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“I Had To Work Twice As Hard To Go Half As Far, As A Woman And A Woman Of Colour” – Folake Olowofoyeku On How She Got Her Breakthrough In Hollywood

 

Blacks have not had it easy breaking into Hollywood. Interestingly, Nigerian-born but Us-based Folake Olowofoyeku did not only break through the industry, she has also featured in a quite number Hollywood movies.

The movies include, “Death Race 2050,” “Female Fight Club”, “Modern Family”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Law And Order: SVU”, “30 Rock” and “White Collar” and the upcoming film, “If”.

Folake earned a Best Actress Award for her lead role in “When They Could Fly” at the prestigious ReelHeART International Film Festival in Toronto, Canada.

Her voice has also been used for voice-over campaigns with The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, The Coca-Cola Company, Money Gram and Emirates Airline.

In an interview with Hazeez Balogun of  independent.nig, Folake talks about her career amongst other things.

On How she broke through Hollywood industry as an African

I’m sure I missed out on some opportunities that I would have otherwise been qualified for, however, while still being aware of that and educating myself on race and prejudice, it was more beneficial for me to dwell on factors within my control.  It occurred to me very early on that I had to strategise and be prepared to work twice as hard to go half as far, as a woman and a woman of colour. I’m happy to say that there are far more opportunities now than when I first began. Thanks to the successes of women of colour in the industry, and women in general. Also, with the demands of new-media and video on demand platforms worldwide, there is a massive demand for diverse and inclusive content.

On Her most challenging work

The most challenging was very early on in university. I booked the lead role of Sally Bowles in ‘Cabaret’. It was my first lead role and it required of my artistry in a capacity I had never played before. Coupled with the fact that some classmates were jealous they didn’t get the role, so they voiced complaints at the casting of an actor of African descent for such a prominent role. They also went around defacing the promotional posters of me around campus and sticking pins in my face, and other parts. My friends had my back though which I’m very grateful for.  I also took it as a challenge to do great work.  It worked out well in the end – we had standing ovations at the end of every performance, amazing feedback and some of those nay-sayers also came to express their awe and congratulations. The show was also extended several times. Most importantly, it prepared me for the real world and bigger projects to come.

Read her full interview on independent.nig

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