Popular Yoruba actress, Funke Etti, tells Ademola Olonilua about her fashion
Why is your face scarce on television?
It is a deliberate move and I have two reasons for my action. The first reason is piracy which is killing our industry. The second reason is because of my television programme which is taking a lot of my time.
Is it that acting is not so lucrative?
It is lucrative but we are branching out to other businesses so that we can have multiple sources of income. Also, piracy is killing our job. The last movie I shot, Owu Iyami, I spent about N2.8m on the movie but I did not make up to N1.5m because of pirates. I am thinking of taking my next project to the cinema. That is why most actors have something they do by the side like having a boutique or other businesses.
But what have you done to curb piracy?
On our part, we have done a lot. We have asked security agencies to come to our rescue but little has been achieved. I think it is only the government that can help us. We cannot fight the people in Alaba. I strongly suggest that government should shut them down and by doing so, piracy would reduce.
We learnt that some actors actually give the pirates their movies for a particular fee?
No; it is a lie. It is not possible. All that these pirates need is a copy of the movie. Once a movie is out, after a few hours, the pirates would have made thousands of copies. It is a very sad situation.
Can you tell us about growing up?
My childhood was not easy because I was an orphan. I had to squat with people to survive. I thank God for the way I was raised because it has really helped me in life.
But you have accomplished so much despite that, how did you do it?
God used some people to help me in life. People like my boss, Kolawole Olatunde and his wife. Also, I have an aunt that works at the censors board. She also contributed to my career.
Do you see yourself as a fashionable person?
Yes I believe I am quite fashionable. Everybody has their style and mine is to make sure I dress in a simple manner. I believe there is beauty in simplicity.
Whengoing for an event, what are the things you consider?
My watchword is to be comfortable and also look very nice. I am not the type that would take extra measure to get dresses for an event. I go through my closet and I pick any dress that looks good on me.
What dresses do you feel comfortable wearing?
Most of the times, I love to wear mini dresses. I really love short dresses like mini-skirts. I also love wearing ankara tops with jeans. I feel so comfortable whenever I dress like that.
But some celebrities feel wearing ankara is local…
It is not. We need to appreciate what we have. I got used to wearing ankara because of my television programmme. Whenever I am on air, I always put on ankara fabrics. That is why I love ankara. Ironically, my husband does not like wearing ankara. He believes it is local but I normally make jest of him that he does not understand fashion. He loves wearing shirt and jeans.
Why do you love wearing mini-skirts and short dresses?
I love them because whenever I wear them, I feel very comfortable and sexy.
What is your fashion weakness?
I love shoes and bags and I find it hard to resist buying them whenever I walk into a shopping mall. As I speak with you, I have a lot of shoes and I am sure they would be more than a hundred pairs. Even though I have so many pairs of shoes, I still end up buying more. My bags are also many. I have over 60 bags of different shapes, sizes and colours.
Has motherhood changed your style in any way?
Not at all, I have a lovely son and he is my world. I love him so much. If I had known this is how beautiful motherhood is, I would have given birth since. Motherhood has not changed my fashion taste in any way. There is nothing I used to wear before I became a mother that I cannot still wear now.
What dresses does your husband like on you?
My husband knows that I love opening my cleavage and I love short dresses. So anytime he wants to shop for me, he tends to buy those kinds of dresses. However, he sometimes cautions me about exposing my body but he always concludes his sentence with ‘’I trust you.” He knows that I love mini-skirts a lot.
But why do you like revealing your cleavage?
I do it very often. It is just my style. At times I just want to look provocative. I like looking provocative.
Do you style yourself?
When it comes to dressing, I wear anything that looks nice on me but for my make up, I have three make-up artistes that help me with my facials.
How often do you go to the salon?
I don’t frequent beauty parlours. I love looking natural and sometimes I make African hairdos like shuku, didi and the likes.
You don’t feel odd when your friends are wearing brazilian hair and you do shuku?
I don’t feel odd at all. I live a very simple lifestyle. Even if my friends wear gold and I wear local beads, I am very comfortable like that.
What would you never be caught dead wearing?
I don’t think there is any dress I cannot pull off. Maybe wearing pant and bra on the street, that I cannot do. Even bikinis, I don’t like wearing them whenever I go to swim.
Why do you love tattoos?
I have only one tattoo. The tattoo I have is a very small one and it is the picture of a star. Most of my friends in the industry have tattoos and one day, they came to me that we should go and get a tattoo. When we got to the shop, the artiste showed me a picture of a big tattoo he wanted to draw on my body. When he put the needle on my skin, I began shouting, telling them that I was not interested in having a tattoo anymore. When the artiste saw that I could not endure the pain, he said that he would draw something small and that was how I got the little star.
Can you still get another later in life?
Never, it is too painful. I don’t think I can endure such pain again. After the pain I went through, I always imagine how people with many tattoos on their bodies did it.
Most people believe that fair girls easily get roles in films…
That is a huge lie. If you are fine but have nothing to offer, you cannot get roles. You have to be talented and have something to put on the table before you are given roles. It does not matter how beautiful you are. It is just a misconception.
You don’t seem to like wearing jewellery…
It’s part of my style, I like being simple. I have lots of jewellery but I hardly use them.
How about make-up?
Although I have three different make-up artistes that style me, it is only when I am on set or I have an outing that I make up. I like looking natural and because of that; I hardly use make-up.
But do you bleach your skin?
Often times I have heard people say I bleach but it is a lie. Don’t mind them. They believe that once you are fair, you have bleached and I try to correct them that it is not so. I am naturally a fair skinned person.
How do you combine being an actress with your marital role?
It has not been easy but God has been my strength. I still find time to cook for my family. My husband’s favourite meal is yam and egg and I always find time to cook other dishes for him.