She is known as Sheila Ade-Williams to Tinsel lovers, Obianuju Onwuka in The Wedding Party that also stars Banky W and Richard Mofe Damijo, and to the lovers of the early 2000s Family-com series Fuji House of Commotion as Caro. Ireti Doyle is the latest cover star for The Guardian Life Magazine.
Before the interview, Ireti Doyle was heard humming and moving to the rhythm of “Blow my mind,” Davidos’ single featuring American artist, Chris Brown. “And I like Burna Boy. I know all the lyrics to his songs”, she said.
Soon after, the mother of six and a grandmother got into a mild argument with her daughter on who loved Burna Boy more.
Read excerpts from the interview.
Romance With Stardom
In the year 2000, as a production assistant with Patrick Doyle Media, she was given the task of producing a fashion show even though she had never done it before. Married to one of Nigeria’s finest broadcasters and actors, Patrick Doyle, at that time, she learned quickly. What she did not know is that the show, Oge with Iretiola, would become a household name.
“Did I think it would be as successful as it turned out to be? Absolutely not. As far as I was concerned, it was just a job pending when my dream job (acting) would turn out to be,” she says with a glint in her eyes.
“For crying out loud, I said I wanted to act and you people are telling me to present. After a while, I began to enjoy it. 10 years on, I looked up and saw that we had a great show that had done extremely well and had a large following.”
Broadcasting gave her the needed skills that have made her a “better actor.” “I am fortunate to have been given a platform to not only pursue but achieve my dreams,” she confesses.
While she had gotten the attention of many Nigerians and become loved as a presenter, Doyle still battled with the disappointment that she was not in the acting industry. Although people close to her knew she wanted to act, Ireti, a few years before, disliked Theatre Arts.
On Reinventing Self
It is no debate that Nollywood has witnessed rather interesting times that have made it globally accepted as a reputable institution in terms of content and cinematography. The emergence of new strong female characters and female players are a development Ireti is pleased with and says there is a need to develop more likewise characters.
“I’d like to see strong female characters that are strong, period. Not strong because a man did them bad or if a female is bad, let her be bad just because…not because a man broke her heart.”
While these developments are commendable, critics continue to argue on the commonness of recycled storylines.
“We are Africans, our storytelling methods are quite different. We are the tales by moonlight kind of people. Show me 10 films and there are 10 different ways to tell a story, let people choose whichever way they want to tell their story. Can we do better? Absolutely.. everything is evolving. I read a lot of short stories on Twitter and my mind just goes wow so we are getting there.”
Refusing to undermine the importance of critics, Ireti says, “ A lot of critics are closet performers who wish they could be out there in one capacity or the other. Maybe out of fear or having failed, they now decide it is their job is to water down peoples’ work. You [critics] need to fix up. There is a difference between a hack and a critic and it all lies in the way you present your criticism.”
While she affirms that Nollywood has since seen new energy, global acceptance, and courage, she is bothered by the lack of structures in the industry. “I’d like to see structures that support the people who work in the industry, unions that support the personnel…that has a cohesive plan to cater to the actors instead of going to the public to ask for money when they fall ill, an actors guild that would fight for royalties.”
Linked to this is the dearth of funding. In this regard, Ireti advises, “If you are wise, as a young actor, get a side job until such a time when acting can sustain you. Google it, as a professional actor, it is guaranteed that you will spend half of your working life unemployed, underemployed or part-time unemployed. So if it is a skill that you can monetize, please go ahead.”
Check out the photos of Ireti Doyle below.