Actress Elizabeth Anjorin, better known as Lizzy Anjorin, is one of the successful actresses in the Yoruba film industry. The light-skinned actress has earned for herself a place in the hearts of movie lovers with superlative performances. In this interview, Lizzy, an on
ly child, recounts her travails and victories in the make-believe industry, relationship with her mother and her ideal man among other issues. Excerpts:
What’s the latest about Lizzy Anjorin?
God has been good to me. I don’t really believe what I am seeing, especially after the death of my mum. I feared that things might be difficult because of the pains of losing her. But glory be to God that I have been able to move on and start doing things for myself. I have continued with my normal life, and God has been wonderful.
Being the only child of your parents, how easy was it for you to come out of the shock of your mother’s death?
It was not as difficult as I had expected. I think it has to do with way she brought me up. My mum was tough and firm when talking to me. She trained me to be able to stand without her. For example, she was fond of asking me to close my eyes, and asking if I see anybody. With the benefit of hindsight, I have come to realize that she was training for her eventual departure. Her death has also taught me some lessons about humans. The burial ceremony was emotional to me when I realized I was the only one wearing a particular attire. At that point, I felt like if I had siblings, they would also be wearing the same clothes with me. I was never pampered by my parents despite being their only child. My mum was so tough with me that I often doubted if she was indeed my biological mother. As a matter of fact, it took the intervention of her younger brother to convince me that she was my mother.
What particular advice did she give you?
My mother always told me to act as if I have no mother and do things on my own. She would say ‘nobody knows what tomorrow has in stock for us.’
Would you say she prepared you for her passing?
I think she did. She really prepared me for her eventual passing, knowing that she would leave me someday.
So what do you miss most about her?
The one thing that I miss most about my mum is her regular advice. I remember the way I would complain to her about what somebody had done to me. She would advise that I handle the matter myself, and always ending her advice by asking if I won’t live my life if she wasn’t with me.
Any particular request your mum made from you before she died?
She asked me to continue to fly the flag, live my dreams and continue to make her proud.
I’m sure that you are very fond of your daughter…
(Cuts in…) Yes. I am very fond of her. But let me say this, it is not her alone, but all my adopted children.
You mean you also have other children?
Yes, I have three other adopted children. Though I didn’t go to any orphanage to adopt them, but the truth is that they are all my children, and I treat them as such.
Your daughter is 14, why the delay in getting another one?
The truth is that I want to do the right thing. You know what, the fact that everybody is getting married is not enough reason for me to jump into a marriage, especially now that I am completely an orphan.
What happened between you and your daughter’s dad?
We lost him. He died when my daughter was six years old.
And why the long delay in getting another man?
You know we were both young when we had my daughter. So I have been busy with my education in order to make sure that I make something of my life. I was in the college of education when I had her. After that, I proceeded to the university. Another thing was that it was tough to rise in those days, especially for the up and coming actresses. There was a popular slang by the older movie producers and directors. They would tell you that you won’t remember them as soon as you become a star or you get married.
Is this part of the reasons you are not married yet?
No. it has nothing to do with my not being married. But I’m sure I may not be where I am today if I am married. You know, as a young lady, you need to be hardworking and patient to put some things in place before thinking of marriage. People are quick to blame artistes for broken marriages. But the truth is that most of the marriages didn’t last because they contracted on love at first sight. Most of the actresses enter the marriages without knowing the man very well. For example, most of the men would begin to display traits which they had hidden from the women. They would want to order her to stop her career, forgetting that it was through that same profession that they met her.
Tell us about the schools you attended.
I had my elementary school at the Ijaye Ojokoro Primary School and then moved to the Girls High School, Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos before I moved to the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro. I later studied Transport and Management Planning at the Olabisi Onabanjo University , Ago-Iwoye. I was into modeling before I joined the movie industry and God has been wonderful to me.
Would you quit acting if your husband asked you to stop?
My husband cannot tell me to quit the profession that brought me fame. As a matter of fact, no good husband will ask his wife to do such thing. If he is truly a good husband, the wife may even on her own decide to give up her career in order to make her husband happy. Any man that forces his wife to quit her job or business is definitely not a good husband. Such men want their wives to quit their jobs for their own selfish interest. Unfortunately, the moment you leave this job, your space is taken over by a new person. This is the major reason you see our people run back barely two years after going into a marriage.
Who is your ideal man?
My ideal man is a caring and God-fearing man.
You mean that’s all you want in a man?
You cannot get a perfect man. And you cannot get all that you want in any man. Any woman will tell you that she wants her man to be this and that. But the reality will soon dawn on her when she gets married, and realizes that the man she knew during courtship is not the same man she got married to. Your man could pretend to be an angel during courtship, but would turn out to be a smoker and night crawler the moment the marriage is sealed. What would you advise such woman to do, to go in search of another man so soon?
Is there any man in your life presently?
I don’t want to talk about that. As you can see, I don’t have any ring on my finger. I suppose that should tell you my status.
So are you searching?
I am not searching.
But you’ve been linked with many men in recent times …
Those who link me to those men do so simply because they want to know who I am dating. The truth is that I have never met or seen most of the men that I have been linked with. So, because they don’t know who I am dating, they go around speculating and guessing, hoping they would be right. I don’t drink or smoke, so most of my energy is either directed into my career or my business. Most of the speculations about me are created because they don’t know much about me and my private life.
