Bisola Aiyeola is the first runner up of the 2017 edition of the Big Brother Nigeria reality TV show.
In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, she talks about the turning point in her life, participating in Project Fame, her music career, acting, and the other things that she is passionate about.
What gives you the inspiration to do the things that you do?
I would say that my inspiration comes from my family; my mother, my sister and my daughter. They always motivate me to work harder and give me the opportunity to learn from every experience. I learn from them every day and that has helped me to discover and rediscover who I am and who I want to become. I also have a few friends that motivate me and sometimes talking to strangers motivates me.
For role models and mentors I have people like Idris Olorunnibe. I also have tons of actors who have a great work ethic and they are so many in the entertainment scene. The list includes directors, music directors and even crew members.
Let’s talk about the very first role that you played, how did it go then?
It was very interesting and my character name was Tope. It was a Yoruba series titled Sababi in 2010 and it was directed by Bimbo Ogunsanya. The experience was very good and very interesting for me. I remember that it was a bit difficult because scripting was in Yoruba and English. Luckily, I got people to translate and get the correct pronunciations of the words.
You are also part of the TV series, Daddy’s Girl. What was it like working on this?
It was so interesting, fun filled, with the cast that included Uncle Femi, and the series was directed by Tope Alake. It was quite easy working with the team because most of the people I worked with knew what they wanted and were passionate about it.
Let’s talk about Big Brother Nigeria (BBN). What gave you the drive to do the things that you did on the show?
It is quite interesting because I had been auditioning for about eight years before I finally got it last year. The truth of the matter is that I didn’t know anybody but I was determined to make the best from that experience. Right now, I am having auditions here and there. From all the experiences, I would say that no two auditions are the same. Everyone is different and it was always a refreshing experience. So for the Big Brother Nigeria, I went for the audition and gradually I was selected.14 of us contested and I got in, tried my best. The truth of the matter is that it was a tough contest, not like a music contest. Here, you can’t really tell how it was going to go.
How did it feel emerging as the first runner up in the contest?
It was awesome. Of course, from the outset, I told myself that I would make the best of it. The house was filled with talented people, and to stand out, you have to work very hard. I was very happy, got the exposure that I wanted and it was very exciting for me.
On BBN, I learnt how to be more tolerant and I also learnt how to face my fears. The Friday night games were also memorable and I really enjoyed them.
How has being on the programme changed your life?
The show gave me the wide reach I always wanted and it was an avenue to show the world my abilities, so it has changed my life for good and I’m working on making my life better.
What are some of the challenges for young people in the entertainment sector today?
As far as I am concerned, I think it would be with the artist themselves.
Many do not want to work hard. Most times, I get messages from people asking me to put them in a role. They do not want to go for auditions at all. People just want to rise to the top, get there just by the snap of the fingers. Of course a few people make it that way but if you check well, you would discover that they have actually been in the background, playing music in church and things like that. So, basically, the challenge is that many do not want to work to get to the top. Secondly, things are a lot easier now, thanks to the social media and people are basically selling themselves. Personally, I have gotten the recognition and shown the world my ability. However, I have only just begun; there is so much that I still want to do and want to be known for.
What messages do you have in your songs?
I try to apply daily life experiences to my music. It is usually about the things we can all relate with, like love, food or transportation. These are things that people have different experiences about from time to time. Not just like the stuff you read about in Mills and Boons and the thought of a Knight in Shining Armour.
Acting or music, which would you say comes first?
They are on the same level as far as I am concerned. They come to me naturally, just as if I am talking. It is like breathing and breathing. I would not say one surpasses the other. Music, however, was my first love. I participated in Project Fame West Africa in 2008.
If you have to advise young people, what would you tell them?
I would tell them to be consistent, don’t ever give up on your dreams. It may seem bleak, but all you need is to put in so much effort. As long as you are breathing, things can happen; so don’t give up. At this point, you would look back and thank God it was worth the effort after all.
What is life as a celebrity like? Is it something that you enjoy?
It has been very interesting for me. It is part of my life now and I would say that it is what I signed to be. I am living it out and it has been an interesting journey.
Are there things that you used to do that you cannot do anymore?
Yes, there are so many things that I used to do that I cannot do anymore. I love taking a stroll around my neighbourhood but I can’t really do that anymore. I also love to go to the markets like Ketu and Mile 12 markets but these days I can’t do that anymore.
These are markets that are synonymous with food stuff, does it mean that you love cooking?
Yes, I love food; I love cooking too. Food and the process of cooking are very special to me. For recipes, I love Nigerian soups like efo riro, oha, onugu soup and edika-ikong. I learnt the skills from my mother, my friend Ijeoma and my aunt just by watching them do it.
Many believe that a lot of young ladies are not so good with cooking these days. What is your take on this?
I would not say that a lot of our ladies do not know how to cook these days. I actually think that we need to have a cooking day and you would be amazed at what the ladies would offer. Times are changing; we have technology taking over and everyone is trying to be an entrepreneur. And just because of the long hours that we spend at work, many opt for the restaurants and fast food joints. That does not mean that they cannot cook. As a matter of fact, you would be amazed at the meals that the ladies are cooking these days.
Could you tell us about your new song and how you are using it to chart a new music career?
The song Luchia is an ode to my mother. Luchia is actually her name and I used the song to basically talk about some of my ups and downs in life. I came into the entertainment industry through music but I never really pursued it because I didn’t have support. But now with the support of my team, Temple Management Company, I am now definitely giving it a shot.
Tell us about life as an actress and as a musician
It’s an interesting life. I enjoy singing and acting and I try to apply my daily experiences to my craft, which helps the audience connect to it more.
Aside acting and music, what else do you do and how do you combine all these roles without conflict?
I host events. I’m also a voice over artist. I can combine them because I have a good management company which helps in scheduling my work, so I don’t have any conflicting engagements.
What are some of the achievements and memorable moments for you?
Firstly, I will say having my daughter and also making my family proud. And as the years go by, God willing, I’ll achieve more and more.
Who or what do you consider as the greatest influence in your life?
My family is my greatest influence because I learn from them daily and I am also motivated and supported by them.
When would you consider as the turning point in your career and life?
My going on BBN was the turning point for me.
How would you assess female celebrities and actresses in the country today?
They are working hard on their craft and achieving so much and I am super proud of them.
How would you describe the entertainment scene in Nigeria today?
Nigerian entertainment scene is getting better as days/years go by. A lot has really changed and now the world recognises that Nigerians are super talented and skilled people who can stand head to head with their peers in any part of the world.
Would you say that you have achieved all your dreams?
No, I haven’t; as long as one is alive one should always aim to achieve. So until I am no more, I won’t stop dreaming and I won’t stop achieving.
What is the secret of your good look?
I don’t have any secret to looking good. I just try to look and feel comfortable.
How do you relax?
I relax by hanging out with friends, seeing a movie or sleeping.
What is your definition of style?
Style is anything that makes you comfortable.
Where do you hope to be in the next five years?
In five years, you will celebrate my achievements with me, so be patient.
Christmas is just around the corner, what plans do you have for the season?
I am spending Christmas with my family. Going out for me during the yuletide is a no, no, for me because of the traffic and the fact that everywhere is going to be jam packed. I may just visit a friend or two. Travelling is also a no, because as an entertainer, it is the time to make money. I had plans to travel earlier on but I had to postpone it to a period when there will be enough time.