Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi does not play a part; she becomes the part. Not many actresses in Nigeria have the ability to enter so fully into character. Funlola has been around for quite a while. She made her Nollywood debut in Amaka Igwe’s 1996 gem of a movie, Violated, and for a long time we remembered her as the I-just-got-back wife of Richard Mofe-Damijo (Tega) who tried to intimidate Ego Boyo (Peggy) thus:
Funlola: Tega is not around, but I would like to have a word with you.
Ego: *turning to leave* I don’t think so.
Funlola: *calling out after her* Tega doesn’t need any more…distractions, if you know what I mean. I’m his wife and I’m here to stay, you wretched little wannabe!
And with that, she swung around, marched into the house and slammed the door.
Ah, Violated was “tough” as Nigerian kids would say back then!
After Violated, Funlola was the lead female in AIT’s first soap opera, Palace which lasted a year, and then she gave an unforgettable performance as Tamuno Hart in Keeping Faith. In 2008, Funlola Aofiyebi-Raimi became Tinsel’s Brenda Nana Mensah, and she smashed the game completely.
Here are 7 things about FAR that her fans may find interesting:
- She was once a science student. She spent three years of her life in pursuit of the sciences because her parents protested when she expressed an interest in acting as a secondary school student in England. Her mother, who lived in Nigeria with her father, believed she would make a good doctor as she was naturally caring. Eventually, she had to pursue her dreams — without their support.
- She studied drama. She studied drama and theatre arts at London’s Westminster College after working and saving up to pay for the two-year course.
- She’s an Akokite. She holds a Diploma and a BA in Sociology from the University of Lagos, where she enrolled upon her return to Nigeria in 1994 after completing her drama course.
- She used to model. Now the brand ambassador of Mamador (and the main reason I cook with that vegetable oil!), Funlola had a stint in modelling as a student.
- She’s an experienced event manager. After Violated, it was hard to find a film of similar quality, so she stuck to TV soap operas and eventually set up Spice Angels, an events management company. Then in 2004, Lampost, the event management company in the Prima Garnet Group, offered her the position of senior client service manager, which she held for two years. Her fans were thrilled to see her return to the movies. Her performance in Kunle Afolayan’s 2009 thriller, The Figurine, was outstanding.
- She was a radio broadcaster for over a decade. Some may still remember way back when Funlola hosted her weekly radio show, A Touch of Spice, every Saturday on Star FM.
- She’s a devoted wife and mother. She married Yinka Raimi in 2008, and they have a son, Xavier.
FAR is almost always working on something, so here’s hoping 2017 brings us more of her unique talent!