A versatile Nollywood actress, Doris Simeon is also a television presenter. In this interview, she talks about her career and failed marriage to director, Daniel Ademinokan
What have you been up to lately?
I have been busy with my duties as a DSTV ambassador, as well as an ambassador for the National Open University of Nigeria. Moreover, I have a beauty salon at Ogba, Lagos. My mother was into the business before she passed on. I wanted to establish a salon for her before she passed on. I have a passion for skill acquisition and aside getting a salary, I advise people to acquire a skill. Since my mum is gone, I do not want to kill the dreams and the shop was open for almost a year.
Do you still have time for your programme on DSTV?
Yes I do. The Faaji Extra can have many episodes recorded and can run for up to a season or two. Don’t forget that I am also an actress and I still carve out time to take on jobs. I would say it is a passion and since I decided to go into acting, I have not looked back.
But there are scandals which most actresses cannot avoid?
Yes, I know but I developed a thick skin from the first day I came on set. I decided I would not expose my private life to the public but put God first and not allow anything weigh me down.
But you must have suffered the pains of fame?
Yes, especially when your private life cannot be controlled from infiltration. That is painful, and the media would publish anything that happens to you. The public does not see us as human beings with blood flowing in our veins.
Was that why you kept quiet when you had marital challenges?
Yes, I had developed a thick skin and I felt that I could not explain to everyone what happened. If after explaining to everyone and the man did not change, what do I have to gain? Everyone has his or her own ups and downs. How many people was I supposed to run to except to go to God in prayer?
Your marriage to Daniel Ademinokan was celebrated as one of the best in the industry…
Initially, it was but at a point everything looked rosy outside but not at home. He just woke up one day and decided he didn’t want the marriage again.
What actually happened? Was there another woman?
I can’t say what actually happened. I did not suspect if he was dating any woman or not because we were the best of friends. I trusted him too. When the problem started, I was begging him for reconciliation. I am an orphan with nobody to run to but his family members, who also tried to intervene. At a point, they fought with him because he stopped picking their calls, even his pastor. Before the separation, I suggested counselling but he promised to turn around for good. He did not. He would leave the house for some days and would not pick my calls. He also accused me of nagging and policing him around. At a point, he came back and told me it was lack of money that caused the problems. As a good wife, I suggested we pray about it. He told me one day that he wanted to go and see his mother and took our only son with him (the union produced a child). I didn’t suspect anything because they usually went out together. That was the last time I saw my then two-year-old son.
When was that?
That was about four years ago. The boy is six years old now.
Did you take any action then?
If I let it weigh me down, he would use it as a ground to fight me in court. I have not spoken to the boy for about a year now. I am sure that even if he runs away with my child for 18 years, the boy will ask after me. I am his mother. Currently, the case is in court.
Is there room for reconciliation?
I am not ready to reconcile with him.
It is going to four years since we split and I do not see anything wrong in that. Maybe because of the things he said when I sought to reconcile. I wanted reconciliation when the whole thing started but he said it was too late. He never said what the problem was. It was a normal hassle between couples. If he says I cannot force him into a marriage that he is no longer interested in, why would he want to come back now?
But the custody of your child…
People live separately and still have children. The child is with him and they are abroad but he does not have custody of the child. I don’t want to talk about it because the case is in court.
Do you have access to the child?
At the moment, I do not have access to the child because they are not in the country. But I want to leave it for the court to judge. After then, whatever the court says I should do, I would do it.
Now separated, do men still ask you out?
At the very beginning when it all started, I had men coming but I felt they just wanted to take advantage of the whole issue. At that particular time, I did not want it too. I wanted to focus on my life and career. I also wanted to shame the enemy and make him know that I do not rely on a particular man to make it in life. I am not a lazy woman either.
But the incidence must have taken its toll on you?
Yes, it did initially because I loved him. It broke me down for about a year but I decided one day to move on. I learnt from my mum not to listen to what people say but maintain focus and I did.
Do you still communicate?
At the moment, because of the court case, we don’t. He initiated the court case, sent me divorce papers but when my lawyer saw it, he discovered it was fake! That made me initiate my own divorce case too.
Where and how did you meet him?
We met at a movie location. He was a movie director.
Do you want to remarry?
I have moved on with my life. If marriage comes I will get married, if it does not come, I will remain single but I have some plans. Before my marriage problems, I have always had it in mind to help humanity. It is one of the things I am trying to do very soon. I want to help young widows who are suffering.
Who is Doris Simeon?
I was born and bred in Lagos. That is why I can speak Yoruba, but I am from Edo State. I am from a polygamous home and the second of my mother but the third child of my father. I am a quiet person.
How was your journey into acting?
I got into acting through friends, who invited me for auditions. I missed the first and second Papa Ajasco comedy auditions. It was on the Papa Ajasco set that I saw Late Yomi Ogunmola who brought me into the Yoruba movie industry. That was about 15 years ago.
How have you fared?
It has been sweet and sour. I had to pay my dues from the beginning. I did a lot of jobs for free because I was just upcoming. Those were the non-profit sides of the industry. But when you become a star, they would beg you with money to be part of their production. Acting has opened a lot of opportunities for me and I thank God.
How fashionable are you?
I don’t really have any particular code. I just wear something I feel comfortable in. My dress and styling depends on the event I am attending.
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