You just completed a movie, entitled Kofo Tinubu. Why did you choose such title?
The movie is about mentally-challenged children. I want to tell the story of how these children have been rejected and disowned, even by their parents. But I have found out that these children are not as useless as the society sees them. These kids are gifts from God. And so they too have their innate talents. Even some so called able-bodied men are more useless than these special children. We have seen some mentally-challenged kids work, while their able-bodied counterparts either lazy away or get involved in crime.
Why did you decide to write such a script?
It actually started like a joke. I was joking with a friend one day when the idea for the story came. I simply picked my pen and scripted what formed in my head at that particular time. The film is the outcome of that little discussion. And as for the title, we don’t have any particular person or family when we came up with the title. It was something that just came, and I decided to stick with it. The title could have been any other name.
Your last movie was Iyawo Abuke. What attracts you to people with challenges?
This is something that I cannot explain. I simply get attracted to them out of curiousity. I remember something, when were shooting Iyawo Abuke, the guy (a real hunchback) told me that he would soon become a star and be able to have a wife. You see, as I speak with you, he is now married with a child. It is such things that make me happy. And I am happy that I have been able to contribute positively to somebody’s life.
You now have a foundation. Why are you doing this?
It is the Liz Anjorin Foundation. I want to prove to people that these people have some special things in them. We will go full-blast as soon as the schools resume. Have you observed that some physically-challenged people control traffic? You’ll be amazed how these people handle the traffic without any incident. Meanwhile, you’ll equally see some able-bodied men go into crime to survive.
Are you stubborn?
I am not in any way stubborn. What people don’t know is that I am a go-getter, and I will go a long way to get my things done. Unfortunately, some people have misconstrued this to mean stubbornness. I know you are referring to a disagreement I had with a fellow artiste sometime ago. But the truth is that it is purely business rivalry, which can be found in any industry all over the world. If you are into a business, and nobody gets to talk about you, then you need to be very careful. But then, we have made up and moved on.
What is the nastiest thing ever said or written about you?
It is the stories linking me with people I’d never met in my life. It hurts, I mean how can I explain it that people go about writing and linking me with a man I don’t even know. These people seem to forget that I am a woman and that I will get married one day. Yoruba would say it is God that can choose a husband for a woman. And how are these people sure that the man chosen for me by God will like all these negative publicity and scandals? I have had some people walk up to me to ask me why I would snatch somebody’s husband. This is particularly worrying when you realize that the story is not true. Those close to me know what I can do or cannot do.
But you get cat-calls from would-be lovers. Like how many do you get in a day?
I cannot really say. But I get attention from men every day. Even some women would walk up to me and say ‘you are beautiful.’
How do you cope with your celebrity status?
I have three sides of me. I have Lizzy the actress, Lizzy the businesswoman and Lizzy the ordinary woman. I have had people tell me that they thought I was haughty until they got closer to me. I am a businesswoman, if I am proud or I show attitude, who will buy my goods?
So, how do you choose your friends?
I am a quiet person, but I am also very cautious in the way I relate with people. I can play and be cool with you, but I always have my eyes open. I am always prepared for any eventuality when dealing with people, especially female friends. Even when such friends are being nice to me, I always leave open a window that he/she may change in the future. As a matter of fact, I can tell you that I have just two friends. And the truth is that there is nothing that these people can snatch from me.
Have you ever been disappointed by a friend?
Yes, many times I have been disappointed by friends. And this is one reason I like guys as friends. No matter what happens between you and a guy, he would not go round spreading rumours about you. Some people will come to you to collect stuffs and still go round to use that particular thing against you.
You had a running battle with a male friend sometimes ago. What’s the latest about the feud?
I have gone beyond that long ago. But you see, God works in mysterious ways. He will never allow a wicked person, either a man or woman, to go unpunished.
Would you forgive him if he comes to apologize?
I can forgive, but I won’t forget the fact that somebody I called a friend did such terrible thing to me. You must know one fact, and it is that you’ll reap whatever you sow.
You hit stardom with your role in Iyawo Ojo kan. How is the journey so far?
The funny thing is that I had appeared in some movies before Iyawo Ojo kan. I will always give kudos to late Alaasari, it was him that God used to lift me and bring me to the limelight. Though he was not my boss, but it was him that cast me in that role.
Which is the most-challenging role you’ve ever played?
All of them are challenging. But particularly challenging are Iyawo Ojo kan, Baba were and Iyawo Abuke. But if I must confess, Iyawo Abuke was tough. You know I had to make it real. I had to kiss him and other do other stuffs that I didn’t know I could do. The beach scene was particularly scary for me. However, even that would pale if compared with Kofo Tinubu. I almost became deformed after the shooting because of the stress I went through trying to play the role. I almost got my tongue twisted that I could not talk properly for days after we finished shooting.
I don’t have any regret.
What was your experience as an only child?
It’s been tough. But thank God that I have a daughter. I am sure that it would have been worse if I had no child. You can imagine, I can count about three people who insisted that I call them big sister, but I later found out that I am older than them. The fact that I have this petit stature is not enough reason for anybody to believe that I am a kid. At least I could not have given birth to her at 12 or 13. But all this would never have happened if I had a younger or older sibling. You know what I mean, people would look at them and make a guess about my age. At least that would have saved me some of the embarrassment.