Omowunmi Dada: Screen actress with an eye on the summit
Except you have not seen Oloture, the latest offering by Mo Abudu’s EbonyLife Production as directed by Kenneth Gyang. If you have seen the well-helmed story that shines a light on rape, ordeal of sex workers and human trafficking in Nigeria, there is just no way you will miss the amazing, sterling and terrific performance of actress, model and voice over artiste Omowunmi Dada.
As Linda in that touching but sad reality of the lives of sex workers and victims of human trafficking currently streaming on Netflix, Omowunmi, who was born and raised in Lagos, showed stuff. The humble, simple, friendly and hardworking actress who is clearly one of the few fast rising Nollywood actresses working, put up an incredible performance and proved that she could be relied upon as an actress. No, Omowunmi was simply amazing and believable as Linda. She also combined so well with the other actors including Sharon Oja and Omoni Oboli to give the movie its acting credits.
An actress who is steadily cutting a swath among the industry’s recognisable faces and who have proved that she has her eyes on the summit with some of her recent acting runs including Kunle Afolayan’s Omugwo and King Invicible, Omowunmi shares her ‘Oloture’ story and more in this interview.
Oloture As Game Changer
Oloture is not just a movie for me, it’s a life-changing experience, a journey, and now a movement. This story is the reality of a lot of women that are being trafficked even in this modern day. So many people have died, some have never been able to come back and some are still about to make that decision. Playing the role of Linda is divine for me and consistent with the reason why I am doing this amazing job: telling and sharing, especially the untold one. And stories that matter.
From my audition to getting the part to reading the script to filming, everything was divinely orchestrated by God. I was blown away when I read the script. I knew this was not just another script. This was an opportunity to change the narrative and to exposing the ills of sex trafficking that has eaten deeply into the core of several African countries. Being Linda was challenging. The character had to smoke. I don’t smoke in real life but I had to do it right.
There were days where I would be sick and weak but knowing that there was a Linda out there who needed to make amends urged me on. Our director Kenneth Gyang who I will boldly say is one of the best directors in Africa was a strong support. I had been looking forward to working with him since Wetin Dey and I would say his creative prowess was way more than I expected. He’s amazing, easy to talk to, and would guide you through the journey of the character.
I would also want to show a huge appreciation to the executive producer Mo Abudu. She gave her ALL. My character Linda is Benin and she challenged me to learn the language. How she thought I could do it, I don’t know but she believed in me and I was super glad to jump on the challenge.
Journey As An Actress
I had always been artistically inclined. I was a member of my school cultural troup and then I went ahead to study Creative Arts at the University of Lagos. So, being an actor is very intentional for me. I had been doing professional stage plays from school, even certain roles in soap operas while I was in school. In fact I was in my final year when I was on Tinsel. After school, I worked with a media company for about a year but I was so unfulfilled. One day I said no more. I would go back to my first love and there has been no looking back since then.
Early Career Interest
As a child, I thought I wanted to be a newscaster… oh Lord! I loved to see them on TV and, in fact, I would mimic them. In secondary school, it was to be a lawyer even though my love for media got me into the school press club. However, the older you get the more you discover yourself and you follow through. As for family or parental objection, my family was and are still very supportive. They know my journey of how I had been doing arts right from when I was a child to when i went to school. So they had no objection at all.
First Screen Run
My first time in front of a camera was as a presenter in 2008 as the host of the first Nigerian Reality show for kids Kidz Alone by Fidelis and Tope Duker. I was scared, shy, and had emotions running all over me. I excused myself to the bathroom and I had to look at myself and I was like Omowunmi this is what you want to do and for a long time, so the earlier you start getting used to it, the better.
Then my next time in front of the camera was my first as an actor titled Oya by Lekan Balogun. Where I acted alongside Tunji Sotimirin, Efe Orhorha, Williams Benson, and others. Getting roles in Nollywood wasn’t easy ; you had to go for Several auditions. You have to show producers and directors what stuff you are made of. And like you, there would be a million other people there. But It is a bit easier with social media now. You can do challenging monologues from the comfort of your home and post it out there.
I don’t know if I can count how many films and series. There is King invisible, Zena, The Antique, Somewhere in the Dark, Ojuju, Majele, Catcher, Omugwo, Jimeji, … they are a lot. It’s hard to pick my most memorable because all my characters are different and challenging but the most memorable are Moremi, Diamonds in the Sky, and of course, Oloture.
Likes And Dislikes
I love discipline, hardwork, sincerity, loyalty, and smelling good ; I dislike the opposite. I don’t like Laziness, indiscipline, and body odour. I love to dance Salsa, watch movies and listen to good music. I loove to be comfortable and classy. I drink water a lot, I make sure I wash my face every night, cleanse and moisturize. As for role models, i love Tina Mba(love her), Genevieve Nnaji, Meryl Streep and Charlize Theron and Mo Abudu. Qualities for ‘Mr Right’ will be God-fearing, kindhearted, and goal-oriented.
To star in several Hollywood blockbuster projects and own a production company. Yes, I will produce and direct as well, but I am happy doing what I love ; that’s fulfilling to me.
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