By Yetunde Adeyeri
Nollywood actress, producer and gorgeous mother of 2, Biodun Okeowo recently completed her mansion in Ojodu. The CEO of Victoria Beauty Palace spoke with City People Magazine and explained why she went into skincare business. She debunked the rumor that her body has gone under the knife. She also talked about how Nollywood marketers black-named her and forced her into taking a two-year break, how she survived and how she built her empire thanks to an anonymous helper…..
Read excerpts from the interview.
How long did it take you to build this house?
To build took 6 months, then putting finishing tough and everything other things, it took 10 months in all.
What really inspired Victoria Beauty Palace?
There was a time I had a quest to do business because I was not getting movie jobs, I had issues with the marketers, so they stopped calling me for movie roles, so I was like Ah, won’t I die of hunger with my two kids and my aged mother, may almighty God grant her eternal rest. Then to glory be to God. This helper came along and he was like, what would you like to do aside acting, I don’t believe in lying about anything, people who are close to me will tell you that I am always as sincere as ever. So, when he asked me, what do I want to do apart from acting, I said I would like to go into business, this good samaritan was like okay no problem, have this. It was not something huge but I utilized it very well, I started selling creams, wigs, makeup, clothes, jewelry and everything, so, when customers come into my shop, they are always like please what are you using, and they are always like, can’t you be selling what you are using to us, so we can have your kind of skin, I always tell them, I don’t know how to make cream, and they are always like, just give us, this exact thing you are using, so I was like, am an actress and I would not want to jump into something I really know nothing about becaue any little mistake, Press will carry it, so I had to go learn it, I leanrt it, I trained, after that, I started producing my own skincare products, so it is not like, I just jumped into it, so I will say my customers inspired me to go into the skin care business, I give all glory to God, infact I was still saying it yesterday that if I have not ventured into this business what else would I have done, glory be to God, it’s not something I have any regret about.
At what point, did you get it right because you must have failed at some point?
Because of the fear of people and the Press, I didn’t test run, I learned very well first, since, I know what I was doing, I did lots of experiments to get it right. You can’t just test run, if you don’t know what you are doing, I know this is Kogic acid, and every other stuff, so I learned about the ones that can work together, and the ones that can’t so I do lots of experiments on myself and some times, I get burnt. I use myself as practical, I don’t give things to people because I don’t want wahala.
You started this skincare business in 2015, so why are you rebranding?
Am rebranding because, then when I started it was not like this, the capital I have now I didn’t have it then, I was just doing this business with what I had in hand then alongside boutique and other kinds of stuff, but now, I built my own place, so I feel I should not have a place like this for business and don’t upgrade my products my packaging and everything, so that was why I came up with this idea.
So, how affordable are Victoria Beauty Skincare products?
Funny enough, it is very affordable, I have the cream of 2 thousand naira here, and I also have a soap of 5 thousand naira I also have products of a higher price though.
What really transpired between you and the marketers that made them stop featuring you in their movies?
Hmmm, I don’t really know, you know. As a human being, you might just do something wrong but you won’t realize it. All I use to hear from movie producers back then was that they said, we should not call you, even producers that are my very close pals, kept saying the same thing so it went on like that for two years there was no work, and it was really terrible.
So how did you survive within those two years?
Honestly, it was really tough, I had times, my kids were sent back from school I had times, I cried and my mum will be like, don’t worry, all will be well. I was crying outside because we suffered a lot. Myself, my mum and my kids.
What were the things going through your mind at that particular period?
I was like, hope am not jinxed, I was really like, what is wrong with me, at a point, I won’t through 7 days while fasting, it was really tough, I can’t really recount everything, you know what it feels like, when you have kids and you can’t do lots of things for them. As an actress, your kids are being sent back from school, and the embarrassment the children face at school, when people say words like ‘your mum is an actress nah and you can’t pay your fees, but I didn’t have the money, I had to take them from the school, they were to a cheaper school, but still, the hardship continued. It was not as if I was not in a relationship then, but most times, things don’t just happen the way we want them to.
A lot of people are of the opinion that from head to toe of Biodun Okeowo has gone through to plastic surgery especially the butt, how true is that?
If you go through our services, you will see body enhancement, if we go into the spa, I can show some equipment made for enhancement, am not plastic, am very real, I will say it anywhere and stand by it. People that knew my mum will tell you, she is even bigger than me, she was way bigger than me, when I went to ebony for her casket, they were asking me, how big is she, my mum is way curvier than I am. Years ago I was thinner, I was not this big, I have seen people challenge me and say your boobs are bigger, you did something to it, you did something to your butts. Am also like that didn’t you see my arm, didn’t I do anything to my arm, if you can see my boobs and butts, you should be able to see my arms as well because my arms are like triple of what they use to be, so if you are getting bigger, everything gets bigger as well. My sisters are here, you can look at them, would you say, they did surgery as well. Back then, no packaging, but now, there’s lots of packaging, so you need to package yourself before taking pictures and all that. Back then, that one can hardly feed, you can’t think of anything packaging compared to now that things are okay. It might sound funny, but that is just the plain truth, you don’t expect me to look, the way I was looking 7 years ago, it is not possible. Even as at that 7 years ago, if you have eyes, you will know that I have prospects.
What has life taught you despite all you have been through?
Life has taught me to be humble, prayerful, and to be patient no matter what people say to you never give up and lose hope on yourself. Just believe you can do it. In my dictionary, there’s nothing like impossibility life has taught me that I should always go for what I want irrespective of what anybody feels or think. Life has taught me, that it’s just one life, my life, it is not yours. Life has taught me, that it is just one business and it is my business and God’s business and if I have to look at anybody aside God, my mum, who is already dead. If my mum, were to be alive, then I will look at my mum, then my kids, after those people, I do whatever I want to do without anybody’s opinion, life has taught me to be me and be real.
A lot of Nollywood stars are now into skincare business, what makes yours different?
Firstly, I don’t do bleaching, I have lots of my clients here today and if you see them, they are middle-aged women and you know, as you age you can’t do bleaching, you can’t chemicals, you have to do anti-aging and all that, so I don’t do competition. But if you ask my clients, they will tell you oh, we love her, her products work gradually, it gives you naturally tone and all that, so with that, I think am distinct.
Are your products 100% organic?
I will be real here, if you go to my page @victorias_beauty1, you will see a particular product that is 30% synthetic and 70% organic. At times, it starts with customers, they will be like oh, I want to be white, can’t you do it, so to keep them, you need to ask them, if that is what they really want, so if you want it, I will make it for you, it’s not like I don’t know how to do it, but I also know the changes it entails and future effect. So, I have some products based on customers order 30% synthetic and 70% organic, and others are Organic and Herbal.
Even her recent post on social media agrees with all her comments in this interview.