Nollywood should leverage its — Saturday Magazine — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Nollywood should leverage its — Saturday Magazine — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Deyemi Okanlawon is a film, TV, theatre, and voice actor. He was born in Lagos to an aircraft engineer father, AdeyemiOkanlawon, and a mother AdeyinkaOkanlawon, a baker and entrepreneur, and attended Taikenny Nursery and Primary School and International School, both in Lagos.

He holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Lagos and worked as a baker, sales, and marketing executive before obtaining a Certificate in Acting for Film from the New York Film Academy, which kicked off his acting career.

In 2013, he won the Best Actor in a Short Film at the In-Short Film Festival for his role as a psychotic husband in the thriller, Blink. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, he shares his thoughts on his evolution in the industry.

You have been one of the most featured actors on Netflix and Amazon. What would you say stands you out?
I believe what sets me apart is my dedication to my craft and my clear-cut vision of the type of career I want. I’ve consistently attracted diverse and challenging roles, which has helped me gain recognition on platforms like Netflix and Amazon.

How have you constantly ensured you remain the favorite on the screens?
Remaining a favorite on the screen requires constant growth and versatility. I constantly strive to explore various characters and genres, with stories that spark debate and keep my audience engaged and excited.

Social media is a key part of evolution, which you utilize efficiently. How much impact would you say it has had on your career?

Social media has been a game-changer for my career. It allows me to connect directly with fans and share my work, amplifying its impact and expanding my reach.
You recently partnered with a foreign fashion outfit. Share with us your experience and what informed your decision to be a part of the collaboration focused on fashion.
Partnering with a foreign fashion brand was an incredible experience. It was driven by my passion for fashion and the desire to showcase Nigerian talent on a global stage.

With the partnership, how much of an impact will it have on your sense of fashion, which you have always upheld?

This collaboration will undoubtedly influence my sense of fashion positively, allowing me to incorporate more international styles while staying true to my African heritage and my unique fashion sense as a dapper Nigerian-Yoruba man.

How would you define your style?
My style is a direct reflection of my personality – classy and conservative with a touch of edginess.

What does fashion mean to you?
If a style is a personal signature that reflects personality, then fashion is the set of colorful pens you use when signing. Fashion follows trends but ultimately, it’s meant to embellish one’s style.

What is your favorite outfit?
I have no favorites really and I’m as comfortable in a 3-piece pin-striped power suit as I am in a full-on aso-okeagbadatrad. As long as the style, design, and fit command attention, I’m fine.

What movie or project is Deyemi currently working on?
Currently, I’m working on an exciting film project as a producer, but I can’t reveal too much about it just yet. Stay tuned for updates.

A Yoruba movie, JagunJagun was recently released on Netflix, how would you access the growth of the industry with such indigenous movies?
The release of Yoruba movies like “JagunJagun” on Netflix is a significant step forward. It shows the industry’s potential for growth and how indigenous content can find a global audience.

In your opinion, what should Nollywood leverage on to constantly grow and stay abreast?
It’s clearer now more than ever that Nollywood should leverage its rich storytelling tradition, invest in production quality, and continue fostering international collaborations to ensure constant growth and relevance.

How receptive is the industry to beginners and what is your take on kit makers who are gradually tilting towards the industry?
The industry is becoming increasingly receptive to newcomers, including skit makers. It’s an encouraging sign, and their fresh perspectives can contribute to the industry’s evolution.

What career path would you have taken if not acting?
If not acting, I would have continued my sales and marketing career in corporate Nigeria and perhaps would have launched my startup by now. I have a passion for creativity, innovation, and excellence, and whatever alternative career path I may have chosen, I’ll have still striven to be successful.

What key lessons have you gained so far?
Dream big and when afraid dream bigger to conquer fear. Find your purpose, determine your desires, set goals, and take responsibility for others. Seek wise counsel and have mentors. Expect failure but don’t let it stop you and don’t let it hold you down for too long. Your mental and physical health is your greatest asset. Strive for excellence and to be the best in all you do. Let the successes and achievements of others inspire you, but don’t ever be intimidated by them – you are your fiercest and only competition.

What is your favorite local dish?
This is hard! My go-to favourite meal is amala,gbegiri, and ewedu with goat meat but I can easily swap that with pounded yam and ofensala or Banga and starch.

Describe Deyemi in three words.
Compassionate, excellent, innovative.

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