Damilare Kuku Covers I Must Talk Magazine’s Latest Edition.

1. Who is Damilare Kuku?

I'm a girl who believes in using art as a way to express how I feel everyday. There's no background story. I don't really discuss my private life as much, but I did go to OAU for my first degree, I did my masters in UNILAG and that's about it. I'm yet to do my PhD because I haven't gotten around to it, it's becoming like a thing now I need to eventually finish doing this PhD.

2. Your new book NEARLY ALL THE MEN IN LAGOS ARE MAD has been making waves both online and offline and has attained international recognition, how does that make you feel?

I feel good that it has been doing all of this and for me it's about the fact that God has been instrumental in the success of this book. I don't think it has really anything to do with me as much as I just wrote it, but God has been instrumental in the success of it and also bringing people along the way that have made it really successful, because people tell people about the book, if you tweet about it and all of that. Sometimes I come online and I see how far the book is going, and I'm just like God is good and I'm forever grateful for everyone who contributed to the success of this book.

3. Tell us a bit about the book?

It's a book about the relationship between men and women and what they've gone through, a book about relationships and human relationships and how we need to learn to be kind.

4. The book feels quite personal, did you write it based on personal experience and did you have someone or some persons in mind when you wrote the book?

No it's not personal I promise you, there's none of that story that I can say oh it happened to me, no. But do I know the people? Of course I do, and did I write it with some people in mind? I did and I have said that I wrote it with a couple of people in mind. I dedicated the whole book to my mum, so yes it's a personal story to me because every piece of art I would put out there in terms of books would forever be personal to me, but I don't know if I would ever write about my own story in a fictional work. 

5. The title is not just creative, but also very captivating and highly daring, why that title?

I just finished praying one afternoon in my apartment in Yaba and the inspiration came that why not do a project called NEARLY ALL THE MEN IN LAGOS ARE MAD and I stuck with it and 3 years later it's a book.

6. What was the inspiration behind writing the book, and why did you feel like you needed to write a book about the men in Lagos in particular?

There wasn't any inspiration, what I mean there wasn't any inspiration is, I wanted to talk about human relationships and just how I feel a lot of us have lost empathy for one another which is why we do the things we do to each other in relationships, whether it's friendship, whether it's relationship and that's really where I was hoping I would take the book, so that's basically what it is. So that's the inspiration and why did I feel I needed to write a book about Lagos men? It’s because Lagos is the heart of Nigeria. I mean it might not be the capital but it's the heart of Nigeria. When I say nearly all the men in Lagos are mad I don't think people should take it literally and say Lagos men, I meant just bad behavior that we see in men generally all over the world, but I can't really speak of men in Germany because I live in Lagos.

Get the book: Nearly All The Men In Lagos Are Mad: Call/Text: 08033071019

7. From being an actor to becoming a writer, why that transition and what was the journey like?

I'm still very much an actor, I have a film that came out on 18th of March, and I have a couple of projects coming out this year so I'm still an actor. There's no transition, I'm just now a writer as well, so writer/actor. The journey is still the same, but for writing it's a bit more personal because it's my words, with acting, there are alot of people involved, there's the director, the script and so on, but with writing you’re putting the creation down first before it goes into become something bigger than you.

8. How long have you nurtured the idea of "I want to write”?

I've always wanted to write, I think the first time I met Chimamanda Adichie who wrote half of a yellow sun, I asked her how long did it take you to write your first book and she said all of her life up till the moment the book was published. I used to write Poems when I was a child. I would sit and just write poems and just scribble poems if I'm upset, if I'm happy I'd write poems. I've always loved poetry by the way, poetry is the one art I absolutely love. I think everything can be expressed in poetry. So yea, I've always wanted to write.

9. When did you pick up that pen and paper and say to yourself "I want to write a book”? And what was your drive?

God is my drive o, God is my strength the bible says the Lord is my strength and I'm not joking because if I rely on myself hmmm let's just leave it there. 

 10. #NATMILAM being your first book, what were the challenges you faced?

