Tayo Sobola aka Sotayo have carved a niche for herself in the Nigerian entertainment industry. She caught many people’s attention with the production of her first self-produced movie, Arewa Onijogbon and has since produced 2 other major movies Bella and Corper Jide to the delight of many movie fans and critics. She holds a Law certificate from Lagos State University and Public Administration degree from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State.
Sotayo who has worked as a writer, TV presenter, singer, model and a video vixen in this exclusive interview with ACADA Magazine revealed how far she’s come in the industry, her success and aspirations. Enjoy!
What's been happening with Sotayo?
I’ve been up and doing. Working on set and also running my latest project, the Film Academy. I’ve been quite busy lately.
Why did you decided to start a Film Academy?
Every now and then we have people coming up to you saying they want to train on films and showcase their talents and all that. So the film academy is just an avenue to help train new talents and also help to put them in most of the movies that we are doing. You know that after having a good training, it will be easier to feature in movies where you showcase your talents. And also the academy will train physically challenged people who have talent in acting. It’s my own little way to impact in others.
Who qualified to partake in the film academy?
Anybody can be benefit from it because we can’t say we want just people that are graduates or literates because there are films that you want to do that you don’t need literates to act some parts. So everybody has a role to play and so my film academy is open to everyone that is interested in acting and making of films. I can train anybody to do any kind of thing depending on what I want to do. So there is no limitation to the kind of people that I want. I will admit different people with different qualification with different age grades and different kind of looks for different characters and other things.
How has the reception been since the school was launched?
It’s been awesome and we pray it keeps getting better.
You recently had a grand 5 in 1 event, what inform this event?
Really, the 5-in-1 event was packaged to celebrate my production outfit, Sotee Entertainment’s 1st anniversary; my birthday which was on December 28; the exhibition of movies and projects my production company had undertaken in the last one year; the unveiling of my film academy and as well as the end-of-the-year party for staff members, families and friends. It was held at the Oriental Hotel Ball room and it was a grand event.
Many people complained about the lifestyle of many Nigerian actors that they don't earn enough to equate their affluence life. What's your take on this?
I don’t really know about that, but what I can say is that, we tend to look down on these actors, whereas many have alternative businesses they do aside acting. Not forgetting that, their personality and image open doors for them. And if you are visionary and smart, you can always leverage on your image and popularity to secure business deals that can fetch you good money.
Lately you've been focusing more on Yoruba movies, will it be safe to say you're dumping the English genre?
No, I’m not. It’s just that I’ve been involved more in the Yoruba genre of the movie industry. I still do English movies when invited for such.
Can you share with us when and how you got into the industry?
It’s funny how people usually think I’m a ‘newbie’ in the industry but I do always give God the almighty all the glory for bringing me this far. I’ve been there, done that in the last 10 years in the Nigerian entertainment industry. I’ve modeled, sang, I write for magazines and websites, I have done artistes liaison, I’ve presented on TV and just settling for acting. I believe my success rose on my goodwill and my relationship with many industry top guns whom I relate with, with uttermost humility.
Your foray into acting.
In 2003, I joined the Actors Guild of Nigeria. Also, I featured in some movies with minor roles. I had to stop after my course in LASU and resumed for my degree programme in Ogun State. I returned to acting in 2006. Then, I was presenting on television, was modeling, and had music video appearances (a vixen) and red carpet hosting. With acting, I just wanted to harness my skills, creativity plus flexibility. My mother was not in support initially but along the line, my father made her accept my views. My first time with the camera was awesome. It was a dream comes true! It was a musical stage performance in 2003.
Do you have any actor or actors you admire and possibly dreaming of working with?
I love Joke Silva and hoping to star alongside her someday.
You're no doubt one of the most stylish Nollywood actors, what's your style and what is style to you?
I love to wear what I like and feel comfortable in. My mood determines what I wear and how I look. I don’t like to wear what others are wearing and I always try to make statements with my style. I live in a different world and I love to stand out.
Who are your favourite designers?
I wear whatever suits me and which I like. My red carpet dresses are mostly made by T16 Fashion.
Your signature perfume.
Creed Iris Tweed mixed with 2 or 3 other perfumes.
What's your fetish?
Wristwatches! I’m a lover of good wristwatches. And I collect perfumes.
Do you have any major beauty routine?
I try as much as I can to treat my face once in a week because I break out a lot. I also visit the gym when I’m less busy to avoid a big tummy, because I dread such.
If you're not on location, how do you let off the steam and relax?
I just listen to good music with a good champagne while lounging by the pool side.
Where’s your favourite vacation spot?
I love Dubai. You can never have enough of that beautiful city. Hoping to visit Cape Town soon too.
You're a pretty lady, how do you handle male advances and your male fans?
I just try to be nice to everyone but there’s always a line which you don’t have to cross.
The movie industry is full of beauties, what stands you out?
I think my person. Honestly, I really don’t like it when I have to rate myself with other people, but the truth is that I do what I am comfortable doing. I don’t look at what people do to do my things. I don’t just do Yoruba Language movies, I do English Language movies as well, comedy skits and I can actually spread my tentacles to where ever I want. I just think I am a bold person and I can also be shy if I want to. The thing that stands me out is my personality.
So much have been written and said about you and your relationships, when do we expect the wedding bells?
I’ve always said this; the wedding bells will ring at the right time so I’m not in a hurry or under any pressure. Marriage is a long term commitment which needs serious preparations. One can’t rush or jump into it because of the society. If you do, you might rush out the way you rush in. This much is evident in lots of marriages that are crashing lately. The economic situations and pressure is not helping matters so one needs to be sure one is fully ready.
You've had your own fair share of bad press and negative reportage, how do you handle these whenever a bad story is written about you?
I just ignore it. You can’t keep responding to every negative story because many will still be written. Some do out of complex or envy. I just don’t allow such negative vibes to distract me.
What inspires you?
Life! I’m highly inspired by life and successful people. Success begets success.
What's your mantra of life?
Do unto others what you will like them to do to you.
What advice do you have for young actors and people looking up to you?
If you are a lady and want to go into acting, do not sleep your way through, because when you sleep your way up, you will slip down in no time. Persistence and consistency is the key. And keep trusting on God for our own breakthrough, don’t look at others or envy them.
So tell us how did you get the name tag Sotayo?
Well, Sotayo is the first two letters of my surname and my name, Tayo. People started calling me Sotayo right from my school days at Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU).