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Monday, October 3, 2011

Being a Celebrity is a Vain Lifestyle - Funke Akindele (JENIFA) Reveals

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Funke Akindele. Her name surely rings a bell. Not one given to much airs around her, she triggers off the interview by saying, “I am too down-to-earth, unassuming and I remind myself that no matter the glitz and glamour, I am still Funke Akindele.”
So, what’s new about her? Nothing, except for the fact that she is just back from New York, United States of America, where she went to have her movie, The return of Jenifa, premiered.
“I was scared before the premiere kicked off” she recalls. Why? “I was wondering if what I had would match the expectations of the people coming to see the movie. I ran to the back of the hall and was almost shivering when it started but when I saw people laughing, with eyes glued to the screen, I knew my fears were over.”
You would not help butlaugh at some of her jokes as the interview progresses. But the Ikorodu born graduate of law, who chose to be an actress instead, would not laugh at certain experiences she has gone through in her few years on stage.
“These are painful and unforgettable incidents which could have thrown me off balance” she laments. According to Funke, who is the second in a family of four children, the media, which has celebrated her over the years, also contributed to some of her hurts.
“I was shocked to read an article that I was arrested at Heathrow for a drug related offence! Me? Drugs! Never! I was in my room in Lagos and had never travelled to London. Even wheneverI did, my route was not Heathrow. I called my publicist, called everyone I knew and started telling them I was not arrested. It was not a funny experience at all,” she recalls.
She got different doses of such write-ups — alleged dates with different men and lots more. “There were moments I stayed in my room andcried. When you are in show business and you have reached a certain pedestal, you lose confidence of opening up to people on your challenges. If you do, you are the gist on every lips and journalists feast on it. So, I end up telling my hurts to God and nobody.”
That brings you to her world of being tagged a celebrity. Her story of fame would not tireyou as she says: “It robs you of privacy — everyone wants to know what is happening to you, your dates, they want to have you at their parties, they want youto smile 24-7 even if you are in foul moods, they want you to be perfect and everyone believes you are not just human!
“I was at the airport sometime back and a woman came to say hello. Of course, I greeted her politely. Again, she came and I did same thing. Again, she came and I was still my smiling self. This went on like 20 times and she brought many people to see me! When it was time to board the plane, I was on a queue and suddenly had a slap on my back! It was the woman and she said, ‘Abebelube’ (Yoruba word for a more-than-smart person) and laughed. Was I hurt? I just grinned and said ‘thank you ma.’ The normal Funke Akindele would have reacted but I just reminded myself of the status. But I am human! I remember having fever, went to the clinic, was asked to runa test and as my doctor attended to me, another doctor passed by and said in everyone’s hearing that, ‘Funke Akindele came for a pregnancy test!’ Though he was joking, what if those people picked it up and the rumour spread? Even if I came for a pregnancy test, am I not entitled to my privacy? It is not too enviable a world.”
Born of parents she describes as ‘very strict’, her growing up years would not have been better. She reminisces: “I was always getting into trouble and my mother, a gynaecologist, was very strict. I was moreof a tomboy and neversaw myself as a girl. My father, an educationist, would not suffer fools gladly. I was like any other girlnext door. It was fun and I would have remained in the comfort of my home instead of the public eye.”
It’s obvious Funke makes all efforts to retain her celebrity status by looking glamorous. “I am not finding it funny,” she says chuckling. “Naturally, I am a jeans-on-t-shirt personbut now I cannot do that always. If I just wanted to make my hair, not far from my home, I have to dress up! There was a day I went to make my hair in jeans and ballet shoes and when I entered, all eyes were on me and some said I was too ordinary-looking! Even if you are not comfortable in killer heels, you wear them on red carpet! Now, I have a stylist who is in charge of what I wear, how I wear and where I wear them to. She flew with me to New York and helped with my look. Not an easy lifestyle and I see it as vain.”

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