Up Close And Personal With Bolanle Ninalowo
After a groundbreaking performance as Jobe in Picture Perfect, Ninalowo has become a household name. Seeing him play that role, one would not believe the uneasy start the actor had in breaking the movie and entertainment industry in Nigeria. From quitting acting to launching a record label, Ninalowo speaks to Guardian Life about his life as an actor.
How did your acting career start?
My journey began in 2010 on relocating to Nigeria. Acting was my core area of interest so I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately for me at the time, I knew no one or had any ideas of how to get started so I took a chance in producing a movie titled Rebirth, with no experience or support. I then decided to give up the interest and started my record label, Diesel Music. I signed a few artists but within three years it failed and I lost all my savings. With everyone gone and seen as a complete failure by family and friends, all I could do was turn to God. I started to grow spiritually. By December of 2014, I was ready to take the first step in conquering my fears of failing again. I called my cousin Rukky Sanda for help, she gave me my first role that year and from that moment, every step led to another.
You’ve had quite a career success in a short amount of time. What would you say is the secret to your success?
My secret begins with the grace of God, coupled with determination, discipline, focus, diligence and perseverance. I turned my pain, failures and disappointments to wisdom. I mind my own business with the core purpose of inspiring lives. I allow myself to be a beginner when necessary and I stay counting my blessings.
When you read a script, is there anything that could make you turn down a role?
Honestly, in the first phase of my career which I made a three-year plan, I was not allowed to turn any roles or script down except it involved nudity. I set out to do anything and everything as long as it was ethical and it went in line with my core goals and objectives. Now, I am at the stage where I get to choose scripts and movies I want to be symbolised with.
Which would you say has been your most challenging movie so far and why?
Picture Perfect has been my most challenging movie. Jobe was a big risk I took which could have made or broken my career. I went into solitude for the Jobe character. I did all I could with the limited resources I had. To get the accent, I went to motor parks to study the mannerisms he needed; I was a bus driver and also took turns as the bus conductor at Ojuelegba for two weeks as part of my main study. I surrounded myself and liaised with people of his calibre throughout the period that led to the shooting of the film.
If you could work with anyone, who would it be with and why?
I would love to work with Richard Mofe Damijo. He has been a mentor and his success story is inspiring. I am a sucker for success stories and he has been outstanding.
What advice would you give to an upcoming actor?
First, you need to understand and clarify what you want in the business. Why are you doing it? The answers to these self-asked questions will determine where you find yourself in the near future. After gaining clarification, find God because only his grace, mercy and favour will guide, protect and ensure your success. You must be determined. The only thing you must see is the prize. Stay humble and mind your business. You are never going to be as good as they say when you win neither are you ever as terrible as they say when you fail. Believe in you.