Those who first got to know her on the movie The Path are-more often than not-gobsmacked and can’t help but marvel at how perfectly the sultry actress interpreted her role. And inevitably in most cases, they become her fans.
As for those who already know her in person, they most likely take her film tour de force as a sort of coming of age, a testament of a star in the making.
But in truth, the feat is the latest manifestation in her unending metamorphosis. Indeed, the Akoko Edo-born actress is multidimensional and wears many faces including that of a fashionista, a model and a radio presenter.
Now, Dolapo Aimanoshi Tolulope Oshikokhai, aka TD Balsam (Instagram), does not need to go through the ritual of self introduction when you meet her. If you haven’t heard her voice on radio, then you would have watched her on TV, or met her at a red carpet event, where she was the host.
So warm and vivacious, you would always remember her joviality and the fact that she was unassuming.
The actress recently spoke with TDPel Media at a red-carpet event in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. Her candid, no-holds barred response provided an open aperture on how she found her way into entertainment and journalism.
TD Balsam is your next-door neighbour. She is Tolulope Dolapo Aimanoshi Oshikokhai, an undergraduate of University of Ilorin. She is a model, actress, a radio presenter,voice over artiste,red-carpet host and a health personnel . She is from Okpe kingdom in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State. She is the only daughter of Ayodele Oshikokhai.
How was your growing up and what inspired you into the entertainment industry?
My growing up was fun. I grew up under disciplinarian parents. My mother was a teacher while my daddy a pen-pusher. Being the only female child amongst three boys, I was able to work myself stubbornly into the heart of my father who would always welcome my closeness to him whenever he returned from his journalistic journey.
Sometimes, I would be asking my dad questions on the stories he wrote in the newspaper. My mother would always tell me, “Aima leave your dad alone and let him rest.” I’d subject my dad to questioning on the stories that carried his byline. I was an inquisitive child.
So, I would be with my daddy in his study asking him questions on the story he had written. Once my dad is not around I feel empty. I always took over the duty of preparing food for the family along with my mum. My dad is a disciplinarian, and he is unpredictable. He could swing a surprise at will.
The beauty of it all is that, he is kind and loving. He could even lay his life down to see his children going to the university. I was lucky to have attended one of the best schools in Lagos i.e. Normal Children Nursery, Primary and Secondary School along with my two elder brothers as well as my immediate younger brother.
How close was your daddy to your mummy?
My father was very close to my mother, to the extent that we were calling them Romeo and Juliet. In fact, We, the children, have started emulating the love that existed between them before my mother suddenly died after 26 years in marriage.
What influence your going into broadcasting journalism
I took after my daddy. A lion will always give birth to a lion. Sometimes, I watch my father speaking and his style of writing also influenced my decision to go into broadcast journalism and the movie industry.
While I am in broadcast journalism, my dad is in the print media. Today I have worked in over three radio and TV stations as a presenter and content creator, both in Ilorin and Lagos.
I was recently nominated as OAP of the year (On Air Personality). The beauty of it all is that I love what I am doing and passionate about it, not for the love of money or fame, but for the happiness it brings to my heart.
My only regret in life was when I lost my mother seven years ago. I saw the whole world collapsing on my feet like a pack of cards.
The saving grace was that I still have my father who became both a father and mother to me and my siblings. All the same, I would have loved my mother to see what I am doing today.
I would have loved her to see what I am in realization of her dream.
What can you say is the happiest day in your life?
I think I have a series of happy days in my life. One of the happiest days in my life was when I gained admission into the University of Ilorin.
I started writing the University Matriculation Exam (UME) in 2013 ,it was either I did not gain admission that year or they gave me the wrong course. So when I eventually gained admission into the university I was very happy.
Another happiest day in my life was when my dad celebrated his 62nd birthday this year, I realised that he was not happy after my mum’s death. Any time his birthday comes up,he would say, “There is nothing to celebrate about”.
It was really a low time for us, especially daddy who was so devastated about her death. This year’s birthday was the first birthday he was so excited about. My siblings and I decided to surprise him.
We baked cake, cooked and threw a small surprise party for him. I noticed on his face a priceless, and overwhelming smile for the first time.I was able to break that jinx of “I do not want to celebrate my birthday”.
What is your greatest fear in life?
My greatest fear in life is failure. I grew up with love and comfortability. We were comfortable to the extent that my father made sure he provided for us and my mother gave him support.
I am scared of failure because I feel I have a huge responsibility on my shoulders and there are a lot of people looking up to me. I am so scared to disappoint my family. I am so scared to fail, to fall and to disappoint my loved ones and fans.
If given another opportunity to come back into this world, would you still choose the same parents?
If I had the same opportunity to come back into this world a thousand times I would still choose Bola and Ayodele as my parents. They are wonderful beings everyone should wish for.
How true is the assertion that you are tough and unpredictable?
You may not be far from the truth because I hate injustice with passion. I am unpredictable. Once I am right, I do not care about anything that may later happen.
Those who had taken my humility for granted had seen the other side of me.
What is your take on lesbianism and gay marriage?
I am a free thinker. I’m open minded, and not homophobic. I feel people should be entitled to their sexuality no matter what. In fact, I’m conducting research on queers to understand their sexuality and their genetic makeup.
I feel it is selfish for people to dictate who you like sexually and physically. If your preference is same sex, in my candid opinion, go ahead inasmuch as you are not hurting anyone.
Do you know that God is strongly against it?
Yes, I know you will say God created a man for a woman and a woman for a man, that it is against the natural law of nature for a man to marry a man and a woman to marry a woman.
I may be an iconoclast on this but that does not change my perception.
Are you in any relationship right now?
I have someone very special in my life.