Nollywood actress cum producer, Tana Adelana, is one of the most sort after faces in Nigerian movie industry. She speaks with ADENIYI ADEWOYIN on what she did with her certificate in Urban and Regional Planning and how she weathered the storm to get to where she is today among others. Excerpts.
YOU just got back from vacation and you are already on set, do you usually have scripts waiting for you all the time?
Yes. All I can say is that God has been wonderful.
How do you rest?
I’m a nomad. I love to travel. To rest, I visit new places, see the sights and sounds, eat good food and sleep well. Alternatively, I stay locked up in my bedroom and just sleep.
What have you been up to?
Work, work, work. , I’m working on expanding my brand with the launch of some products. I’ll tell you more when it’s ready.
What project are you working on presently?
Assistant Madams , a Redtv/ UBA production, Man enough, a stage play by Bolanle Austin-Peters and a couple of movies.
How would you describe your journey into Nollywood?
Divine. God placed certain situations, and people at different times in my life to nudge me in the right direction.
What bold step did you take to attain your current status?
The bold step was majorly, believing God and totally accepting His blessing, believing in myself, taking my craft seriously, working very hard to be the best and staying consistent.
Were there fears of not accomplishing your set goals before attaining this height?
Yes of course. At a certain time, I felt everything was at a standstill. But, as I stated up there, I believe God and I know what He blessed me with. I wasn’t about to let Him or myself down so I stayed true to my craft.
Who were the people you looked up to as a budding actor?
In Hollywood, Angelina Jolie, Terrence Howard, and Meryl Streep. In Nollywood, Rita Dominic.
As a humanitarian, what projects have you embarked on?
I have been feeding children in the orphanage, I have adopted street children that I cater for (education) and at the moment, working on an empowerment program for indigenes of my home town.
How have you been able to stay off negative press?
I keep my family off social media, live my life peacefully, stay in my lane and I don’t like quarrel, lol.
What do you love most about being an actress?
What I love most about being an actress is being able to live another person’s life for a while, understand their pains, joy, happiness, sadness etc. It’s surreal and gives me a different perspective to life every single time. It teaches me that there’s so much more to life than what I see on the surface. I love it.
How do you easily switch from your normal self to a movie character?
I completely internalize my character and for the time that I film, I am no longer Tana Adelana but the character. You know, someone once said, ‘for a character to come alive, the actor must first die’. I have lived by this for a while and it has completely helped me.
You moved from broadcasting background to movies. Are there similarities and what informed your decision to leave being an OAP/ presenter to becoming an actor?
Presenting will always be my first love. I haven’t left. I will be back. I started acting because it’s quite similar. After having children, it was a bit difficult getting back to regular routine. I needed something I could do while attending to the family as well. I didn’t know I’d fall in love with acting.
How was growing up like for you?
Growing up was cool. I was a bit spoilt, lol. I grew up with nine other siblings and I am the last. I had so much love I didn’t know what to do with it. Lol.
Everything you studied in school doesn’t seem to align with your current profession, does that mean you didn’t set out to be an actress?
I always knew I’d be in front of the camera but my parents wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. You know, parents of those days. So, I studied Urban and Regional Planning. I loved Geography and they loved the idea too. When I was done, I passed my certificate unto them and left to pursue my dream.
What have you learnt so far from fans or followers of your craft?
I’ve learnt to just be myself and that those who will accept me will accept me.
As a married woman and a pretty one at that, what’s your experience like with stubborn male fans who still can’t get over the fact that you are off the market?
I just simply ignore them.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has ever done to you?
Send nudes to my dm.
Who has been your greatest support and how?
My husband. He has allowed me pursue my dreams without prejudice and I’m grateful for that.
How have you been able to shuffle family and acting?
I have a good God and a supportive husband.
Author: Babatunde Ayankunle