DANG: For legal purposes, please state your name and that you approve of us publishing this interview.
Bolanle Ninalowo: My name is Bolanle Ninalowo. I am an actor and I do approve diary of a Naija girl to publish this interview on all of their social media platforms.
DANG: Thank You. There have been allegations that women in show business work twice as hard as men and they still end up with low pay. Do you believe in equality or equity?
Bolanle Ninalowo: I don’t believe in this general consensus. I believe in equality, however, I do not believe the statement you just made about women in this industry working twice as hard and not getting the recognition in show business. In fact, to an extent, I believe that in this part of the world women indulge in unethical means to get things done. The reason why I think it will be difficult for women who do such is that there is a competition among women who are willing to use their body to get roles.
DANG: Let’s talk about the difference between when you first started acting and now. What did you do differently to get that break?
Bolanle Ninalowo: I’m an advocate of doing what you know how to do until you know better. One of the problems that we face in the society is, everybody wants perfection nobody wants to be laughed at. Everybody wants to do it and do it right which is impossible. That is where your failure comes. I have come to understand that to stand out you need to do something different. Then came picture perfect, I realised I had been roleplaying instead of acting. I went ahead to become a bus conductor for about two weeks, I lived around touts and thugs, I spoke with them, I ate with them. You will often find me on google watching other Actors to see what they are doing differently to become better. At some point I almost forgot who I was; it was at that point I knew I was ready to shoot the movie. When I got on set people were doubtful of my abilities to deliver but I believed I could and I did.
DANG: I read about your bankruptcy and all of that. How did you live through all of that how did you survive it I know we’ve talked about failure and all but deep inside what was that for you?
Bolanle Ninalowo: It was hell for me. I went into chronic depression. Although, I was born a Muslim it was the bible that helped me pull through that phase. During this period I found myself; what made me tick, what differentiated me from other actors. The difference between you and the next successful person is time and what you do with it. All these I learnt during my downtime.
DANG: So, all these time that you have been in Nollywood and you’ve reasoned the way you reason. What have you learnt, I don’t mean your personal experience. What have you seen that you know is a lifeless thing for you in your rise in Nollywood People, circumstances?
Bolanle Ninalowo: One of the most important lessons I have learnt is, never to look down on anybody and that has worked for me before now. Another is, count your blessings because when you do that you will have more to tell.
DANG: When you said don’t look down on anyone. Were you looked down upon?
Bolanle Ninalowo: Yes. A lot of people passed upon me and it is the typical thing that we go through in life. However, for me, the key to success is hearing “NO”. It motivates me to accomplish and to achieve. In December 2016, I was named one of the worst actors in the country, a year after I was number one on the top actor’s list for the year on every blog’s list. The truth is, the people that criticize you they haven’t done anything wrong, you have to prove yourself to everybody. Nobody is going to give you anything; you just have to take a chance.
DANG: Looking at the likes of RMD, Ramsey Noah from the old school to the new school and still relevant. How do you intend to do stay relevant, to do better?
Bolanle Ninalowo: I am sure if you ask RMD or Ramsey, they will tell you that it’s not by their doing but by the grace of God. I do not bother myself with trying so hard to stay relevant, what I’m more concerned about is not losing God’s grace over my life. I’m on the pursuit of grace.
DANG: Tell us about your daughter.
Bolanle Ninalowo: (My son as well). I like to refer to my daughter as my destiny helper. Aliyah made me responsible, she made me the man I am today, she gave me the success so, I owe it all to her. That’s how I see it. I live and work hard for Aliyah and Kiho.
DANG: I’m always worried about you being typecasted. Are you trying to run from Jobe’s role?
Bolanle Ninalowo: You can’t typecast me, it’s impossible. Before Picture Perfect I had broken into the movie scene everybody knew me. Picture Perfect broke me out of the movie industry. If I don’t shoot another Jobe in my life the one shot is enough, that one film is for life. People tell me I have to surpass this character but that’s a No. No, I am not in pursuit of beating the Jobe’s character. I’m only in pursuit of my grace, may I not lose that.
DANG: Are you a die-hard Nigerian or a frustrated Nigerian?
Bolanle Ninalowo: I used to be a frustrated Nigeria until I learnt the importance of failing forward. I’m a die-hard Nigeria now and I have come to realize that to have better Nigeria, you have to become the change you want to see. Influence yourself, influence your circle and gradually you will see the change