Funke Akindele-Bello, actress and movie producer, says she never thought she would be widely celebrated when she started her acting career.

The actress, who came into the spotlight when she featured in ‘I Need to Know’, a 90s TV drama series, told CNN African Voices that her father didn’t support her career choice at the beginning.

“Growing up was fun for me having the support of my mum, she believed so much in my talent, though my dad never wanted me to be an actor – he wanted me to be a lawyer,” the 40-year-old actress said.

She said she made a compromise to get a degree in Law following which she started auditioning for movie roles.

“When I started ‘I Need To Know’, I never thought I would be this celebrated. I was 20 years old then. When I shot the pilot I just wanted to do it, I wanted to showcase my God-given talent. I remember the director telling me I was overacting because I was excited about it.”

Akindele, who is best known for her portrayal of Jenifa, explains the similarity she shares with the character: “Jenifa is witty, she’s crazy, she’s a go getter, she doesn’t want to take no for an answer and I think I have that – I don’t want to take no for an answer.”

The actress, who got married to Abdulrasheed Bello, an artiste/producer popularly known as JJC, said the success of Jenifa led her to establish her own production company, Scene One Productions.

“All I can say is I’m grateful, it’s not easy for you to work hard and people appreciate you.”

After launching a TV drama about the Nigerian music industry, called ‘Industreet’, Akindele has also founded ‘Jenifa’s Foundation’.

“We reach out to young people, we empower them. We help them acquire skills, we help them discover their special gift, their talent in acting and music and dance,” she said.

“Stay focused. When you know what you want for yourself, when you are focused, you will get there.”



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