Home ENTERTAINMENT I once worked as bricklayer to buy filmmaking equipment —Itele d Icon

I once worked as bricklayer to buy filmmaking equipment —Itele d Icon

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Actor, Ibrahim Yekini, popularly known as Itele d Icon, speaks  about his days as a boxer, how he struggled to make a name in the movie industry and other issues

What piqued your interest in acting?

In 1997, I met a man called Folorunsho Adejobi, and told him that I would like to join his acting academy. I stayed with him for three years and graduated in 2000. I went on to produce my first movie in 2004. Acting has been a blessing to me. I discovered that acting was my path and I am passionate about it.

You were a boxer before you became an actor. Why did you leave that profession?

Yes, I was a skilled boxer before I joined the movie industry. I started boxing through someone who was like an elder brother to me. He liked me a lot and I often went to the gymnasium with him. At that time, all I wanted was to be a professional boxer. I once fought at Rowe Park in Lagos Island—a hub for boxers in those days. I fought at different tournaments because I wanted to be popular. I was a ring fighter though, not a street fighter. Unfortunately, I discovered that some people were engaged in internal politics and that spurred my decision to be an actor. When I started my acting career, I was still fighting but I stopped after a particularly embarrassing incident with a fan. My godfather advised me to stop and concentrate on acting. I had never lost a fight during my fighting days. I would have been a professional boxer if not that I was not earning enough money.

Some of your colleagues have praised your directing skills. What do you do differently?

Being a good filmmaker is not a function of how educated one is. Movies are about mirroring life. If one did not attend a tertiary institution but one is knowledgeable about life, one would make a fine movie producer and director. I have passed through the school of life, so I know what I am doing. Secondly, I am surrounded by learned people and that has fine-tuned my skills. I was trained by Don Richard and he is good at what he does. I train myself by attending courses online too. I am also naturally gifted, and directing comes easily for me.

What were some of the challenges you faced when you started your career?

The first movie I produced was successful but it came with a price. During the production, a very expensive piece of equipment got damaged and I could not afford it. I cried to God for help the night of the incident and I asked Him if I would succeed in the movie industry. I had to work as a bricklayer for three months to get money to replace the equipment. It was a very tough one for me because it was my first project. It was certainly a big challenge for me.

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