Kudirat Ogunro: Exploring acting and herbs
Kudirat Ogunro is one of the finest fast-rising actresses in the Yoruba movie industry. Besides being an actress, she deals on herbal medicines and that is how she got the name “Kudi Alagbo”. In this interview with OMONIYI ALLI, she bares it all.
Q: To start with, how did acting begin for you?
A: It’s been over 12 years. First, Iyabo Ojo is my boss. I started from hairdressing to acting. I love acting so I learnt from Iyabo Ojo. She had a salon at Ilupeju and I was one of her hairstylists back then. I love her movies a lot, so I walked up to her one day and told her I have an interest in acting and she advised me and put me through what it entails.
From there I started following her to locations and assisting her with things. One day she called me up and said they will give me scripts; I was really surprised. She even gave me a sub lead in the movie, I was more than surprised. I did it so well and that was how my journey started. I acted alongside Liz Da Silva, which was in 2009, I made it look so real and they were impressed. I still do my hairstylist work and herbs alongside acting.
Q: How have you been juggling business, acting, and motherhood?
A: It has not been easy because acting takes a lot of time. I love money a lot and that is why I work so hard to make my money. So far I have produced 3 movies, She Boy, Okan Dudu and Abomination.
Q: How did you come about the Herbs thing?
A: My real name is Kudirat Ogunro, it was when I started the herbs business that people started calling me Kudirat Alagbo. I was born and brought up in an Agbo lineage. It is a family thing, we all know lots about herbs and roots, my maternal grandparents all sell herbs. All my sisters also sell herbs, and my mother too. I have been selling since I was little, but my love for acting took me away from the business for a while, but I went back during the pandemic. Let me explain everything one after the other.
The hairdressing stuff started when I was in school, I got pregnant, people kept giving me this funny look on street, wondering why I got pregnant while still in school and normally, the crowd at the herb shop is usually much and they all keep giving me a usual look, it was becoming very embarrassing for me. That was how I stopped going to the herb shop, then I went to learn hair styling. After I had my baby, the first shop I went to work as a trained hairstylist was Aunty Iyabo Ojo’s shop and that was how my journey into the movie industry started too.
Then during the pandemic, and there was a lockdown, I detest being idle, I am a hardworking person, I like working and I hate being a liability to anybody, so I decided to do something useful with my time. I have an Instagram account for selling wigs, so I changed the name to Kudi Alagbo. My mother also encouraged me, she was like people that don’t even know much about herbs are selling it, talk more to me that have vast knowledge about it, I know a lot about roots and herbs.
That was how I took my phone, and did a video about the unveiling of the herbs business, immediately people started ordering and paying for herbs and that encouraged me a lot. And that was how the herb business started and this year may make it a year since I started the business.
Q: The business of herbs is wide; what aspect of it are you focused on?
A: I actually don’t sell one particular product; I treat different ailments for people and before doing that, I ask questions in regards to the sickness or ailment before prescribing herbs to clients. I don’t soak herbs; I sell roots and leaves to patients. Once a patient, I will tell him or her to go and see a doctor, run a test, after the result of the test then I can tell the person the ideal herbs to take to cure that particular sickness. I also check, if the patient has been taking drugs prescribed by the doctor, he or she will need to finish using that first, because we can’t mix the two together. We treat Arthritis, typhoid, malaria, diabetes and a lot of other illnesses that are not even common.
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Q: So besides being a family thing, did you go to learn more about herbs elsewhere before you started the business fully?
A: I was born into it, and when I was little, I followed my mum everywhere, so I already have a vast knowledge about roots and herbs. Also at times when I come across cases that are a bit tough, my mum is with me, I consult her because she still sells herbs and roots too. So, I am covered everywhere, I am grounded in what I am doing.
Q: You talked about having a child at a very tender age, so do you have plans of settling down anytime soon?
A: There is no man outside, (laughs!!!) I just pray for a good man to come my way. I am patiently waiting; God’s time is the best.
Q: How has life been for you as a single mum?
A: It is not easy at all, carrying different responsibilities, paying fees, paying rent and lots of others. You can’t even dare owe rents in Lagos, they will make life miserable for you. My daughter is presently at the university and I believe you know what that entails. She is 19 years old.
Q: Does she wish to become an actress like you someday?
A: No, she doesn’t like acting at all. But she is very hardworking like me and takes good care of me. At times if I tell her to follow me to locations she bluntly turns me down.
Q: Which has been your most challenging movie so far?
A: It is titled Tembilli”. It is an old skool comedy, not my personal movie though. I played a sub-lead role in the movie and the role was very challenging for me.
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