NATMILAM is my first fiction, my first literary work but it's not my first book and what were the challenges I faced? I mean like every normal thing in life, sometimes you know you feel uninspired, you feel inspired, it's...I don't know so I always feel like most people want to know what my process is as a writer, and I keep saying to people just wait let me release my 3rd book and then ask me this same question and I promise you I would have like a whole thing where I will tell you what I faced and how by God's grace I overcame it, but like I said I rely heavily on God, I'm a very needy child of God and I don't hide it because I need Him every day of my life.

Get the book: Nearly All The Men In Lagos Are Mad: Call/Text: 08033071019

11. Who do you look up to in your field as a writer?

Alot of African writers inspire me, I love African writers and I think they are such powerful storytellers, I can't pick one person but off the top of my head the two people that come to my head every single time when I want to talk about people that inspire me, well not two, I have a couple of people I have Sade Adeniran who wrote Imagine this, Lola Shoneyi who wrote Secret lives of Baba Segi's Wives, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Chimeka Garricks and a couple of other people, they are just so many, I'm a big fan of a lot of works so I can't list everything but yea a lot. 

12.  What is your favourite book of all time?

The bible is my favourite book, the bible tells amazing stories that's literally how I got into storytelling because I used to read the bible, imagine I was in all those periods and everything that happened in the bible.

13.  Should we be expecting more books from you?

Yes you should definitely be expecting a lot from me, I don't know if it's just books, but expect a lot of art from me, I can't say which form it would always come in but yes, there would always be art coming from me.

14.  You've been an actress since 2013, from your first hit movie Kakadu the musical to the outcast, Chatroom, Ewa, Africa's magic hotel majestic, Ebony's Life Castle and Castle and lots more, how has been your experience so far in the Nigeria movie industry?

For me I'm very involved in Nollywood as an artist, I'm detached from every other thing and I think that's really what helps me, because I'm so involved only in the aspect of creating art and getting to know amazing people on and off set, every other thing and also maybe the business of it. I look at Nollywood as art as opposed to looking at it as you know some sort of cult or whatever and I love art.

15. The Nollywood industry gets saturated on a daily basis with talented rising stars, what do you do to stay relevant?

 I don't do anything to stay relevant, I just stay true to myself and I think if you stay true to yourself unapologetically, and you continue to be a kind person and you are good and you continue to work smart, there would always be a space for you in every industry, the competition is only in your head, you are your own biggest competition not other people.

 16.  Would you say it's easier or harder to get into Nollywood for the newbies who really have passion for acting and would love to express their talent or pursue it as a full time career? In addition, what are the things you think they need to know before going all in?

For me I don't really know, there's no luck book, everybody's journey is different, I can't tell you this is what you need to do to get into Nollywood, but I can say to you again if you stay true to yourself, you trust God, you work smart, you talk to people, you are kind, there's always going to be space for you, so that's it. The things they need to know going in, I can't speak too much about that for now, eventually I will because I do think that there should be a book or something that tells actors what to expect when they are coming into Nollywood it's just the right thing to do. 

17.    When you are not working what do you do?

I relax o, I like travelling, chilling, experiencing life, I'm a very life oriented person which is I like to see life from every angle so I like travelling, I like to explore, yea that's what I do when I'm not working.

18.   Should we be expecting an international movie feature?

I don't know if it should be an international feature, Nollywood is international so yea always expect something from me.

19.   Do you have any plans to produce your own movie or maybe a short film?

To produce my own film, yea of course there are many plans in the works and each would come to pass when it comes to pass.

20.   Is there anything you'd love to say to younger or upcoming creatives generally, or maybe those in your field, in the area of writing and acting respectively?

Just write and just do your art. That's my advice to anyone coming up, write and do your art.

21.   Is there anything we don't know about you that you'd like to tell us?

You are asking someone who is very private to tell you more about themselves, Please leave me o!

22.   Any last words for us?

Thank you so much for thinking of me for this, I'm really grateful, I'm super excited to see what it looks like and thank you for supporting me, I am constantly amazed at how much of a family I now have online, especially because of this book, so thank you again.

 Thanks for your time.


Get the book: Nearly All The Men In Lagos Are Mad: Call/Text: 08033071019



Cover star: @damilarekuku

EIC: @anthonynnamdio

Editor: @brella_artistry

Photography: @damilarekuku (Instagram page)

Designer: @anthonynnamdio

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