Thursday

My comfort is key in anything I wear –Kehinde Bankole, actress


Award winning actress, Kehinde Bankole, speaks with Ademola Olonilua about her career and style
You played the character of a very saucy woman in the soap opera, Behind the smile, and you did it so well. Are you actually saucy in reality?
 I am not a saucy person and I really don’t agree that the character is a saucy woman; I think she is just under a lot of pressure. I think as actors, we make people believe what we want them to believe. Naturally, people would always have an opinion about you regardless of what you do but I am nothing like that character.


The woman is actually going through a lot because she has been married for a very long time without a child and her husband is mounting a lot of pressure on her. Also, she takes her Christian faith to the extreme and she is not gainfully employed. If you put all this together with a script that was written for comedy, then you would understand. I was able to get into the character because I read the script and I had an idea of what the director wanted. I thought to myself, what would I do if I am in this kind of situation? and it helped me. The role made me to realise that sometimes, the people we call cranky and crazy are just under pressure.

How did you become an actress?

Every young girl had what they did for fun while growing up. It is either you are painting or playing with dolls. As for me, I used to draw a lot as a young girl, so I hoped to become a cartoonist but as time went on, I felt that was not good enough. One day, I watched the likes of Tyra Banks and Halle Berry on television and I wished to be like them. At first, I did not know who they were until I began to read about them; I found out that one is a model while the other is an actress. I remember that I used to cut their pictures and paste them on my wall. I always used to say ‘I want to be like Halle Berry.’

Besides that, I was a member of the drama group in church while growing up and anytime I was on stage, I always wondered what it would be like to act on a bigger platform. It was a thought process that I grew up with. From there, it developed into something else.

How about your dream to become a model; is it still in the pipeline?

Of course, it is but I want to be a spokesperson. I believe that the more you think, the more your mind evolves. I don’t want to become a model because I have a pretty face, I want to support a brand I believe in because of their values. Also, being a brand’s spokesperson enriches you more than just being a model. As I grew older and began to think deeper, I decided that I didn’t just want to be a model; I would rather believe in something and support it.

If you were not an actress, what profession would you have found yourself?

I would either be a singer, beauty consultant or an entrepreneur.

What is stopping you from pursuing your passion as a singer?

Music is part of my life; it is just that acting has taken a centre stage in my life. My passion for singing is innate and I am developing some songs but it is just that acting is taking much of my time. Because of that, I have not really showcased my music talent to the world.

Do you see yourself as a trend setter or you follow trends?

I don’t see myself as either of the two; I like to see myself as a comfortable dresser.

What clothes suit you the most?

I would say that all I consider is my comfort and the colours of the dress. I would not sacrifice my comfort for anything and that is what guides my style.

What is the fashion item you cannot leave home without?

If I forget to spray my perfume or use my mascara, I would have to go back home and apply them.

Is applying make-up mandatory for you?

Certainly not; make-up is not mandatory for me because of my skin, I have to open up my pores for them to breathe. Also, you need people to see you without make-up often so that you don’t shock them when they eventually see you without applying make-up. It also helps to build one’s confidence. You are a happy person with or without make-up and you do not hide from people simply because you did not apply make-up. Like the name implies, make-up, it means you are making up for the things you lack. It is just to complete little details on your face and not for a complete makeover. It helps when you are without make-up because it would make you comfortable in your own skin. I don’t apply make-up on my face every day.

Do you think your gap tooth adds to your beauty?

To be honest, while growing up I did not see any difference between my dentition and that of other kids. I did not think about it till I grew older and people started noticing it. I think it is cool and it adds some intricate details to the face.

Is that why you smile a lot?

I smile a lot because if I frown, people would not like what I look like. I frown a lot when my mind is busy; I always frown when I am doing some serious thinking. The only time I smile when thinking is when I have happy thoughts. It is actually very good and therapeutic to smile a lot.

How about your dimple, do you also think it adds to your beauty?

Yes it does. It makes me look prettier whenever I smile. I did not notice it while I was growing up too till I became an adult but I did not go out of my way to have it.

Why is it that you hardly wear native attire?

It is because they don’t make me comfortable. I like to be comfortable when I dress and I don’t get that whenever I wear native attire. I tie my wrapper to the right while ideally I ought to tie it to the left. Also, to walk in native attire can be very stressful. If the occasion does not call for it, then I try to avoid it and go for something that would be more comfortable.

It means you do not like headgears…

I don’t because tying one gives me a headache. I am sure it does not happen to me alone. I like the way it looks but I hate the way it makes me feel. I only wear it for traditional weddings and the likes but I am not a big fan.

If you are given the opportunity to enhance your body, what would you go for?

I would reject the offer because if I do that, something would be out of proportion in my body. Everything in my body is there to balance something and if I should adjust anything, I would look very odd. I love the way I look.

What is your fashion fetish?

I love perfume and sometimes I go crazy over shoes. When it comes to perfume, I do not stick to only one brand. Once I hear that there is a new fragrance in town, I just go and get it. Most of the gifts I get are perfumes, so it does not make me stick to a particular brand. I just need to know that the fragrance is not strong. If it is nice and mild, then I would go for it.

Is there any special reason you do not have tattoos inscribed on your body?

It is because I am an actor and I am not interested in having it. I am not scared of the pain but it is not something that I fancy. It is not in my mind and everything on me physically is a manifestation of what I have in my brain, my thought process, and my mind. Having a tattoo is not in my mind. It is nice and cool but since it is not on my mind yet, it is not going to be on my body.

Are you in a relationship?

I cannot comment on that because it is something very personal to me and I do not want to talk about it.

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