I was the drama queen in my family – Ade Laoye

Background

I come from a close-knit family and I have four sisters. I am from Ede, Osun State but I grew up in Lagos and Ibadan. I have fond memories of my childhood; there was a lot of fun and laughter in our home. I was quite the ‘drama queen’ who would sing and dance in front of the mirror. I studied Theatre Arts at Pennsylvania State University in the United States and I moved back to Nigeria four years ago.

Acting

My family members are all artistically inclined, so growing up, there was a lot of music, dancing and entertainment. It wasn’t a surprise when I decided to major in Theatre Arts at the university even though that hadn’t always been my plan. When I had to decide what to study, I thought long and hard about what I truly enjoyed and could see myself doing for the rest of my life – performing was it. If I hadn’t studied acting, I probably would have been a psychologist or a teacher.

Breakthrough role

I made my official movie debut in Emem Isong’s Knocking on Heaven’s Door. I was also in Seyi Babatope’s Lunchtime Heroes. My most high-profile role till date is the character of Oye Agunbiade in the Africa Magic series, Hush. Bringing the character to life has been so much fun. Anyone pursuing a career in the arts knows how challenging, tough but amazing, uncertain yet fulfilling, it can be. Every day comes with its share of drama (pun intended) but within that, I find truly joyous moments where I’m in awe that I get to do what I love.

Challenges

In acting school, they often tell you not to go into this business if you’re looking for a shortcut to fame and fortune because the road is long and hard. They also say that if you could see yourself doing something else, then you probably should go do that thing. It was passion that got me through those times when I lived paycheck to paycheck and wasn’t sure how I was going to pay my bills at the end of each month. It was passion that kept me going from audition to audition. I’m so grateful for my support system and the people who encouraged me not to give up.

Scripts

Compelling stories with multi-faceted characters are things I look out for. I’ve had to turn down some scripts sometimes due to scheduling conflicts, and at other times due to a lack of interest in the material. I don’t see myself as a writer but I would love to go into directing and producing in the future.

Nollywood

Nollywood is an amazing industry that continues to reinvent itself. I’m incredibly honoured to work alongside veterans and up-and-comers. Which industry doesn’t have problems?

Personality

I would describe myself as a free spirit. I believe in having a sense of humour and not taking myself too seriously. I’m emotional and feel things very deeply. It’s difficult for me to hide how I feel about things or people. I’m a happy-go-lucky kind of person.

Current projects

Hush will be on the air till about April 2017 and I recently completed filming Gidi Up season 3 which will be coming out in 2017. I have quite an extensive body of work over the past 10 years since I’ve been working professionally as an actor ranging from straight plays to musicals, short films to commercials. I’ve performed in many cities across the US. In Nigeria, some of my work includes: Saro the musical, Wakaa The Musical, To Love a Ghost, Dowry, Retreat, HMTravels and Tours, Erased, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Lunchtime Heroes and Gidi Up.

Role models

My mum is my biggest role model. She taught me how to be independent and go after what I want. She was an incredibly generous woman who inspires me to do the same.

Hobbies

When I’m not working, I like to sleep. I love live music, so you may find me hanging out with friends at Afropolitan Vibes with a beer or Orijin in hand.

Fashion

I love my clothes long, flowy and loose; a little bohemian, a little quirky. My kaftan collection is on fleek! Lagos is hot so the breeze needs to penetrate the right places. I dress to fit my personality and mood. Sometimes, I want to dress up and at other times, I just want to tie a scarf on my head. I don’t care how fierce something looks; if I won’t be comfortable in it, there’s no point. It’s not by force to ‘slay.’

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