Fast rising actress Adunni Ade was born in New York and graduated from the University of Kentucky where she studied accounting. She ventured into the Nigerian movie industry through a viral comedy skit. In an exclusive interview with Naij.com, Adunni talks about her background, love for tattoos, family and much more.
Can you tell us about your background?
My father is from Lagos, Badagry, my mum is from Kentucky. I had my primary school education at Chrisland, Opebi and my secondary at Comprehensive school in Sango-Ota. Afterwards I traveled back to the states where I studied accounting at the University of Kentucky before I came back to Nigeria. I didn’t come back right away, it was like 10-11 years afterwards, but before then I had started my career in the entertainment industry as a model and an actress. So, I would say I have been in the entertainment industry for 10 years.
What year did you finish from Kentucky?
I finished in 2008 because along the line, I got pregnant so I had to take a break from school but I got back to school as soon as I had rested well and able to resume classes.
You have two kids and fans have wondered about your relationship status.
I don’t hide because it’s a part of me and I don’t think there’s any need to lie or make myself look good but I have never been married. I was with my ex, my children’s father Michael Boyd, for eight years and things did not work out and I just let it go and that has been three years ago.
Knowing about the ups and downs in the Nigerian movie industry, how do you intend to cope?
Where in the world would you go and not see things having its own ups and downs? It’s not all going be a bed of roses, there are bound to be challenges here and there. But I always say this as well, I don’t see anything as a challenge, I always see it as part of life. You go through things whether good or bad to achieve whatever you want to achieve in life. So if something is not working out at that moment, you just have to make another way. Make it work and make it better and you keep moving.
Which Nigerian movie did you first feature in?
Actually, my first movie in Nollywood was a Yoruba movie produced by Saheed Balogun, You or I. At that time I had not relocated to Nigeria. I actually flew in to shoot the movie and when I was done shooting I went back.
What were the challenges you faced at the start of your career?
To be honest I don’t see anything as “ups and downs,” I just see it as part of life. But if you want me to mention, maybe the accessibility to contacts of producers or directors because things of that nature, it can be tough, at least for a “new comer”. Still, I think when you work and do your job well you won’t need to look for anybody, people will look for you.
Did you at any point think you would feature in Yoruba movies?
I do both Yoruba and English movies but I do more of English. Out of 40 movies that I have featured in, I think Yoruba has actually been three or four . Early this year, I worked with Toyin Aimakhu on her movie Iya Ibadan and it was a great experience. Last year in Ekiti state, I also worked with daddy Jide Kosoko.
Aside acting, is there any other thing you are involved in?
Yes, I am a model and that’s my 24/7 job, which is going to be there forever. I have little things that I do by the side as well. I still work with my father once in a while. He is a business man and the CEO of Westman Nigeria Limited. I just contribute my quota by helping him set up appointments with clients and gain new clients as well for the company.
Would you at any point have your own movie production outfit?
I never say never but one thing I don’t do is rush into something just because everyone is doing it. When the time is right, yes, I’d love to open doors for people who feel they need a chance at their career in life. So, yes, hopefully one day I will set it up.
Would you at one point produce your own movie?
By God’s grace, yes, I will.
Are you planning any one soon?
Maybe, we don’t know.
Or you don’t want us to know?
Not that but I am a kind of person who likes doing something good before I say anything. Besides, I like to keep things to myself and do not want bad belle to “put eye”.
Let me take you back to all the movies you acted or featured in, which one of them would you say is your best role ever?
You want to put me in trouble. I am sorry I can’t say before the producers of each movie would think I do not like his/her movie. I love them all because they all had different roles as everyone as its own unique character and how it should be interpreted.
Adunni Ade and sons
Your son recently featured in Rukky Sanda’s movie, Dark. Can you tell us his experience on set?
The truth is that I usually drop him off on set and come back to pick him up after filming because I wanted him to be free and get comfortable with the character. I’m really proud of him because about 60 kids auditioned for the role and he got it. Hopefully, I pray he achieves his dream of becoming a footballer but if he wants to do movies for a while, I’m not going to hold him back.
What is your beauty secret?
I don’t have any beauty secret because I do not do anything out of the ordinary. I use healthy products as I do not use any chemical products because I have a pretty good skin and I don’t want anything to spoil my face by using all sorts of chemicals. So I like everything simple. My style; I say this all the time, I don’t care if it’s rag I am putting on. As long as it is not revealing, I don’t care. If the shade is edgy as long as I look good in it and I feel good in it, I am going to risk it regardless of how I look to other people.
Tell us about your tattoos.
Every tattoo I have represents something that has happened in my life or something that represents something in my life so I just don’t get them for getting them sake. I get them for specific reasons. I just want to say they express who I am as a person.
Tell us about the one you have on your hand and where else you have them on your body?
On my right hand I have half of a heart with wings, which means I am looking for my other half; I am a sucker for love. On my left hand I have the Gemini sign, I am a full blown Gemini. On my back, which is obvious, I have a feather which is crossing out a bird. It means freedom for me. That happened at a time in my life I was in a dark place and when I got out of the situation I just got that tattoo to represent my freedom.