Lillian Amah Aluko is a two-time vice president, Association of Movie Producers (AMP), actress, author and film producer. The actress, who is respected for her acting prowess, has been in the movie industry for two decades now. The beautiful thespian is also a writer and has continued to display her writing skills in literature; having two novels to her credit. In this interview with DGossip247, she shares her love for movie production and sundry issues
When did you start acting?
I started acting in 1996. My first movie was Richard Mofe Damijo’s ‘Out of Bounds’.
What was it like acting with RMD?
It was a great experience. He was this huge star I saw on TV, but he was totally down to earth. He really nurtured me on that project and that’s what made it easy for me.
Working with RMD was a real pleasure. It was my very first time on a movie set and my first professional acting experience.
I had only ever acted on stage in school productions. Acting beside RMD definitely helped me up my game.
The director, Tade Ogidan, was very kind, firm and professional. He encouraged, coached and directed. He took a very good script and turned it into a beautiful and timeless film.
The cast and crew of OOB were a lovely family and it was a lot of fun working on that set.
So you could say ‘Out of Bounds’ brought you to limelight?
Yes, it did. It actually gave me two awards, FIMA and the Real Awards.
After ‘Out of Bounds’, what was your career like?
It was up and up for me. Before 2005 when I started acting, I was in full time employment as a banker.
What was a banker doing acting?
Acting was my first love but my parents wanted me to have a responsible job. So I had to go into the banking industry. But by 2005, I was old enough to stand up and say ‘I want to follow my heart’.
How long were you in the bank?
I worked as a banker for 10 years. In the last bank where I worked, I had been there for five years but had been in a couple of banks before that.
While working in the bank, I nurtured my acting ambition. I was lucky to be at the bank I was. There were no frigid rules; we worked as one big family.
This was one of the main reasons I could succeed in my acting career. I was allowed to do all that needed to be done concerning acting until I finally resigned in 2005.
It was while I was there that I featured in ‘Doctors’ Quarters’.
This is why I have continually been grateful to God and that bank for their support. It is not common with any bank or organisation to allow such a move.
You are also a writer. Tell us a bit about your works.
My first novel, ‘Echoes of a Heartbeat’, is a novel published in the UK, which later became a best-seller. My second novel, ‘Dreams of Yesterday’, was released last year.
It is a thriller/suspense novel set in 1960s Nigeria.
Having concluded training at the University of California and Hollywood last year, I intend to do a movie adaptation of my novel very soon.
It is my dream to see that the Association of Movie Producers in Nigeria joins the global trend of adapting novels into film.
Which movie did you produce recently?
That would be ‘After the I Dos’, an Africa Magic Original Film series being aired as part of the Africa Magic Original Blockbuster Festival, which aired last year September.
The movie was produced by me and directed by Samantha Iwowo.
Who starred in it?
We had me, Kalu Ikeagwu, Dakore Akande, Bimbo Akintola, Ejike Asiegbu, and then we had Sunny Nneji. Sunny is a fantastic actor. I thought he was just a musician, but he blew me away in that movie.
What was growing up like?
It was lovely. My parents are very lovely, but they are also disciplined. My father was a naval officer, my mother was a teacher. You know that kind of combination can be tough.
What is your style?
I just love being simple. I just like to wear something that makes me comfortable, and makes me look decent.
What is your passion and what drives you?
I’m mostly driven by the desire to succeed, and make myself and the people around me happy.
Tell us about your family.
So far so good, we thank the Lord.
Are you married?
Yes, I am married.
Have you any kids?
No, I have a step son.
What qualities attracted you to your husband?
There are lots, but you see, I really don’t like to talk about my family because they didn’t choose the limelight, I did.
So I don’t like to drag them into it. And if you don’t mind, I don’t do any of the personal questions.
What is your philosophy of life?
Life is short, live it to the fullest.
I can see you are wearing your natural hair. How long have you had it?
I have been wearing dreadlocks for a long time now. The first time I had it, I wore it for almost 10 years. I started dreadlocks in 2000.
And then I wore it till 2010, cut it off, and I started again in 2012.
What fashion accessories can you not do without?
There is nothing I can’t do without.
But what can you not do without whenever you are going out?
Well, I like to wear earrings and my wristwatch.
Do you have any special designers that you love to wear all the time?
Yeah, I love Babes for Life. She does stuff with Nigerian/African print and she is really good. So I like her stuff.
You are looking beautiful and radiant. What is your secret?
It’s the grace of the Almighty. I used to exercise a lot. But in the last four years, I haven’t really done much of exercise, so I hope to go back.
And then I try to be at peace with myself, I try not to eat too much, I don’t drink alcohol.
You have been in the movie industry for how many years now?
I have been acting since 1996. It will be 20 years this year.
So what has it been like almost 20 years in the industry?
It has been a lot of fun. There have been ups and downs, but I am here to stay because this is what I have a passion for.
And right now, we are trying very hard, my colleagues and I, to put some structures into Nollywood.
Nollywood has gotten to a height and to sustain it, we need to move from there. And to do that, we need to have structures in place.
That’s the reason why I campaigned for the President of Association of Movie Producers because I want to help to put those structures in place.
Have you been scandal free in your career?
It’s been God. The press has been kind to me. I thank them for that.