditioned for. Another is finance; this dream requires sacrifice, you must pour into it and spend a lot till it starts paying you. And with finances, you need a good job. Now, a really good job will require my time and passion for it as well. It’s like a roller coaster sometimes. 

With storytelling, it will be writing fictitious stories; sometimes, I am blank for weeks till something comes in. Other times are trying to convince people to share their stories.

Being A Woman Of Rubies
Oh, wow! Wouldn’t be nice to list things. Really, It’s God. It’s God in me. That’s who makes me a woman of rubies and more. I always pray that when people see me, they see God. That alone gives me unexplainable joy.
To Anyone Having A Hard Time Going After Their Passion Because They’re Afraid Of Plunging Into Unknown Territories

What is the worst that can happen? We will all die one day. Do you want to die knowing you tried or knowing you didn’t try at all? It’s better to take risks, learn from your failures than not try at all because you let fear keep you trapped.

It all starts in the mind. The mind is like a stubborn child that likes to throw unnecessary tantrums because it’s scared of what it doesn’t know. You are in control, not your mind. Who are you leaning on? Who’s leading you? Who are you surrounding yourself with? Let God be your main focus, He will then equip & bless you with the right tools and people that will help motivate and push you to be the best version of yourself, living out the desires He has placed in you.

The Art Industry In Nigeria, Support For Artists, And Need For Improvement
In recent years, I believe the industry in Nigeria is starting to support female actors and storytellers. It’s been a long time coming but it is happening now, women are making great moves and it gives me so much joy to experience it. 

I would say the area of education, that’s the foundation. Let’s normalise reading books, learning about other great women who have walked this earth and accomplished great things and impacted the world with their stories and characters portrayed.

Talent Management And Future Goals
I really don’t like to say never, because the truth is, we don’t know what will happen or how we will feel in the next year. But, it’s not something I want to go back to. I’ve been offered a job in Atlanta to work with a new record label and I passed on it.