By Janet Ogundepo and Blessing Afolabi
How and when did your journey into the entertainment industry begin?
After I concluded primary and secondary education in Ore, Ondo State, I returned to Osun State (my hometown) to learn Arabic and the Qu’ran because my dad wanted me to become an alfa. I proceeded to learn cloth designing for four years which I concluded in 1999. My passion for education prompted me to further my education at The Polytechnic Iree.
Afterwards, in 2000 my dad’s elder brother introduced me to my lecturer and mentor, Toyin Olaiya (Alaga council) who brought me into acting. When the late Hameeda Shakeem first saw me, she was so interested in me that she made me become a part of their team of actors. After this, I was introduced to makeup and relocated to Lagos where I met many celebrities. That’s how God favoured me and my journey to stardom began. My dad’s mission was for me to be a popular Muslim cleric but I achieved it in another way.
What movie shot you into the limelight?
I usually did an extra in movies, acting one or two scenes before I featured in the movie, ‘Seranko Seniyan’ released on December 4, 2004. With the advent of social media, I began skit-making with my friend, Funmi Awelewa before we put together a movie from the skits titled, ‘Ebudola.’
How do you get ideas for your skits or when acting a script?
It’s a God-given and inborn talent. Though I learnt how to insult people in a joking way through my dad and mum. My dad would never beat his children but the words he would say could make one rethink one’s decision; when my dad talks, you would think he is on a movie set. The way I act in movies is the way I behave normally; I had to tone down my excesses when I became known. Sometimes I shoot skits from the words I say jokingly or when I’m just being funky with friends.
You said you rained as a tailor and makeup artist, are you still into both?
Yes, I’m still a fashion designer but I no longer do makeup. As an actor, it’s advisable one has other streams of income because one would not always be on set and with time, one would leave the stage for younger ones to take over. Whenever I’m not on set, I go to my shop to monitor what is being done there and I still sew clothes. I knew I had to invest in other streams of income because money doesn’t come steadily from acting. I’m also a master of ceremonies for wedding engagements and other shows.
How do you manage them all?
Acting is my passion and I cannot quit it because I engage in other things. I draw a plan for myself ensuring that I don’t take MC jobs on days when I’m meant to be on set; this prevents one from affecting the other and makes it seamless. It’s only my fashion designing business that gets the hit sometimes though I have apprentices now who ensure we don’t disappoint customers.
Would you love to be a Muslim cleric if you weren’t acting?
No, I won’t. If I wasn’t acting I would remain a fashion designer because I enjoy the job a lot. I had a passion for it from childhood and it made me take my time to master the skill.
Has fame changed anything about you or deprived you of anything?
Yes, it has changed a lot about me. I cannot go to the market freely like before. Sometimes, when I have to go out, I disguise myself to get acquainted with the everyday experiences of Nigerians which I use to generate concepts for movies/skits. If I don’t disguise myself, I may not achieve my aim because of the attention from fans. Fame has also helped me gain connections, respect and become a better person. I used to be intolerant but I have learnt to accommodate everyone I come in contact with.
What are some of the challenges you have faced?
I don’t see obstacles as challenges, but rather as stepping stones to my greatness. Sometimes marketers owe me but I believe that whatever one experiences in life is a part of the whole process to greatness.
How did you come about the name ‘Sisi Quadri’?
It was Alhaja Yinka Oluaye who introduced me to makeup and acting that gave me the name. She would always call me Sisi Quadri because I behave like a woman. At first, I didn’t like the name and would fight back at people when they called me that. But when they were persistent, I had no option but to accept it as my nickname.
What’s your advice to up-and-coming entertainers?
Most young people lack patience so I will advise them to be patient. Wealth derived from ill means will fade away. They should be hopeful and believe that their future is secure in God. The Holy book says, ‘pray without ceasing’, young ones should be consistent in prayer and studying the Qu’ran or Bible. By doing all these, the sky will be their starting point.
Source: The Punch