Born Oluwafunmilola Abibat Oafiyebi, Funlola is the queen of the waves, be it radio, TV or Movies. You might have first seen her as Brenda Mensah in Tinsel or in Kunle Afolayan’s Figurine as Linda, it doesn’t matter. She is drama herself and here are five things we know about her.
1. Funlola Aofiyebi won Celebrity Takes 2
In 2007, FAR, as Funlola Aofiyebi is fondly called, won the dancing competition that is sometimes compared to “Dancing with the Stars” (United States) and “Strictly Come Dancing” (United Kingdom). There were ten celebrity participants drawn from the entertainment industry for the thirteen week-long eviction TV show.
The participants who battled with FAR were Omotala Jalade Ekeinde, then reigning Mr. Nigeria Ikenna Bryan Okwara, former beauty queen Omowunmi Akinnifesi, Kunle Afolayan, Makeup Entrepreneur Tara Fela-Durotoye; Fuji sensation Pasuma Wonder, the designer Zizi Cardow, Musician Nomoreless and Sound Sultan. Funlola who was paired with dancing competition winning Bimbo Obafunwa won the show in December beating Akinnifesi and the boneless Wale “Rubber” Sodade pair to the prize.
The Skye Bank sponsored show was aired on NTA, BEN TV, Silverbird TV and Africa Magic between October 7th and December 29th. Funlola’s award price also included a hummer jeep.
2. “FAR is yet to have a bad movie”
This is the take of Pulse.ng who can find no fault in each of the actress’ performance. “There are veterans you like simply for no reason except for the fact that they have been around for like forever,” Pulse wrote in late 2016 on the occasion of the star’s birthday. “Funlola Aofiyebi,-Raimi is not one of them,” the site added.
Pulse praised the actress for her role as a homourous fashion designer willing to get married in award-winning Figurine and her appearances in Violated, Solitaire, Wetin Dey, Grey Dawn and Doctors Quarters. Picked out for special mention is her role as Brenda in Tinsel. “Who doesn’t love Brenda? Even when you want to hate her,” Pulse wrote before crowning the article with the character that FAR dramatizes as the winner of any “Most powerful female TV characters in Nigeria” list.
3. Funlola Aofiyebi Background and Marriage: She is married to Yinka Raimi.
Funlola Aofiyebi was born on the 24 November, 1974 as the last of seven children to a middle-class Nigerian family. Her father was a well-traveled professional while her mother was an enterprising nurse. They schooled their daughter well which includes two continents. She had a degree in Sociology from the University of Lagos. Probably not interested in more than just been a sociologist and quoting Max Weber and Emile Durkheim she sought a career in acting.
Her parents saw to it that she got the preparation she needed for this, which saw her bag a certificate in Drama and Theatre Arts from Westminster College, London. Even as an established actor, Funlola wasn’t done with adding value to herself as she attended Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire where she did a course on TV and films.
Funlola got married to Yinka Raimi, a media and advertising personality in October 2008. The couple has a son. Funlola Aofiyebi is a media-shy person and reveals so little about her matrimonial family.
4. She has been acting for over twenty years
She is a veteran. You started seeing her on Tinsel or Figurine? Your bad, she has been on the screen since 1996. In fact, her act can be traced back to the 1970s when she was a child. “From when I was about five or six years old, I have loved everything on TV and radio… and kept imagining myself doing all these things,” she told Vanguard Newspaper.
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After her first movie in 1996, FAR hasn’t stopped to tie her shoelace as she had continually held her audience spellbound with the magic of her acts, successfully combining these with her many academic pursuits, radio shows, and then marriage and motherhood.
5. She is a radio veteran.
Besides being on set, one thing Funlola Aofiyebi has done for nearly as long as acting is radio presenting. She was on Star FM for fourteen years presenting her show Touch of Spice, an audience participation programme that discussed everything from relationships, parenting, the economy and all. What she tagged “everyday issues”. On why she chose to do the programme, she said: “I wanted to make people laugh, think, cry and, hopefully, shed tears of joy.”
FAR cited her aunt Teni Aofiyebi who was part of the cast of legendary soap opera Mirror in the Sun which ran on NTA between 1984 and 1986 alongside Clarion Chukwuma and the late Enebeli Elebuwa as her influence.
Funlola Aofiyebi has also been on TV as she sat in for Funmi Iyanda, in 2001,8 in the show New Dawn when the latter went on maternity leave.