An Exclusive Chat with the Pretty Nollywood Actress, Temitope Soplaja aka Aruga.
One of the actresses currently dazzling in the Yoruba segment of the Nigerian film industry popularly called Nollywood is the beautifully talented Temitope Solaja who is also known as Aruga. This stunningly pretty and talented actress delivers on any role she plays and she’s also known for her stunning fashion and style sense.
Temitope Solaja hit the limelight in 2008 when she starred in a movie titled Bamitale, and ever since then she has featured in so many movies.
In this exclusive interview with ACADA EXTRA magazine she opened up on her sojourn into the Nigerian film industry, her plans for the future and much more…
How did you get into acting?
My journey into acting started in 2007/2008 when Afeez Eniola was shooting his movie, “Bamitale”.
So do you have formal training in acting?
Yes I did. I was trained in the rudiments of acting by Afeez Eniola.
Were your parents in support of your chosen career when you first started?
No my parents were not in support when I started. They were afraid it would affect my studies in school, but I proved them wrong.
So how has the journey been so far?
It wasn’t easy in the beginning because I was in school when I started and I had to joggle my studies with acting. Going to locations for productions and also reading for my school works so that I can make good grades. But I’m thankful for today, the hustle paid off.
What were the challenges you faced when starting out?
There were many and it was really tough starting out. There was a lot of competition. Many times, I’ll go to location, pack bags, pay for my hotel and all and still won’t feature in one scene.
How many movies have you starred in so far, and how many have you produced yourself?
I have produced 7 movies and I’ve featured in numerous productions.
What’s your take on the allegation of sex-for-roles usually leveled against movie producers and directors?
It’s not something I’ve experienced, so I can’t say much about it.
Has any director demanded sex from you in exchange for a role?
No way! I’m not usually desperate for roles, maybe that’s part of the reasons.
How do you choose the movies you star in?
I read the script to see how educative the storyline is. I love to interpret challenging roles, so I take that into consideration as well.
How long does it take you to get into a character and possibly get out of it?
Once I am on set and action is called, I become whatever that role is immediately. When cut is called, I am Temitope again. It’s a bit easy because of the training I received.
What is your growing up like?
My childhood was great and fun.
Your family background and education.
I am the first child of my parents. I’m from a family of 6. I went to O&A Nursery and Primary School, Ikene Community High School, Ikene Remo, Ogun State. I had my tertiary education at the Tai Solarin University of Education where I studied Mass Communication.
Your experience again. What was it like during your campus days?
School was fun. You know there’s that little freedom from parent’s scolding and monitoring. But I didn’t take it for granted and do mind myself, and of course I still have to joggle my acting with academics. But it was still fun and memorable.
What is style to you?
Style to me is wearing what makes you feel good and confident.
What is or are your favourite fashion items?
I love gold (jewelry) and also sunglasses.
Your signature perfume.
I’m a huge fan of Royal Creed, Dior and Versace.
Are you into labels? Who are your favourite designers.
I’m not a label person when it comes to clothing. I love Fashion Nova and Pretty Little Thing.
Do you have a particular beauty regimen?
Nothing great in particular. I sleep well when I’m opportune to and I take lots of water to detoxify.
Your favourite beauty products.
I’m a MAC cosmetics person.
Where do you consider to be your favourite holiday spot?
I love Miami and Las Vegas. They are great holiday destinations.
When not on location or working, how do you relax?
I hang out with friends and my family, and I sometimes use the opportunity to sleep.
Do you watch your movies?
Yes I do. I watch my movies a lot. I am my first critic.
So do you criticize the movies you starred in? Maybe see something you thought you could have done better.
Yes, like I said previously, I am my first critic. I watch to see how to improve on my acting.
How long did it take before you get accepted in the industry?
I will say I am fortunate to have been accepted immediately.
Which movie will you say gave you the BIG BREAK?
Three movies at the same time: Bella produced by Tayo Sobola, Aruga produced by Temitope Solaja, Oloko Meta produced by Yekini Bakare.
Aside acting, are you into some other form of business?
Yes, I do sell human hair. Stargirl Luxury. I also sell Perfumes.
I am inspired and motivated by the lifestyle I want for myself. It always propels me to aim for the sky.
You have been able to stay off controversies and scandals, what is the secret?
I don’t like drama or stress so I stay away from anything that can cause drama.
Are you a romantic lady?
Walahi! I’m more than romantic, lol.
What do you look out for in a man?
Someone caring, understanding and not greedy. I am not looking for a perfect man, but someone who has the fear of God in his heart.
As a celebrity, how do you handle male fans and advances from men?
It all bothers down to maturity. As a public figure, one will meet all kinds of human beings with different motives, especially fans, and it is left for one to be mature about it.
What production are you currently working on and what should your fans expect from it?
I’m surely cooking up something so they should watch out. But I promise I won’t disappoint them.
What advice can you give to young people looking up to you as a role model and those that might want to take up acting as a career?
One thing I’ll tell them is never wish to be like someone else. Always be yourself. Stay focused and know what you want. Don’t lose hope. Keep pushing and never stop praying because prayer is the master key to success.
What are your dreams and aspirations?
I aspire to be a good mother and wife, and to be successful. I will also love to be a philanthropist, helping people and contributing to humanity in my own little ways.