by G9ija

By birth, she is named Damilola Idris, but popularly known and addressed as Jemila. A name she got from a star actor, Femi Adebayo’s blockbuster movie, Jelili, which was released years back. She played the role of Jemila, a kid sister to Jelili, who was molesting him after he must have committed misdemeanour. Just immediately after the movie, hit the shelf, the Abeokuta, Ogun State-born role interpreter was off the public radar. The development sent tongues wagging as she was expected to cash in on the popularity of the moment, making huge money from acting. Recently, at a movie location, Boundary of Love, “Aala Ife”, GBOLAHAN ADETAYO met, held a chat with her, and she shared many battles she had gone through after the Jelili flick episode. How she met Femi Adebayo, the role of ToyinAimakhu in her acting career among other interesting issue. Excerpts:
Can you tell us the kind of person is Jemila?

Jemila is like any other orphan you meet on the street. She struggles to succeed in life. I have always been a funny person and many people had earlier advised me to go into acting. That particular day, I saw an advert of Femi Adebayo’s J-15 School of Performing Arts in Ibadan and I bought an application form. I have always been a fan of Femi Adebayo, so I got interested in purchasing the form, but I had no cash on me. My aunty, who happened to be my only backbone, came to my rescue. So, she went to Ikorodu to obtain the form for me. When I got to the school, I was told that I would be engaged an in oral interview. Stars such as Femi Adebayo, Fathia Balogun and Toyin Aimakhu were there. When it was my turn for the interview, I was asked the same question as others, but the way I answered was very funny. My father refused to accept me when I was born. So, when the panel asked about my parents, I responded that my dad is alive, but just as a dead man {Won Wa Bi Alayisi}, everyone laughed. Unknown to me, they had already cast me as one of the actors to participate in Jelili Movie, but they were only looking for Jemila. Toyin Aimakhu recommended me. She was the one who told Femi Adebayo that I was the perfect person to play the role. Since then, I started living with Femi Adebayo in Ibadan. The recommendation made me to always pray for Toyin Aimakhu. We started shooting the flick a month after as Femi Adebayo had taught me all I needed to know about the film especially the role where I was beating a drum. I never expected the film to be a hit, I played the role because that is the kind of person I am naturally. I stayed in his house for 2 years.

How did you feel leaving your base in Lagos to stay with Femi for 2 years?

It wasn’t easy. Many things occurred. For sometimes, I took ill that he had to take me to his hospital at Ring Road, Ibadan. The movie industry is beyond what people think it is. Some people were envious of me because it did not take me long to play such a major role. They asked: Why must it be you ? But I give glory to God Almighty. Why I literally disappeared after the movie was because I have nobody to run around for me, but now that I have returned, I am in for business.

What did doctors’ report say on your sickness?

I was told it was malaria coupled with adverse effect of changing of environment.

You made mention that you have no one to run around for you. How about your aunty, who bought the form for you?

She always called on me. In fact, she always spoke with Uncle Femi on phone. What influenced my journey into acting was because of my instinct to make people laugh. No matter how sad you may be, if I come to your side I will make you laugh and that has been part of me from the beginning of my life.

What were you doing before you delved into acting?

I was into Fashion business. I sell cloths, hairs and other fashion accessories. I have my shop at Somolu, Lagos.

Can you expatiate better on the role of your father in your life?

My father was as a living dead. Though, he is late now, but he had no positive impact on my life. I don’t know what must have happened between him and my mum or how they met. They both have the better understanding of that. But I learnt that his mum, who is my grandma, said she didn’t like my mum and that was why I was taken away from his house as a child. I grew up with my mum. But when my mum died, I was returned to my dad. But he did not care or for me. It was his sister, who is my backbone she was always there for me. That was because she is also a close friend to my mum.

Who many years did you stay with your dad before he kicked the bucket?

My father didn’t do anything for me at all. My step mother even did her best for me to be somebody. The glory will be given to her and my aunty. My dad wasn’t looking at my side because he had a girlfriend he was crazy about. My father didn’t do anything about me or my future. He didn’t care about what the future holds for me. That was why I called him a living dead man.

How was your growing up like?

I grew up with my mum at Gbagada, but after her death, I was forced to go back to the ghetto of Somolu to reside with my living-dead dad. When my mum died, there was nothing for me and despite that my grandma hated my mum, she came to pick me and that was how I became a Somolu babe. I was almost 10 years old when I lost my mum, but my dad died about 6 years ago.

After the release of Jelili that shot you to limelight. What really happened?

It was natural. Some people were behind my matter. {Aiye Losemi}and since the day I woke up to the reality, I have conquered. I am from a polygamous family and I happened to be the first born of both my mum and dad. Their belief is that I should be the tail rather than the head, God has destined me to be.

“Aiye Lose E” can you shed more light on this?

You don’t understand? Do you believe there is another realm in this same world? People in the spiritual realm. I suffered several spiritual attacks in life especially after the flick.

How did you know?

I was told and once you have been alerted on your problems, that day I believe a solution would definitely come. My senior ones in the theater industry were busy beefing me for being picked for Jemila’s role just a month after I joined the industry. I visited hospital over and over again, but I am now fully back to fight my battle with God at my side.

I learnt you are currently in a serious relationship; can you share this with me?

You are right. I am not yet married, but in a relationship with my beau. I now stay with him and he is the one now taking care of me. He is my father and my mother at the moment. So, let’s keep it at that for now. You will surely know him when we finally decide to walk down the aisle. Apart from acting, I am still doing my business. As we are set to shoot The return of Jelili, I am fully back in acting.