TV presenter, Eku Edewor, tells Ademola Olonilua about her career
You don’t look like somebody who could speak and understand Yoruba language…
I don’t actually speak Yoruba; I know a few phrases and had to learn some for the part I played in Flower Girl. I grew up in Lagos so I’m familiar with the language but I don’t speak it. It is actually one of the things I have on my New Year’s resolutions list every year, to perfect speaking Yoruba. But the year goes by so fast and all of a sudden I’m back to saying again ‘perfect your Yoruba this year’ I’m going to do my best for 2014.
Have people ever spoken ill of you in Yoruba thinking you did not understand them?
Of course and I always called them out. I think you can always tell when someone is talking ill of you in any language as language is all about physicality and expression as well. When someone abuses you in Yoruba, even if you don’t understand the language, you’ll understand. If you’re going to say something negative about me while I’m present, I’ll confront you. Normally I just say ‘don’t disrespect me’ or ‘you think you’re smart abi?’
What other language can you speak?
I speak French but I’m really rusty. My dad actually speaks about six languages fluently, so I’m really a disappointment when it comes to languages. I shall endeavour to correct the situation. If you consider pidgin as a language, then I guess I can speak and understand that. I find it funny when people speak pidgin around me and think I don’t understand or speak it. It’s usually a colleague or someone who knows me well that will say, ‘you know she understands everything you’re saying right’. I do notice as I get older, particularly as speaking clearly is a part of my job, when I speak pidgin, I sound so unnatural.
Are you and your twin sister identical?
People have always and will always confuse my twin and me. We look very much alike but those who know us well don’t confuse us. Our boyfriends have never confused us.
Have you and your sister played pranks on people as some twins do?
We were never into pranks, but when we were in boarding school, I remember we swapped classes once and the teacher didn’t notice it. We miss each other, we were together everyday for 18 years, and we separated when we went to different universities. It was a transition I felt was needed. I think when you’re twins, people expect you to share an identity and I feel everyone should find himself or herself. We have plans to start a clothing line together, so we will be reunited soon.
Apart from being physically alike, what do you share in common?
We’re actually very alike with the things we like, considerations and observations. I think our time apart has meant that we were able to explore our differences and develop those aspects of our personalities. So now, even though we are still similar, we are actually fundamentally different with the choices that we make. A lot of people say my sister is easily friendly, whereas I take my time. Maybe I’m more wary of people’s intentions now that I am in the public eye.
Would you love to give birth to twins?
I think twins are a blessing and honestly as stressful as it is, wouldn’t it be great to have a double birth? It saves one having to go through another nine months, considering you want more than one child of course. Twins are a team for life; it’s a beautiful thing.
What was your aspiration while growing?
I found this book when I was in class one in St. Saviours, Ikoyi and I wrote that I wanted to be a driver. Isn’t that funny, I guess at that age, driving a car must have been so exciting. I think that’s pretty significant though, it means I’ve always wanted to live an exciting life. I know that I have always wanted to be a performer. I performed in a school play at age eight where I played a carnival dancer. I got the role of the lead carnival dancer and I knew from then that I wanted to perform. I just didn’t know how or when it would play out. I just wanted to be on television or stage.
Are you a daddy’s or mummy’s girl?
I’m definitely a mummy’s girl. I’m very protective of my mother. My parents separated when I was young and we lived with our mother and stepfather growing up. I saw my father frequently and I am close to him but my mother was our support system. So naturally I’m very close to her. My stepfather passed on three years ago, it was really one of the catalysts to my moving back. I wanted to spend time with my mum, and we’ve become good friends living together, not just as mother and daughter.
At what point in your life did you have your first crush?
I must have been nine or ten. Obviously it was entirely innocent, but those feelings of excitement and feeling special were there. I was a very pretty girl when I was in primary school and I got more valentine and chocolates on Valentine’s Day than I do now.
While on television, you look so calm and collected, do you ever get nervous?
I get nervous all the time. I feel like people look to me as an example now that I have been doing this for a while. So I feel more and more confident that I can’t mess up, which is impossible in entertainment. You have to accept that you will mess up lines or need more than one take, or that you have to take time for yourself to rest. Live shows are always nerve racking, the pressure to impress and the fact that the audience may not understand you can be overwhelming. I try to be as prepared as possible because a lot of the times, things can be incredible.
Have you ever thought of delving into acting?
I’ve been acting since I was young, I had planned to be an actor, I just sort of fell into presenting, I went for the open audition of 53Extra and landed the role. In life, the journey is definitely more interesting than the end goal. My first professional acting part was when I was ten years old; I performed in a play called Skeleton at the National Theatre, Lagos. I remember the experience so vividly. I studied English and Theatre at Warwick University and then furthered my experience by completing a course in acting for film at the New York Film Academy. This year alone, I was part of the cast of Michelle Bello’s Flower Girl, which premiered in Lagos, Ghana, London and America. I shot a drama series produced by Bief, which is due for release next year. I’m part of the cast for ‘The Island’ also due out next year and I just completed my second movie called ‘When Love Comes Around’ a movie by Zynell Zuh which I shot in Ghana alongside Jim Iyke. Presently, I am working on a theatre production entitled Closer, which I am co-producing with Beeta Universal Arts Foundation. The play stars myself as well as Bikiya Graham Douglas.
Being a pretty girl, you most likely would get hit-on by men. Can you give us some pick-up lines?
The lamest pick up line is when men think throwing money in my face will have some sort of effect. Lines like, “do you like my watch? I’ll buy you one, so we’ll have his and hers.’ I’m not even yours yet! I think we’ve developed a culture that is very shallow. We think that money is the answer to everything and that money equates attractiveness and character. Of course it is attractive if you’re successful, but success speaks for itself and you will enjoy the fruits of your success better if you are with someone that appreciates you, not what you are worth. Kindness, being humble, honest, trustworthy, and faithful-these are far more attractive and long lasting qualities.
What are the gains and pains of being on television?
Well, I love what I do. I’ve always wanted to entertain and be successful at it. It’s a privilege that I’m successful at what I do and get to do it. It is great that I am able to collaborate with so many exciting individuals in so many fields I love, like fashion, theatre and music. I can’t really think of that many negative points. I think that being in the public can expose the lives of people close to you and then they are unwittingly dragged into public discussions that they didn’t choose. It can be a lonely job. I believe that I lead a normal life; I choose what I want to share and try to keep as much as I can private.
Let’s assume you could change any part of your body without the surgeon’s knife, what would that be?
I wouldn’t change a thing, I have a tendency to lose weight very quickly. So, maybe I’d like to be able to maintain my weight better, there’s nothing I need a surgeon’s knife for, anything I want to change, I can achieve through diet and fitness training.
Most ladies say Nigerian men are not romantic, do you agree?
The Nigerian men I have dated have been very romantic; I guess it depends on the type of man one attracts and also what one deems romantic. Know whom you’re with, some guys don’t want to say cheesy things and look into your eyes but they will always make sure your happiness comes first. Not everything has to be a large “romantic” gesture. Romance has to do with being selfless. Simple things like, choosing to stay with your girlfriend all weekend watching movies instead of being at the clubs all weekend with the boys is romantic; others are sending flowers for no reason at all, surprise dinners, heartfelt messages. If your partner really knows you and loves you, he’ll find ways to be romantic and find ways to make you happy. I actually find Nigerian guys far more active and good when it comes to making large romantic statements. A tip to guys, flowers always makes women happy, even if they say they don’t love flowers. They probably do and if sending chocolates with cards is what your lady wants, it really won’t hurt or take much time.
TV presenter, Eku Edewor, tells Ademola Olonilua about her career